When it comes to increased hiring, lower unemployment and a rising stock market, is there credit to pass around?

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It's a hotly debated point in Washington, where political scorekeeping amounts to who gets blame and who gets praise.

Following Friday's strong jobs report -- 236,000 new jobs and unemployment dropping to a four-year low of 7.7 percent --partisans hurriedly staked out turf.

Allies of President Barack Obama cheered while Republicans complained the recovery was too slow. From a policy standpoint, the Federal Reserve has been at the recovery forefront, pumping trillions of dollars into the economy, keeping interests rates near zero and pushing investors away from low-yield bonds to stocks.

Yet the coming budget cuts present nagging questions about the resilience of the economy and whether current gains might fade.


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