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President Obama, offering what is likely a preview of his Feb. 12 State of the Union address, blamed this week’s disappointing economic news – U.S. gross domestic product shrunk unexpectedly in the fourth quarter of 2012 – on “bad decisions in Washington.”

The president, speaking in his weekly radio and Internet address, defended the overall economy and warned that too much focus on cutting government spending would backfire.

“We all agree that it’s critical to cut unnecessary spending. But we can’t just cut our way to prosperity,” he said. “It hasn’t worked in the past, and it won’t work today. It could slow down our recovery. It could weaken our economy. And it could cost us jobs — now, and in the future.

“What we need instead is a balanced approach; an approach that says let’s cut what we can’t afford but let’s make the investments we can’t afford to live without. Investments in education and infrastructure, research and development — the things that will help America compete for the best jobs and new industries.”

The president’s remarks come in the wake of Wednesday’s news that the American economy shrunk by .1 percent in the last quarter of 2012 – a contraction that Democrats increasingly are blaming on the Republican Party’s “austerity politics.”