Obama using powers of persuasion to advance agenda

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Ronald Reagan used to say the nine most terrifying words in the English language were: "I'm from the government and I'm here to help."

President Barack Obama is offering Americans his own twist on that message: He's from the government and he needs your help.

The president is frustrated by the inability of Congress and the White House to reach agreement on much of anything. So he's increasingly relying on his powers of persuasion to cajole people and organizations to help tackle some of the country's big problems voluntarily.

Presidential scholars say that's all well and good, but voluntary measures don't have the same oomph as laws or the same staying power.

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