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Uncertainty on what the Fed and Congress will do is complicating job of economic forecasters

Politicians and economists are straining to see how the economy will appear when midterm political campaigns heat up next year.

Republicans see the glass as half-empty while Democrats view it as half-full. And economists aren't sure.

House Speaker John Boehner insists the recovery is the slowest since World War II. But President Barack Obama says steady job gains, a falling deficit and a more stable housing market are all reasons for optimism.

Economic forecasters are torn.

Some see U.S. growth stuck below 2 percent for the foreseeable future, while others predict it will climb above 3 percent as soon as next year.

While the economy clearly is on the mend, the differences stem from the uneven recovery, anemic economic growth and an unemployment rate that is still stubbornly high.