The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -President Barack Obama says the $787 billion economic stimulus program he enacted within weeks of taking office is helping the economy begin to pull itself out of the recession.

The Commerce Department reported Friday that the economy contracted at a pace of just 1 percent in the second quarter. The showing was better than economists expected and the strongest signal yet that the recession is winding down.

Obama told reporters that some of that progress is "directly attributable" to the stimulus program. He says that and other "difficult but important steps" his administration has taken over the last six months have helped "put the brakes on the recession."