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President Joe Biden says the American people are “really, really down” after a tumultuous two years with the coronavirus pandemic, volatility in the economy and now surging gasoline prices that are hitting family budgets. But in an interview Thursday with The Associated Press, Biden stressed that a recession was “not inevitable” and held out hope of giving the country a greater sense of confidence. Biden is bristling at claims by Republican lawmakers that last year’s COVID-19 aid plan was fully to blame for inflation reaching a 40-year high, calling that argument “bizarre.” The president says he sees reason for optimism with the 3.6% unemployment rate and America’s relative strength.