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U.S. economic growth braked more sharply than initially thought in the fourth quarter amid a moderate increase in business inventories and a wider trade deficit, but strong domestic demand brightened the outlook. Gross domestic product expanded at a 2.2 percent annual pace, revised down from the 2.6 percent pace estimated last month, the Commerce Department said on Friday. The economy grew at a 5 percent rate in the third quarter. Businesses accumulated $88.4 billion worth of inventory in the fourth quarter, far less than the $113.1 billion the government had estimated last month.
By Steve Holland and Andy Sullivan NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (Reuters) - Republican Jeb Bush asked skeptical conservatives to consider him a “second choice” on Friday but refused to back down from policy positions that have led many right-leaning activists to view his potential presidential candidacy with suspicion. "I'm a practicing, reform-minded conservative," the 62-year-old former Florida governor told the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland near Washington. Many attending the annual gathering of grassroots activists made clear they prefer a potential Bush rival, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, among others. Bush was heckled and booed, but the antipathy was balanced out by enthusiastic supporters who showed up shortly before he spoke and clapped heartily and aggressively.
OXON HILL, Md. (AP) — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was skeptical of some conservatives' efforts to block funding for the Department of Homeland Security unless President Barack Obama's immigration actions are derailed.