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Policy Makers May Find Relief in Obama Victory, O’Neill Says

U.S. President Barack Obama’s re-election may provide relief to world policy makers concerned about the “unpredictability” of the Republican Party, Goldman Sachs Asset Management Chairman Jim O’Neill said.

“I’d say in general, better the devil you know,” he said in a telephone interview from London. “Policy makers have had four years of dealing with Obama’s people so they kind of know what they are dealing with.”

Challenger Mitt Romney’s threats to label China a currency manipulator and his “rather noisy comments” about the role of the Federal Reserve -- “whether that was election hype or not - - would cause me concern if I were a policy maker,” he said.

If Romney had won, “my guess is that most policy makers outside the U.S. would have been worried about the unpredictability of the Republicans and that’s part of their problem in my opinion,” he said. “The right fringe has such aggressive views on things. It doesn’t take into account what the rest of the world thinks about life.”

O’Neill said he wasn’t optimistic that the Obama victory would convince Republicans of the need to show more flexibility in dealing with the president.

“If the Republican big-picture thought leaders are sensible, they will encourage their people to get off their high horse a bit. They didn’t get any mandate here. One would think that they need to compromise as well but I’m not overly confident about that,'' he said.

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