CHICAGO - Saying the country faces the "greatest economic challenge of our lifetime," President-elect Barack Obama yesterday pledged his support for state and local government assistance and said passage of an economic stimulus package would be his first priority if the current Congress doesn't act.

"A fiscal stimulus plan that will jump-start economic growth is long overdue. I've talked about it throughout this, the last few months of the campaign. We should get it done," he said at his first post-election news conference held at a downtown Chicago hotel Friday. "I want to see a stimulus package sooner rather than later. If it does not get done in the lame-duck session, it will be the first thing I get done as president of the United States."

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