No 2 House Republican compares Obama to Putin

"They said, 'Set aside the rule of law; let's strip secured creditors, bondholders, of their rights. Take them away outside of the bankruptcy process and give them to the political cronies and the auto workers' unions," Rep Eric Cantor said in an interview with The Associated Press.

"It's almost like looking at Putin's Russia," added Cantor, whose role is to maintain the minority party discipline in House. "You want to reward your political friends at the expense of the certainty of law?"

The Obama administration this week set bonus limits on companies that have received billions of dollars in federal bailout money and appointed a "special master" with power to reject pay plans he deems excessive.

Conservatives eagerly compare such government "meddling" and Obama's governing style to leaders half a world away.

"`Like Obama, Putin has a fawning media that is intimidated by an uncertain marketplace and looking for any help to stay afloat," John Feehery, a conservative consultant and veteran House Republican spokesman, wrote Wednesday on his blog.

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