WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama said on Monday that money not spent under a controversial $700 billion bank bailout package could be used to cut the towering U.S. deficit and ease double-digit unemployment.

Obama told reporters after a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan that TARP - Troubled Asset Relief Program - had turned out to be much cheaper than expected, freeing up cash to pay down the deficit and boost jobs.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle)