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Paulsen: Reality is we have an independent in the White House with Republican Congress

Change may happen more slowly than most Americans think, strategist Jim Paulsen said Wednesday morning on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

"Technically, we have a tri-power for the Republicans, but the reality is I think we have an independent in the White House and Republican control of Congress. I think that's going to slow that change process down quite a bit," said Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management.

The Republicans maintained their control of both houses of Congress as Donald Trump was handed the presidency. Investors were hoping for continued gridlock in Congress, which would maintain the status quo and dampen volatility. But while some investors saw this as a sweep for the GOP, Paulsen disagreed.

He said "short-term pessimism" and "weakness" should be seen as "a buying opportunity" to add riskier assets, as people panic and reduce their risk exposure. Dow futures fell as much as 800 points, but later pared those losses to a bit more than 100 points ahead of the market open.

He said that earnings momentum and economic growth will be the prevailing narratives for the stock market, not these short-term dips.