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“His 36 percent approval rating on the economy is well below George W. Bush’s rating in August 2004 (46 percent), Bill Clinton’s in August 1996 (54 percent), and Ronald Reagan’s in July 1984 (50 percent),” Gallup said.

It’s worth noting that in Reagan’s case, the 1984 election was all about Reagan’s tax-cut-driven recovery versus tax increases proposed by Democratic nominee Walter Mondale. Reagan won in a landslide, carrying 49 states.

In many ways, the central election issues in 1984 were the same ones we are fighting over today. Tax cuts get the economy back on its feet, stimulate capital investment, create more jobs and produce more revenue to boot.

Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan are embracing lower taxes, just as John F. Kennedy, Reagan and, eventually, even Bill Clinton did, to build the economy, while Mr. Obama and the Democrats are running on raising taxes to grow the government and increase spending.

Mr. Obama and his party charge that lowering taxes will worsen the deficit, when one of the chief culprits driving the Obama deficits, besides his spending binge, is slower 1.5 percent economic growth and an 8.3 percent jobless rate. People who don’t have jobs don’t pay income taxes.

Meantime, another issue is emerging in the campaign that is hurting Mr. Obama’s quest for a second term, and that is his directive to rewrite the welfare reform law of 1996.

That directive will grant waivers to the states to override the welfare reform law, according to a study written by two top analysts at the Heritage Foundation, Robert Rector and Kiki Bradley.

“The new welfare dictate issued by the Obama administration clearly guts the law and seeks to impose its own policy choices — a pattern that has become all too common in this administration,” they wrote.

In a nutshell, Mr. Obama’s directive says the “traditional TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) work requirements can be waived or overridden by a legal device called the Section 1115 waiver authority,” they said.

The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service said in a separate study of that section, “Effectively, there are no TANF waivers.”

The Romney campaign has been hitting the airwaves with an ad lambasting the administration for its backdoor attempt to undermine the welfare reforms. The Obama campaign has counterattacked, charging the ad is a lie and that Mr. Romney sought the same kind of waiver authority as governor.

Washington Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler, while criticizing the Romney ad, said “There is something fishy about the administration’s process on this memorandum.” He gave the Obama camp “a solid three Pinocchios” for its shaky waiver claim against Mr. Romney, saying “there is little evidence that is the case.”

Increasingly, as Mr. Obama’s disapproval numbers have been getting worse, his campaign has been making up things that aren’t true. A sense of desperation and hysteria is creeping into its bipolar rhetoric, with Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. warning voters (guess who?) that Mr. Romney will “put y’all back in chains.”

Historically, Gallup says, presidents who won a second term had near 50 percent job-approval ratings. But with Mr. Obama’s ratings stuck in the mid to low 40s, it looks as if the end is near.

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and former chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.