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The Gallup Poll this week reported that 32 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds in the American workforce said they were underemployed (in temp jobs or low-paying counter work) in April.

Unemployment among young adults rose to 13.6 percent in April, up from 12.5 percent in March, the same level that it was in April 2011, Gallup said.

Other surveys say about half of all college graduates cannot find full-time jobs commensurate with their skill and educational levels.

But Mr. Obama isn’t dealing with any of these economic problems, as his dismissive little Post-it note makes abundantly clear. If you haven’t noticed, he isn’t talking about them, either.

And he has nothing to say about the monster debt and trillion-dollar budget deficits he has rung up on his watch, nor has he made any mention about the looming insolvency of Social Security and Medicare.

Instead, he is running a campaign by talking about special-interest-group issues, hoping to piece together enough voter blocs to squeeze into a second term. Interest rates on student loans is the topic to win back the youth vote that has soured on him. More recently, same-sex marriages is intended to appeal to the gay community and its supporters on that issue.

He’s cherry-picking single-issue interest groups in the hope of skirting the bread-and-butter economic issues his handlers know are losers for him politically.

But while he can run from his economic record, he cannot hide from it because his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, is pounding him every day on the one issue that is going to decide this election.

Notably, the former governor has begun comparing Mr. Obama’s failed record to Bill Clinton’s pro-growth and pro-jobs agenda: expanding export markets with free-trade agreements and cutting capital gains taxes to boost investment in emerging new technologies.

It’s a lethal comparison. The unemployment rate under Mr. Clinton fell to 4 percent, versus the official 8.1 percent rate under Mr. Obama.

Mr. Obama’s failed economic agenda comes right out of the ancient New Deal era of public works spending that didn’t work then and isn’t working now. “His are the policies of the past,” Mr. Romney said in Lansing, Mich., this week.

“Looking backward won’t solve the problems of today, nor will it take advantage of the opportunities of tomorrow,” he said.

The past versus the future. That’s what this election is going to be all about.

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