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By Sunday, the Gallup Poll was reporting that Mr. Obama’s job-performance score had fallen, and by Tuesday, Mr. Romney once again led by 47 percent to 44 percent.

But one critical number that won’t be moving much is the jobs number. Economic growth remains too weak to create many jobs, and that’s what the president faces from here on out.

Mr. Obama lamely says the economy was still coming out of the recession and boasts of having created “more than 1 million jobs in the last six months.” That sounds like a lot to some voters, but 1.1 million jobs were created in a single month in the much faster Reagan recovery in 1983.

Mr. Obama is running out of convincing numbers, excuses and time. The sputtering jobs report sent his senior White House advisers scurrying for something to propose on the dismal employment front. But it’s a bit late for another jobs plan.

His $1 trillion spending stimulus was an abject failure. His post-midterm-election proposals, a mishmash of still more infrastructure spending, have gone nowhere.

Now he’s in the midst of another economic slowdown without any oars, or a boat for that matter.

The White House had hoped that the Federal Reserve would rescue the president with a new stimulus maneuver. But the Fed’s $400 billion bond-buying initiative ends in June and Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke keeps signaling that any further action would require a change in fiscal policy, and that’s Congress’ responsibility.

Fiscal policy means getting tough with Mr. Obama’s $1.3 trillion budget deficit and making some decisions about lowering future tax rates, or at least making the Bush tax rates permanent before they shoot up next year.

But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid won’t budge on passing any budget this year (he hasn’t passed one in three years) and the White House refuses to consider tax reductions or even extending existing tax cuts.

“The economy is still weak,” and the jobs numbers show “it’s slowing or softening,” Stanford University economist Keith Hennessey told me. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

To quote Mitt Romney, “The last few years have been the best that Barack Obama can do, but it’s not the best America can do.”

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