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The truth is, the economy has slowed dramatically in the past year, and Mr. Obama doesn’t have a plan to turn it around anytime soon. The jobs plan he proposed earlier this year was a rehash of his 2009 plan to spend more money on public-works infrastructure and temporary tax credits. The plan was dismissed even by his own party in the Senate.

Mr. Obama is running on the fictitious claim the economy is moving “forward,” when our chief economic measurement — gross domestic product (GDP) — shows it has been falling backward since January.

GDP grew at 2 percent in the first quarter of this year, then declined to 1.7 percent in the second quarter, which was revised down to 1.3 percent at the end of September as consumers pulled back on spending and factory orders fell. The third-quarter growth rate is likely to be somewhere north of 1 percent.

Mr. Obama is still telling voters in his stump speeches that factory jobs are coming back under his economic policies, but manufacturing lost 16,000 jobs last month after falling by 22,000 jobs in August. Who’s being dishonest now?

“Even at 7.8 percent, the joblessness rate remains high by any historical standard. And it could be years before the economy returns to full employment,” The Washington Post reported Saturday.

The economy’s precipitous decline has shaken Mr. Obama’s high command, and there’s a tone of desperation and even dishonesty in the president’s speeches and TV ads.

“Now Gov. Romney believes that with even bigger tax cuts for the wealthy, and fewer regulations on Wall Street, all of us will prosper. In other words, he’d double down on the same trickle-down policies that led to the crisis in the first place,” says a new Obama TV spot.

However, the notion that the George W. Bush tax cuts led to the 2008 financial crisis doesn’t hold water. When The Washington Post’s Fact Checker Glenn Kessler sought the source for this claim, the Obama campaign pointed to a column by the newspaper’s liberal economics writer, Ezra Klein, who told Mr. Kessler, “I am absolutely not saying the Bush tax cuts led to the financial crisis. To my knowledge, there’s no evidence of that.”

Mr. Kessler gave the Obama ad three “Pinocchios,” saying, “The president really stretches the limits here.”

Dishonesty permeates Mr. Obama’s economic claims from beginning to end. While he touts last month’s 114,000 jobs, as he has previous small job gains, the truth is, these are very weak gains and nowhere near turnaround levels.

The economy would have to produce more than 375,000 jobs a month for three years to reduce the employment rate to a more normal range of about 6 percent. That’s not going to happen under his anti-job policies.

“This is not what a real recovery looks like,” Mr. Romney said after the unemployment report came out. He should know, because turnarounds are what he did for a living throughout his successful business investment career.

This is what failure looks like when the president doesn’t know what he’s doing.

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