Donald Lambro
WASHINGTON -- President Obama came out to the White House Rose Garden Monday on his first full day back at work to devote a full four minutes to the sinking U.S. economy.

Even though a president's time is valuable, considering the ever-weakening $14 trillion economy that has slowed to a crawl, it wasn't much. But with his 1930s-style economic policies in shambles, voters up in arms over the prospect that things will not be getting better anytime soon and a new Gallup poll that suggests his party is going to get walloped in the midterm elections, his advisers said he had to do something.

He has stubbornly stuck to his spending stimulus game plan and insisted to NBC News anchor Brian Williams on Sunday that, well, at least "the economy is growing." And he put in another pitch for his impotent $30 billion small-business assistance bill that is languishing in the Senate. It wasn't much, but Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said, "There's only so much that can be done."

In his four-minute remarks, Obama recited the now familiar litany of what he's done so far. But now his advisers are demanding he had to do more because clearly his spending stimulus plan isn't working, and for the first time he acknowledged that he and his team were "discussing additional measures" to spur faster growth and new jobs, including "further tax cuts." One would like to think that with 15 to 20 million Americans looking for full-time work and economic growth slowing to the mid-1 percent range and barely breathing, that Obama is growing impatient with the pace of the economy. But he hasn't shown that thus far, insisting that the recovery is growing modestly and is now in a recovery. White House officials call this "the recovery summer."

Yet when Obama walked into the Oval Office Monday he was greeted by a new Gallup poll that showed the Republicans now lead by 51 percent to 41 percent among registered voters in the polling firm's weekly tracking. Gallup said that the 10-point lead "is the GOP's largest so far this year and is its largest in Gallup's history of tracking the midterm generic ballot for Congress" going back to 1942.

In other words, Obama's party isn't just facing major losses at the polls in November, it's facing a bloodbath that could turn over control of both houses of Congress to Republicans that would bring the administration to a screeching halt and set the stage for making him a one-term president. It is hard to remember when a White House was so disconnected from the growing disapproval of a presidency and the severity of an economic situation teetering on the brink of a second recession.


Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.