WASHINGTON - It should be clear by now that Barack Obama will not be running for a second term based on his record over the past four years.
After presiding over the weakest economic recovery since the Great Depression, with a wreckage of still high unemployment, reduced incomes, increased poverty and continuing home foreclosures in his wake, Obama's re-election campaign won't be running "morning in America" ads this year.
The kind of campaign he will be running became clear in his campaign speech at a community college in Ohio Wednesday when he leveled this personal jab at former governor Mitt Romney: "I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth."
It was a dirty, below the belt accusation unbecoming of the high office to which he was elected.
For the record, The Washington Post points out that Romney and his wife "did not inherit their wealth." He earned his fortune by working at Bain Capital as a venture capital investor who took small start-up businesses and turned them into successful, job creating enterprises.
With Obama's job approval scores running in the mid 40s, and trailing Romney in the polls, the president and his advisers believe his only chance to avoid becoming a one term president is to take the low road. In fact, as low as possible.
He knows he can't run on stronger economic growth and plenty of jobs. Not with the economic growth rate at a mediocre 2 percent or less, or with an unemployment and underemployment rate of 15 percent.
Four years after the recession started, "there are still 24 million Americans unemployed or underemployed. That includes 5.6 million who are long-term unemployed for 27 weeks, or more than 6 months, the highest since the Great Depression," writes economist Peter Ferrara.
He can't run on cutting the monster $1 trillion budget deficits in half, or reducing the government's ballooning $15 trillion debt as he promised in 2008. His budget deficit this year will hit another $1.2 trillion and the debt will climb to $16 trillion by December,says the Congressional Budget Office.
He has no plan to rein in spending and put the nation's fiscal house in order, and the Democrats who control the Senate have refused to act on a budget for the third year in a row.
Meantime, he remains a disinterested bystander in the budget stalemate, preferring to demagogue the House-passed Republican budget for political gain. hurling one charge after another that are patently untrue.