Donald Lambro

He repeated his usual excuses that the economy was still creating some jobs, but had to sheepishly admit it was not nearly enough.

"There's still a lot of folks out of work, which means that we've got to do more."

He said he would soon "take some actions...that can accelerate even more job growth," but didn't say what they would be.

"It may not matter," according to The Wall Street Journal. "Economists say it is probably too late for any policy out of Washington to affect the economy before November's election."

Until last week, Obama had a clear edge over Romney. That is, until the jobs report came out and, in a double whammy, the stock market dropped sharply, with the Dow falling by nearly 170 points, the biggest drop nearly a month.

By Sunday, the Gallup Poll was reporting that Obama's job performance score had fallen, and by Monday Romney had the edge in the race once again, 46 to 45 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 Obama faces from here on out.

Obama talks lamely that the economy was still coming out of the recession, and boasting of having created "more than one million jobs in the last six months." That sounds a 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.

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 mish-mash 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 Bernanke keeps signaling that any further action requires a change in fiscal policy and that's Congress's responsibility.

Fiscal policy means getting tough with 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 Democratic 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

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.