So how much trouble is Barack Obama in? Well, it doesn’t get much worse.
His approval rating is hovering just above 40 per cent. Unemployment is stuck at 9.1 per cent; the White House forecast that it would be about 6.5 per cent by now if its economic stimulus plan was passed. Essentially, the American economy is grinding to a halt.
More importantly, what is Obama going to do about it? In terms of policy, the White House has run out of whatever ideas it ever had.
Obama, who declined even to comment on the latest jobless figures on Friday, is like a rabbit caught in the headlights.
Having squandered the first two years of his presidency ramming through a healthcare reform that could not win the support of a single Republican on Capitol Hill and is now mired in the courts, he finds himself confronting a divided Congress.
So the only thing that matters to the people around Obama, who are eager for another four years of employment, is his re-election. I’ve long thought that Obama himself is lukewarm about continuing in a job where the adulation he is used to is in short supply. For Democratic powerbrokers, however, maintaining their grasp of the White House is everything.