Published for WSJ Online, June 27th, 2012

In a 54-minute stemwinder in Cleveland two weeks ago—billed as a major “reframing” address—President Obama did what has become second nature for him. He ignored his opponent’s actual views to focus on make-believe.

For example, the president declared that Mr. Romney thinks “the best way to grow the economy is from the top down.” This is the opposite of what the former Massachusetts governor believes.

America, Mr. Romney says on the campaign trail, has prospered because “Economic freedom is the only force that has consistently succeeded in lifting people out of poverty” and because Americans are not “limited by the circumstance of birth nor directed by the supposedly informed hand of government.”

Mr. Obama also claimed Mr. Romney will “roll back regulations on . . . polluters,” saying, “This is precisely what they have proposed.” Grant the president this: His message is not subtle. Republicans, he’s saying in so many words, want, desire and fervently seek dirty air and dirty water.

We’ll see this kind of crude caricature from Team Obama virtually every day until November. It’s what comes from an intellectually exhausted and desperate candidate.

There was an avalanche of such claims in Cleveland. For example, the president tried to shackle Mr. Romney with a warped description of the House Republican budget that Mr. Romney has embraced.

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