I suggested yesterday that President Obama's closing theme appeared to be "trust." Increasingly, the pitch is coming without subtlety.
As part of his multi-state blitz yesterday, Obama began telling supporters, "We joke about 'Romnesia,' but the reason I bring this up is because it speaks to something serious and that is the issue of trust.... There's no more serious issue in the presidential campaign than who can you trust. Trust matters.... And here's the thing -- you know me by now. You know I say what I mean, and I mean what I say."
And what about his rival? Obama shared some candid thoughts with Rolling Stone.
As we left the Oval Office, executive editor Eric Bates told Obama that he had asked his six-year-old if there was anything she wanted him to say to the president. After a thoughtful pause, she said, "Tell him: You can do it."
Obama grinned. "That's the only advice I need," he said. "I do very well, by the way, in that demographic. Ages six to 12? I'm a killer."
"Thought about lowering the voting age?" Bates joked.
"You know, kids have good instincts," Obama offered. "They look at the other guy and say, 'Well, that's a bull@!$%#ter, I can tell.'"
When reporters pressed Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer to see if the campaign wanted to walk that back, he did the opposite. "What is true is that trust is a very important part of the election," Pfeiffer said. "The president is someone who says what he means and does what he says and Gov. Romney's answers in the debates on domestic issues and foreign policy raise real questions about that."
Though it's very late in the game to introduce a new line of criticism, it's worth noting that the "trust" line may fall on fertile ground -- two weeks ago, a Washington Post/ABC News poll asked about whether the candidates are "honest and trustworthy." A 56% majority said this applies to the president, while 45% said the same about Romney.