As a very long presidential race reaches the finish line, President Obama seems to be pushing a new, not-so-subtle theme to the fore: trust.
Consider, for example, what Obama told NBC's Brian Williams yesterday during a stop in Davenport, Iowa.
Asked whether he expected to be effectively tied with his challenger, the president said, "These things go in ebbs and flows and, you know, the one thing I've tried to always be is just steady in terms of what I believe in, who I'm fighting for. I think that one of the qualities I bring to bear in this campaign is, people see, what did I say I was going to do in 2008, and what have I delivered? And they can have some confidence that the things I say, I mean."
Left unsaid, "As compared to that other guy who shall remain nameless."
Obama and his campaign have been fairly cautious when it comes to questioning Mitt Romney's character, but the pattern is nevertheless apparent. During the New York debate, the president repeatedly told the audience that Romney's claims were "not true." It happened again in this week's debate, when Obama referenced his opponent's "whoppers." The entire "Romnesia" line of criticism is a lighthearted way of arguing that Romney is trying to deceive the public.
Even Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama this morning underscored the notion that in several key areas, Romney just hasn't proven himself trustworthy.
Greg Sargent added this morning that the Obama campaign's closing message "will include a final push to undermine voter confidence on a very fundamental level in Romney's character, integrity, and trustworthiness." That effort is clearly well underway. Given my reporting on "Mitt's Mendacity," this strikes me as a sensible, well-grounded argument to make.