DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — With just two weeks until Election Day, President Barack Obama on Tuesday began a cross-country rush to hold onto office in tough economic times with a new booklet outlining his second-term agenda and a closing argument that the choice comes down to trust.
The president emerged from the last of his debates with Republican Mitt Romney fueled by a rush of adrenaline matched by thousands of boisterous supporters who filled the outdoor Delray Tennis Center to hear him speak. The crowd repeatedly interrupted Obama's 22-minute speech with applause and chants of "four more years" that drowned out his remarks.
Obama, with sleeves rolled up, held up a copy of the full-color, 20-page "Blueprint for America's Future" that his campaign planned to distribute across the country — a booklet that offered a repackaging of his ideas in response to GOP criticism that he hasn't clearly articulated a plan for the next four years. He argued that voters want to know what a presidential candidate will fight for and said Romney isn't offering a clear vision.
"We joke about Romnesia," Obama said, a reference to his joke that his challenger has a habit of vacillating positions. "But you know what? This actually is something important. This is about trust. There is no more serious issue in a presidential campaign than trust."
Neither side can claim the lead at this late stage with polls showing a neck-and-neck race nationally and in some of the key swing states. Obama's challenge is to convince voters who may be hurting financially that he is better qualified to lead the country back to economic prosperity than Romney, who made a fortune as a successful businessman.
"Florida, you know me," Obama said. "You can trust that I say what I mean and I mean what I say. And yes, we've been through tough times. But you've never seen me quit."
Both campaigns predicted victory, trying to ward off worries among the supporters they need to get to the polls. "In two weeks, a majority of Americans will choose Gov. Romney's positive agenda over President Obama's increasingly desperate attacks," said Romney spokesman Ryan Williams in a statement responding to the president's Florida rally.