TODAY | October 08, 2012
>> presidential race . mitt romney is set to deliver a major speech today while president obama raises campaign cash in california . nbc's peter alexander is in lexington, virginia traveling with the romney camp. peter, good morning.
>> reporter: willie, good morning to you. mitt romney here at virginia military institute is hoping to draw a sharp contrast with the president on foreign policy issues, specifically saying to him that hope is not a strategy. meanwhile, the president traveling across california in front of some of his staunch et supporters last night at a fund-raiser implored them saying that everything is on the line.
>> hello, l.a.!
>> reporter: enlisting a cast of celebrities including stevie wonder .
>> reporter: president obama picked up a little cash in california sunday night and even made a self-deprecating aleutian to his own performance in last week's debate.
>> everybody here is incredible professionals and such great friends, and they just perform flawlessly night after night . i can't always say the same.
>> we're going to win florida, and we're going to take back the white house .
>> reporter: wrapping up a three-day swing through the sunshine state mitt romney has appeared more confident and relaxed, invigorated by last week's strong debate and enthusiastic crowds. on sunday he previewed today's foreign policy speech in which he'll paint president obama as weak.
>> i commit to you i will be a leader. when i'm president israel take the care that it takes to rebuild our principles and restore the principles that made america so strong.
>> reporter: with the race tightening, the campaigns are sharpening their attacks. a top obama adviser dismissing romney 's debate performance as, quote, masterful but fundamentally dishonest.
>> mitt romney will say absolutely anything to get elected.
>> reporter: and the administration's response to one of the latest job report.
>> the economy is not doing well and the fact that you have a white house celebrating an unemployment rate of 7.8% with 23 million americans out of work or unemployed or underemployed tells you a lot about the failure of this administration's polici policies.
>> reporter: romney has made a shift to sharing a more compassionate side, something he resisted, in three straight rallies recounting the memories of a 14-year-old he befriended with leukemia.
>> he asked me a very difficult question, mitt, what's knock. he called me brother romney , what's next? david passed away, but i'll always remember and never forget his courage, his clear eyes, his full heart. david can't lose. i love the greatness of the soul of the american people .
>> reporter: and this week's main event doesn't actually include the president or mitt romney . instead, it's the vice presidential debate. this thursday between vice president joe biden and romney 's running mate, paul ryan . after the lopsided debate this past week, willie, the stakes are now higher than ever.
>> a lot on the line. peter alexander in virginia for