TODAY   |  October 25, 2012

Exclusive: Brian Williams with the president

In an NBC News exclusive, Rock Center host Brian Williams travels with President Obama for two days on the campaign trail, attending rallies throughout the country as Election Day looms.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> now to the presidential race and brian williams ' exclusive access to president obama on the campaign trail. they started out in iowa on wednesday, from there it was on to colorado, los angeles , and a quick stop in las vegas before an overnight flight to florida where the president is beginning his day. brian just got off air force one, he's with us now by phone. brian , good morning to you.

>> matt, good morning, we're hanging on for dear life and a quick-moving motorcade. we barely left the airport grounds a few minutes ago. no one on air force one can remember whethe president did this last on a domestic trip choosing to get his night's sleep. and it was very fewours coming west to east but miles to go before he sleeps again. he's got florida, virginia, illinois, ohio just today. and yesterday during one of our conversations, we asked him how he finds himself in exactly this position in this campaign.

>> how is it with, what, 13 days to go? you're fighting for your life in a 47/47 race.

>> well, actually, i think we always knew this was going to be a close race from the start. and what we have right now is a -- is a lead that we've maintained throughout this campaign. and we are just going to continue to drive home the message that there are two fundamentally different choices in this election about where we take the country.

>> so after the excitement of '08, given the power of incumbency, you've got bin laden , you did not expect to be sitting on a more substantial race than we are as we sit here today.

>> no, brian . listen, you guys have some short memories. folks in your business were writing me off a year ago. saying there's no way i would win. so these things go in ebbs and flows. and the one thing i try to be is steady in terms of what i beeve in, who i'm fighting for. and 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.

>> what's the dynamic like between you and mitt romney ?

>> oh, i think when you're candidates that you, and you haven't really interacted before, you can't say that you've got a real relationship there.

>> so reports, especially just observations watching the two of you, you don't appear to like each other very much. you appear to tolerate each other because you have to.

>> you know, i don't think that any relationship between me and mitt romney is different from previous presidential campaigns. john mccain i knew because i'd served with him in the senate. but i think if you look at george bush and john kerry , or george bush and al gore , first president bush and bill clinton , i don't think anybody would say that while you were in the middle of a campaign that you felt deep affection for the other guy because, you know, look, you're fighting for competing visions. but what i think the american people understand is that this is not about two individuals or even two political parties. this is about two different visions for the country and how we are going to make sure that every single person in america who is willing to work hard is going to have a shot at a better life .

>> mr. president, on domestic politics, a recent poll, 4% of voters said they would like a first term like the second, 62% of votersaid they would expect major changes in a second obama term. would you be prepared to enact truly major changes?

>> well, brian , if you think about that question, i'd like to meet t 4%. we went through the worst crisis in our lifetimes. we had the stock market freeze up, tank, financial market freeze up, small businesses couldn't get financing. we lost 800,000 jobs the month that i took office. so, of course people want to make sure we continueith the progress that we've started to see with the housing market finally starting to strengthen, with the auto industry back, with job growth over the last 31 months actually outpacing the previous recovery. and the plan that i've put forward with education with making college and job training accessible to people, to ensure our manufacturing base is right back here in the united states as opposed to overseas, building on the work we've done, not only increasing oil and gas production, but also clean energy , making sure we're putting americans back to work including our veterans, rebuilding roads and bridges. all those things aredesigned to ensure we have more robust growth in the future.

>> reporter: and matt, we're back live now, miracle of television, we're inside a krispy kreme donut shop. the wle campaign came to a halt, one of these thoroughly planned and unscheduled stops is underway. the president is going to have coffee and a donut. we'll have coverage tonight on "nightly news," was most of it on tonight's broadcast of "rock center."

>> did the motorcade stop because you were hungry or the president was hungry?

>> reporter: you know, they didn't ask me. they've never had this many machine guns inside or adjacent to a krispy kreme in modern times .

>> brian , thanks very much.