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Brian Williams' interview excerpts with President Obama (VIDEO)

By April MacIntyre Oct 25, 2012, 5:23 GMT

Brian Williams' interview excerpts with President Obama (VIDEO)

Barack Obama - President Barack Obama Speaks at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno on August 21, 2012 - Truckee Meadows Community College Red Mountain Student Center - Reno, NV, USA © Catherine Vail / PR Photos

Below is the first excerpt of Brian Williams’ exclusive interview with President Barack Obama, which aired on Wednesday’s “NBC Nightly News.”

Williams has been given rare behind-the-scenes access to the President during the campaign’s “America Forward!” blitz of battleground states.

Additional clips will air Thursday on “TODAY” and “NBC Nightly News,” followed by special extended coverage on “Rock Center with Brian Williams” at 10/9 Central.

BRIAN WILLIAMS ON CAMERA TO LESTER HOLT:
Well, Lester, good evening and having approached both campaigns about getting access and spending time with them as we get close, today finds us in the middle of roughly 24 hours riding along during several stops with the Obama campaign. Earlier today, that meant a stop in Iowa. We had an opportunity to sit down with the President. All of it, by the way, for a special package of coverage on tomorrow evening's broadcast of “Rock Center.” I started out today by asking him where he finds himself in this race right now.

BRIAN WILLIAMS:
How is it that with, what, 13 days to go, you're fighting for your life in a 47-47 race?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:
Well, actually, I think that, you know, we always knew this was going to be a close race from the start. And what we have right now is a lead that we've maintained throughout this campaign. And we are going to just continue to drive home the message that there are two fundamentally different choices in this election about where we take the country.

//

BRIAN WILLIAMS:
So after the excitement of '08, given the power of incumbency, you got Bin Laden -- you did not expect to be sitting on a more substantial race than we are as we sit here today?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:
No, Brian, listen -- look, you guys have short memories. Alright, folks in your business were writing me off a year ago, saying there's no way I would win. So yeah, these things go in ebbs and flows. And, you know, the one thing I try to always be is just steady in terms of what I believe in, who I'm fighting for. And, you know, 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.

//

BRIAN WILLIAMS:
Mr. President, this document you put out struck a lot of people as something very basic for an incumbent president to issue very late in the game - combined with this trip we're on, 48 hours, 5,300 miles. It could be viewed as increasing evidence you sure didn't intend to be at this spot, at this point.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:
Brian, well-- I don't know why you say that this is late in the game. This is exactly what I laid out at my convention. Every point that's in there is -- what we said when I accepted the Democratic nomination is what we do to build up the middle class in this country. And it's been on our website for weeks. And I hope that everybody takes an opportunity to-- to read it, because as folks now narrow their focus on the election, in fact people here in Iowa are voting, you know? The more informed voters are and the more engaged they are about how big the stakes are, the better I think we're going to do.

//

BRIAN WILLIAMS:
What's the dynamic like between you and Mitt Romney?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:
Well, I-- 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.

BRIAN WILLIAMS:
So reports that-- especially just observations that watching the two of you, you don't appear to like each other very much-- but you appear to tolerate each other, because you have to.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:
You know, I-- I don't-- I don't think that any-- relationship between me and Mitt Romney that's different from previous presidential campaigns. I mean, John McCain I knew, because I had served with him in the Senate. But I think if you look at-- George Bush and John Kerry or George Bush and Al Gore or 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-- you're fighting for competing visions.

But what I think the American people understand is 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.

//

BRIAN WILLIAMS ON CAMERA TO LESTER HOLT: So, Lester, a bit of our conversation earlier today. The day continues tonight into tomorrow -- the Obama campaign covering 5300 miles in all on just this trip. We'll have much more on tomorrow night and of course on Rock Center. Lester, back to you.

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