Nightly News | May 06, 2012
LESTER HOLT, anchor: And on the topic of presidential politics, now let's talk about this country. Exactly six months until our Election Day . This weekend, President Obama officially kicked off his campaign with rallies in a pair of swing states . Though a lot of folks are quick to point out what sure has looked like campaigning from the president for months now. NBC 's Mike Viqueira at the White House for us tonight. Mike , good evening.
MIKE VIQUEIRA reporting: Well, good evening to you, Lester . And you're right, after headlining some 130 fundraisers in a series of official events that critics said were little more than political rallies in disguise, the president is now officially on the trail and he's naming names. This weekend there was no mistaking the real thing.
Ms. MICHELLE OBAMA: It is my privilege to introduce my husband, and our president, President Barack Obama .
VIQUEIRA: With first lady Michelle Obama firing up the crowd, the president launched his re-election bid with a frontal attack on Mitt Romney .
President BARACK OBAMA: The challenge we've faced for over a decade is that harder work hasn't lead to higher incomes. It's that bigger profits haven't led to better jobs. Governor Romney doesn't seem to get that.
VIQUEIRA: Two rallies in two crucial swing states , Ohio and Virginia . NBC 's Chuck Todd says the goal was clear.
CHUCK TODD reporting: He wants this election to be a choice, not a referendum on the economy . But just as important, it was about kick-starting what's going to be a massive turnout operation in two of the most crucial battleground states .
VIQUEIRA: Romney himself was out of view, but today allies hit back.
Senator KELLY AYOTTE (Republican, New Hampshire): Is there any hope with the failure of leadership of this president on the economic issues that it will be any better? And I think people will come to the conclusion, no.
VIQUEIRA: With both sides focused on the economy , today a misstep by Mr. Obama 's number two, on a social issue. While President Obama opposes gay marriage but says his position is evolving, today Joe Biden went further.
Vice President JOE BIDEN: I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights , all the civil liberties .
VIQUEIRA: Aides later made clear that Biden was not announcing a new policy and that his views on gay marriage are also evolving. Biden was also asked to look beyond the fall to 2016 and whether he or Hillary Clinton will run for the White House .
Vice Pres. BIDEN: I think we may run as a team. I'm only joking, obviously.
VIQUEIRA: And, Lester , as if to underscore the importance of Ohio in this race, tomorrow Mitt Romney is back out on the trail. He's got a town hall in Cleveland . And with all the political upheaval in Europe causing such uncertainty around the world, you can bet that the economy is once again going to be the focus of this race, front and center. Lester :
HOLT: All right, Mike , thank you.