Rock Center | October 25, 2012
>>> tonight on a special "rock center" --
>> this is the first stop
>>> a rare look behind the scenes
>>> on our 48th hour fly-around marathon.
>> one-on-one with the president.
>> why not visit israel as president? we go on the road. we fly through the air. we see who shows up.
>> it's getting frantic out there in the final days. how is it that with what, 13 days to go, you are fighting for your life?
>> we always knew this was going to be a close race from the start.
>> also, tonight, the devastating case against lance armstrong .
>> if people are looking for truth and prepared to listen to the truth, it all could have stopped then.
>> we hear for the first time for from two women who tell us they tried for years to expose armstrong's drug use but intimidation and deceit protected the hero in the yellow jersey .
>> lance used a number of different words to describe you.
>> ugly, fat, obsessed.
>> what words would you use to describe lance armstrong .
>> lance is the biggest fraud in the history of sports .
>> that and more as "rock center" gets underway. 3 f2 que palabras utilizar?as para romney campaigns asking for access time on the road, ride along access to the traveling campaign in the final days. while the romney camp is still considering our request, tonight we bring you a look at what it's like inside the president's campaign for president. this latest trip that we were on, an all-nighter last night, is just wrapping up late tonight. he has covered eight states in just about 39 hours, crisscrossing the country for almost 8,000 miles. we spent much of the last two days with him, living on air force one as he makes his case to be able to ride around in that plane and continue in the presidency for four more years. our journey began first thing yesterday morning.
>>> 7:59 a.m ., air force one was rolled out of its hangar in the dark, filled with supplies, enough for the stops we're making today. we just got word the president is about two minutes from liftoff from the white house lawn on board marine one. the helicopter will land forward of the 747. he will walk to the front stairs. as soon as he is on board and the door is closed, we will start rolling to takeoff. 10:15 a.m . eastern time , the usual collection of dignitaries awaiting the president at the base of the stairs. the limousine door propped open as the motorcade loads up to the first location. our first stop, illinois but that's just because it is the nearest airport to davenport, iowa . the motorcade brings the interstate to a stop which has become a modern day security reality. then, we arrive at the fairgrounds and then you notice what has happened this time around. this is not '08. the crowds aren't the same. the energy isn't the same norris the candidate. this time, he is the incumbent, fighting for his job and in the intervening years, the nation has been through an economic shock. while we're on the road, the news goes on. the libya story won't go away. donald trump having been forced to abandon his effort to prove the president was born overseas now says he wants to see the president's college records.
>> the second term for press. [ applause ]
>> on the road, the soundtrack of the obama campaign solidified long ago, stevie, bruce, usually some brooks and done. he joins us in a setting a campaign has accentuated with hay bales in case anyone misses the point we are in iowa . we begin with the national poll numbers. neck and neck ever since his lackluster performance at the first debate.
>> i don't think this is unusual. in debate settings, you are going to have good nights and bad nights. you have a bad night. keep in mind, there wasn't anything i said in that debate that wasn't true. there wasn't anything that changed the fact that we have to focus on making sure we are creating good manufacturing jobs in this country and that manufacturing growth is the highest since 1990s . it continues to be the case that governor romney 's numbers don't add up. it continues to be the case that we have a very specific plan for bringing down our deficit and putting people back to work.
>> how is it that with what, 13 days to go, you are 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 lead that we've maintained throughout this campaign. 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.
>> what's the dynamic like between you and mitt romney ?
>> i think when you are candidates and you haven't really interacted before, you can't say that you have got a real relationship there. perhaps after i win, the governor wants to continue to be engaged in public life and we will have a chance of getting to know each other better. prior to the election, the only time that we had interacted was at a gridiron dinner when i had just been elected senator and he was a governor. he was pretty funny, actually. i was too.
>> a short motorcade later and we are crammed into antonella's pizza, sandwiched between boozie's bar and a vacant storefront with a sign urging would-be renters to call betty.
>> you were at the homecoming.
>> how did you know that?
>> i do my homework.
>> it is a meal with a table full of hand-selected companions, a campaign staple designed to look like a total surprise. while it is possible to be stopping by antonella's for a slice of pizza in davenport, iowa , and see the president of the united states . once the president is close, very little is left to chance, down to where he sits, what he eats and who he dines with. while he is seated inside, outside, the news continues. an arrest of a person of interest wanted in connection with the benghazi raid. something happens on this trip that didn't happen four years ago. from the motorcade, the leader of the free world , commander in chief of all u.s. forces says over twitter, the folks i just met over pizza in iowa are exactly why i love coming to this state. thanks for always making me feel at home. barack obama . another two-hour flight and we are in denver. there is a woman dressed as big bird and there is that line the president is using more and more.
>> it might be romnesia. if you come down with a case of romnesia, it covers pre-existing conditions.
>> how did that go, mr. president?
>> afterwards, with his armored motorcade creeping along behind us, we have another chance to talk and the talk turns to foreign policy .
>> mr. president, since we have been airborne, a person or persons of interest picked up in tunesia in connection with benghazi, the question is, have you been happy with the intelligence, especially in our post 1911 world? the assessment of your intelligence community was it was a spontaneous terrorist attack and were you happy with what you were able to learn as this unfolded. it went on for several hours.
>> as i said, brian, we are going to do a full investigation. obviously, when four americans are killed, you have to do some soul searching in terms of making sure that all our systems are where they need to be. that's what we are going to find out. but what i'm confident about is that we will be able to figure out who perpetrated this act. that we will be able to bring them to justice and we are confident we have the cooperation of the libyan government . we are going to continue to make sure that we figure out what this was coming and when, how was it gathered, how was it analyzed. and my expectation is that as a consequence, we are going to be able to make sure something like this doesn't happen again.
>> why not visit israel as president?
>> well, the truth of the matter is, there are a number of countries i didn't visit. i visited israel just a couple of months before i was president. given how important i think the situation in the middle east is and our partnership with israel , which is stronger than it has ever been, when i go to israel , i want to make sure that we are actually moving something forward.
>> finally, what has happened to you in the course of this campaign? you have said more than once, this is your last campaign. aides report you have been verging on wistful. has it come up within your family, the possibly of a post presidency as a young man.
>> the truth of the matter is, in my family, what we are thinking about is making sure malia and sasha are doing their homework. we are not spending a lot of time of thinking about a post press den sichlt i presidency. i intend to be president for another four years. there will be plenty of time over the next four years to consider how i can be a productive citizen in a post presidency.
>> from denver, it is off to l.a. and what's become another campaign ritual, the late night comedy shows. tonight, it is jay leno who asks about that donald trump dust-up and the president is clearly ready.
>> what's the thing with trump and you? it is like me and letterman. what's he got against you? i don't get it.
>> this all dates back to when we were growing up together in kenya. [ applause ]
>> from l.a. to sin city , las vegas , a rally in a community park in a poor neighborhood. katy perry shows up, photos are taken. she performs wearing a dress that is also a ballot marked for obama. she is joined on the stage by her grandmother, a nevada resident for 50 years.
>> then, the president arrives.
>> hello, nevada !
>> meanwhile, just offstage, senior campaign adviser, david flood tells me the campaign is all too aware of how tight this race is right now.
>> the romney campaign is calling this trip on your part an act of desperation. they are saying they are thrilled with the numbers. you guys are acting like you always expected it to be 47-47 with 13, 12 days left.
>> we did. america is a closely divided country. we knew we weren't going to get the same 53% of the vote we got in 2008 . this is a race we prepared for. here is the great thing. in 13 days , there will be no more bluffing. one of us is right and one of us is wrong about our position in the race. i have a great deal of confidence that 13 days from now, maybe this time or later, president obama will be elected for the second term.
>> just when it seems like we are on our way to the airport, we are not done. another spontaneous but carefully planned stop, this time at the bellage yo casino. not the casino floor but the employee cafeteria. these employees are members of the food and beverage workers union, a politically powerful force in nevada .
>> we are fighting for you every single day.
>> we are fighting for you z it is 2:00 in the morning eastern time . we are now leaving through the bowels of the kitchen of a las vegas casino. it turns out what happens in vegas, doesn't last the but too long on this trip. nothing does. now, we board again for the flight east. the only night sleep anyone is going to get and only one passenger on this plane gets to lie down in a bed. everybody else will sleep sitting up. in the morning, we'll arrive in florida. that's where we will pick up the story. that's where we will pick up the campaign when "rock center" continues after this. but we