President Obama at Crossroads of Campaign

ABC News' Diane Sawyer has an exclusive interview with President Obama.
3:00 | 10/10/12

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Transcript for President Obama at Crossroads of Campaign
house, where we sat down, one-on-one, with president obama. It is his first interview since that big debate. Polls show 72% of those watching that debate included president obama lost to rmitt romney. Tonight, the pomes show the race is tightening fast. The republicans opponents more fired up than ever. His supporters saying, they want to know why the president didn't seem to show up and fight. And that's where we began. Let's get right to it. Yeah. Reporter: That debate, what happened? Well, governor romney had a good night. I had a bad night. Reporter: How bad? Well, it's not the first time I've had a bad night. But I think what's important is that the fundamentals of what this race is about haven't changed. Governor romney went to a lot of trouble to try to hide what his positions are, because he knows that those ideas have been rejected. They won't work. And if he's making an honest presentation about what he's proposed, he will lose, because the american people are not is, how are we going to grow an economy where everybody gets a fair shot? And governor romney's prescription is that if we cut taxes by $5 trillion, skewed towards the wealthy, and we roll back regulations that I've put in place, that the economy is going to grow. And I disagree with that. Reporter: Your supporters have been ying, this wasn't a bad night. He didn't show up. It just looked like, to me, he really didn't want to be there. His mind wasn't on it. He didn't want to engage. Reporter: This is legendary democratic strategist james carville. Well, as I've said, you know, there's no doubt that I can make a better case. Which is why I'm so looking forward to tuesday. Reporter: But again, why did it happen? Al gore said, was it the altitude? You know, the -- I'm not going to speculate on that. Reporter: No lesson learned from it? Well, I do think one lesson learned is just to make sure that people understand how much is at stake and how deeply i care about it. Reporter: But we asked the president if he's second-guessing himself after that debate. I played a lot of sports when I was a kid and still do. If you have a bad game, you just move on. You look forward to the next one. And it makes you that much more determined. The difference between this and sports is that the stakes are so high. Reporter: In the days since, the romney team has been out in force, saying, this wasn't just about performance or style. But an administration that seems tired and governor romney, filled with energy and new ideas. Well, there's no doubt that he made a good sales pitch. The problem is, the product's not going to work. There were no new ideas in there. Repter: What did mrs. Obama say to you when you got home that night? You know what, michelle is always my best adviser, my toughest critic. She and I have been through this together. Reporter: Is it possible you handed him the election that night? No. Reporter: You're going to win? Yes. Reporter: You want it more than the first time? Absolutely. Because I've, you know, one of the things about being in this office is, you're reminded every day about what's at stake. On saturday, I took michelle out to dinner. The waiter said, "thank you, you saved my mom's life because of your health care law. She was able to get the care that she needed." That's who I'm fighting for. Reporter: What's your message to joe biden? About tomorrow night? Well, I -- you know, I think joe just needs to be joe. Congressman ryan is a smart and effective speaker. But his yood ideas are the wrong ones.E understands that. Reporter: Message to mitt romney? About tuesday night? Well, I don't need to send a message to mitt romney. I think he will, once again, be very well prepared. You know, he -- you know, he makes a good power point presentation. I look forward to seeing hill. Reporter: And he says, taking him on, on issues where he shifted, like legal abortion. During the primaries, the governor made it clear he would like to see a repeal of roe versus wade. But yesterday, in an interview, he said this. "There's no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda." Well, look. This is -- this is another example of governor romney to sixes he's been campaigning on for a year and a half. Reporter: Is it a lie? Governor romney has made very clear that if a bill comes to his desk that overturns roe versus wade, that he will be fully supportive of that. And he said, I willnt justices that will overturn roe versus wade. And now, four weeks before an election, he is trying to cloud the question, when it comes to women's rights to control their own health care decisions. The one thing that I think people, republicans, as well as democrats, can say, is that there has been consistency with me, from the time that I started running for president, to today, and there will be consistency, all the way through the next four years of my presidency. People will know where I stand, what I believe, what I'm fighting for. And that's part of leadership.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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