NBC: Obama Shows 'Empathetic Side' After Sandy; Romney 'Trying to Balance' Storm and Campaign

On Thursday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd depicted the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy as a boost for President Obama and a struggle for Governor Romney. Todd touted Obama receiving praise from "the GOP's convention keynote speaker" New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and how a trip to the storm-ravaged state was "a chance to show his empathetic side."

At the same time, Todd proclaimed that "Mitt Romney spent his Wednesday full-time on the trail in Florida, trying to balance campaigning and showing sensitivity for the storm victims." The headline on screen summed up the framing of the report: "President Tours Destruction & Gov. Romney Resumes Campaign."

Here is a full transcript of the November 1 report:

7:09AM ET

MATT LAUER:  President Obama is set to return to the campaign trail following his tour of the destruction in New Jersey. And with the election just five days away, new polls show the President and Governor Romney are locked in tight races in several battleground states. Chuck Todd is NBC's political director and chief White House correspondent. Hi, Chuck, good morning.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: The Aftermath of Sandy; President Tours Destruction & Gov. Romney Resumes Campaign]

CHUCK TODD: Good morning, Matt. Well, look, the President has set his final schedule for the next five days. And in four of the next five days, he will stop off in the state of Ohio. His final rally will be in Des Moines, Iowa, where he'll be joined by the First Lady.

Fresh off his visit to the storm-ravaged New Jersey shore, President Obama returns to the campaign trail today. On Wednesday, the President's focus, though, was all Sandy. Spending four hours surveying hurricane damage with New Jersey's Republican Governor Chris Christie. With less than a week to go until the election, the two leaders were an unlikely combination. Practically inseparable, comforting victims in shelters and on the storm-ravaged streets. Later at a press conference, the President and Governor, the GOP's convention keynote speaker earlier this year, went out of their way to praise each other's leadership.

CHRIS CHRISTIE: I cannot thank the President enough for his personal concern and compassion for our state and for the people of our state.

BARACK OBAMA: I just want to thank him for his extraordinary leadership and partnership.

TODD: For the President, the New Jersey trip was also a chance to show his empathetic side, as he comforted the owner of a marina destroyed by the storm.

OBAMA: How long have you had the marina?


OBAMA: 1996? Nothing like this ever happened, huh?

WOMAN: Never.

TODD: Meanwhile, Mitt Romney spent his Wednesday full-time on the trail in Florida, trying to balance campaigning and showing sensitivity for the storm victims.

MITT ROMNEY: Keep folks in your thoughts and prayers. It's a big part of what America is. When there are challenges, we come together and help one another and that help is needed now.

TODD: And while Romney didn't shy away from criticizing the President's record, he did not mention Mr. Obama by name.

ROMNEY: We should not continue along the same path, but it's time to take a new path of bold aggressive change.

TODD: Meanwhile, Paul Ryan and his wife Janna spent Halloween in their hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin, taking their kids trick-or-treating Wednesday. While NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls show a tightening race in key states, the President still holds leads in three of them. In Iowa, President Obama maintains a six-point lead over Mitt Romney, down from eight two weeks ago. In Wisconsin, Romney has cut the President's lead in half, he now trails by just three points. And in New Hampshire, it's basically a dead heat. The President at 49%, Romney with 47%. The Granite State will be Mitt Romney's final stop before election day.

The schedule tells you everything, the President four times in Ohio. He'll be multiple times in Wisconsin and Iowa these last four days. Only one stop each in Florida and New Hampshire and Nevada, Matt.

LAUER: Alright, Chuck Todd at the White House. Let me just remind our viewers, NBC's election night coverage will come to you from Democracy Plaza, here at Rockefeller Center. It will be open to the public starting tomorrow.