Obama in first visit to Hoover Dam: 'Spectacular'

BOULDER CITY, Nev. -- Taking a break from debate prep, President Barack Obama made an unexpected stop Tuesday at the Hoover Dam, his first visit to a tourist spot considered one of the world's great engineering feats.

Asked why he came, Obama said: "Because it's spectacular and I've never seen it before."

The president has retreated to a desert resort in Nevada for three days of preparation for his debate Wednesday against Republican rival Mitt Romney.

Obama told reporters that he had not realized his debate camp in Henderson, Nev., was so close to the dam until aides informed him.

So, he said he responded by saying: "Well, we gotta go check it out."

The Hoover Dam is roughly a 30-minute drive from Henderson.

Obama's motorcade pulled in after routine travel and the president was soon seen peering out at the dam.

Obama mentioned the dam in his State of the Union address this year as an example of America's history of building up its infrastructure during hard times.