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The night ahead

A mixed day at the White House that fell short of the desired PR outcome. This day was supposed to be about the new press secretary (who took no questions at his own announcement this morning) Tony Snow -- known to many of us in the industry and viewers nationwide for his years on the air on Fox News, and prior to that for his service to President George H.W. Bush. A new era begins. It was stepped on today by word of Karl Rove's new testimony. We'll wrap it all together tonight. Also this evening: new and exclusive numbers on where things stand, from our NBC News poll. Tim Russert will be with us. Bob Bazell continues last night's emotional reporting on our brave Iraq war vets returning with head injuries. Preston Mendenhall takes us back 20 years to Chernobyl and Janet Shamlian will cover the gas prices story where "the rubber meets the road" -- in Houston, Texas. You can talk all you want about reserves, policy, market forces, gouging... at the end of the day, it comes down to kids needing to be picked up at school, and families who need to be fed. All that happens by truck and car and these days carries a hefty tariff. It's shaping up to be a good broadcast

Tonight I will be with my friends at the United Jewish Appeal here in New York (emcee duties call) and will leave from the event for the airport for points south. This will be my last day in New York until next Monday. Tomorrow and Friday, NBC Nightly News will originate from New Orleans. We had planned our next trip (I believe my 11th since Katrina) for next week, but then the President announced his intention to visit tomorrow, and so we changed our plans accordingly. It will be great to visit our New Orleans bureau -- led by the indefatigable Frieda Morris -- along with correspondent Martin Savidge... and a dedicated staff sometimes visible scurrying in the background during live interviews from our bureau!  In the early days, it felt like a foreign posting for all our personnel. They all left their lives and families (most in the Atlanta area) to take this assignment for us, and my debt to them for the extraordinary television they have pumped out of that region -- and for keeping us honest every day up here in New York -- runs deep. 

Last night's screening of United 93 here in New York was a searing and transforming experience. At this hour I'm planning on sharing some of what went on in that theater last night on the broadcast.

Saturday I will be in Mooresville, N.C., for a special day and a special honor, in the name of a special man. Teresa Earnhardt has asked me to stand as Grand Marshall at the annual remembrance of her husband, my friend Dale Earnhardt. The foundation set up in his name will announce its annual awards, and it will be a chance to visit with those who share a hero and a common interest.

We hope you can join us tonight from New York, and we'll see you from New Orleans Thursday and Friday, where I will next check in.