...The captain has turned on the seatbelt sign, indicating our initial descent into Baghdad.
The White House press pool reports describing the skulduggery-laden presidential trip to Iraq are overflowing in detail, super-secrecy and the element of surprise, right down to the president's personal use of the Air Force One public address system to announce ("POTUS on board!") his own arrival.
Tonight, we'll have the trip covered from start to finish, from Jim Maceda and David Gregory. We also hope to offer an accurate assesment of the challenges facing American G.I.s on the streets of Iraq these days, (in fact, during the president's visit) as our own Mike Boettcher rides along with the 101st Airborne a storied group of first-rate soldiers who I might add took great care of us during our first trip at the very start of the fighting.
For about an hour there, Karl Rove was the lead story. A rather public sigh of relief today for "the Architect" as some are theorizing this marks the de facto end of the Fitzgerald investigation. Lisa Myers will have that for us tonight.
Chip Reid has quite a story for us tonight -- a sad one, actually -- on those who found a way to profit from government generosity after Katrina. We have another story in the broadcast tonight on a related theme: the cost of good intentions -- only this story concerns adoption, and ways it can go wrong. Also tonight, a new U.S. warship with a very special heritage...and the long voyage its been through before even setting out to sea for the first time.
Belatedly, I wanted to say it was an honor to be with my fellow race fans on a cold and rainy Saturday morning this past weekend at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut, to see what was billed as Paul Newman's "last race". Behind the wheel of his No. 81 Corvette in the GT class. He was running a stout second until his power steering went south after 12 laps. From that point forward, it was like driving a snow plow.
Then there was some "contact" (my favorite racing euphemism) on the back portion of the track, and then the veteran was forced to call it a day -- after a heroic showing of upper-body strength in just navigating his car around the track -- with about three laps to go before the finish. I have my own thoughts as to whether or not this highly capable and competitive driver, whose age just happens to match his car number, will allow Saturday to stand as his last outing against other drivers.
I first saw him race at a track in Summit Point, W.V., in 1979. He was always listed in the program as "P.L. Newman" -- because from the moment he puts his helmet on, he has, correctly, always wanted to be judged only by what he accomplishes on the track. He knows and loves cars and respects the dangers and responsibilities that come with driving fast. His fans and fellow drivers can't ask for any more than that, whatever his age happens to be.
We have a full broadcast tonight and I hope you'll join us.