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At week's end

Some comments the President made today guaranteed his placement at or near the top of tonight's broadcast. The day began with an Oval Office meeting -- the President and Gen. David Patreus (by the way, watch the general's shoulders carefully over the coming hours and days -- as his three stars become four, and he joins an even more vaunted and exclusive group in the history of the Army), who is preparing to take command in Iraq. On another front, some videotape is currently coming into our system from Richard Engel in Iraq, where he's been embedded with U.S. forces. The interesting thing about what we'll show you tonight (judging by what has already come in from him) is that we'll be able to see our guys who are in the fight and on the job -- and we get to hear from some of them. We've been asked not to say anything more than that about locations or the mission. There's going to be some jostling of stories at the top of our broadcast, as work comes in from various correspondents and as we rank it in terms of importance. There's also a potentially interesting story from London that may or may not make our air tonight, and another from the Pentagon.

A word about last night: We've been inundated with e-mails about two stories in particular -- Ann Curry's story on the Fisher Houses for vets' families and Martin Savidge's story about the 12 Army and Army Reserve personnel who were lost last weekend in the Black Hawk crash were singled out by our viewers. We were enormously proud of both stories. Here is a link to Ann's report and video, and I'm told we'll make Martin's available in this space later this evening. Both stories convey an important message and say a lot about who is doing the fighting and why.

Andrea Mitchell will report tonight on the possibility of a sea change in the way we select our presidents, and the continuing push to "front-load" the primary process in American politics. Tom Costello has a story about the increasing number of commercial air pilots carrying weapons while aloft these days, and the drive to expand the policy to international flights.

Bob Faw will round out the broadcast with our Friday night "Making A Difference" segment, on a 17-year-old who loves his Minnesota town enough to save it from virtual extinction.

What an eventful week, and our thanks to all of you who have been with us throughout. Have a good weekend, and as the guy says on TV, "We'll look for you right back here Monday night..." In the meantime, we hope you can join us for our Friday edition.