Tonight there's a political story we hadn't counted on when we came to work this morning: Rudy in the ring, at least more officially than he was this morning. Also there's analysis to be done on the budget as proposed and the change(s) it represents. The debates continue over Senate resolutions, a killer cold has set in over a good chunk of the country as well. Since we'll see you from New Orleans tomorrow night, tonight we'll kick off the subject matter by following the money -- the billions given and appropriated to fix what happened -- or begin to. And we'll look at whether any warning would have prevented the horror and sadness of the storms in Florida. While I'm not trying to be a tease here, candidly, I'm about to stop by a meeting where we're going to lay out a story order for all of this.
ABOUT LAST NIGHT...
OK, let's get to the elephant in the room: the Super Bowl. It wasn't pretty, though there were moments of actual football. I felt for CBS during the numerous occasions when their primary camera became so covered with rain droplets (or the aftermath of a hasty paper towel wiping) that it was unusable. Nasty conditions for all the crew members, to be sure. The game seemed somehow... different. It might have been that we're not used to nature, of all things, playing a role in what has become a rather sterile, commercial and "domed" event in recent years. The commercials? (Editor's note: If you missed any of the commercials, you can watch them all here.) My list of the best included the depressed GM robot, the talking lions, the talking gorillas (I'm detecting a talking animal theme), the Snickers bar, the spotted Bud dog, the Blockbuster mouse, and the Combos ad during the pre-game show. There were several low points: among them the "tribute" spot that somehow managed to attempt to sell Doritos while celebrating both African-American coaches? The "assault on the heart" spot was instead an assault on the senses... as were the CareerBuilder spots, shot in Private Ryan-style. The Go Daddy spots were so... 1998, while Prince brought us to 1999. Actually, he gets kudos for performing a good set in bad conditions. Back to the robot: How crafty to give human features to a machine that has replaced the humans who once built our cars from the rims to the roof? The weather on the screen was so miserable, I felt truly fortunate to be watching from the warmth and safety of home and hearth.
Of course there was another factor at work, as well. Throughout the game I kept thinking of an e-mail I received yesterday afternoon, from our senior foreign producer M.L. Flynn. She had just been in touch with Richard Engel, embedded with a collection of U.S. combat teams -- about 100 men in all. As of the time of the e-mail, they didn't think they'd have the dish/TV/wiring done in time to see the armed forces TV feed of the Super Bowl. Based on my theory (having spent time with them in Iraq on several occasions) that we can't do enough for the them or the folks at home who love them, there I was, watching the game, thinking of this group of 100 Americans in an old Iraqi dance hall, just wanting to watch the game.
There's a postscript: because of their day, their work schedule, and the time difference, Richard Engel reports that only "about five guys" were actually still awake, even though they found a way to wire up the set and bring the game in live. At least they were five happy guys.
We hope you can join us for our Monday broadcast.