Sometimes New York cab drivers can be the wisest souls. The guy who took pity on me (his "off duty" roof light was on, but he picked me up anyway in blowing snow on 50th Street) last night predicted New York City would NOT be buried in snow, as some were predicting last night. He repeated an adage I've used many times myself: It's the storms they DON'T talk about for days in advance that are the worst. Or best, depending on your point of view. This particular winter storm has largely spared the city when compared to those dire predictions (we have a few inches of something -- I wouldn't call it snow and I wouldn't call it ice -- it's just kind of "there"). Transportation is generally a mess, and it's becoming a classic counter-clockwise Nor'easter. A lot of folks are riding out a bona fide ice storm -- some are riding out a whiteout blizzard, and it's not fun. At the time of this posting, the low is centered right over Block Island, R.I., one of the great gems of New England, where they often take a beating during storms that set up the way this one did.
Also in the news tonight: the President's news conference, which we broadcast live at 11 a.m. EST today -- a number of topics of great interest in the current political debate. David Gregory, who had his own "exchange" with the President this morning, will wrap it all up for us tonight. Chrysler made big news today, and we're lucky to have the services of our "car guy," Phil LeBeau, who covers the industry so well for CNBC and often lends his services to us.
The graphic "banner" on the screen on MSNBC right now reads: BREAKING NEWS... JOE SCARBOROUGH STUCK ON PLANE FOR 8 HOURS.
The deluge continues around here, having nothing to do with our weather. The response to our series on caring for the elderly in our lives has been amazing. We are all reading the e-mails. Every member of the senior staff has read most if not all of the e-mails people have sent in. Some of you have told us your personal stories, some of you have offered solutions. Some have written about the financial angle, which is something I think we've been more than up front about: We realize we are blessed to have the ability to pay for the care that is needed, but we made a conscious decision to "personalize" this issue through our on-air folks -- the people our loyal viewers have come to know. While we are able to pay good people to do the work we can't, we are also so grateful to the folks who help out of the goodness of their hearts. It was Tim who put that reflective tape on his Dad's carpeted stairs, and in the case of my family, it's my wife who handles my Dad's bills and keeps in touch with the assisted-living folks while I'm running around 30 Rock or flying around the country. I'm in awe of the struggles I have read about -- the stories of reflexive and unconditional love and concern, and the heroic sons and daughters, friends, spouses, relatives and strangers who have taken it upon themselves to help someone -- from the farmer in Oklahoma to the woman taking care of her husband with Parkinson's. We will have enough follow-up stories to last several lifetimes. I'd like to fill the airwaves (and we just might) with the stories we have heard, and all that we have learned from those who've been moved to respond.
I just talked to Tim Russert, who called me from Boston where he's spending the day. He said he walked in to a restaurant there today and heard from 21 separate patrons about his Dad and mine. Tim said there were no formalities -- the intimacy of television meant that everyone asked about "Gordon" and "Big Russ" -- just a small indicator of the impact these reports have had. Tonight we hear from Dr. Nancy Snyderman, and we'll see the choice her elderly parents recently made. Tomorrow night: Ann Curry's dad, a great World War II vet who -- in addition to being blessed with a wonderful daughter who we all love -- is full of life and fully intends to keep it that way. Tom Brokaw will round out our coverage in this series on Friday evening.
LISTENING TO THE PRESIDENT
Because different people listen for different things anytime the president speaks, during his news conference today, in addition to the interesting nuance on the war, on Iran, on North Korea and on Congress -- I found a few things others will undoubtedly pounce on. Letterman fans know that "Great Moments in Presidential Speeches" is a nightly feature. That said: there was a moment when the President paused today and said loudly: "Meet!" In the hands of David's staff, this will come off as "Meat!" instead -- and I'm willing to bet cash money that we will see it soon in that vein. Also, after protesting that he did not intentionally change "Democratic" (as written for delivery in his State of the Union address) to "Democrat" I noted (and have since noted some on the Web are obsessing over) two uses of the latter today. He seemed to have fun with reporters and intentionally swatted a few pitches away into the upper deck behind home plate. As of today, the President now knows what the Web site Politico is, and we now also know that David Gregory is a fan.
A BIG WELCOME
I'm a big fan of Chuck Todd, and we're lucky to have him. We've just announced that Chuck is joining our team. He has been the Editor in Chief of the Hotline, the electronic bible of Washington politics. He's now coming to NBC News as Political Director and on-air analyst. As political director, he'll be replacing Elizabeth Wilner, who's been keeping us honest on politics for years, in addition to authoring FIRST READ every morning on the dawn patrol.
We hope you can join us for our Valentine's Day broadcast.