by Lester Holt
Good afternoon from a snowy New York city. That weather system that socked the Midwest with heavy snow on Saturday extended into the northeast today giving us a couple of inches on the ground, and slowed air travel in and out of the region. Parts of New England, however are bracing for up to 20-inches of snow. Across the country at least 8 people have died in weather-related accidents. We'll have the latest on the weather tonight on Nightly News.
We're also covering a significant shift in the political climate in Iowa, where Senator Barack Obama now leads Senator Hillary Clinton in a Des Moines Register poll of likely caucus goers. There is also big movement on the Republican side where the same poll shows Mike Huckabee now in front of Mitt Romney by 5 points. NBC's Kevin Corke looks at what may be shaking up these races a month before the Iowa contest.
Two big international power plays are making news today. NBC's Jim Maceda is in Moscow where President Putin got a resounding endorsement today in parliamentary elections that saw his party take 62% of the vote. It leaves Putin in a position of even greater power, and that is causing concern in the west as well as among his Russian critics who fear a return to one party rule.
In Venezuela, meantime, our Kerry Sanders is watching today's vote on constitutional changes that could leave President Hugo Chavez in power for life. On the program tonight Kerry will show why this vote could hinge on Venezuela's emerging oil wealth.
We've asked CNBC's Trish Regan to join us tonight to talk about another critical week for the economy. New job numbers are coming out which could affect the Fed's upcoming decision on whether to lower interest rates again.
I'll take you to South Africa to introduce you to a man who resembles a real life Dr. Doolittle. He not only talks to Lions, he plays, and even sleeps with them. The video is incredible, and watching him at work in a pen full of these dangerous animals left me both fearful and fascinated.
I hope you can join us tonight for NBC Nightly News.