By Lester Holt, NBC News anchor
It sometimes feels to me like the Presidential primaries should have started months ago. As friends and viewers often remind me, it seems like we've been covering the 2008 campaign for years. So many candidates, month after month of debates and candidate forums, and all those polls. Well guess what? While we've been decorating, shopping, returning gifts, and making New Year's resolutions and reservations, the 2008 contest has finally reached the part where the voters get to decide. You want drama? You've got it in Iowa where between the two parties there are five front runners. And watching the candidates trying to break up the pack in these final three days has produced some bizarre moments on the campaign trail which we will tell you all about on tonight's program.
On top of all that, could we see a new independent candidate make a late entry into the race? NBC's Mike Taibbi will tell us why all eyes are on Democrat, turned Republican, turned Independent Mike Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City.
We'll have the latest on the dispute in Pakistan over how Benazir Bhutto was killed. We'll show you that new tape of the attack that has turned all of us into amateur ballistics experts. What happens to her at the moment the shots are heard makes a compelling case that she was shot. Pakistan's government, however, is sticking with its claim that she was killed when her head struck the sunroof of the vehicle she was in. Ned Colt will wrap things up for us from Islamabad.
If you're thinking about earning a college degree through one of those popular on-line programs it will be worth watching Rehema Ellis tonight and her report about some that are not what they may appear to be.
Finally you should know Brian returns from vacation tomorrow. I've enjoyed anchoring Nightly News over the last week, and appreciate your comments on the blogs, especially those saying I need a day off. (I'm pretty sure most of them came from my mom using aliases). I'm going to take the advice, and spend a few days visiting family, and look forward to seeing you all again on my regular weekend broadcasts of TODAY and Nightly News.
I wish all of you a safe, and happy New Year!