By Brian Williams, Anchor and managing editor
I have no idea who's going to win the New Hampshire primary, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
After overnighting alongside the Interstate near the Vermont border, we joined up with the Obama campaign for a few events today -- and many miles with him inside the confines of the bus that has become his home on wheels -- a cocoon of black vinyl, cup holders, mirrors and dirty carpets -- in short, the same standard equipment rented by most campaigns.
He is sipping tea all day to soothe a sore throat. He was seen by a doctor and promptly ignored the doctor's advice to "stop talking." Saying that to a Presidential candidate a day before the New Hampshire primary is like telling a bird not to fly.
His crowds are large. In Lebanon, New Hampshire, we came across a line of people several football fields long -- all of them had to be turned away from the event, where 700 people had already crowded inside. Senator Obama addressed the people waiting outside -- and actually apologized for having attracted something that is highly coveted in politics: a packed venue.
He has changed the "I's" to "we's" in his stump speech, trying to convey the notion that this is a movement more than it is the cause of one man. His wife is here, but their paths will cross at just one event today. He misses his young daughters terribly and says so repeatedly. I was rather amazed to be the first to show him a copy of the new Newsweek this morning -- he said seeing his picture on the cover made him think of his mother.
He is dog-tired and gets loopy at times, telling the crowd this morning "the time to come has changed." In repeating his error to great laughter at the second event, he went on to make the same mistake.
His campaign aides get their news via Blackberry and pass on incremental developments to the boss in a discreet whisper as he nods. One of those developments: Senator Clinton's emotional answer to a question about the campaign earlier today. In a holding room, Obama called the opposition leader in Kenya -- he's been involved by phone in cooperation with the State Department -- to urge peace.
His day will end with an 11 p.m. rally timed to coincide with the start of the local news.
We're in a car enroute back to our broadcast headquarters in Manchester.
I've just been told that the rental car we traveled in this morning -- the one containing our crew's gear and my luggage -- is "missing" in Lebanon, New Hampshire. This ought to be interesting. We're on the phone with the police right now -- it was apparently parked too close to the Obama motorcade and was towed. It makes for a full day, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.
We hope to see you tonight from Manchester, New Hampshire.