By Brian Williams, Anchor and managing editor
Here at the office on a Saturday afternoon, I was surprised to receive a phone call from Mitt Romney -- thanking me for supplying him with the answer to the question about Ronald Reagan's tax policy at last week's debate -- we both marveled at how well the system worked -- I was able to whisper answers into my microphone, which in turn went to a transmitter attached to his back, beneath his suit (the very same system we used, with great success, with President Bush at a previous debate) which fed a tiny earpiece, fitted in his inner ear without visible wiring. We are currently in discussions with other campaigns -- we are willing to provide this service to others, provided the price is right.
Okay, we've had our fun for this Saturday. While the above is a parody, the charges made over the past 48 hours on the internet are not -- some of them made by people who should know better. We still aren't sure whose voice that was -- there were 13 hot microphones in that room (five podium mics, five tie-mounted mics for the candidates, one each for Tim and me and one for Paul Tash, seated in the audience) -- and as someone from this network told one of the websites, correctly, I think: everyone in that hall finished Tim's question (at least to themselves), so I think it's entirely plausible that someone muttered it under their breath to themselves subconsciously and somewhere near one of the open mics...kind of like the way some of us watch Jeopardy -- saying the answer to ourselves. To repeat: none of the candidates had an earpiece, nor were any of their handlers allowed anywhere near them in the wings. The audience in the hall could not hear the whisper, but we could and the viewing audience could. The candidates could not hear the whisper. I don't know who said it. Let's keep our eyes on the ball.
None of this is going to matter when we're all wiped out by the falling spy satellite.
On the broadcast tonight: politics, and lots of it. We're here to cover the South Carolina primary -- we'll be updating all the feeds of Nightly News, to the west with the time zones as the evening goes on. We'll be doing live updates on the NBC Television network and on MSNBC. We have other news as well, of course: on the drama playing out in France, the wrath of nature in California, and more. We hope to see you tonight -- thanks for tuning in.