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Smoke signals

By Brian Williams, Anchor and managing editor

A few political notes to follow last night's debate -- and put an end (or try to) to a wild week.

First, did anyone else note what seemed to be HRC signals to John Edwards last night? At least two shoutouts, both complimenting Senator Edwards. It would make sense, given the oft-repeated inside sentiment -- heard underground as recently as this week -- that Edwards is said to favor Clinton, and conversely may be unwilling to endorse Obama. But one could simultaneously argue that Edwards' endorsement has decreased in political value each day since his withdrawal on January 30th, and that Obama is already cutting into the Edwards constituency even without an endorsement.

There is a story about Obama's security in the news today, which I am checking into for possible inclusion in the broadcast tonight. We don't report on such matters lightly, of course -- and often, in covering military matters and security matters, we put the safety of Americans and our public officials first when deciding what to air.

What a terrible loss of life in the Clinton motorcade today in Dallas. I have actually witnessed such a thing happen before, and my heart goes out to the family of the officer -- and to Senator Clinton (who was obviously shaken by it today) as the accident happened in the course of keeping her safe.

Something that sounded very familiar happened last night when both the Clinton and Obama campaigns arrived in Texas: members of both Secret Service details went boot shopping when they were off-duty. Upon hearing the story, I was reminiscing today with a former member of our traveling White House back in the mid-90's about a trip we made with President Clinton to Billings, Montana. A few of us in the press corps managed to sneak away during an overnight to make a trek to Al's Bootery -- a landmark boot dealer in Billings, where I scored a pair of Luchese's. Upon arrival, we were surprised to find, shall we say, a substantial percentage of the agents who just had come off their shift protecting the Leader of the Free World. Al's Bootery had a good day that day. So did we.

We have an interesting broadcast tonight: political news, an update on flu season, a look at Chelsea Clinton and our Making A Difference report, among other things.

Have a great weekend. Thanks for watching -- we'll see you Monday.