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Three's Company

by Lester Holt, NBC News Anchor

Political pundits, and candidates are already talking about the "Nader factor." Ralph Nader told Tim Russert on "Meet the Press" this morning that he is launching an independent run for president. Many democrats still blame Nader for siphoning votes from Al Gore in the 2000 election, and tipping the election to George Bush. The big question today, is whether Nader can generate enough of a following to once again alter the political equation in this election. Senator Hillary Clinton has already weighed in on the news, and we'll let you hear what she has to say when we wrap up the day in politics on Nightly News tonight. In addition, NBC's Rehema Ellis begins a special series we are calling "Where They Stand."  This week, we are breaking down where Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John McCain, and Mike Huckabee stand on key voting issues. Tonight, Rehema looks at education, including how the candidates approach school vouchers, no child left behind, and college tuition affordability.

We're watching the official transition of power in Cuba, and one very notable change under Raul Castro that is giving Cuban citizens something to talk about today.

As you may have discovered for yourself, the price of food is on the rise. We've asked NBC's Pat Dawson to look into why it's happening and the impact it is having on American consumers.

Yesterday in this space, I told you about the shortage of road salt being felt in many places this winter, and how one community is turning to a vegetable substitute. Unfortunately, we ran out of time and weren't able to get that story on last night, but we'll have it on the newscast tonight.

Thanks for checking in. I hope you'll join us later for NBC Nightly News.