By Brian Williams, Anchor and managing editor
Maybe it's because I was overwhelmed by the response from our wonderful blog readers to my remembrance of William F. Buckley -- maybe it's because it's the cover topic in Newsweek this week -- but I've been dwelling on the loss of WFB and what it means -- what his life meant -- to this country and our political climate. I feel compelled to recommend a great piece of writing from the Op-Ed page of the New York Times on March 2nd. It's by Michael Kinsley -- a Buckley acolyte and loyalist -- if not a fellow traveler in the conservative cause. I've been thinking of Michael these days in the wake of such a force in his life, and he's brilliantly expressed his feelings here.
I am also thinking about today's date. March 4th has loomed large on our political calendar because of the four contests we will be covering tonight. But it also has another role in the recent history of our still-young country: it was the day of FDR's first inauguration -- the last time a President was sworn in on that day, in fact. (Watch video) What a time it was for our country: we were in the grip of depression -- and we could not know then that American troops would, in just a few years (and despite FDR's promises to the contrary), be heading off to fight a global war, sparked by an attack on the United States. Jonathan Alter writes beautifully about the significance of this day, "With the U.S. financial system in meltdown, FDR's bipartisan bank-rescue plan passed the House on a voice vote with its provisions scrawled on a napkin." It was an historic day. So is March 4th, 2008.
Tomorrow night, we have one of our limited commercial interruption broadcasts. Tonight we'll have some superb political coverage -- well into the night as we do five separate, live feeds of Nightly News before Tim Russert and I swing over and join our colleagues on MSNBC. We hope you can join us. Thanks for watching, reading and writing!