By Brian Williams, Anchor and managing editor
Watching Evan Bayh warm up the crowd last night before Hillary Clinton's speech, I could not help but think of the spiderweb of relationship that fuses our modern politics to the generation before it.
Consider this, a story many people have forgotten: Senator Bayh's father, Senator Birch Bayh, was on board a twin-engine plane when it crashed in an orchard in Westfield, Massachusetts. It was June of 1964. Senator Bayh and his fellow passenger, Senator Edward Kennedy, had just cast affirmative votes for the Civil Rights Act, and were en route to make a joint appearance at the Massachusetts Democratic Party convention. The crash killed Ted Kennedy's pilot, Ed Zimny, and a Senate aide, Ed Moss. After Senator Bayh pulled his own wife from the wreckage, he returned to rescue his friend Ted Kennedy. The Massachusetts Senator had a "negligable" pulse when he emerged from the wreckage. He came near death that night, and it must be said he would have died were it not for Birch Bayh's efforts.
Fast forward to present day: Bayh is in the Senate, filling his father's seat from Indiana. Ted Kennedy is still there, and the mere sight of him still stops crowds of visitors cold, when he ambles around the corner in the Capitol, walking with evident discomfort and a distinct forward tilt at the waist -- all a result of the injuries (a broken back among them) he suffered that night.
Kennedy is backing Obama, and Bayh ran the Indiana effort for Hillary Clinton.
Candidates are still rushing off to events (though NetJets have largely replaced twin-engine props as the conveyance of choice) and accidents still happen. But the sight of a Senator named Bayh at the podium in Indianapolis last night started me to thinking about bloodlines and politics and accidents.
Tonight we'll offer the best and freshest analysis of what happened last night.
Please know: reporting from Myanmar is proving exceptionally difficult. Those few journalists openly working there have had to protect their own identities and locations. We are having the same trouble getting in that the U.N. and U.S. are having -- and countless other aid agencies. I will never forget flying into Banda Aceh on a charter jet after the tsunami. Our pilot had to offer to bribe the guy in the control tower with hard currency before we were offered a landing slot. It wasn't because of volume -- there were very few arrivals at that time -- it was because of corruption, which doesn't take a holiday after a disaster.
We sure hope you can join us for tonight's broadcast.