By Brian Williams, Anchor and managing editor
When young volunteers in the U.S. Navy Seal training program, known by the acronym BUDS, decide that due to fatigue or injury or family crisis they must leave the program, they must "ring out" by ringing a bell in the courtyard. Tonight, John McCain does the opposite -- as I struggle here to employ a Navy theme -- by ringing in, (didn't another Navy man once say "reporting for duty"?) and making his speech to the party faithful and the American faithful. When we all leave here, there will be 61 days remaining until Americans get to decide on the next President. The story here -- as it is across much of the country -- is Governor Palin's speech from last night.
We're all gathered inside the arena, while outside there are protesters trying to make their way into downtown St. Paul. From here tonight, we fly to Los Angeles (after our prime time coverage of the McCain speech) where Katie Couric and Charlie Gibson and I will host tomorrow evening's live special, Stand Up To Cancer. Miles to go before we sleep. Miles to go before we sleep. Speeches to cover before we fly -- and we hope you can join us for BOTH of our broadcasts tonight.