By Brian Williams, Anchor and managing editor
While today's news features a story of a politician who got in trouble straying a bit far outside the protective "bubble," I witnessed a unique scene last night in Midtown Manhattan.
Following his invitation-only appearance at a question-and-answer session with Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair exited the venue and walked out onto the sidewalk, to discover a beautiful Manhattan early-Summer evening. Even though his security detail and waiting motorcade were apparently expecting to drive him the two-block distance to dinner, he clearly relished the opportunity to get some air... and perhaps a brief exposure to the wider world. Accompanied by the magazine editor, Blair took off down the sidewalk.. from my vantage point, I could see pedestrians pass him in the crosswalk -- and a large percentage of them recognized the man who led the U.K. for a decade. He loosened his tie and seemed to be enjoying the brief stroll, while two follow-on security agents with lapel pins and earpieces were seen hoofing after him at a brisk rate of speed (Blair had a team of men flanking him already) and the motorcade vehicles, strobes flashing, "shadowed" him, creeping along the street adjacent to where Blair was walking. It was almost a normal walk down the sidewalk.
We have a lot of news tonight -- really important medical news, an astounding political story from South Carolina and big word out of Hollywood. We hope you can join us.