Talking with Brian Williams

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The race between Democrat Harold Ford, Jr. and Republican Bob Corker race once again thrust the Volunteer State into the national spotlight, as NBC Nightly News broadcast its newscast from Memphis on November 2nd, 2006.

Action News 5's Donna Davis spoke with NBC Nightly News Anchor Brian Williams about the significance of the race and about the impressions it's made on the country.

At a campaign stop in Cordova, Brian Williams went behind the scenes with Democrat Harold Ford Jr, while on the other end of the state, NBC news crews spent the day with Republican Bob Corker.

With the battle between Ford and Corker now at a fever pitch, it's dominating network news.

"This was an easy one. We visited Ohio last week to look at the Mike Dewine Senate race, but I didn't have to think about this one, I knew we were coming to Tennessee," said Williams at the time.

The race held potential for both political and historical significance. "This may be the seat in the senate that tilts something. If you believe the predictions as of today, this may be the seat that makes the most history."

But it also made history in a negative way. Both sides launched a flurry of negative ads. "This may be the dirtiest, most contentious, most hard fought race in the US Senate this year," said Williams.

"That one commercial that everybody is still talking about. It's still airing. It's still airing only in newscasts. It's off the air, now, but it left an indellible impression." An impression that raises questions about race and whether Southern voters would be able to see beyond it.

"Race has been an underlying issue in this campaign," said Williams. "I think with that ad, it just thrust it right out there into the forefront. It's an obvious issue in this race. He'd be the first black senator since reconstruction. There is only one African American in the senate now. So I think as a viewer, as an observer, it's an obvious issue in this campaign. And it's a big one."