Rather Trenchant?

Dan Rather's first political run-in occurred at a Houston news conference in 1974. When Richard Nixon, fielding questions from the assembled press, pointed to an ABC reporter, Rather (then CBS's White House correspondent) jumped in: "Thank you, Mr. President. Dan Rather, of CBS News. Mr. President..."

Rather was then interrupted by applause and jeers, whereupon Nixon interjected a shrewd question: "Are you running for something?" "No, sir, Mr. President," Rather acerbically replied. "Are you?"

[Rather later claimed (or claimed to have thought) that the president had pointed to him. Was he grandstanding? In either case, he quickly earned the enmity of the Nixon White House. (Rather's intensity was widely admired by his colleagues: One reporter for a national newspaper always watched Rather instead of ABC's Peter Jennings or NBC's Tom Brokaw: he was convinced that "one day Dan's just going to spontaneously combust on the air, and I don't want to miss it.")]

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