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Dan Rather's election night antics

Dan Rather’s election night antics — A look at the CBS news anchor’s unique reporting style

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Television reporters usually cover the candidates on election night, but on Nov. 6 one politician turned the tables. ”Sorry I’m late,” victorious North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms told his supporters, ”but I’ve been at home watching the grieving face of Dan Rather.” But Rather, who’s known for unleashing homespun lingo while anchoring big stories for CBS, wasn’t grieving; he was heading from folksiness into dotty incomprehensibility. Texas’ gubernatorial race, he said, is ”so close that everybody’s having a 4,000-calorie attack.” A Michigan contest ”was one of those hey-hello-what’s this.” Discussing the Minnesota Senate race, he suggested that ”if anybody knows anybody who can do the Heimlich maneuver, get ’em there — somebody’s heart may stop!” Eventually, Rather’s ardor caused him to confuse one ex-governor’s political affiliation, which prompted the night’s showstopper: ”Connie Chung,” he said good-naturedly, ”see if you can pull my chestnuts out of this made-a-mistake fire.”