From his oddly folksy ”Rather blather” to his post-9/11 tears on Letterman, CBS Evening News‘ Dan Rather has always been a bit more human than your average venerable anchor. After 24 years, he hangs up his microphone on March 9. Here, some particularly memorable Rather moments.
Aug. 27, 1968 Democratic National Convention. Takes a lickin’ and keeps on a-tickin’ as security beats him up on live TV — but he still gets the interview!
March 1974 Best comeback ever. During a heated press conference, Richard Nixon asks, ”Are you running for something?” Prompting Rather to fire back, ”No sir, Mr. President. Are you?”
November 1981 Undergoes a much-ballyhooed image makeover, softening his look with cuddly sweaters.
Sept. 11, 1987 Giving tennis no love, storms off the set — and leaves six minutes of dead air — after the news is delayed for a U.S. Open semifinal match.
Jan. 25, 1988 An interview with George Sr. turns smackdown when Rather calls the Iran-contra-plagued vice president ”ineffective” and the newly non-wimpy Bush needles him about the tennis walk-off.
October 1994 Rather’s 1986 whupping by an unknown assailant asking ”Kenneth, what is the frequency?” becomes fodder for R.E.M.’s Monster hit.
Oct. 4, 1995 Neither rain nor 140 mph winds can stop this reporting machine as Rather continues to cover Hurricane Opal while clinging to a telephone pole.
Nov. 7, 2000 Calls the presidential race ”as tight as a too-small bathing suit on a too-hot car ride back from the beach.”