The questions don't do the damage. Only the answers do.
I'd rather work with someone who's good at their job but doesn't like me, than someone who likes me but is a ninny.
So when I cover the president, I try to remember two things: First, if you don't ask, you don't find out; and second, the questions don't do the damage. Only the answers do.
Let's face it: Many on the political right believe this president ought not to be there - they oppose him not for his polices and political view but for who he is, an African American!
Call me a braggart, call me arrogant. People at ABC (and elsewhere) have called me worse. But when you need the job done on deadline, you'll call me.
If you sent me to cover a pie-baking contest on Mother's Day, I'm going to ask dear old Mom why she used artificial sweetener or stole the apples!
I don't know many people, if any, who have had some straight line toward success. I mean, they start here, they work hard, they've got what it takes, and they just go straight to the top over some number of years. Most people get a little failure.
If you have a setback, and you're not doing well and then you overcome it somehow, it always sticks with you. You know it could happen again.
In 27 years of reporting from Washington, I've never heard a President admit he made a mistake.
I saw a large, red dried swath that I immediately identified clearly as blood. I covered the war in Vietnam. I saw a lot of it [blood] there.
And really, the basis, I think, of achieving some success in what I want to do today comes from my mother's push to get me to read and to make something of myself from the standpoint of an education.
It wasn't until the late '70s that a lot of people knew me.
My personal opinion is that guns kill people.
There was a little bit of ham in me. And there's a lot of people say there's a lot of ham in me.
Some days the competition would beat me and I'd go home thinking awful thoughts, want to hide under the bed, depressed. But of course, in the news business, when you're working a daily news broadcast, you get your victories and defeats every day.
It was kind of exciting being on the radio. Not everybody was on the radio.
But in 1941, on December 8th, after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, my mother bought a radio and we listened to the war news. We'd not had a radio up to that time. I was born in 1934, so I was seven years of age.
You really get the most out of sweet corn if you pick the corn off the stalk and rush it to a pot of boiling water. The longer you wait, the more sugar you lose. But if you get it in the first half hour, that is the sweetest corn ever.
The President's very shrewd
As I went to college, I went into radio and television. Now I suppose most people think that's one step ahead of basket weaving as a major in college, but it was part of the journalism department.
The press . . . traditionally sides with authority and the establishment.
But as a young kid, I never did, really have an ambition to be a farmer. I never thought, gee, I would like to farm, and I want to raise these crops. I didn't quite know what I wanted to do.
And on election night I'd go down to city hall in El Paso, Texas and cover the election. In those days, of course, we didn't have exit polls. You didn't know who had won the election until they actually counted the votes. I thought that was exciting too.
I didn't come east of the Mississippi for the first time in my life until I was 26 years of age, but I knew. I read magazines, I listened to radio, I watched television. I knew there was something out there, and I wanted a part of it.
My mother did all she could to control me, but at age 14 she sent me to a military school.
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