Performing doesn't turn me on. It's an egomaniac business, filled with
prima donnas---including this one.
- Dan Rather
Occupation: TV Personality
Date of Birth: October 31, 1931
Place of Birth: Wharton, Texas, USA
Education: Sam Houston State Teachers College
When Dan Rather covered Hurricane Carla for
Houston's CBS affiliate in 1961, he impressed network higher-ups, who made him a national
correspondent. His reports on the J.F.K. assassination, Vietnam, and Watergate (his on-air
Nixon confrontations made headlines) impressed the public on a nightly basis. Then, Rather
helped make a Sunday-night news program, 60 Minutes, the nation's highest-rated. In 1981,
the first year he attempted to fill Walter Cronkite's mythical shoes as the CBS Evening
News anchor, Rather lost ratings, and the network lost Roger Mudd, who thought he deserved
the job. But the ratings returned, and Rather held on to his seat until 1994, when he
agreed to share the desk with Connie Chung, who was younger and somewhat cuter than
A year later, he was again flying solo.
Over the years, bizarre things have befallen the
anchorman, like the time he was assaulted on Park Avenue in New York by two men demanding,
"What's the frequency, Kenneth?," a line later immortalized in R.E.M.'s hit
single of the same name. Such incidents have led to the belief that there's something
bizarre about Rather himself, a belief for which there's not a shred of evidence, at least
on this planet.
Dan betrayed his home state's weakness for colorful
language during the CBS 2000 presidential election returns coverage. Here's a
selection of Dan's doozers:
- "To err is human but to really foul up
requires a computer."
- "This race is shakier than cafeteria
- Describing the New York Senate race between
Hillary Rodham Clinton and Rick Lazio: "Hotter than a New York elevator
- "Turn the lights down, the party just
- "Neither NASA nor the Russian
Cosmodrome could track [the flip-flopping data]."
- "He swept through the South like a
tornado through a trailer park."
- "Don't bet the trailer money yet."
- "It's too early to say he has the whip
- "[In a previous election] they counted
the votes until the cows had literally gone to sleep."
- "It's a ding dong battle back and
- "[Chances are slim or none] If he
doesn't carry Florida Slim will have left town."
- "If a frog had side pockets, he'd carry
a hand gun."
- "They both have champagne on ice, but
after the night is over, they might need a pick axe to open them."
- "This race is tight like a too-small
bathing suit on a too-long ride home from the beach."
- "It's about as complicated as a wiring
diagram to some dynamo."
- "Only votes talk - everything else
- "This will show you how tight it is -
it's spandex tight."
- "We're going to go to some of those
longnecks from a long time ago."
- "He's going to find that people will
hang on him like a coat rack."
- "This election swings like one of those
- "This race is as tight as the rusted
lug nuts on a 57 Ford [or Chevy]."
- "What we know is that there will be no
decision until some of those races are decided."
- "Al Gore has his back to the wall,
shirt tails on fire with this race in Florida."
- Referring to the late Mel Carnahan, uses the
phrases "dead man walking" and "he crossed the river."
- Addresses his CBS colleague Bob Schieffer as
- "You talk about a ding-dong,
knock-down, get-up race."
- "When it comes to a race like this, I'm
a long distance runner and an all day hunter."
- "It's the American way: if you don't
vote, you don't get to whine."
- "Smelling salts for all Democrats
- "...in Austin, between the 10 gallon
hats and the Willie Nelson head bands."
- "...none of this television mumbo
jumbo, let's get in there and count the votes."
- "Maybe you [tossing to a reporter] can
bring some perspective on this, we're plum out."
- "When the going gets weird, anchor men
- "Tipper is probably telling her husband
to hook a U[-turn], go back to the house to get a recount."
- "It doesn't matter if you're a
Democrat, Republican or a mug wamp, elected officials play it straight."
- "Florida is the whole deal, the real
deal, a big deal."
- "Frankly we don't know whether to wind
the watch or to bark at the moon."
Most of these quotes were compiled
by the Shoptalk section of TVSpy.com.