Former anchorman Dan Rather packed up his office and left CBS today, effectively ending his 44 year career. Rather assumed the CBS anchor desk in 1981 following the retirement of broadcasting icon, Walter Cronkite.
Rather resigned the anchordesk last March following speculation that he fabricated evidence for a story on President George W. Bush's military record. He was supposed to produce segments for sixty minutes, but saw only half the airtime of other correspondents.
In an interview in October, Rather had this to say, "They don't give me much to do around here anymore, so most days I just kind of putz around the office. Usually in the mornings I work a Sudoku and then I eat my tuna sandwich. In the afternoons, I alternate between sexually harassing my secretary and prank calling Star Jones."
After announcing his exit from CBS at a morning press conference, Rather related how he was rebuffed when he offered to cover Hurricane Katrina "I walked into Sean (McManus)'s office and told him I was ready to go. I told him I wanted to go live that night with no tie and an open collar and the hurricane winds whipping through my hair. I told him that I would tie myself to a tree again like in the sixties. Sean considered sending me, but in the end decided that I should go play in traffic. It was then that I sensed that my time at the network was ending."
In a telephone interview, CBS News and Sports President Sean McManus commented on Rather's exit by saying, "We put him in a tiny office with no windows and told him to go putz around. We figured he would quit eventually."
Rather was well known for coloring his reports with Ratherisms or cornball one liners designed to make everyone groan and change the channel. Below are some of his most famous Ratherisms:
"This race between Dick Swett and Bob Smith is hot and tight as a too-small bathing suit on a too-long car ride back from the beach."--Election Night 1996 (Real Ratherism)
"Tonight's State of the Union address reminded me that I need to go purchase some more Blue Star Ointment." --Clinton's 1995 State of Union Address
"They may have turned this up, whether you had the Paula Jones case or not. But again maybe not, but again that's like if a frog had side pockets he'd probably wear a handgun."--Dan Rather on The Late Show with David Letterman, February 5, 1998. (Real Ratherism)
"Linda Tripp is so sexy that I'm going to coat her in chocolate and marshmallow and say I want S'more." --Commenting on Linda Tripp's 1999 plastic surgery
"There is something about election night that makes me want to sit back and relax with a smooth Colt 45." --Election Night, 1976.
It don't mean a thing if they don't get those swings." --Election Night, 2004 (Real Ratherism)
"Things are pretty nutty here in Kabul. There are bullets whizzing past my head, but I'm safe because my collar is open and I'm high as a kite." Reporting from Afghanistan, 2001
"My milkshakes bring all the boys to the yard, damn right they're better than your's." After having one too many Rob Roys at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
Veteran Anchorman Tom Brokaw wished Rather well in the media by saying, "Thank Heavens he's retiring. I can't stand looking at him."