Former CBS Anchor Dan Rather charged today that the network recently spiked a “60 Minutes” interview with Vice President Joe Biden under pressure from the White House. “I heard that Rahm Emanuel previewed the tape and found Biden harder to swallow than day-old habanero chili,” Rather said.
Rather insisted his revelation about the Biden interview has nothing to do with the legal war he is waging against CBS for “abandoning my career under a desert sun hot enough to scorch the hide off a rhino before a Gila monster blinked twice.
“This is about journalistic ethics, not revenge,” Rather said. According to the former anchor, a highly-placed source at CBS provided him the following transcript of Steve Kroft’s shelved Biden interview:
KROFT: Welcome, Mr. Vice President. Let’s start with this: how close are you to President Obama? Do you have lunch with him once a week as Cheney and Gore did with Bush and Clinton?
BIDEN: Yeah, I do, Steve. I mean, I don’t actually sit down with him in the Residence or anything, but I have clearance every Thursday to eat in the White House Mess, and the President’s only a short walk away if he ever wants to see me.
KROFT: OK. Hypothetical: we capture an al Qaeda agent who’s planted a nuclear device somewhere in Washington. Your advice to President Obama?
BIDEN: Well, first thing I do is make sure they save me a place in the White House Bunker, which is situated 100 feet beneath the East Room and protected by a reinforced concrete ceiling and heavy steel doors. Safest place on the planet … well, for a nuke maybe, but some jihadist with fine-powdered anthrax could probably introduce it into the whole complex if he accessed the heating vents just outside the ….
KROFT: Um, your advice to President Obama on the planted nuclear device, sir?
BIDEN: Well, I tell the President, look Boss, we gotta get the info, but humanely, to keep Holder and the ACLU happy. How? Mortarboard the guy.
BIDEN: Right. Teams of CIA religious scholars in full academic regalia lecturing him around the clock on the superiority of Shia Islam over Sunni Islam. Until he breaks.
KROFT: And if he doesn’t?
BIDEN: Then, he gets nothing to drink but D. C. tap water, day in, day out, just D. C. tap water. After three days, he’ll sing like a canary.
KROFT: Waterboredom? Pretty tough stuff, sir.
BIDEN: Ya bet your ass. Holder’s worked up a whole range of humane persuasion strategies. Another example: our interrogator says, uh, “Hey Khalid, you don’t tell me what I wanna know, my bosses’ll fire my sorry butt, I won’t be able to get another job, my kids will have to wear rags, and we’ll only be able to afford bacon sandwiches for supper. Help me out here, man.” Guy’s just gotta crack.
KROFT: If you say so. Our time’s running short. Do you have any thoughts on helping the victims of Bush’s global recession?
BIDEN: Yes. Just between you and me, the President’s gonna do another joint session of Congress next month and announce a new strategy we’re calling ”The Splurge,” deploying an additional trillion dollars we don’t have to fight the global War on Poverty. Krugman of the Times wrote the book on redistribution of wealth. He’ll direct the effort.
KROFT: I think we’d better stop here. Thanks for your time, Mr. Vice President.
BIDEN: You got it, Bud. Hey, you guys OK with money? Next week I’m announcing the “Newspapers, News Magazines, and Broadcast Networks Recovery Initiative,” funded by the American taxpayer through Stimulus 1. Better reserve your place at the trough.
Rather hinted that he had access to transcripts of other interviews the three major networks have buried, but refused to talk about them. “Lotsa stuff crawls out from under the rock when you move it,” Rather said. “You gotta kill the snakes and put the scorpions in Grandma’s mason jars with prickly pear needles in their tails if you wanna survive in the news business.”
Asked to explain, Rather said, “Go talk to Carville. He’ll understand.”