Imus Calls Couric a Rodent, Letterman a Creep, and Rather Crazy

Radio's Don Imus on Friday attacked a litany of present and former CBS personalities including Katie Couric, David Letterman, and Dan Rather.

In an interview with Fox News's Neil Cavuto, Imus called CBS "Evening News" anchor Couric "a little rodent," the "Late Show's" Letterman an "angry, mean-spirited jerk," and former "Evening News" anchor Rather "crazy."

The outspoken shock jock also said the thought of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin becoming the Republican nominee for president is "horrifying" because "she's a dope."

Imus also had some very interesting things to say about his own controversy with CBS surrounding the Rutgers women's basketball team and "nappy-headed hos" (videos in several parts embedded below the fold with transcript, h/t Story Balloon):

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: I'm always interested on your take of things that going on. And today with your radio show, you have been pounding this sort of David Letterman thing. What did you think of that and how long has this been going on and him revealing the extortion on his show?

DON IMUS: Well, my wife told me up around 12:30 a.m. to tell me. I always thought he was a creep any way. So like Stern - well I like Stern -

CAVUTO: You like Howard Stern?

IMUS: Yes. I think he's funny. He's a nice guy. I don't know what he thinks about me but whatever -

CAVUTO: But you guys get along now?

IMUS: I mean, I run into him on the street, we shook hands. He's a nice guy. He is not a creep. Letterman is a creep.

CAVUTO: Why is he a creep?

IMUS: He is a angry, mean-spirited jerk. The stuff he said about Palin's kid, I am not a big Sarah Palin fan but I also don't believe about bludgeoning her children, you know. He is a punk and to treat - I mean he's got a kid, he's got a wife. Fundamentally that you are married, I believe or you have some sort of commitment, you should honor that. I know, I'm not stupid I know people who don't but that is what I do and that is what I think people should do. So to treat it in a frivolous manner - I mean, he may be shell shocked too.

CAVUTO: But do you think anything happens to him or do you he just stays on the air and there's no retribution or professional punishment? Should there be?

IMUS: No. I don't know. Not to me. He's got to work on it himself.

CAVUTO: Well, you don't think his boss will say, enough is enough?

IMUS: Well, I work in CBS and they make you watch a film in human resources. I mean, you're not supposed to have sex with the staff whether you're married or not.

CAVUTO: So something got lost in the translation.

IMUS: And this is just the beginning of this, you know -

CAVUTO: One can see a number of bits to come on this.

IMUS: From us. No. I don't think in with us. (INAUDIBLE) We don't want to revel in the agony of some -

CAVUTO: Oh god forbid.

All right. Well say this about Don Imus. He is fair and balance when it comes to making fun of folks. Next he turns his attention to the president of the United States.

CAVUTO: Remember when George Bush was president, comics couldn't get enough of him? Then along comes Barack Obama
and they hardly make a joke about him. Bill Maher says he doesn't provide enough good material. The president simply isn't comic fodder.

Don Imus doesn't quite see it that way.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CAVUTO: I want to talk to you a little bit about President Obama. I'm a little unclear whether you like him, you dislike him, you like how he is leading the country, you don't. I'm not quite clear. President Obama, what do you think?

DON IMUS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I think he's fine. When he ran, I thought -- I voted for McCain, but I thought, and I still think that it is not the worst thing that ever happened to put a black face in the White House to show the rest of the world. And I thought it would be important for this country, for -- I hate to employ what is becoming a trite phrase, race relations, but -- but, in terms of how he's doing and so on, I mean, it's just -- it reminds me of Jimmy Carter, except he is a nicer person than Jimmy Carter was, a mean-spirited little weasel.

But, I mean, there is not much to dislike about him. I don't think he knows what he is doing. I'm not Sean Hannity, making value judgments about -- or intelligent judgments about these people. That is not my job.

CAVUTO: Sean or Bernie or even Charles are starting to talk about the socialization of America or this is we're becoming Sweden. What do you think?

IMUS: I get bored.

CAVUTO: You get bored?

IMUS: I get bored. It is -- that is not my job. My job is to comment on the freak parade. And he is part of it.

CAVUTO: You mentioned Sarah Palin before. You had kidding references to her on your show in the past. You don't get mean about it. But she could very well be the Republican nominee in 2012. What do you think?

IMUS: I just think that is just a horrifying thought.

CAVUTO: Why?

IMUS: I -- she's a very nice lady, I'm sure. But she's a dope.

CAVUTO: Why do you say she is a dope?

IMUS: She just --

CAVUTO: She is coming out with a book.

IMUS: She can't read a book.

CAVUTO: Now that is not right. That is not right.

IMUS: I'm sure she is.

CAVUTO: She became governor of a very important state. It is a big, big state.

IMUS: There is nine people there and a polar bear. What are you talking about?

CAVUTO: There are not nine people there and a polar bear.

IMUS: She's fine, but I mean -- McCain was idiotic for picking her and she should have had sense enough. Here is the thing -- to be serious for a second, here's what, in my mind, calls into question her judgment. She should have had enough sense to know that she wasn't running for -- you know, to employ another trite phrase -- for prime time, because she wasn't.

To sit down and not be able to get through an interview with that little rodent over that at CBS, Katie Couric, it was absurd.

CAVUTO: Did you just call Katie --

IMUS: Just kidding, affectionate. She's a cute little rodent. Like Minnie Mouse, not a rat, not a sewer rat in New York, so.

CAVUTO: Yes, yes. Dan Rather --

IMUS: I could have -- by the way, that could have gone right by, the little rodent at CBS. You didn't have to call attention to it.

CAVUTO: Well, you said it.

IMUS: I understand that. But the audience, they're already thinking what time is Beck going to be on. They know how long.

CAVUTO: Dan Rather, I had him on yesterday and Dan was saying that the media today has become this cabal of businesses, and you do anything --

IMUS: What?

CAVUTO: Cabal of businesses. These business interests that are dominating news today.

IMUS: Right.

CAVUTO: And he was a victim of it. That is what Dan was telling me. What do you think of that?

IMUS: He is crazy. He is nice guy, but he's insane. Go away.

CAVUTO: Do you think --

IMUS: Just go to Florida and put on a sweater and play Bocci Ball or whatever the hell they do. It's over. Stop it. Stop the madness. Stop it.

CAVUTO: Do you think there is a part -- a truth to what he says, that CBS has wiped him off the slate as if he never existed there?

IMUS: Because he acted like a lunatic there. Come on. I mean, at some point when you work for these big corporations, whether it is News Corp or whether it is GE or whoever it is for, you can get -- when you start to get so nuts that it starts -- the stockholders start complaining, and they starting having board meetings, hey, man, do we need this, then the answer is no, we don't need this. So --

CAVUTO: But that happened to you?

IMUS: Well, exactly.

CAVUTO: Is that fair or right?

IMUS: Well, of course. You have an obligation, if you work for a -- like News Corp, if you work for GE, or work for CBS, to behave yourself.

CAVUTO: But GE didn't stand by you?

IMUS: Well, they shouldn't have. On what basis?

CAVUTO: They should have fired you?

IMUS: Well, I don't know about that. But, see, my feeling about all of that, and always has been, goes back to, if I hadn't made the comment -- and it is not important whether I was kidding or not, Obviously I was, but I think that is irrelevant. Then we don't have any other kind of conversation.

So it starts there. It starts with a comment. So they get put in a position, in this particular case, CBS, what are they going to do? So, with me, I fully understood that. Probably what I would have done. I didn't see any way, considering the way the whole media firestorm and how it got so blown out of proportion, that I didn't see that they could do anything else that made any sense.

CAVUTO: Do you remember those who then suddenly abandoned you though? Donald Trump was once saying, Neil, I remember every slight and I never forget it. What about the people who then jumped off your bandwagon and started kicking it?

IMUS: Some of them, you know. But that is not a big deal.

CAVUTO: You don't have names on a list?

IMUS: No.

CAVUTO: You don't have people who are forbidden ever to appear with you?

IMUS: No, I have a good memory. I don't have a good list.

CAVUTO: OK.

IMUS: To be serious, I don't care.

CAVUTO: Really?

IMUS: Yes, I don't care. It was a life-changing experience when I went to talk to those kids. And because -- I mean our job --

CAVUTO: Rutgers?

IMUS: Yes. Our job is to make fun of people. But you have to be sure that the people you're making fun of deserve to be made fun of, that they're public figures, that -- that they have the means to defend themselves, and that, in making fun of them, it's not some demeaning characterization, whether you think it is funny or not.

Your intention can be whatever you want it to be. In this case, it was to be funny. But they didn't think it was funny. So -- and it put them in a position where they would never have heard of me, didn't have idea this old white guy was with a cowboy hat on. And they're playing for national championship and why was I making fun of them. That was a good point.

I talked to them and I talked to their parents. And I talked to their grandparents. We were there for four hours.

CAVUTO: You were talking to them after you were let go. You were genuinely doing it because you wanted to talk to them.

IMUS: Well, I said I would do that.

CAVUTO: Right.

IMUS: But -- and so, you know, there was discussions on the part of people who liked me and defended me, like Sean Hannity and many others, Opie and Anthony, all kinds of people --

CAVUTO: Neil Cavuto.

IMUS: And Neil Cavuto, yes. Fine. -- that my life should be put in context and all the good things I've done should also be considered.

CAVUTO: I didn't cite the good things, because I didn't know of any, but I understand your point.

IMUS: But I didn't think -- I don't think the kind of person you are, all the good things you've done in your life, entitles you to say whatever the hell you feel like about, in this case, these kids.

CAVUTO: Absolutely. Have you held back since? Do you find yourself policing yourself more on the air?

IMUS: No. I just don't -- I do what I told those kids I would do. I would never say anything in the media again that would make them feel sorry for giving me and accepting my apology and -- and we don't make fun of people who don't deserve to be made fun of. That was a mistake that I made.

One, I picked on -- I picked a target that wasn't a fair target and what I said wasn't funny. So that was the intention. So that's -- if we pull back, we just don't do that. That's all. So, we shouldn't have done that anyway.

We didn't make a long -- we didn't have a long history of doing that. People said I did, but that's not true. So --

CAVUTO: Finally, I've been getting a lot of e-mails on you, that you're going to be arriving. Everyone very, very excited. And one young woman, she stressed, I'm a young mom. I think she was out in Montclair, New Jersey. And she had said, please tell Imus not to wear the hat on air because he has such lovely hair.

I'd like to get back to this woman, to prepare her for Monday. What should I tell her about the hat?

IMUS: Butt out. Tell her she is nice. Thanks for watching all that. But Ix-nay on the hat.

CAVUTO: But the hat is going to stay? You do have a beautiful head of hair.

IMUS: This is really making me uncomfortable.

CAVUTO: I'm sorry, but I wanted you to know that.

IMUS: That is just great.

CAVUTO: The hat stays.

IMUS: I guess. It doesn't have to stay. It's not -- I didn't comb my hair today, but I guess I could --

CAVUTO: There we go.

IMUS: You know, I guess I could -- I don't know.

CAVUTO: Are you using the mirror I got you?

IMUS: Yes.

CAVUTO: OK.

IMUS: This is unpleasant. This is not a great way to start.

CAVUTO: It will be much better next week.

IMUS: I hope so.

CAVUTO: Don Imus, we're very excited to have you. Looking forward to it. May you have a long and prosperous and warm and pleasant time together.

IMUS: You don't mean a word that. No, of course not. Thanks.

CAVUTO: Don, thanks.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.