At the end of Thursday’s CBS "Early Show" co-host Harry Smith interviewed former CBS News anchor Roger Mudd about his new memoir, "The Place to Be: Washington, CBS and The Glory Days of Television News," and teased the upcoming interview by declaring: "And we're also joined this morning by one of the great legends of CBS News, Roger Mudd, who's covered every major story in Washington for decades and worked along some of the best reporters who ever lived." One of those "best reporters," Mudd later explained, was Dan Rather: "There was a front row, Harry. And in the front row was Dan Rather, Marvin Kalb, George Herman, Dan Schorr, Roger Mudd."
Mudd went on to describe Rather and his numerous other colleagues in these terms: "No, it was a -- it was just a great conjunction of very talented, very hard working, very honest, ethical men and women, linked up to 20 years of some of the greatest and most profound stories that could have happened." Of course after Rather’s controversial National Guard story about President Bush in 2004, based on forged documents, the terms "honest" and "ethical" do not exactly come to mind.
Near the end of the segment, Smith asked about Mudd’s famous interview with then Democratic presidential candidate Ted Kennedy in 1979 in which Mudd asked Kennedy why he was running for president. Mudd recalled to Smith: "And his answer was -- it wasn't incoherent, but it wasn't really coherent either. And I think the answer is, Harry, that he really hadn't thought very seriously about why he wanted to be. And that exposed a weakness. That interview was not helpful." Smith later commented that: "Wow and it ended his candidacy." However, that interview was in November 1979, just as Kennedy announced his candidacy and he did not drop out of the race until the Democratic convention in 1980.