It’s been one day since the retirement of Mike Wallace from CBS’s "60 Minutes" was announced, and this morning the "Early Show" aired a taped interview with Wallace conducted by Harry Smith. The segment was a look back on Wallace’s career, and it seems Wallace has only one regret; he never got to interview George W. Bush, as evidenced by the following exchange:
Harry Smith: "So many bad guys you've interviewed, politicians, celebrities by the score. Is there a favorite to do one kind of interview vs. the other?"
Mike Wallace: "For substance, and by that I, you know what I mean, to be able to talk to the Ayatollah Khomeini or various Presidents, every President since Abe Lincoln..."
Harry Smith: <laughter>
Mike Wallace: "And you know something, to this day, to this day I have never met, let alone interviewed, George W. Bush."
Wallace is upset that President Bush never gave him an interview, but that does not mean that the President hasn’t done interviews. He’s been interviewed by Tom Brokaw (NBC), Bob Schieffer (CBS), Diane Sawyer (ABC) and Jim Lehrer (PBS) just to name a few.
But why is Mike Wallace so outraged at never having the opportunity to interview President Bush? A Nexis search reveals that Wallace never interviewed President Clinton on "60 Minutes" either. When President Clinton first appeared on "60 Minutes" as a candidate in 1992, he was interviewed by Steve Kroft, and his subsequent appearances have been with Dan Rather, so why isn’t Wallace complaining about that?
In addition to the Mike Wallace segment, viewers were informed by CBS News’ National Security Correspondent, David Martin, that a battalion of about 700 additional soldiers was being sent from Kuwait to Baghdad. Of this development, Martin remarked:
David Martin: "So it's a small increase and it's supposed to be temporary. But putting troops in instead of taking them out does not look or sound like progress."
However, Martin’s analysis was later rebuffed by guest Michael O’Hanlon from the Brookings Institution. As demonstrated by the following exchange with Julie Chen.
Julie Chen: "...David Martin, our Pentagon Correspondent, broke the story on how about 700 or so U.S. troops currently stationed in Kuwait, he's asking for them to go into the country. What do you make of all of this?""
Michael O'Hanlon: "Well Julie, I don't make a whole lot of it because, of course, we did draw down by more than 25,000 since the January election."
O’Hanlon even went a bit further predicting that we will probably see further draw downs in troop levels this year:
Michael O’Hanlon: "I think we still may wind up at about 100,000 by the end of this calendar year."
In disbelief, co-host Julie Chen could only reply:
Julie Chen: "Wow."