Sitting down with CBS This Morning co-host Charlie Rose at Monday's Clinton Global Initiative conference, former President Bill Clinton fawned over the longtime PBS interviewer: "The reason I like your program is you interview everybody the same. And you ask hard questions, just like you threw a few zingers at me, but you always give people the chance to tell their story....You never go into an interview...with the purpose of really just screwing the person you're interviewing..." [Listen to the audio]
Perhaps Clinton's high praise was a thank you to Rose for doing such a friendly softball exchange with Hillary Clinton a couple months earlier. On his July 17 PBS program, Rose began an interview with the former secretary of state by calling her a "friend" and reciting a glowing Mayo Angelou poem about her.
Disproving Bill Clinton's assertion that Rose treats all of his interview subjects the same, just look at the grilling he gave Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul on the September 15 edition of This Morning over foreign policy or the contentious back and forth he had on the September 10 broadcast of his PBS show with HBO host Bill Maher over radical Islam.
In the preview of the Monday conversation with Clinton shown on Tuesday's This Morning, the former president applauded Rose for never "sticking it to" guests "so that you can get higher ratings."
Following the clip, fellow co-host Gayle King joined in Clinton's praise: "I think he said it very well. You never feel like you're trying to screw somebody. It really is the art of conversation....It's a skill." King added: "Let's talk some more about how great you are."
Here is a transcript of the portion of the September 22 interview featured on the September 23 This Morning:
8:51 AM ET
CHARLIE ROSE: I would do what I do whether there was a television or not.
BILL CLINTON: Yeah.
ROSE: Simply because it's the love of the idea of conversation which I understood and developed from the same kind of beginning.
CLINTON: Yeah, well, you and I grew up the same. But the reason I like your program is you interview everybody the same. And you ask hard questions, just like you threw a few zingers at me, but you always give people the chance to tell their story. You never go into an interview, or if you do, you don't ever give the appearance that you go to the interview with the purpose of really just screwing the person you're interviewing, you know. And sticking it to them so that you can get higher ratings. Nobody gets that. I think it's important that we recover that again, in the content – in political discourse. There's plenty of room for differences, but I think we got to recover that.
GAYLE KING: Right. I think he said it very well. You never feel like you're trying to screw somebody. It really is the art of conversation. And many people have said to me one the honors of their life was being interviewed by you and on the Charlie Rose program. It's a skill.
ROSE: Well, thank you. Be sure to tune into the CBS Evening News-
KING: Let's talk some more about how great you are.
NORAH O'DONNELL: Yeah.
KING: Norah, what do you have to say?
O'DONNELL: I know, can we have another couple of hours?
ROSE: You can do it in the next 30 seconds.