The Buzz

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ONCE EVERY four years, a nation huddles for one of our great rituals. No, not electing a president. No, not whisking fingers across an abacus to tally gains in the House and Senate. The Buzz and millions of Americans stayed up late on Nov. 2 to seek and savor Dan Rather's progressively-more-cracked Ratherisms. The 73-year-old Rather-in what may be his last go-round helming CBS's presidential-election desk - did not disappoint.

"This presidential race is hotter than the devil's anvil."

"Ohio is like a sauna. All they can do is wait and sweat."

"In Missouri, the show-me state: Show-me insufficient data."

"Do you hear that knocking? Bush's re-election is at the door. Knock-knock-knock."

"If a frog had side pockets, he'd carry a handgun." (A repeat from 2000-which prompted the rejoinder from Bob Schieffer: "And he would not be afraid of black snakes.")

The Buzz recalls a New Yorker Festival panel Rather sat on in October, alongside NBC's Tom Brokaw and ABC's Peter Jennings, and how he brought the proceedings to a halt by declaring how CBS sometimes finds him "full of prunes." "Full of prunes?" repeated a disbelieving Jennings. After a pause for laughter, he informed attendees that he and Brokaw had saved up years of such Ratherisms for a book. If they don't, someone else should.

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