Here is a blow-by-blow of the Rather and CBS coverage of election night (from RatherBiased - which is sort of link-dead right now):
Beginning with reverse order, all times Eastern. Each timeline item has a
permalink on our news page
--7:23 pm "I know it's Copley Plaza but we were having a 3,000 calorie
attack every half hour as close as this race is."
Visit our News page for more current ones.
--7:36 pm "Ohio now turns into a sauna for both of the candidates. All they
can do is wait and sweat."
--7:43 pm, On polling: "This is more complicated than the wiring diagram for
some hydroelectric dam dynamo, trying to figure out the absentee ballots,
the people who voted in advance and taking in the exit poll data from
--7:54 pm, Bob Schieffer reported that Joe Lockart, campaign adviser to the
Kerry campaign says that he thinks Kerry has a chance to win every one of
the battleground states, despite the fact that hardly any polls had come in.
"Well, you know the old saying, Bob--Don't taunt the alligator until after
you've crossed the creek. Apparently joe lockhart doesn't subscribe to
8:24 pm, Cautioning that viewers shouldn't read too much into early
electoral vote counts: "In some ways, George Bush's lead is as thin as
8:35 pm, Lesley Stahl calls the NRA the "NAR."
10:04 pm, On the importance of Democrats keeping Bob Graham's Senate seat:
"Democrats almost absolutely positively, teetotally need to hold that seat."
10:18 pm, CBS's John Roberts has some trouble with his math, see
11:10 pm, Sean "P. Diddy" Combs channels Dan Rather on MTV: "This race is
tight as a frog's ass"
11:26 pm, On desirability of Florida: "hotter than a Times Square Rolex."
12:52 am, Subtle dig at Fox News which had just projected Bush would win
Ohio: "In case you've been watching one of those other places that doesn't
have as good of information, here's what's happening."
1:02 am, NBC calls Ohio for Bush. "President Bush's reelection is at the
door, knock, knock, knock."
1:11 am, Still reluctant to call Ohio for Bush, CBS tries the alternate
route: reporter Bill Plante relays that Bush adviser Karl Rove told the
president he would win the state.
After break, Rather adds: "Yes we are aware that in some other quarters they
have projected it, but we would rather be last than wrong."
RATHER: "Is this just gamesmanship? Are the Bush people saying these things
to make themselves look better in case there's a recount?"
BILL PLANTE: That's true. They always act like they're winning even when
1:33 am, On closeness of race in some states: "This race is hot enough to
peel paint off a house."
2:14 am, Dan starts getting frustrated. "Our coverage continues with Ohio,
'Hey kimosabe, no one knows.'"
2:22 am, "Folks, these are the kinds of nights that give campaign managers a
case of the hives or something. One reason so many of them drink a lot,
because you have these situations in which, you know, you think you got it,
you're right there, you're right there, you're close enough to feel it, and
then somebody like one of these overpaid television anchor men come up and
say you know what, that state may not just be going your way."
3:21 am, Dan Rather plays psychiatrist to Lesley Stahl:
STAHL: Well, it's unique, and I don't know about you, Dan, but it makes me
despair, because it's up in the air. It's unsettled. I know we all talked
about this before we started getting returns. What we all prayed for was a
decision that was final, that we could go to the American people and say
this is it. Anything that's left uncertain like this is sure to create more
turmoil, it's just not healthy for our system. It's not a good thing that we
are sitting here telling the American people. We can't help it, but we want
to see healing, and this is not conducive to that, it doesn't seem to me.
RATHER: Let me say something to you personally. Don't despair. Despair is
not in the American character. The country will be all right whatever
happens here, however long it takes to square it away, and i understand
you're saying the heartache we're going to have to go through, but we're a
big continental country, so don't despair. Not in our character. We're
optimists by experience and by nature here in this country, so however it
turns out, we're going to be ok.