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Brinkley Apologizes to Clinton, Exits as TV Host

November 11, 1996| From Times Wire Services

David Brinkley began his final appearance as host of the TV program that bears his name on Sunday with an apology to the president and ended it with a familiar chuckle.

In between, the TV pioneer found little time for sentiment as another chapter in his 53-year network news career ended.

The 76-year-old Brinkley's exit was overshadowed by his comments at the end of ABC's election night coverage that President Clinton is a "bore" and will subject the American public to more "goddamned nonsense" during the next four years.

With Clinton as a guest on "This Week With David Brinkley," the commentator opened with an apology.

"I'm reminded of something I wrote years ago," Brinkley said. "It may be impossible to be objective, I said, but we must always be fair. Well, after a long election day and seven hours on the set, what I said on the election night coverage was both impolite and unfair. I'm sorry. I regret it."

Clinton accepted the apology with a smile, saying he had often said things he regretted late at night when he was tired.

"I always believe you have to judge people on their whole work, and if you get judged based on your whole work, you come out way ahead," he told Brinkley.

After the interview, Brinkley led the usual weekly discussion with Sam Donaldson, Cokie Roberts and George Will.

The veteran television commentator ended the show by reprising one of his favorite stories from last year, about a Utah man divorcing his wife of three years because he found out "she" was a "he." As he did the first time he read the story, Brinkley struggled unsuccessfully to keep a straight face.

After the program, he joined Donaldson and Roberts (who are still waiting to be officially named as Brinkley's successors) and Will for a champagne toast.

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