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I worked for CBS News as an editor during the first Bush's White House stint. The following is off the top of my head and based on my personal recollections.

During the first Bush presidency, as I recall, Dan Rather got a big interview with Bush. Rather pressed the president with tough questions on sensitive issues -- a la David Frost with Nixon. As a result, the White House froze CBS out of any significant, much less exclusive coverage for the rest of the Bush term.

People in the network said that the interview wasn't worth the loss of access. It cost CBS prestige as CBS' White House coverage soon paled next to the other majors. My guess is that the lesser coverage also cost CBS viewers and, therefore, advertising dollars, but that's conjecture on my part.

When Clinton was elected in '92, CBS again got great access to the White House. I don't remember any White House interviews subsequent to the Bush interview that truly attempted to hardball a president -- not on CBS, not on any of the majors.

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