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CBS News: Edit on Bill Clinton interview was done ‘for time’

Hillary and Bill Clinton on the final night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on July 28. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

In an interview with Charlie Rose of CBS News, Bill Clinton caught himself. Asked if the wobbliness of his wife, Hillary Clinton, in New York after a 9/11 commemoration event was reflective of something more grave, Bill Clinton responded like this:

Well, if it is, it’s a mystery to me and all of her doctors because frequently — well, not frequently, rarely — but on more than one occasion, over the last many, many years, the same sort of thing’s happened to her when she just got severely dehydrated.

Bolding added to highlight one of two things: a media-conscious former president realizing that he needed to accomplish an off-the-cuff walk-back; or a media-conscious former president actually overplaying his wife’s health episodes, then walking back the statement to the vicinity of the truth.

In one segment aired by CBS News, however, the frequency-related equivocation was nowhere to be found. “Well, if it is, it’s a mystery to me and all of her doctors. Rarely, but on more than one occasion over the last many, many years, the same sort of thing’s happened to her when she just got severely dehydrated.” No more “frequently,” as spotlighted by Chuck Ross of the Daily Caller.

Asked about the edit, CBS News passed along this statement:

The clip in question from former President Clinton’s interview with Charlie Rose ran in its entirety on CBS THIS MORNING, CBSNews.com[cbsnews.com] and on CBSN, CBS News’ 24/7 digital streaming news service. One clip that ran on CBS Evening News was edited purely for time while on deadline for the live broadcast.

The Erik Wemple Blog wasn’t in the control room for this editing session; like all nightly news programs, CBS’s version is always packed and edited to within a millisecond of its life; and it does matter that the full interview played on other platforms. But still, this is a pretty consequential little edit “for time.”

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