Meet the Press has been No. 1 on the Sunday show ratings, but there were Sundays where This Week With George Stephanopoulos beat you. What was your reaction to that?
I wasn’t happy about it. Look, there have been a couple of occasions where we lost the weekly race. We’ve taken the long view here, and we’re still on top after my first year. I think that it was not a given in a lot of peoples’ minds, but that’s what I was committed to, what [executive producer] Betsy Fischer was committed to, and we’ve done it. I think ABC and Stephanopoulos have obviously been tough competitors. George is first-rate. He’s been doing this a long time on Sunday morning, and he’s a formidable guy, as is Bob Schieffer [host of CBS' Face the Nation], so those times when we got beaten on a Sunday, I hated it.
After the jump, Gregory explains how the famous MC Karl Rove dance was “actually a set-up.”
You famously danced with Karl Rove on the stage of the Radio-TV Correspondents Dinner–and it’s on YouTube for eternity. If you had to do it all over again, would you have done that?
Let me just say, as a caveat, that was actually a set-up. I was told that Fox was determined to put us in that situation and I made the determination at the time that it would’ve been silly to refuse that moment of fun. Not knowing where it was going, I thought it would’ve seemed a little odd and maybe self-righteous to have just marched off the stage at that moment. I don’t think that moment somehow detracted from my seriousness on the job or my willingness to be tough with Karl Rove or President Bush, and I think my reputation there has spoken for itself. I know it’s been lampooned or criticized more generally. I’d rather not do that if that gives the wrong impression to people of whatever the take-away of that is. I’d rather not have that there.