Rooney: Why I Like Mike

Andy Rooney Pays Tribute To Mike Wallace

The following is a weekly 60 Minutes commentary by CBS News correspondent Andy Rooney.

There are several good things about working here at CBS, and being a part of this 60 Minutes broadcast is one of them for me.

The money's good and the people you get to work with are even better.

I have friends I knew in high school, friends I knew in college and friends I had in the Army during World War II, but for a long while now, my best friends have been the people I work with here at 60 Minutes. Mike Wallace is one of them.

When I do a piece I like I always hate to have it shown just once and then forgotten. Mike showed you some of his favorite pieces. I want to show you a piece I did about Mike that I like.

"As a young man, Mike dreamed of being a concert violinist, fortunately he awoke from the dream and realized he was terrible at it. Instead, Mike became a reporter and the best interviewer there has ever been on television," I said.

Even as a young man, Mike was going after the newsmakers with hard hitting investigative journalism. Over the years Mike has interviewed a great many of the world's best known people. One bad thing now is, Mike is better known than most of the well-known people he interviews. This shouldn't happen to a reporter.

Sometimes the subject of his interview will play up to Mike, you know, trying to soften him up to get easy questions. Well, Mike won't have any part of that.

He's known every president of his time. He interviewed Richard Nixon many times. He knew Ronald Regan when they were both doing commercials.

Mike never approaches an interview casually. He evokes good answers because he always gets close to the people he's interviewing.

One reason I like having Mike around is he's older than I am. It's a comforting feeling, sort of a buffer between me and eternity. I hate Steve Kroft because he went to school with my son.

Mike and I are different in many ways but there's one thing we have in common: we both say we don't dye our hair.

Mike, you're a good guy. Old but good.
Written By Andy Rooney