The Most Trusted Man

He's had a 60-year career that spans newspapers, radio, and television. Former CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite has seen a lot of history unfold, including wars, assassinations, and man's first steps on the moon. He is regarded as an expert on the US space program, reporting on the first two decades of American manned space missions. He recalls the Apollo 11 moon landing as a "first" for him, too: He found himself on the air speechless.

On October 29, Cronkite will be back in the anchor seat to cover Senator John Glenn's return to space. The launch is scheduled for that afternoon from Kennedy Space Center.

"It's going to be great, I think," Cronkite told CBS This Morning co-anchor Mark McEwen. "It's a chance to get back down to Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral and again cover a flight. It ought to be a very interesting one with Glenn going up for the first time since 1962..."

Cronkite said it has always been a wish of his to fly into space:

"One of the great disappointments of my life as I now expect it - I will not get up to space. If I had a chance to fly in the shuttle, though, I know my nature: I'd see the glass still as half empty. What I'd like to do is get to the moon."

Cronkite, who anchored CBS News during the Watergate scandal that brought down President Richard Nixon, points out some differences between that affair and the current problems at the White House:

"There wasn't the same kind of attention being given to the nature of the prosecution as there is this time," Cronkite said. "The doubts about the manner in which Kenneth Starr has pursued the grand jury investigation, the leaks from the grand jury investigation - those things cast a certain different light on this investigation than that of President Nixon. And, of course, the 'crime,' if there was one, is vastly different. Nixon was tampering with the affairs of the electorate, trying to really steal an election. A vastly different type of malfeasance than Mr. Clinton's."

Cronkite said that in his days as a reporter, the private lives of elected officials were not investigated unless their "personal peccadilloes got in the way of performing the job" or endangered the public's welfare. Then, he said, "private lives were private lives, and I think that still ought to be the case."

Cronkite said he does not feel this president should step down. In his view, he said, Clinton's behavior was "abominable," but it was a private affair.

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