Bill Plante, a veteran reporter, has been a CBS News White House correspondent during the administrations of Ronald Reagan (beginning in 1981), Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. During the administration of the first President Bush, he was CBS News' State Department correspondent (1989-92). Plante's reports are seen across all CBS News platforms including "CBS This Morning," and the "CBS Evening News."
Plante has been based in CBS News' Washington bureau since December 1976. He has covered every Presidential campaign since 1968. Before his first White House assignment, he covered general and off-year elections, including the national political conventions. In 1968, he reported on the campaigns of Hubert Humphrey and Richard Nixon. During the 1972 campaign, Plante's assignments included covering candidates George McGovern and Sargent Shriver. In the summer of 1976, he covered Jimmy Carter and then, in the fall, Walter Mondale's vice presidential campaign. Plante was a floor reporter at the 1988 Democratic and Republican National Conventions.
During the Reagan presidency, he covered the President's activities and major overseas trips, including the historic summit meeting in Moscow with Mikhail Gorbachev. Plante was part of the CBS News team that received a 1986 Emmy Award for coverage of the Reagan-Gorbachev summit at Reykjavik, Iceland. He also covered Reagan's 1984 reelection campaign and was part of the CBS News team that won an Emmy Award for its coverage.
At the State Department, he covered Secretary of State James Baker's trips to the Middle East, both before and after the Gulf War; the changing U.S.-Soviet relationship during that period; and the 1991 Middle East peace talks, among many others.
He served as anchor of the "CBS Sunday Night News" (1988-95).
Plante's reporting has not been restricted to politics, however. He covered the fall of Skylab and Pope John Paul II's visit to the United States, both in 1979. Earlier that year, following the Shah's departure from Iran, Plante reported on the revolution in that country and was one of two American journalists to cover a revolutionary trial in Teheran. He was the reporter on a 1977 five-part series examining America's criminal justice system for the "CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite."
Plante served as a correspondent in the Chicago bureau (1966-76) after he joined CBS News in June 1964 as a New York-based reporter/assignment editor. During that time, he served two of his four tours of duty in Vietnam, reporting on the bombing strikes over North Vietnam, the Vietnamization and pacification programs in the south and the fall of the governments in Vietnam and Cambodia. Plante also covered the civil rights movement in Mississippi and Alabama, including Dr. Martin Luther King's historic march from Selma to Montgomery.
Plante's more recent White House coverage includes the first trip by a U.S. President to Myanmar (Burma) by President Obama, in addition to his trips to Indonesia and Korea. Additionally, he reported on the recent fiscal cliff negotiations, the sex scandal involving Secret Service agents assigned to protect President Obama while attending a summit in Cartagena, Colombia, and the 40th anniversary of Watergate. Plante also provided the first-ever look inside the exclusive Washington, D.C. hideaway that serves as a hotel for former presidents and interviewed astronaut John Glenn on the 50th anniversary of NASA's launch of Friendship 7.
In addition, Plante recently returned to Selma, Ala. in March 2012 to cover a commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King's historic march. He also interviewed former astronaut and U.S. Senator John Glenn on the 50th anniversary of the nation's first orbital flight.
He has received many major broadcast journalism awards. In addition to Emmy Awards for his coverage of the death of Princess Diana, the Reagan-Gorbachev summit and Reagan's 1984 reelection campaign, he won an Emmy for his investigative report on the U.S.-Soviet wheat deal broadcast on the "CBS Evening News" (1972). Plante's international work was recognized with a 1971 Overseas Press Club Award for his reports on the India-Pakistan War, and a second in 1975 for Best Radio Spot News Reporting for his coverage of the fall of the South Vietnam and Cambodian governments and evacuation of American personnel.
He was born in Chicago. Plante was graduated from Loyola University in 1959 with a bachelor's degree in humanities, and he studied political science at Columbia University (1963-64). He and his wife, Robin Smith, an award-winning independent documentary producer, live in Washington, D.C. Plante has six sons.
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