Secretary of State Colin Powell chastised a press aide for trying to cut short the taping of a television interview Sunday.
Powell, speaking from a Dead Sea resort in Jordan, was listening to a final question from moderator Tim Russert, who was in the Washington studio of NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
In the broadcast, aired several hours after the interview was conducted, Powell abruptly disappears from view. Briefly seen are swaying palm trees and the water, backdrops for the interview.
Powell can be heard saying to the aide, “He’s still asking a question.” The secretary then told Russert, “Tim, I’m sorry I lost you.”
NBC identified the aide as Emily Miller, a deputy press secretary.
Russert responded: “I don’t know who did that. I think that was one of your staff, Mr. Secretary.” The host added: “I don’t think that’s appropriate.”
With the cameras still on the water, Powell snapped, “Emily get out of the way.” He then instructed the crew to “bring the camera back,” and told Russert to go ahead with the last question.
After Powell answered, Russert thanked the secretary for his “willingness to overrule his press aide’s attempt to abruptly cut off our discussion.”
Five interviews scheduled
State Department spokeswoman Julie Reside said Powell had scheduled five interviews, one after another, and that NBC went over the agreed upon time limit. She said every effort was made to get NBC to finish up, but that other networks had booked satellite time for interviews with Powell.
The executive producer of “Meet the Press,” Betsy Fischer, said Powell was 45 minutes late for the interview and that “everyone’s satellite schedules already had to be rescheduled” anyway.
She said the exchange was not edited out because most taped interviews are not altered before airing.
Fischer said Miller called right after the taping to “express her displeasure” that the interview ran long. Fischer also said Powell called Russert a few hours later to apologize.
The State Department would not confirm either call or that Miller was the aide addressed by Powell.