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Wallace: Rather should have resigned

Mike Wallace reflects on newsmakers, journalism, and his career.

He’s the tough guy with even tougher questions. Mike Wallace has been interviewing the famous, and the infamous, for almost 40 years on “60 Minutes.”

In his memoir, “Between You and Me,” Mike Wallace reflects on his big gets, including his explosive interview with a tobacco whistleblower.

In 1995, Jeffrey Wigand gave 60 Minutes incriminating information about top executives in the tobacco industry. For months, CBS refused to broadcast the interview, concerned it would ignite a multi-billion dollar lawsuit. The producer of the report eventually left "60 Minutes" and sold his story to Hollywood.

Wallace has his own version of what happened.

Katie Couric: In the book, you say you felt outraged and betrayed when the corporate management of CBS emasculated a “60 Minutes” story.  Why didn’t you resign?Mike Wallace: What good would it have done?  I believed that eventually we were going to get that piece on the air, which of course we did.  Everything came around in the right way, finally.

That’s not what he says about Dan Rather’s disputed report on President Bush’s National Guard Service. Wallace says he respects Rather, but criticizes him for letting four high-level producers take the fall for the controversial story.

Couric: Do you think Dan Rather should have resigned?Wallace: I do. It seems to me that Dan should have said, “If they go, I go.” If the people on whom he depended are fired, lose their jobs, he was the guy on camera. Absolutely, he should have resigned.

Watch the full interview on Dec. 9, Friday, 7 p.m.