In 1997, David Westin took his first job in journalism. His position? President of ABC News. Westin chronicled his 14 years at the helm of ABC News for his new book "Exit Interview," which he discussed on George Washington University's campus Thursday night.
Westin's most embarrassing moment came about in 2000, when actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who was chairman of Earth Day Network, was brought in to host an environmental special for the network. The plan was for DiCaprio to be filmed walking and talking with President Clinton, but the segment turned into a full fledged interview. "If someone would have said, 'we want to send Leonardo DiCaprio to India to interview the president of the United States about the environment for a prime time special,' I would have said, 'absolutely, no way, no how,' " Westin said. "It was a terrible mistake," he said, of having a movie star do a journalist's job.
To make matters worse, at that year's White House Correspondents' Dinner, President Clinton, who got the Leo treatment, got personal. The "Titanic" theme song played as Clinton, "stood over to the side with his hand clutched over his heart," before saying "haunting, isn't it?" Westin recalled.
Riffing on Westin and ABC News, Clinton finished with the line, "David Westin, don't worry about it, I've had my share of troubles as well."
-- Contributed by Lucy Westcott