How ’60 Minutes’ producer staged Bill & Hillary’s interview to save Bill’s candidacy

’60 Minutes’ producer, Don Hewitt admits in his statement below that he got Bill Clinton elected in ’92 because of how he edited the Bill and Hillary interview when Bill was in trouble for his affair with Gennifer Flowers.

Hewitt said “it was strong medicine the way I edited it.” But it was a lot more than just editing:

’60 Minutes’ Almost Snuffed Out Hillary Clinton During 1992 Interview
Lights, camera, run for your life.

Hillary Clinton’s historic nomination Tuesday as the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate might have turned out very differently if not for a broken television lighting rig.

Clinton, with husband Bill Clinton, sat down for an interview with “60 Minutes” in 1992. Suddenly, a lighting rig came loose and almost hit the woman who could be the first U.S. female president.

“Forty minutes into it, the lights fell down. It was like an artillery round going off,” “60 Minutes” host Steve Kroft said in an outtake. “I realized the lights had fallen off the wall and almost killed them.”

A startled Hillary Clinton ducked out of the way and exclaimed, “Jesus, Mary and Joseph!” 

Afterwards, Bill Clinton is seen embracing his wife (though it’s unclear who was more shaken up).

The terrifying moment broke up a tense interview during which Bill Clinton ― then governor of Arkansas ― was trying to keep his nascent presidential bid from being thrown off course by news of an alleged affair with cabaret singer Gennifer Flowers.

What Hewitt actually said:

This is Google’s cache of It is a snapshot of the page as it appeared on Sep 15, 2019



Date: Tue, 24 Mar 1998 01:56:27 PST

Don Hewitt on the first televised Presidential Debate, 1960

Don Hewitt (News Producer/Director) … was interviewed for two-and-a-half hours in New York, NY. … The interview was conducted by Michael Rosen on April 15, 1997

The Kennedy-Nixon presidential debates in 1960 showed the power of television as an instrument of political manipulation. Lighting, make-up, camera angles, and personal charisma all favored Kennedy. But those who had listened to the televised debate on radio favored Nixon. The TV producer who created a president that night was Don Hewitt.

[Nixon’s campaign later claimed that Hewitt had cleverly switched the cameras to Nixon every time he frowned or wiped his sweaty brow. Nixon looked nervous and Kennedy looked the statesman, thanks to Don Hewitt. (source)]

Thirty-two years later another presidential candidate was in trouble after allegations by Gennifer Flowers of adultery. “They came to us because they were in big trouble in New Hampshire,” Don Hewitt told a TV crew years later. “They were about to lose right there and they needed some first aid. They needed some bandaging. What they needed was a paramedic. So they came to us and we did it and that’s what they wanted to do.” According to columnists Germond and Whitcover, Don Hewitt told Bill Clinton just before the interview: “The last time I did something like this, Bill, it was the Kennedy-Nixon debates, and it produced a president. This will produce a president, too.”

But this time, not only lighting and camera angles were used to manipulate the image. The editing and the questions provided by Clinton spinmeisters to interviewer Steve Kroft in advance, allowed Clinton to get away with an obvious lie on television. He would later admit under oath that it was a lie. As Hewitt says:

“You know it was strong medicine the way I edited it but he was a very sick candidate. He needed very strong medicine, and I’m not in the business of doctoring candidates but he got up out of a sick bed that night and walked to the nomination and as I said to Mandy, ‘You know if I’d edited it your way, you know where you’d be today? You’d still be up in New Hampshire looking for the nomination.’ He became the candidate that night.”

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