Obama invited to salute Cronkite

By Mike Allen
|  Monday, Aug 17, 2009  |  Updated 5:15 PM PDT
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Obama Invited to Eulogize Cronkite

President Barack Obama has been invited to eulogize Walter Cronkite.

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President Obama has been invited to eulogize Walter Cronkite, the legendary CBS News anchorman, at a memorial service in Manhattan next month, network sources said.

Former President Bill Clinton has accepted an invitation to speak at the service, to be held at Lincoln Center at 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 9.

Also speaking at the service will be Katie Couric, anchor and managing editor of the "CBS Evening News"; Sean McManus, president of CBS News and Sports; and Leslie Moonves, CBS Corp.'s president and chief executive officer.

Performances are scheduled by Jimmy Buffett and Mickey Hart, who was a Grateful Dead drummer.

Cronkite, who had remained vigorous in retirement, died July 17 with his family by his side at his home in New York after a long illness. He was 92.

CBS News said in a tribute: "Known for his steady and straightforward delivery, his trim moustache, and his iconic sign-off line — 'That’s the way it is' — Cronkite dominated the television news industry during one of the most volatile periods of American history. He broke the news of the Kennedy assassination, reported extensively on Vietnam and Civil Rights and Watergate, and seemed to be the very embodiment of TV journalism. ...

"In 1961, CBS named him the anchor of the 'CBS Evening News' — a 15 minute news summary anchored for several years by Douglas Edwards. ... In 1966, The CBS Evening News began to overtake the Huntley-Brinkley report in the ratings, and in 1967 it took the lead. It remained there until Cronkite’s retirement in 1981."

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