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CBS Says It Edited Out Bill Clinton’s ‘Frequently’ Remark ‘Purely for Time’

It saved less than five seconds

Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton / AP
• September 14, 2016 12:15 pm

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CBS News said Tuesday that it edited out a key portion of Bill Clinton’s interview with Charlie Rose "purely for time," even though the excised portion lasted less than five seconds.

The controversy began Monday when Clinton told Charlie Rose on his PBS program that his wife had "frequently" suffered spells like the one she had Sunday at the Sept. 11 memorial in New York City, where she nearly collapsed. He caught himself and then said it had happened "rarely" over "many, many years."

"Well, if it is, it’s a mystery to me and all of her doctors because frequently—well, not frequently, rarely, but on more than one occasion, over the last many, many years, the same sort of thing’s happened to her when she just got severely dehydrated," Clinton said.

However, CBS edited out Clinton saying "because frequently, well not frequently" for its airing of the interview segment that night on CBS Evening News. Clinton said in the version that aired, "Well, if it is, it’s a mystery to me and all of her doctors … Rarely, but on more than one occasion, over the last many, many years, the same sort of thing’s happened to her when she just got severely dehydrated."

CBS released a statement that the edit was done "purely for time" while pointing out it aired unedited on CBS This Morning and other platforms the following day, according to the Washington Post.

The clip in question from former President Clinton’s interview with Charlie Rose ran in its entirety on CBS THIS MORNING, CBSNews.com[cbsnews.com] and on CBSN, CBS News’ 24/7 digital streaming news service. One clip that ran on CBS Evening News was edited purely for time while on deadline for the live broadcast.

Washington Post media reporter Erik Wemple called it a "pretty consequential little edit" to do for time.