Answer: Senators Daniel Inouye and Warren Rudman
Late Senators Daniel Inouye and Warren Rudman appeared together on Meet the Press in the midst of the Iran-Contra crisis, the event that would solidify their remarkable working relationship in Congress. Their appearance, on May 3, 1987, also marked the last show of MTP moderator Marvin Kalb. The senators, who both passed away in 2012 (you can see NBC News' obituaries of Inouye here and Rudman here), were from different parties, and very different parts of the country (Inouye was a Democrat from Hawaii, and Rudman a New Hampshire Republican). But the two became friends and formed a mutual respect for each other’s work while serving as chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Iran-Contra hearings in 1987. Former Sen. John Sununu wrote in the Boston Globe recently: “Inouye and Rudman were perfectly matched -- principled, but not especially partisan, and respected on both sides of the aisle. Given the national security implications of the hearings, they had to share full confidence in one another, and the bond that formed never faded.” That ‘full confidence’ was evident during their only joint Meet the Press appearance. The senators presented a united front throughout most of the show, and were particularly reluctant to draw conclusions about a conspiracy within the Reagan administration before the hearings were over. In the clip above, you can watch that dynamic at work as Marvin Kalb tried to push Rudman for more information on the president’s involvement in Iran-Contra.
Senator Daniel Inouye also had a memorable Meet the Press moment in his first appearance on the program, in September of 1973. Inouye was asked about a disparaging comment that had been made about his race during the Watergate hearings, and whether generally his family had faced discrimination in America due to his Japanese ancestry. Inouye responded “Obviously, throughout my lifetime, I have had some incidents that were not too happy ones,” and recounted difficulties his father had encountered in Hawaii after Pearl Harbor. But, in Inouye told the story with his characteristic generous spirit, praising ‘American charity and understanding’ – and reminding the Meet the Press audience of other groups facing racism and hardship in America, particularly African Americans. You can watch the touching clip from Senator Inouye’s 1973 Meet the Press appearance below.
Every Monday, Betsy Fischer Martin - the Executive Producer of Meet the Press - poses a trivia question on Twitter about the 64 years of history-making moments and guests on Meet The Press. Check back every week for answers and video clips!