< Sam says goodbye




SANDERS: We're opening this last show with you because I believe actually - you know what? Now that I say it out loud and think about it out loud, you were the first voice that was ever heard on IT'S BEEN A MINUTE 'cause you did the first intro.

AUNT BETTY: But generally on the intros don't you say something first and then you put me on?

SANDERS: We started doing that later, but I think for the first one, it was just you.


AUNT BETTY: Hey, y'all, this is Sam's Aunt Betty. Today's guest from The New York Times - reporter Katie Rogers, and one of the hosts of NPR's All Things Considered, Ari Shapiro. All right, let's start the show.


SANDERS: Oh, my God. When I announced the news, everyone was like, where's Betty going? And I was like, I don't know - wherever she wants to go. But they like you a lot, and they're going to miss you.

AUNT BETTY: Well, I'm going to miss doing this. I really have been impressed with how loyal your listeners are.

SANDERS: Yeah, well - and it's been fun listening to you walk into your stage voice over the last few years on this show. I remember when you started doing this, you would tell me how you would get ready to do the read for the intro and - correct me on this - you would go to your bathroom mirror, look in the mirror, make yourself smile, stand up, raise your shoulders, and you would deliver it, like, with a smile to yourself in the bathroom mirror.

AUNT BETTY: Absolutely. I did that because I wanted to project. I didn't want to sound like I was worn out and tired, and I wanted to kind of temper it over the years to kind of fit what you were going to be talking about.

SANDERS: Well, it's worked. And I mean, you've gotten so good at taking stage notes. We'll tell you do this one a bit down, do this one a bit up, and you roll with it. You are a good union actress.

AUNT BETTY: Well, I will tell you, if you could see the number of times that I tape it and don't save it because I don't like the way that it sounds, tape it again and don't save it (laughter)...

SANDERS: (Laughter) Well, it all sounds good to us. So we're going to have you come back in the show to play Who Said That? with one of your friends. But before we do that, we're going to let you introduce IT'S BEEN A MINUTE one last time.


SANDERS: Go ahead.

AUNT BETTY: Hey, y'all, this is Sam's Aunt Betty. What are we talking about? What am I introducing?


SANDERS: Did they send you the copy?



AUNT BETTY: Hey, y'all. This is Sam's Aunt Betty. This week on the show, an update on politics and a special Who Said That? All right, let's start the show.


SANDERS: Hey, y'all, you're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR. I'm Sam Sanders, and this is my last episode hosting the show, my last day hosting. Do not worry. The show will continue, and I will still be talking for a living after this. But for now, some news - let's get to it. You know, when I thought about who I wanted to have as my two final panelists for my final news chat on this show, I could not think of a more dynamic, amazing duo than Susan Davis and Ayesha Rascoe - two of my friends from the politics desk. Hello.


AYESHA RASCOE, BYLINE: Hey, oh, my goodness.

SANDERS: Y'all should be honored. This is the last news conversation I'm ever doing in my life.

RASCOE: (Laughter).

DAVIS: I'm putting this on my resume.

RASCOE: I was trying to express the honor. I was trying to express the honor when I said, oh, my goodness. Like, that's...

DAVIS: I feel a lot of pressure for this episode, right? It's like, the first and the last are milestones, so we got to make it a good one. We got to make it count, Sam.

SANDERS: Well, listeners, we'll do some more final goodbyes later, but I can't have these two amazing political reporters on the show and not talk about politics. I want to talk about politics.

DAVIS: Let's do it.

SANDERS: And I want to talk about the weird, weird, weird space that America and Joe Biden - that we all find ourselves in right now. We're not in a war, but it kind of feels like we're in a war, and I want to talk about how all of this is playing out in Congress and in the White House. And I think my first question is just to have you both explain the current conundrum the Biden White House finds itself in right now. Joe Biden is adamant that the U.S. will not send American troops into this ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine - you know, no more entanglements. But America still feels very much involved in this war. The U.S. is sanctioning Russia heavily and now boycotting Russian oil. And it's the biggest story here in the States. And I wonder what we call this - this current state of American affairs. We aren't in a war, but we're also kind of in a war, at least emotionally. What do you call this?

RASCOE: I mean, I think that it is very much so - I mean, it really seems like this generation's, like, Cuban Missile Crisis. Like it's definitely a crisis, right? Like - and I think, to be very clear, it's not even just one of those situations where it's like, oh, we went through a lot in Afghanistan - not to downplay that, but, like, we were in Iraq. We had all of these long, forever wars, and now we don't want to get involved in something else again. Like, this is Russia, right? Like, this is - going to war with Russia would not be the same as going to war with Iraq. Like, this is a whole other ballgame. And that's because, you know, it's a large nuclear power. You know, even if it's not an economic power or political power the way it used to be, it is a nuclear power. And that's a whole other ballgame.

SANDERS: It's so weird, though, because, like, we were at war in Afghanistan for years, over a decade, and there were many years where Afghanistan wasn't a trending story. We are not at war in Russia or Ukraine, but America seems focused on that war more than it had been over Afghanistan for years until the exit.

DAVIS: Yeah. I mean, I think, especially when it comes to the Iraq War, like, there was a much more ambiguous rationale for entering into that war. There was not as much public support for it. In a lot of ways, the U.S. is in sort of a wartime mood right now. I think if you think both about President Biden being upfront to the country that they're going to have to make some sacrifices - thinking specifically of gas prices that are likely to go to go up a whole bunch more after he moved to ban imports of Russian oil and gas - but you're also seeing something happening politically, at least in the short term - we'll see how long it lasts - of a bit of bipartisan unity and rallying around Joe Biden and what the administration is doing on this front, and even among the public. You know, Biden's numbers have been pretty bad in terms of popular support. But if you look at support for what he's doing in Ukraine and the actions so far, the country's really behind him.

SANDERS: Yeah. Yeah. You know, in general, what is the message from Team Biden on this? I feel like they've always been strong against Putin, but the news of this Russian oil boycott - that seemed like a new development.

RASCOE: Yeah. They were - so what the U.S. was trying to do is they were saying that they kind of wanted to not focus as much on Putin, and they wanted to turn to Asia because they felt like that was really the next threat to the U.S. And so now that whole idea, that shift to Asia now is - that's, you know, gone. They're directly focused on Putin. And they didn't want to do the oil ban because they know that prices are going to go up. People are not going to be OK with that. And not only that. Like, we should not downplay how big an impact that higher energy prices have on poor people in particular, right? Like, it is a major tax, and it disproportionately affects people who do not have money. But I think the political pressure grew to the point from Republicans and Democrats where they had to act. And also, there was already kind of a de facto ban where private companies were already not doing business with Russia regardless. So people weren't buying oil from Russia. So the impact was being felt, but they weren't getting the political benefit of saying we stood up to Russia.

DAVIS: And it's given them a foil, right? He's - you see the messaging from the White House. This is Putin's war. Your oil - your gas prices are going up because of Putin, what Putin has done. Like, it's given him an enemy, even though it's a much more complex reason why prices are rising and inflation is an issue. But it's part of it - right? - part of what is happening. And he gave the White House what I think they needed right, now is partly somebody to blame for real-time situations that are affecting a lot of families.

SANDERS: It feels like, domestically, Democrats and Republicans are kind of uniting, at least against Vladimir Putin in all of this. I mean, my eyes and ears don't want to believe it because that never happens these days. But how much has all of this conflict led both parties here in the states to kind of at least perform coming together over something?

DAVIS: You certainly get it in the short term. I think that Congress has been very supportive of the executive actions so far that the president has taken. I don't know how long it lasts. I would say politically, it is an election year. American voters vote on domestic issues. And more broadly, the country doesn't think the president's doing a very good job right now. His approval ratings are really not good, and they're even worse in the places where Democrats need to win if they have a chance of holding on to a majority, probably in the Senate. The House is probably not within reach for Democrats. I don't think that that's an outrageous claim to make. I mean, they're really looking at a long slog to the midterms. So how Biden handles this crisis is going to matter a lot. But don't forget that, like, underneath this immediate crisis, the fundamentals are not strong for Democrats in this climate.

SANDERS: This is what I want to ask about, particularly how Americans feel about all of this. It felt like before Putin and Russia and Ukraine, the White House was potentially getting blamed for a lot of things - supply chain issues, inflation, rising prices, gas prices, et cetera. But now with this Russia-Ukraine plot line, Joe Biden can say, oh well, the high gas prices are Putin's fault. Does that kind of messaging and that kind of pivot help him politically? Are Americans, in general, more supportive of him now than they were before this all began?

RASCOE: There is some polling, you know, that shows that they support - you know, that Americans are supporting his actions towards Russia. And I do wonder how long the attention span is of the American public, even in this situation. I mean, even with the - I mean, look; the pandemic affected everybody, and there came a point even early on where people were just like, I'm tired of it. You know, four months in, people was like, done with this. So I don't know how long people will - right now, it's front page everywhere you look. But is there a point where people get tired? - because wars take a long time. They don't, you know, wrap up overnight.

DAVIS: And also just from a practical standpoint of, like, American life - pretty soon we're going to be entering peak driving season over the summer. And there's places in this country that could very soon be looking at $7 a gallon gas - like, prices we literally never seen before. So if gas is $8 a gallon in October, that's a problem. And it doesn't matter if Vladimir Putin is partly to blame for that. That is going to be a punishing economic reality for a lot of people, and they're going to be mad about it.


SANDERS: Coming up more with NPR's Ayesha Rascoe and Susan Davis.


SANDERS: You know, y'all mentioned the Cuban Missile Crisis, but I'm wondering, is there any more recent moment in American political history that feels like this one? I was trying to think all week what this moment feels like - to not be in a war but kind of feel like we're in a war, you know, to be railing against this mortal enemy while not sending troops in to go get them. And, you know, no troops are committed, and yet we're feeling things that feel like wartime sacrifice. What is this moment comparatively, historically? Is there any other moment that feels like what we're dealing with right now?

DAVIS: I can't really think - I mean, and it's not analogous to like a 9/11 or something like that because we weren't attacked, right? There's not a direct impact on this clear threat to America directly. But I admit that I have been a little bit surprised at how much support the president has had initially from the public, who is quite sour on him otherwise, and in - and from the Congress, where he's got a lot of entrenched opposition on Capitol Hill. I mean, a lot of people really don't like Joe Biden in Congress, and he's been able to have more support than I thought he would have.

SANDERS: Yeah. yeah.

RASCOE: I mean, I do think that there is this very deep psychological, you know, former Soviet Union - like, that whole, like, Cold War mentality hadn't - I mean, I think that there are still, like, a lot of vestiges of that in the U.S. And, you know, I watch a lot of "Golden Girls." That's set in, like, the late '80s, early '90s, and so there was a lot of that Cold War stuff and, like, fear of nuclear war...

DAVIS: Wait; "The Golden Girls" had Cold War stuff? What episodes are you watching?


RASCOE: Yes, absolutely. First of all, Rose wrote a letter to Gorbachev trying to end the Cold War. They had a whole thing on it. They had visitors from the Soviet Union...

DAVIS: A very special episode of "Golden Girls.



RUE MCCLANAHAN: (As Blanche Devereaux) How are you going to fix this nuclear war thing? By writing a letter to President Reagan?

BETTY WHITE: (As Rose Nylund) Well, that would be pretty stupid, wouldn't it, Blanche? I mean, Reagan's only responsible for half the problem. I have to write to Gorbachev, too.

RASCOE: Like, there were a lot of episodes (laughter).

DAVIS: That is...

SANDERS: Can we get Blanche Devereaux to cross enemy lines and be a spy for the great cause?

RASCOE: (Laughter) There was a lot in there, so I'm just saying - like, back in the day, people were very concerned about Russia. So I think some of that is coming to the surface. That's all. That's my analysis (laughter).

DAVIS: The Russians were the enemy. Like, the evil guys in every movie were Russians. I think of, like in "Rocky," like, it was always like the Russians were the ones that were out to get us. And that probably does help - right? - like, that more people are like, oh, wait a minute. Putin's a bad guy, and they must be stopped.

SANDERS: I bet Blanche Devereaux could stop Vladimir Putin with her womanly...

DAVIS: Dorothy definitely could.

RASCOE: Exactly.

DAVIS: You think Dorothy would be afraid of Vladimir Putin?

RASCOE: Not at all.

SANDERS: Yeah. Here's also my thinking about why this war resonates so deeply with the American public right now. It is because, I think, in large part, Zelenskyy and Putin are such stark, archetypal differences. Like, they're night and day, and they're both these big characters. Like, Vladimir Putin is a character who's larger than life, and Zelenskyy is a politician who knows how to work media and social media and video. I also think - and this will be unpacked more, you know, over time - it matters when everyone involved in this war is white and no one is brown and no one from the Middle East. I think that changes the politics of it. And I think it allows people to be cheerleaders around this stuff in a way that they wouldn't otherwise.

RASCOE: No, I think you're 100% correct about that. I mean, first, Zelenskyy being able to command social media to show himself, I'm with the troops, I'm - like, all of that, the way that he has presented himself is in a way that Americans can totally relate to and root for...

SANDERS: Exactly...

RASCOE: ...Because they love to root for the underdog.


RASCOE: I do worry that people think it's too much like a movie...

DAVIS: Yeah.

RASCOE: ...And it's not a movie, so, like, that's...

DAVIS: I mean, he is a former actor, right?

RASCOE: Yeah, he's a former comedian.

DAVIS: Yeah.

RASCOE: So - and I think it's that, and like you said, absolutely the fact that they are European, that they're not brown people, I think, makes a very big difference. Like, I mean, race is all up and through this - right? - like, the way people respond to this...


RASCOE: ...And the fact that people don't expect war in these places, they expect it in these other places.

SANDERS: In the brown places. Exactly.

RASCOE: Yes. Yeah.

SANDERS: Yeah, yeah. You know, with all this just as, like, a concerned citizen, it's such a weird moment. There's all this stuff going on, and I feel that we all feel this pressure to respond to it because we see the memes and the TikToks and the tweets and the videos about war, and in the same regard, gas prices are going crazy, but I literally don't know what to do about that either. And it just feels like we're in this moment where there's so much going on, everything going on right now. And no one's telling me as a concerned American what the hell to do. So I'm just sitting here watching saying, wow, who's in charge? I don't know.

RASCOE: Yeah. Well, I think - I don't think that politicians, especially when it comes to energy prices, they're not very honest with the American people. You know, the one side talking about, drill, baby, drill, the other side, oh, well, we just go to green energy and that's fine. All of that stuff takes time. And so the real thing to tell people is, look, your prices are going to be high. This is something you need to plan for. If you can, see if you can carpool. Now, obviously, that's not a popular political message, you're going to lose the election, but you be telling - but you would be telling the truth.

SANDERS: So what I hear you saying is, you're telling Joe Biden to pull a Jimmy Carter.

RASCOE: No, I'm not telling - I'm don't - you know, I do not...

DAVIS: Look how well that worked out for him.


RASCOE: I do not give politicians advice. OK? Because I'm not going to win you no election. I'm just telling you, be - I'm telling everybody...

SANDERS: Be honest. Be honest...

RASCOE: ...Be honest with the American people.

SANDERS: You know what I really want besides honesty? I want someone just to tell me what to do. I want someone to be like, OK. Go order freedom fries.

RASCOE: (Laughter).

SANDERS: Go sew a jacket for somebody. Go carpool to win the war. Like, give me something to do, somebody.

DAVIS: You know you should not do, Sam? Don't be one of those people that's like throwing eggs at Russian restaurants and...


RASCOE: Don't do that...

SANDERS: Won't be me...

DAVIS: ...That's not helping anything.

RASCOE: The people who are like not drinking, like, certain vodkas and stuff, like, don't do that.


SANDERS: On that note, I want to thank both of you for coming to talk with me, Ayesha Rascoe and Susan Davis. The two of them cover Congress and the White House for NPR, and Ayesha will soon be hosting Weekend Edition Sunday. I'm so honored to have had my last news chat for NPR happen with the two of you. I have loved working with folks as smart and as fun and as good-hearted as y'all and colleagues, and I will miss y'all very dearly.

DAVIS: Sam, it's been a pleasure.

RASCOE: Sam, it has been a pleasure and thank you for showing me how to do this hosting thing because your influence and your example of bringing your whole self has certainly been an inspiration to me. And you also gave me a chance to host your show, and that meant the world to me. And so I thank you very much.

SANDERS: Oh, my goodness, I love us so. Well, in the after times, I'm going to come to D.C. and hang out with two of you and all y'all's kids - so many kids. There's a lot of them.

RASCOE: I'm going to get you to babysit. No, you're going to babysit. You just told me you were going to babysit.


DAVIS: And Ayesha and I are going to go drink some vodka and you're going to watch our kids.

SANDERS: There you go. There you go. I love it. On that note, you're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR. We'll be right back.


SANDERS: I believe Lynette is here. Hello.


SANDERS: How are you?

MAXWELL: I'm great. How about you?

SANDERS: I'm good. You are here with me and my Aunt Betty, our dear Betty.

AUNT BETTY: Hey, Lynette.

MAXWELL: Hi, Betty.

SANDERS: So I want you both to start. Just tell our listeners who you are.

AUNT BETTY: You go, Lynette.

MAXWELL: Oh, OK. Well, my name is Lynette, and Betty is a dear, dear friend of mine who I euphemistically refer to as my pew partner. She's an individual that ensures I get a good seat every Sunday and always is looking after me, especially in light of the fact that I'm usually running late.


SANDERS: I love it.

AUNT BETTY: I will tell you that I've had to send her a text to say, you better get here quick because somebody's going to fight me about this seat. So...


SANDERS: The last time you took me to church with you, Betty, I do remember you get prime real estate in those church pews. Prime real estate.

AUNT BETTY: (Laughter) That's because I get there early enough to mark my territory. Like, I put a purse here and a Bible there and a scarf here. So yeah.

SANDERS: (Laughter) Well, 'cause you'll get there early, and then you'll make the rounds, hold court, talk to your people, get settled. It's like a whole to-do. I love it.

AUNT BETTY: That's the way old people do.

MAXWELL: I love it, too, Sam.


SANDERS: Well, let's pretend that this is going to be a very different and rowdy version of church. It's a game. It's called Who Said That?


KANDI BURRUSS: Who had been saying that?

PORSHA WILLIAMS: Who said that?

SANDERS: And the game is really simple. I share three quotes from the week of news, and you've got to guess who said it or just guess what story I'm talking about. Betty, you've played it before, right?


SANDERS: Yes, you have.

AUNT BETTY: I don't think so.

SANDERS: Nope. I remember because we had a quote about Chris Pine, and you were like, oh, Chris Pine is cute.

AUNT BETTY: Oh, OK. He is cute.


SANDERS: So, Betty, can you give Lynette any advice as she tackles this game for the first time?

AUNT BETTY: Go with your first thought. Go with your gut because they go so quickly that you may miss the opportunity, so - and you're playing against me, so you can relax, actually. So...


MAXWELL: Oh, my goodness.

< Sam says goodbye

AUNT BETTY: No stress. Just have fun.

MAXWELL: All right.

SANDERS: So there are no buzzers, and there are no prizes. Just yell out the answer when you have it. This first quote is a fill-in-the-blank. Blank is the hero of Gotham and of AMC - 4 million guests in AMC theatres globally. Movie theaters are coming back - #chokeonthat.

MAXWELL: Batman.


SANDERS: Yes, Batman. Yes, that's Batman.

MAXWELL: (Laughter).

SANDERS: Did y'all see this new Batman movie that came out this past weekend?

AUNT BETTY: I haven't, but I will. I'm waiting for the crowd to die down before I go.

SANDERS: Yeah, yeah. Apparently, it made over $130 million this past weekend, but people are mad because AMC Theatres, one of the biggest chains globally, they raised ticket prices for just this movie, "The Batman," by a dollar on opening weekend. And no one noticed. Everyone just bought the tickets.

MAXWELL: (Laughter) Must have been a really good movie.

SANDERS: Anyhoo, that quote about "The Batman" comes from Adam Aaron. He's the CEO of AMC Theatres, and he's been bragging about these great box office numbers for AMC. And after he announced that AMC had upped ticket prices for "The Batman" by about a dollar, he kind of said, I don't care. Deal with it. Everyone deal with it.

MAXWELL: All right.

SANDERS: I mean, I don't know how much tickets cost out there in Delaware these days, but in LA, some of these tickets are, like, close to $20 for a movie.

AUNT BETTY: Well, I get a senior discount, so it's not that bad.


MAXWELL: And if you go on Tuesday - right? - there's, like, a discount just for going on, like, Tuesday or Wednesday or something of that nature. So we count our pennies here in Delaware.


SANDERS: I could definitely see myself going to see "The Batman" with the two of you Tuesday around, like, 11 a.m. That could be fun.

MAXWELL: Yeah. Well, let's make it a date.


SANDERS: Popcorn on me. So that first point goes to Lynette. Congratulations so far.

MAXWELL: Thank you.

SANDERS: And - of course. And now let's go to this next quote. This next quote is from one of the more famous musicians, singers of all time. Here's the quote. I was backstage trying not to cry my false eyelashes off, slinging...

MAXWELL: Dolly Parton...


SANDERS: Wow. Y'all are on fire.


AUNT BETTY: Lynette said it first.


SANDERS: Lynette, look at you. Lynette's been studying. Lynette's been studying.

MAXWELL: I didn't want to embarrass Betty (laughter).

SANDERS: So what is this about, Lynette?

MAXWELL: Dolly Parton at the - I might get it wrong - but the Country Music Awards ceremony. She was a presenter.

SANDERS: That's it.

MAXWELL: And I do believe that was following the song "And I Will Always Love You" (ph).

SANDERS: Which was performed by?

MAXWELL: Oh. Kelly Clarkson?

SANDERS: Yes, you got it all.


SANDERS: You got it all.

AUNT BETTY: Yeah. She was the host. She was a host, though.

SANDERS: Yes. So this week, Dolly Parton hosted the Academy of Country Music Awards. And as part of the show, Kelly Clarkson - who will sing anybody's song - she sang a rendition of Dolly Parton's song "I Will Always Love You" as a tribute to Dolly. Of course, that song was made most famous by Whitney Houston and her cover of it. But when talking about this performance, which really touched Dolly, she said...


DOLLY PARTON: I know that Whitney is smiling down on us tonight. So thank you very much. She'd be proud of that. I was backstage trying not to cry my false eyelashes off and slinging snot every direction and tears. But anyways, that was an amazing job.

AUNT BETTY: Yeah, that's nice.


SANDERS: I love Dolly Parton because I feel like she's the only celebrity that exists today where no one can say anything bad about her. Conservatives, liberals, old, young - everyone loves Dolly Parton.

AUNT BETTY: Well, she just handles them so well if they do.


AUNT BETTY: She can do a put-down like nobody can and just keep smiling while she does it.

SANDERS: Yeah. I also heard that she wrote "Jolene" and "I Will Always Love You" in the same day.


AUNT BETTY: I love "Jolene."

SANDERS: I know, right?

AUNT BETTY: I mean, I don't like the sentiment, but I love the song.


SANDERS: I identify with Jolene. She's just trying to live her best life.

AUNT BETTY: Nah, nah, nah.



AUNT BETTY: She should take those earrings and nails off and go handle Jolene.


SANDERS: I just want to hear Jolene's side of the story. That's all I'm saying.

AUNT BETTY: Ha ha ha ha ha.

SANDERS: She gets a bad rap.

AUNT BETTY: This is my take on Jolene. She targeted that man and went after him.


MAXWELL: Oh, I agree. I agree. I think she did.

AUNT BETTY: And so Dolly had to deal with both of them. OK?

SANDERS: (Laughter) OK.


PARTON: (Singing) Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, I'm begging you, please don't take my man.

SANDERS: Wow. All right. Last quote, it's not about "Jolene" or Dolly Parton. Tell me who said this - "I trained the next president of CNN, so I believe, legally, that CNN now stands for the Blank News Network." There's some news because CNN's getting a new CEO, so he comes from one of the late-night shows.

MAXWELL: Oh. Oh. Oh. Oh. Oh.

SANDERS: Yes, go ahead. Say it.

MAXWELL: Yes. Oh, my gosh. Colbert.


SANDERS: Yes. Colbert. Colbert. Yes.


SANDERS: So that quote comes from Stephen Colbert. He was giving a send-off to his boss.


STEPHEN COLBERT: Breaking news. Our own Chris Licht right over there at that podium is leaving this show to take over CNN. I trained the next president of CNN, so I believe, I believe, I believe legally, CNN now stands for The Colbert News Network.


COLBERT: Do y'all have thoughts about this news? I feel like, Betty, you watch CNN a fair amount.

AUNT BETTY: I think that I've read a lot of things about people thinking - saying that Jeff Zucker should not have been let go, but I think that he had to be let go because you can't have two sets of rules. You can't fire Chris Cuomo for what he did, and you're doing something. There's too much power for the rules not to apply to you.

SANDERS: Yeah. So Chris Licht is not going to take the reins at CNN until May, but there's already been headlines about what he plans to do. Apparently, he's saying that he wants CNN to tone it down a little bit and to make nice with Fox News.

MAXWELL: I read that.

SANDERS: He says CNN is going to kind of have a truce with Fox News and stop all the negative coverage about Fox. How do y'all feel about that?

AUNT BETTY: Well, he got to go.

SANDERS: (Laughter) He's not even there yet.

MAXWELL: (Laughter) I, you know, I don't think that it's a good thing to let any one news agency so blatantly skew news. And that might be my personal bias, but, you know, the truth is the truth. And I think that people do need to be held accountable when they don't tell the truth, regardless of the news network that you're affiliated with.

SANDERS: Yeah, yeah.

AUNT BETTY: But you don't get a lot of news anymore. You get a lot of pontificating, a lot of people explaining their thoughts on the news, and so I miss those days where we just got the news covered, and that was it. And I think that in a 24-hour news cycle, the news on all the time, there's only so many times they can say breaking news and it's the same thing you've heard for the last two days. So they have to do other stuff to make it - just to make out the time.

SANDERS: Maybe CNN should just go down to, like, four hours a day. That's all we need. That's all we need.

AUNT BETTY: And take Fox down too.

SANDERS: (Laughter) With that, I'm going to announce the winner. It was a clean sweep. Lynnette, congratulations.

MAXWELL: (Laughter).

SANDERS: Congratulations. How does it feel?

MAXWELL: Wow. I mean, you know, no prizes.


SANDERS: We'll have to find you a prize.

MAXWELL: Well, I guess, you know, I have those bragging rights - well, I can't really brag too much to Betty because she won't save me a seat on Sunday, so...

AUNT BETTY: Your seat is secure.


MAXWELL: It feels great.


MAXWELL: It feels great. I'm really proud.

AUNT BETTY: Take a bow. You did great.

MAXWELL: I'm very appreciative that you guys allowed me to play along with you. I am a fan of NPR and I play it while I'm at work and in my car, so I just feel like a celebrity just being a part of NPR today (laughter).

SANDERS: Oh, my goodness. Well, I'm glad y'all both joined me. Thank you both so much. I could not have imagined a more enjoyable final Who Said That? for myself than with the two of you.

AUNT BETTY: Oh, you're a sweetie. Thank you, Sam. We love you.

MAXWELL: Thank you so much.


PARTON: (Singing) Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene.

AUNT BETTY: Now it's time to end the show the way we always do. Every week, we hear the best things that happen to our listeners. But this week, we have a very special version of our Best Things segment. Let's listen.

BRENT BAUGHMAN, BYLINE: Hey, it's Brent Baughman. The best thing for me about working with Sam was getting to work on the very first episodes of the show with him, hearing how much raw talent he had and just knowing, before anyone had ever heard an episode of his show, that Sam's future was going to be filled with so much amazing work. And, of course, that's still true.

AJA DRAIN, BYLINE: I'm Aja Drain, IT'S BEEN A MINUTE's current intern. And my best thing about Sam was just the memory of the first phone call that we had. It can be kind of intimidating to somebody you're a fan of and talking to them for the first time. But Sam is the type of person that understands people and was really honest and really kind about giving me advice along with a lot of laughs in between. And I'm so excited to be a listener again and to hear whatever he works on next.

ANJULI SASTRY KRBECHEK, BYLINE: Hey, Sam. It's Anjuli. The best thing about you is your kindness and care when talking to the guests on our show and our listeners. It's no wonder that you have so many fans. I'm going to really miss you.

STEVE, BYLINE: Hey, this is Steve (ph) from St. Paul. And the best thing about working with Sam on IT'S BEEN A MINUTE is how kind he is to everyone he works with and how much we all learn from him.

JINAE WEST, BYLINE: Hey, this is Jinae, one of the producers at IT'S BEEN A MINUTE, and my favorite thing about Sam is his impression of Fred Armisen doing an impression of Joy Behar.


SANDERS: So what? Who cares? So what? Who cares? So what? Who cares? OK.

WEST: That's my favorite thing.

JORDANA HOCHMAN, BYLINE: Hi, Sam. Jordana, here. The best thing has been being your editor these last few years. It's a rare thing to be able to build a creative partnership like this, and I feel really lucky to call you a colleague and a friend.

ANDREA GUTIERREZ, BYLINE: Hi, this is Andrea, producer on IT'S BEEN A MINUTE. The best thing about Sam is that what you hear of him on air, that's him. Like, that's who he is as a person. He brings his fullest self, and he is always looking out for the people coming up behind him, thinking of our best interests. And for that, I thank him. Sam, I will miss you.

IAN, BYLINE: Hi, Sam. This is Ian (ph). We'll miss you. Good luck.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Maddie (ph), can you say, hi Sam?

MADDIE: Hi, Sam. (Unintelligible).

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Can you say, I'll miss you?

MADDIE: I'll miss you.

LIAM MCBAIN, BYLINE: Hey, Sam. It's Liam. I just wanted to share how grateful I am to have worked with you. You welcomed me into the job and the industry with so much kindness and encouragement and honesty, too. You've always brought your full self to your work and shown me that I can do the same, and that's really powerful. I'm going to miss talking about Mariah Carey's best albums and tenderqueers and other gay [expletive] with you in Slack, but I'm so excited to see what you do next.

WEST: We'll miss you, Sam.

BAUGHMAN: Can't wait to listen, Sam.

STEVE: Thanks, Sam.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Can you say, good luck?

MADDIE: Good luck.

SANDERS: I didn't know y'all were going to do that. You surprised me.

AUNT BETTY: Wow, that was incredible. I'm just happy to see you being so loved. You know, it's hard to leave a place. But when you leave a place with so many good wishes, it just makes it much easier. And the memories, you'll have forever.

SANDERS: My colleagues are so great and our listeners are so great and the audience and the thing that we've built - I'm very, very proud of it and so happy that I get to celebrate it with so many awesome people in this episode and on this show who I'll, of course, stay in touch with.

AUNT BETTY: Once you make those kind of relationships, you can't just walk away from them. You can't.

SANDERS: At all. You can't do it. Well, I suppose this takes us to our final credits for you and me on this show, and I was thinking we might read them together.



AUNT BETTY: You mean, like, in unison, or you read one and I read one (laughter)?

SANDERS: No. (Laughter) We'll switch off. We'll switch off. I'll start with the first line, and then you can go to the next one.

All right, this week's episode of IT'S BEEN A MINUTE was produced by Anjuli Sastry Krbechek, Jinae West, Andrea Gutierrez and Liam McBain.

AUNT BETTY: Our intern is Aja Drain. Our fearless editor is Jordana Hochman.

SANDERS: Our big boss is NPR's senior VP of programming, Anya Grundmann, and our professional voice is Aunt Betty Garrett (ph). Thank you all so much for being a part of this community and this experiment for the last few years. I'm so excited to hear where this show goes and get to work on some new stuff myself. Gosh. The last thing I'll say is, till next time. Take care of yourselves. We'll talk soon. And, Betty, I'll call you soon, too (laughter).

AUNT BETTY: OK. All right. Take care, everybody.


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