Pop-up with the president? Katie Couric recalls 1992 interview that changed her career

July 18, 2014 at 7:20 AM ET

Every journalist dreams of interviewing the president of the United States. They'd probably just want some time to prepare first.

In 1992, Katie Couric was presented with the opportunity for an impromptu interview with President George H.W. Bush, with no time to prepare. To this day, she says it's one of her most memorable interviews.

Couric had been interviewing first lady Barbara Bush for TODAY about the anniversary of the White House when they were suddenly greeted by the President and their dog Ranger.

"I thought, 'I have not prepared to interview President Bush,'" Couric said. "I have the leader of the free world standing next to me and all I'm thinking about is Dolly Madison's tea set."

Video: TODAY Flashback: Katie Couric recalls one of her proudest moments working on TODAY. While she was in the middle of a profile of the White House in 1992, President George H.W. Bush appeared for what he thought would be a brief cameo. Couric quickly took the moment and turned it into a piece of television history.

The interview came in the midst of President Bush's campaign against President Clinton, and Couric said she needed to quickly formulate nearly 30 questions to ask the President off the cuff.

"I was very anxiety-ridden, but I was able to talk to him for 19 minutes and 38 seconds. Who's counting?" Couric said. "We were able to make some news and really get some good information from him."

Watch the video to see how Katie Couric performed under pressure.