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John Palmer’s new memoir, "Newscatcher," details the veteran NBC News correspondent's eyewitness account of history, from breaking the news of the Challenger disaster to the unsuccessful unsuccessful 1980 attempt to rescue American hostages in Iran..
Although Palmer passed away in 2013, his wife Nancy persisted in bringing her husband's memoir to publishing. On Saturday, she joined TODAY's Erica Hill to discuss her late husband’s memoir, and what her husband was like off camera.
- On how Palmer got his first interview with then-Egyptian-President Anwar Sadat: "He never broke the rules, but he did want to get the story," she said. "He said, 'Jon Palmer, American, N-B-C.'... So they thought it was 'American embassy,'so they said, 'oh you must be with the American embassy,' and let him in. He got through two other clearance gates and got to the president who said, 'Why are you here?"
- On Palmer's relationship with Sadat: "He really admired [Sadat], and he really knew that [Sadat] was trying to obtain peace," Nancy said. "And he also feared that what would happen, did happen, that he would be assassinated. He was working at the White House when [Sadat] was assassinated and it was a really emotional day for him."
- On how her wedding almost didn't happen because of President Reagan: "He was getting dressed and they said, 'It's President Reagan,'" she said. "And the president went into a lengthy story about how he married his Nancy some 30 years ago. And John couldn't get him off the phone, nor did he want to."
- On what people might not know about her husband: "I hope he would think no one saw the sentimental side when he was broadcasting the news, but he was very sentimental."
Two of the Palmer's three daughters have gone on to work in television. "We are so proud," Nancy said. "I think the example of the life that John had and how he conducted himself; the adventures, the integrity... It's a great life and we are so proud of them"