Lauer apologizes after not buckling up


NEW YORK -- NBC's Matt Lauer didn't learn his lesson from interviewing New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine about the governor's near-fatal car crash while riding without wearing a safety belt.

A few weeks after that chat, there was Lauer on "Today" on Wednesday, sitting in the back of a sport utility vehicle interviewing Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney. Both men were unbuckled.

A sheepish Lauer admitted his mistake after "Today" ran the interview, which was conducted Tuesday.

"I should have set a better example," he said. Romney also said he needs to keep reminding himself to buckle up.

Corzine was riding in a State Police-driven SUV that crashed going 91 mph on April 12 along the Garden State Parkway. Corzine, unbuckled in the front passenger seat, broke his leg, 11 ribs, collarbone and sternum.

He voluntarily paid a $46 fine and apologized to the state. He also released a public service announcement urging people to wear seat belts.

"Today" show producers noticed the oversight before the segment with Romney aired and decided to have Lauer address it, executive producer Jim Bell said.

Viewers certainly noticed. "Today" got more than 100 e-mails about Lauer and Romney's oversights while the segment was being telecast, Bell said.

"It was amazing," he said.
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