Friday Feature: Bob Schieffer
Every Friday for The Hotline's Latest Edition, we do a lighthearted profile of figures working in the media. From all walks of the industry, we ask questions varying from the personal to the absurd. With all the seriousness in journalism, the hope is that we offer something enlightening and hopefully entertaining. Today, we thought readers would enjoy our latest Friday Feature, Bob Schieffer.
This year marks Bob's 55th year as a reporter and his 43rd year at CBS News. He is one of the few broadcast or print journalists to have covered all four major beats in the nation's capital - the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department and Capitol Hill. He has been a principal anchor for CBS News since 1973 and moderator of Face the Nation since 1991. This year the show finally moved from being a half hour to a full hour's length. Without further ado, here is our Friday Feature!
Where's your hometown? And what was it like growing up there?
I grew up in Fort Worth, TX. As my friend Dan Jenkins once said, "If you want to see Atlanta, go to Dallas. If you want to know about Texas, come to Fort Worth. It's where the west begins."
What were you like in high school?
Little. At the beginning of the 10th grade I was 5'2" and weighed 119 pounds. By the beginning of school the next year I was 5'9" and weighed 165 pounds, my current dimensions.
What's your most embarrassing on-the-job moment? (Or as embarrassing as you'd like to reveal?)
There were two - Once while anchoring the morning news I managed to spill a hot cup of coffee on Maria Shriver's feet. The second was at a nationally televised news conference when President Ford called on me. My mind went blank. I couldn't think of a question so I just blurted about, "What's the deal on the Russians?" It turned out the president had something he wanted to say on Soviet-American relations and his answer made the front page of the New York Times. It's always better to be lucky than smart.
Who's your favorite fictional president? Historical president?
I've never really thought about my favorite fictional president, but I'll say Michael Douglas in "The American President." As for the real ones, it has to be LBJ. He was the first politician I ever saw. I was 11 years old when he came to the vacant lot in Fort Worth where we played baseball when he was campaigning for the U.S. Senate in 1948.
So let's say I want barbeque in Texas. Where do I go and what do I order?
I would say Angelo's in Fort Worth. Go with the brisket. Or anything at Hill Country in Washington.
What is the most memorable commentary you've received from a superior?
After doing a story about the Pentagon selling copies of the Pentagon Papers in its bookstore while the same papers were locked up in safes upstairs because they were classified "top secret" Walter Cronkite called me and said, "If you wouldn't have had pictures to back that up I wouldn't have believed you. Good job."
If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, what would it be?
My own, but if I couldn't' find it The Outlaws with Waylon and Willie.
Who would play you in a movie?
Brad Pitt would be good, or Tom Hanks if he didn't think he was too old for the part.
Who do you look up to as a journalist?
Walter Cronkite is who I wanted to be when I was growing up. The truth is he's still who I want to be.
If you could have one super power to aid you in your job, what would it be?
The ability to fly.
What's your favorite song that your band Honky Tonk Confidential has done? Is there a cover of a song you'd like to do?
I think the best song I ever wrote is one called "Do You Think They'll Know Your Name Up There in Heaven." Our cover of "I've Got Friends in Low Places" is pretty darn good, but by the time we get around to it people are in such a party mood that it doesn't take much to get the crowd going.
What's your guilty pleasure on TV and favorite political movie?
"Homeland" - it's the best show on television. But maybe I'm biased. Claire Danes was my date to the White House Correspondents dinner. "All the President's Men" is my favorite political movie.
Favorite Halloween costume?
My twin granddaughters went as ketchup and mustard a few years ago. I thought that was pretty funny.
What is your favorite "newsroom meal"?
I've never had a good meal in a newsroom, but when the story is good enough no one cares.
What time do you go to bed?
Whenever I run out of something to do - sometimes that's before dark, sometimes a little later.
If you weren't working as a journalist, what would you be doing?
I guess I'd love to be on a bus with somebody's band making music with my friends, as Willie [Nelson] would say.
In one sentence, your best advice to young, fresh-out-of-college journalists.
Find something you love to do and if you learn to do it well, the success part will take care of itself. Don't be afraid to reach and don't let anyone tell you that you can't. Believe me, there are plenty of people ready to tell you all of the reasons you'll never succeed. I still run into them.
What has been your favorite moment so far in the 2012 presidential race?
There were so many moments in the Republican primary that I couldn't pick one. It was a thrill a minute.
Finish this sentence: Today I ...
woke up, checked the obit page and discovered I wasn't listed there, so it's going to be another great day in the neighborhood.
Editor's Note: National Journal and CBS News have been partners for 2012 presidential election coverage.