CBS' Bob Schieffer Retires Sunday As Last Of The Old-School TV Anchors : The Two-Way Bob Schieffer, anchor of CBS' Face the Nation, retires Sunday after 46 years at the network. NPR TV Critic Eric Deggans says Schieffer is the last among a vanished breed of traditional news anchors.
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CBS' Bob Schieffer Retires Sunday As Last Of The Old-School TV Anchors

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CBS' Bob Schieffer Retires Sunday As Last Of The Old-School TV Anchors

CBS' Bob Schieffer Retires Sunday As Last Of The Old-School TV Anchors

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

One of the most experienced and engaging voices in journalism leaves the airwaves tomorrow. Bob Schieffer retires as host of "Face The Nation" after 46 years at CBS News. NPR's TV critic Eric Deggans says that Bob Schieffer is one of the last anchors from the heyday of network TV news.

ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: No one can ask a tough question quite like Bob Schieffer, whether he's grilling then-presidential candidate John Edwards...

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "FACE THE NATION")

BOB SCHIEFFER: It appears that the White House strategy is going to be to picture you as a pretty boy, a lightweight. Does that bother you?

JOHN EDWARDS: (Laughter).

DEGGANS: ...Or asking Senator Ted Cruz about the 2013 government shutdown.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "FACE THE NATION")

SCHIEFFER: You became a celebrity when you led the drive to shut down the government over Obamacare. But afterward, your fellow Republicans said you led them over a cliff. Can you...

DEGGANS: Schieffer's style, equal parts folksy inquisitor and experienced political insider, has become a signature of CBS's "Face The Nation," which makes his departure Sunday, after 24 years, a pivotal event. Schieffer, who's 78, has talked about retiring before, but as he recently told WAMU's Diane Rehm, he's really ready to leave now.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SCHIEFFER: I wanted to go when people thought I could still do the job.

DIANE REHM, BYLINE: (Laughter).

SCHIEFFER: You know, I've seen too many of these people up on Capitol Hill that - they sort of have to be led out by the hand.

DEGGANS: Schieffer's one of the few reporters who's covered the White House, Congress, the State Department and the Pentagon. He's interviewed every president since Richard Nixon and moderated three presidential debates. His reporting career began at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper in the mid-1960s. Twelve years ago, Schieffer told NPR's Bob Edwards about his first big story when he spoke to Lee Harvey Oswald's mother not long after President Kennedy was killed.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SCHIEFFER: I had literally walked into the office, picked up a phone, and a woman said, is there anybody there who can give me a ride to Dallas? And I said, lady, the president has been shot. And she says, yes, I heard it on the radio. My son is the one that they have arrested.

DEGGANS: Schieffer began working at CBS News in 1969 and took over "Face The Nation" in 1991. But it was in 2005 that Schieffer got what may have been his most important assignment at CBS News.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "CBS EVENING NEWS WITH BOB SCHIEFFER")

CRAIG: This is the CBS Evening News with Bob Schieffer.

DEGGANS: Schieffer became interim anchor of the CBS Evening News after Dan Rather was forced out. He focused the broadcast on hard news and experienced correspondents. Schieffer's style increased ratings while reinforcing CBS's connection to its legacy in traditional news coverage which continues today. Now Schieffer leaves as one of the last links to the days of long gone CBS stars like Walter Cronkite, distinguished by roots in traditional reporting and old-school journalism. I'm Eric Deggans.

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