Bigwig politicians, reporters and DC socialites, all showed up Monday night to the Newsuem in downtown Washington to honor Bob Schieffer and 60 years of exceptional journalism by Face The Nation. In something rarely seen in Washington, the evening began with a moment of agreement and lightheartedness between partisans.
“I’ve had 101 appearances on ‘Face the Nation,’ which exactly matches my age,” joked Senator John McCain, “The first time I was on, … Bob … and I had an in-depth discussion about the aviation policies of Calvin Coolidge. … I have been on a number of shows. Always I’m reluctant to do so, I’m sure you know. [Laughter.] … I want to thank Mary Hager, who has been with Bob as his producer for all this time. … For a very short statement, I think next is the Vice President. That will be interesting. [Laughter.]”
“Bob, I’ve only been on your show 55 times,” chuckled Vice President Joe Biden, “I was asked what is the liability of being vice president. … Because I’ve been vice president for six years and only been on his show twice, I think. … Bob — to both of you, actually — thank you for — how can I say it? — the dignity that you bring to your business. I can’t think of a higher compliment that someone could be given than saying: You’re universally respected, Bob. Thank you very much for all you’ve done for us.”
There was, however, another fascinating moment that followed in which both Biden and McCain exchanged compliments and admiration for one another. “That’s not something you see often in this town,” remarked CNN’s Jake Tapper.
“[W]hen I came to Washington, Republicans and Democrats used to act like that [McCain and Biden] and … it was really fun, ” said Schieffer, referring to the exchange, “I am the single luckiest person in the world. When I was a little boy, this is what I wanted to do. [M]y kids used to ask me when they were little, say, ‘Dad, did you want to be a TV reporter when you were a little boy?’ And I had to say, ‘Well, they didn’t have TV when I was a little boy. But I did want to be a reporter.'”
While the media museum was packed with big names in both politics and the media, the night was really about paying homage to Bob. “I’m here to suck up to Bob,” Senator Lindsey Graham announced upon arriving to the event. Biden told told The Daily Beast, “I came down to kiss the ring.”
Among the other notable politicians at this impressive gathering were House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, Congressman Elijah Cummings, Congressman Peter King, and Senator Rand Paul. The list of journalists was equally impressive with POLITICO’s Mike Allen, Luke Russert of NBC News, Amy Walter, editor of The Cook Political Report, Gwen Ifill of PBS NewsHour, editor of Capitol File Elizabeth Thorp, CBS News congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes. Jack and Susanna Quinn were in attendance as well and were delightful as always.
Photos courtesy of CBS. I promise I’ll try and get some selfies next time.