This Sunday's broadcast of CBS's "Face the Nation" began with a clip of a younger — 24 years younger, to be exact — Bob Schieffer on his first day as moderator of the political talk show: "Today marks my official debut, as it were, as moderator of 'Face the Nation.' Our aim is going to be very simple here: to find interesting people from all segments of American life who have something to say and give them a chance to say it."
And Schieffer remained true to the tradition on his final broadcast, giving guests who had something to say — former Florida governor Jeb Bush, CIA Director John Brennan and a panel of journalists — a chance to say it.
Schieffer, 78, signed off for the last time Sunday after nearly five decades on air.
In his farewell message, Schieffer recalled the moment he decided to be a reporter: in the ninth grade, when he saw his byline in the school newspaper.
"I got a chance to do that. When I was a young reporter, I wanted to work for CBS, because Walter Cronkite was my hero. And I got a chance to do that," Schieffer said as black-and-white photos from his reporting career appeared on screen, including one of Schieffer and Cronkite. "And after I was here a while, I wanted to be the moderator of 'Face the Nation.' And I got do to that, and did it for 24 years."
According to the Associated Press, Schieffer's career at CBS News began after he walked into the office of the bureau chief without an appointment, was mistaken for another reporter named Bob who actually had an interview scheduled that day, was let into the executive's office and then talked his way into the job.
"Maybe it's because I just love the news, but, at the time, I thought every job I ever had was the best job in the world, going behind police lines, talking to cops and soldiers and then senators and even presidents," Schieffer said. "I tried to remember that the news is not about the newscaster. It's about the people who make it and those who are affected by it."
Guests on Sunday's show thanked Schieffer and showed appreciation for his work. Brennan called Schieffer an "icon in the broadcast news industry." "Let me say how much I just respect your service to our country. 'Face the Nation' is the go-to place, and I just appreciate everything you have done," Bush said.
Schieffer thanked his crew, brought them on screen to take a bow, and passed on the show to his successor, CBS News political director John Dickerson.
"I will be honest, I'm going to miss being in the middle of things, but the one thing I will never forget is the trust you placed in me and how nice you were to have me as a guest in your home over so many years. That meant the world to me. And it always will," Schieffer said on his final broadcast. "Thank you."