Looking for hints about common-ground issues for both parties in the newly Republican-led Congress? Here’s one: Being on CBS’s “Face the Nation” is kind of a big deal.
More than a dozen members of Congress, R’s and D’s alike, along with a who’s who of Washington TV news, turned up at a splashy fete Monday night to mark the Sunday show’s 60th birthday. Sen. John McCain boasted to the crowd at the Newseum that he had been a guest 101 times. Vice President Biden lamented that he’d been on only twice since taking office.
Green-room regulars and wannabe guests (that would be them pressing business cards into bookers’ hands over the mini-burger station) included House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.); Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.); Reps. Mike McCaul (R-Tex.), Peter King (R-N.Y.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and John Lewis (D-Ga.). Also in attendance were the Castro twins (Democratic congressman Joaquin and HUD secretary Julian); CBS’s Major Garrett, Nancy Cordes and Scott Pelley; CNN’s Jake Tapper; Mark Shields of PBS; and MSNBC’s Luke Russert.
Bob Schieffer, the show’s host for nearly the past quarter-century, took the boldface crowd in stride, holding court until the catering crew began carting the cocktail tables out of the room. In between greeting the stream of well-wishers (Russert dropped by on his way out the door to thank the longtime host and fellow Nats fan for his advice, a year ago, that the TV news business was a “162-game season”), he took a moment to reflect on his years hosting the show known in Washington shorthand as “Face.”
Biggest bomb of an interview? Janet Reno, he said, who, despite being the “nicest person,” had the habit of starting every sentence with, “As I have said many times before…”
“You could practically hear toilets flushing and refrigerators opening all across America,” Schieffer said.
Dream interview? He paused a moment: “The pope.”
And advice for prospective guests? That answer came easy to the veteran journalist: “Come with some news.”
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