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Moderator Schieffer has long tenure in Washington

By Jim Kavanagh, CNN
updated 10:57 PM EDT, Mon October 22, 2012
Bob Schieffer waits while John McCain and Barack Obama greet each other before their final debate in October 2008.
Bob Schieffer waits while John McCain and Barack Obama greet each other before their final debate in October 2008.
  • Bob Schieffer is CBS News' chief Washington correspondent
  • Moderator has been host of "Face the Nation" since 1991
  • He gave assassin's mother a ride the day JFK was shot
  • TCU journalism school is named for Schieffer, an alumnus

(CNN) -- Monday night's debate moderator, Bob Schieffer, is CBS News' chief Washington correspondent and has been the host of the Sunday morning discussion show "Face the Nation" since 1991.

His official CBS biography says Shieffer is one of the few journalists who have covered all four major Washington beats: the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department and Congress. He has covered every presidential race and nominating convention since 1972.

Schieffer was the interim anchor of "CBS Evening News" for more than a year while the network made the transition from Dan Rather to Katie Couric.

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Schieffer moderated a presidential debate in 2008 between Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain, and one in 2004 between President George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry.

Before joining CBS as a general assignment reporter in 1969, Schieffer was anchor at WBAP in Dallas and a reporter at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper in Texas.

The 2012 debate moderators
Debating the debate moderator

When President John F. Kennedy was shot in Dallas in 1963, Schieffer was the Star-Telegram's night police reporter. As he wrote in a guest column for the Poynter Institute, a journalism think tank, phone calls that night were pouring into the newsroom.

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"Every phone was ringing," he wrote. "I grabbed one, only to hear a woman caller ask, 'Is there anyone there who can give me a ride to Dallas?'

"'Lady,' I shouted, 'We're not running a taxi service, and besides, the president has been shot.'

"'Yes,' the voice responded, 'I just heard it on the radio and they said my son is the one they've arrested.'

"It was Lee Harvey Oswald's mother."

And that's how Bob Schieffer and his colleague Bill Foster came to give Marguerite Oswald a lift to the Dallas police station, where he hoped to see and hear from the suspected assassin.

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"I never got that scoop," he wrote, because after six hours of letting police think he was a detective while collecting information and hoping to see Oswald, an FBI agent discovered Schieffer was a reporter and kicked him out of the police station. (Schieffer tells this story in greater detail in an interview at

Schieffer is a member of the Broadcasting/Cable Hall of Fame and has won numerous awards, including seven Emmy Awards, according to CBS.

Schieffer, 75, was born in Austin, Texas. He has been married since 1969 to the former Patricia Penrose; they have two daughters. He graduated in 1959 from Texas Christian University, where the journalism school was renamed in his honor. He has written four books: "Bob Schieffer's America," "Face the Nation: My Favorite Stories from the First 50 Years of the Award-winning News Broadcast," "This Just In: What I Couldn't Tell You on TV," and "The Acting President."

Schieffer's younger brother, Tom Schieffer, is a Texas lawyer and friend and former business partner of former President George W. Bush, according to and other sources. Tom Schieffer was ambassador to Australia during Bush's first term and ambassador to Japan during his second term. He also is a past president of the Texas Rangers baseball team (when Bush was the owner) and was appointed by Major League Baseball to run the day-to-day operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers while the team was in an ownership transition.

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