By Nikki Schwab, Washington Whispers
As if the life of genuine nice guy Bob Schieffer, boss of CBS's Face the Nation, isn't hectic enough, this summer he's piled on the role of mentor and Washington cultural ambassador to a Russian student. And not just any kid: Twenty-one-year-old Dariya Fadeeva was late to school on Sept. 1, 2004, when terrorists attacked her Chechen school, injuring her sister and killing more than 300, half of them children.
While hosting visiting students in the nation's capital is nothing new, it's a first for Schieffer, who met Fadeeva in 2006 at a première of a 48 Hours documentary on the three-day siege. Later, Schieffer and wife Pat helped Fadeeva apply for a scholarship to his alma mater, Texas Christian University, and she got it. Last summer, she interned for CBS in New York with 48 Hours producer Susan Zirinsky, and now Fadeeva is Schieffer's responsibility. "We have joint custody of Dariya," he jokes.
The folksy 72-year-old newsman makes having a student around for the first time in years sound like pure joy. "You know, when you get to be my age and your kids have been away from home for a while, you forget how much fun it is to have a young person around the house, just to get their take on things," Schieffer says. "It's like the old days," he gushes. "She comes home at night and tells us everything that happened that day." And that's a lot, he adds, because she's a brainiac. "She just brings these books home that weigh 4 pounds, and she's right in the middle of them," he says. "She's one of these kids that really reads the books—much more than I did when I was in college, that's for sure." And he's pretty convinced that his first summer student guest is going places. "I probably won't live to see it, but this is the kind of person who might end up being the president of her country, or ours, if you didn't have to be born here."
Illustration by Ed Wexler for USN&WR
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