File this one under "too much information." On Sunday’s Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer got very personal as he reminisced about attending the 1968 Democratic convention, the first convention he ever attended: “I have to say the first one for me was the most memorable -- not for political but for personal reasons. My first daughter was born nine months to the day after that one. As she later remarked, Chicago in '68 wasn't all fighting in the streets.”
In his 2003 memoir, This Just In, the longtime CBS News correspondent painted a grim picture of the 1968 Democratic convention. Schieffer wasn’t with CBS at the time, but he was able to attend the convention because his wife “had always been active in local Democratic politics and as a member of the state Democratic executive committee, she was invited as a guest.”
The violence in the streets made it into Schieffer’s hotel, as he recounted on page 104:
When we returned to our hotel on Wednesday night, we understood how serious the situation had become. Glass windows on the hotel’s first floor had been smashed. Fire hoses were spread through the hotel lobby, and the air was filled with the smell of tear gas and stink bombs. The next night, I was in the lobby when the police rushed into the hotel and broke into the rooms of some of the McCarthy delegates whom they accused of throwing objects from their windows. We saw blood on the hotel carpets that night, and at one point I saw [anti-war candidate Eugene] McCarthy confront the police and finally convince them to leave.
Apparently, the “smell of tear gas and stink bombs” wasn’t enough to dampen the romance for Schieffer and his bride.
Here’s the relevant excerpt of Schieffer’s commentary, delivered at the end of the August 24 Face the Nation. Video and a full transcript can be found at CBSNews.com:
I attended my first Democratic convention in 1968 and every one since, so this will be my eleventh convention with the Democrats. Next week will mark my tenth with the Republicans, so I've been to 21 in all.
I have to say the first one for me was the most memorable - not for political but for personal reasons. My first daughter was born nine months to the day after that one. As she later remarked, Chicago in '68 wasn't all fighting in the streets. [Schieffer laughs]
At another Chicago convention in 1996, that same daughter met the guy she married.
How could I not like conventions?