October 7, 2008

Newsman Has Knack for Country Music


By John Gerome

The Associated Press


CBS News' Bob Schieffer said moderating the debate between presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama won't be nearly as unnerving as his Grand Ole Opry debut was Sunday.

"I was nervous coming between Trisha Yearwood and Brad Paisley. I may be moderating the third presidential debate, but I'm not feeling near the pressure," Schieffer told the crowd at the Ryman Auditorium, where he performed on the long-running country music program with the band Honky Tonk Confidential.

Schieffer stood in front of the Opry's red barn backdrop wearing jeans and boots and, at times, a white cowboy hat. He sang a humorous song about becoming a TV anchorman set to the tune of "Hot Rod Lincoln." Later, he joined Paisley for the chorus of Paisley's hit "Alcohol."

"Tonight I feel like I'm in some sort of parallel universe," he told the audience, mostly journalists in town to cover tonight's debate at Belmont University.

The show, a special edition of the Opry, was organized by the university and Gaylord Entertainment and featured Belmont alum Yearwood, Paisley, Josh Turner and Julie Roberts. Darius Rucker, longtime frontman for the pop/rock group Hootie & The Blowfish and now a country artist with a No. 1 song and album, also performed.

"There's no debating here tonight," Turner said, "Nashville is the home of country music."

Originally published by BY JOHN GEROME.

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