I have been roaming the halls of Capitol Hill (search) lately, in my new capacity as FOX congressional correspondent. It is a return to my old stomping grounds.
From 1986 to 1992 (pre-FOX News), I covered the Hill for Washington's WTTG and the other FOX affiliates around the country. I used to compete for stories there against a tall, lanky fellow from ABC named Brit Hume (actually, I wasn't much competition most of the time.) It is fun to now be on his team.
Capitol Hill is a great place to work if you're a reporter, because there are 535 elected officials who know interesting stuff. If there is a secret to be gotten, it's just a matter of time before you stumble into someone who will reveal it to you. The people who run for the House and Senate are interesting and colorful people as well. You can't make up characters like Robert C. Byrd (search) of West Virginia or wrestling coach-turned-Speaker-of-the-House, Denny Hastert (search). I have always tried to factor in the personalities of the people I cover on the Hill, because if you understand the person a bit, you can understand their positions.
The Senate is going to be largely focused in the days ahead on confirmation hearings for the president's choice to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor (search). The Democratic half of the so-called "gang of 14" met today in Senator Mark Pryor's (search) office and came out saying very positive things about the president's outreach efforts on this matter. Senator Byrd said that he has been "singing [the President's] praises from the steeple tops." Very interesting to hear that kind of talk from Democrats.
The deal that avoided a showdown over federal judges seems to be holding for the moment — the seven centrist Democrats who joined with the seven centrist Republicans do not seem inclined to bolt from the agreement unless there are "extraordinary circumstances." What is "extraordinary?" The universal answer from Democrats is, "we'll know it when we see it."
On a lighter note — I notice that my good friend Greta Van Susteren has mentioned me in her blog — and has revealed that I am an amateur musician. I have been playing guitar since I was just a kid and do have a fairly sophisticated recording studio in my home. I only wish I had real talent. However, there will be a guy on my show this Sunday who may be one of the top five guitarists in the world — and before long, you will hearing a lot about guy named Johnny Hiland.
This legally blind Nashville musician has wowed the guitar world because he can play every style — rock, blues, jazz, country, bluegrass, rockabilly — you name it. My friend Ricky Skaggs (search) (an outstanding musician in his own right) called Johnny, "the most versatile guitar player I've ever heard." Steve Vai (search) said, "In the genre that he plays, there is not a guitar player I have heard that has the control over the instrument like this kid." Sammy Hagar (search) said, "From the first time I ever saw Johnny sling a guitar, I knew this guy had the goods. Johnny Hiland knows how to make those strings sing and that guitar wail."
I personally watched Johnny blow away one of Nashville's top record producers. He is, in a word, unbelievable.
We'll cover all the news on the Sunday edition of “Weekend Live” — but be sure to hang around for a real treat around 1:50 PM EDT when you'll see and hear Johnny Hiland kick some serious guitar butt.
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Brian Wilson is a congressional correspondent for FOX News and anchor of the Sunday edition of "Weekend Live."