CBS' Bob Schieffer Plans Retirement

Veteran CBS Washington hand Bob Schieffer, who has anchored "Face the Nation" since 1991, said Tuesday he plans to step down from the Sunday morning political talk show with the inauguration of a new president.

The start of a new administration next January provides a natural transition, he said.

"That's when I'll stop doing what I'm doing now," Schieffer, who turns 71 next month, told The Associated Press. "But I'll still have some relationship with CBS, at least I hope so."

Schieffer has talked retirement before. The bladder cancer survivor once planned to step down when he reached 70, but he spent a year and a half filling in as "CBS Evening News" anchor between the exit of Dan Rather and entrance of Katie Couric. He helped improve the ratings, got good reviews and enjoyed a chance at the top job that he never thought he'd have.

Since Couric's arrival in fall 2005, Schieffer has stopped commuting to New York and concentrated on "Face the Nation."

There's no obvious successor in place at CBS News. Jim Axelrod and Scott Pelley have both filled in during a rare circumstance when Schieffer was absent.

Schieffer said he hoped to keep an office at CBS and contribute occasionally, the way Tom Brokaw has at NBC News with documentaries and some primary night commentary.

"Bob can work at CBS News as long as he wants to and I hope that's a long time," said CBS News President Sean McManus.

There's always the chance of a second career: Schieffer plays guitar in the country band Honky Tonk Confidential and recently played a party at New York's "21" club.

"If I ever get to the Grand Ole Opry, I'll move right into country music," he said.