New 'Face the Nation' Host in 2012: Obama Should 'Declare War' on Republicans

CBS News on Sunday named political director John Dickerson the new host of "Face the Nation."

Dickerson will replace longtime host Bob Schieffer, who at 78 is retiring after a career spanning nearly 50 years.

The University of Virginia grad, who also attended the exclusive Sidwell Friends school in DC -- where the Obamas send their children -- Dickerson is currently chief political correspondent for the liberal Slate magazine -- owned by the Washington Post -- and political director of CBS News. He worked at Time magazine for 12 years, the last four as White House correspondent covering the George W. Bush administration.

While Schieffer sometimes skewed liberal, he was seen by many in Washington as an equal-opportunity hawk, hammering away at politicians from both parties over issues. Dickerson, though, appears set to change that.

In 2012, on the eve of President Obama's second inauguration, Dickerson wrote a piece for Slate titled "Go for the Throat! Why if he wants to transform American politics, Obama must declare war on the Republican Party."

"Obama’s only remaining option is to pulverize. Whether he succeeds in passing legislation or not, given his ambitions, his goal should be to delegitimize his opponents. Through a series of clarifying fights over controversial issues, he can force Republicans to either side with their coalition's most extreme elements or cause a rift in the party that will leave it, at least temporarily, in disarray," he wrote.

Dickerson, who grew up on a 47-acre bluff overlooking the Potomac River in tony McLean, Va., is best known as the son of Nancy Dickerson Whitehead. "Although the field of television journalism was almost entirely dominated by men at the time, Dickerson got her break in 1954, when she was hired by CBS News's Washington bureau to produce a radio show called Capital Cloakroom. She would also become associate producer of Face the Nation. In 1960, CBS made her its first female correspondent," her entry on Wikipedia says.

Dickerson wrote a book about his mom, "On Her Trail." 

Schieffer bragged on Dickerson for being on the broadcast 83 times and having deep family ties with the network and the profession:

His mother, Nancy Dickerson, was the first female correspondent in the CBS News Washington bureau. She was a member of the Washington press corps as an NBC correspondent when I came to Washington in 1969.

Joking that more and more these days he finds himself working with the children of his friends, Schieffer welcomed and congratulated Dickerson.

"Thank you, Bob. I am honored and really excited," Dickerson said. "Mom would have been excited too. She was an associate producer on this show on the very first airing of this broadcast when Senator Joe McCarthy came on and did the impossible, made news by offending his Senate colleagues even more than he already had."

Dickerson paid tribute to Schieffer:

When I came back to Washington 20 years ago to cover the Capitol Hill beat -- every time I would go up to Hill, you'd be there, too -- every day reporting. So, you know, it's not just your example as an anchor, but as a daily reporter that I have to follow. So, congratulations on a great tour, but also thank you for showing us how it's done. 

"Thank you very much, John," Schieffer replied. "And I couldn't be happier. 'Face the Nation' is going to be in good hands."

Dickerson's hosting duties will begin sometime this summer.

* Trey Sanchez contributed to this piece.