Notable Quotables - 01/13/1997


Gumbel's Parting Shocker: I'm Not Conservative!

"I don't know if I have a liberal bent...But it is fair to say it's very difficult for a black man in this country to be of a conservative bent. That's a fair statement. It's very difficult to be an African- American male, and have an African-American son who is going to be 18 years of age, and hear things like cops want to crack down and send more to prison, to hear calls for tougher statutes, less welfare, less programs for the poor, and less things for people of color. If that says I'm not conservative, so be it."
- Bryant Gumbel in the January 2 USA Today, the day before his last morning as co-host of NBC's Today.


Gingrich the Assassin

"Newt Gingrich's problem, I've always thought, he's like Lenin. They both made a revolution by shooting people - Newt shot Democrats, Lenin shot everybody - and then they didn't have enough sense to stop shooting once they won. So, I mean, once you win, you say, 'Okay, now I've shot all your relatives, but you're a good guy, let's work together.' Instead, Newt shut down the government and kept on trying to shoot Democrats."
- ABC's Sam Donaldson on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, January 8.

Margaret Carlson, Time: "If we didn't have Newt Gingrich having brought down Jim Wright on, on, I think, picayune, as picayune as this, then I think there would be less hostility towards him at this moment."
Andrew Ferguson, The Weekly Standard: "Jim Wright was trying to line his own pockets in the most sordid, squalid sort of way...." Carlson: "But he [Gingrich] was lining his own personal power pockets, which is just as bad."
- December 28 Capital Gang on CNN.

"Not just maybe from a technical point of view, but you had the Speaker, somebody who led the assault on Jim Wright, he never ended up getting prosecuted, he never broke the law. Doesn't the Speaker's credibility kind of get diminished by this and doesn't he become a symbol of somebody who broke the rules as opposed to somebody who followed the rules? Doesn't this give you a credibility problem?"
- CBS reporter Rita Braver to U.S. Rep Chris Shays (R-Conn.), December 29 Face the Nation.


Cronkite the Censor

"It's [the Internet] at the moment highly dangerous; I hope that we pacify it in the near future. A three-page, very slickly done presentation alleged that I was drunk in an Orlando restaurant and spit in a man's soup. And no way to trace it whatsoever. It seems to me that these sources of so called information should have to identify themselves. There should be a sense of responsibility placed upon them to stand behind what they report. I just abhor any form of censorship, but I do not think there's anything wrong at all with banning anonymous information."
- Walter Cronkite in the December 28 TV Guide.


Eleanor's Year-End Elucidations

Biggest Winner: "Loretta Sanchez who toppled Bob Dornan, the scourge of all thinking people. And also awakened us to the power of the Hispanic vote, even in Republican stronghold Orange County."
Most Decisive Campaign Moment: "Sadly, the flap over the Indonesian campaign contributions. The only thing that moved the polls all year. Probably cost the Democrats control of the House."
Turncoat of the Year: "Sherrie Rowlands, the lady of the night who ratted on Dick Morris and tarnished what would otherwise have been a big win for him."
Fairest Rap: "My fairest rap is like Clarence's [Page], that Ken Starr is a partisan Republican. True, true, true."
- Newsweek's Eleanor Clift, December 21 McLaughlin Group.


Alter's Tumescent Analysis

"Overlaying this structure was a national politics heavily conditioned by nearly half a century of cold war. Strength and toughness trumped everything else. At one military briefing during the 1980s, Reagan was shown models of American missiles. The American power phalluses were long and white; the Soviets', shorter and black. We were still safely ahead, but only by the margin of our machismo."
- Newsweek's Jonathan Alter reviewing the 1996 political landscape, December 30, 1996/January 6, 1997 issue.

Inside Washington's Liberal Insights

"There's an ethnic undertone to this. If these were Greeks, or American Jews, or Irish-Americans rather than Asian, some of this wouldn't have the same undertones."
- Los Angeles Times Washington Bureau Chief Doyle McManus on Indogate/Donorgate, January 4 Inside Washington.

"I'll take Phil Gramm. Buchanan was always a sideshow and a cartoon. But Gramm was serious, but a serious divider. He was a classic wedge-issue politician that would have driven us apart."
- Newsweek Washington Bureau Chief Evan Thomas on who he was most pleased left the presidential race, Dec. 28.


Criminal Welfare Reform Will Bring Starvation

"The most shameful act of '96 was welfare reform....welfare reform became a political football in '96, an easy way to kick around the poor and especially poor children and immigrants, even legal immigrants. Bill Clinton thought the GOP had a hot issue, so he closed his eyes and signed a bill that punishes children and people who want to work, but can't find a job in a tough market for entry level employment. This was a criminal act, further dividing us as haves and have nots. It was shameful."
- Washington Post reporter Juan Williams on CNN's Capital Gang, December 29.

"Welfare Ends. Acknowledging that the new law was 'seriously flawed,' President Clinton signed it anyway, ending welfare as we know it....Supporters said the new law would get people on their feet, but criticism came from many quarters: from states that said they couldn't meet the deadlines, from social workers who said the new system will plunge more people into poverty, from three top federal officials who resigned in protest. 'I think a lot of people will start starving,' said Shawn Cornett, a 22-year-old welfare recipient in Kentucky."
- AP reporter Helen O'Neill in year-end story summarizing the top ten stories of 1996.

Bombing Bob Dornan

"Robert Dornan. B-1 Bob went ballistic after narrowly losing his House seat in Orange County, California, to Hispanic financial analyst Loretta Sanchez. Threatening to sue her for election fraud, Dornan called Sanchez a 'liar' and said 'the whole thing stinks to high heaven.' Of course, sour grapes were to be expected from the former fighter pilot who once grabbed a fellow Congressman by the collar and called him a 'draft-dodging wimp.' Sanchez's campaign manager, John Sullivan, spoke for many when he said of Dornan, 'He's been, and continues to be, a national disgrace. All we can say is Adios.' The bad news is that Dornan will now have more time for his second job as Rush Limbaugh's substitute host."
- Time on "Worst Public Performances of 1996," December 23.


"Growing" Left

"[Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu was a possibility because his election was quite a surprise. He had a lot of people hoping that he would in fact grow in the job and become a peacemaker and so far that hasn't happened."
- Time Deputy Managing Editor James Kelley, CNN's Time "Man of the Year" special, Dec. 23.


Media Bias: A Ditsy Notion

"The latter [Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes] has made his fervent mantra the ditsy notion of the media having perverted the United States by being a cesspool of lefty ideologues. Sure, as in ABC's David Brinkley publicly calling President Clinton a bore."
- Los Angeles Times TV writer Howard Rosenberg, December 18.


- L. Brent Bozell, Publisher; Brent H. Baker, Tim Graham; Editors
- Geoffrey Dickens, Eugene Eliasen, Jim Forbes, Steve Kaminski, Clay Waters; Media Analysts
- Kathy Ruff, Marketing Director; Joe Alfonsi, Jessica Anderson; Interns