Notable Quotables - 02/08/1999

Assuming Ken Starr's Guilty

"...You have a guy [Ken Starr] exposing himself as a nut job, making this announcement through 'associates say,' yet again revealing himself, not just to be as many of his apologists say, you know, tone deaf to public opinion. This man really seems a true believer to me."
- Geraldo Rivera on New York Times story on how Starr has decided he can indict Clinton, February 1 Rivera Live.

"Why did your office leak this and leak it now?"
"The Times story says it comes from your office."
"Well, the Times story says it comes from associates of Judge Starr's, and I'm curious that you know for certain that it couldn't have come from the office. How do you know that? There've been leaks from the office before."
"But I'm struck that you can say this so certainly, that you can speak with absolute assurance about everybody in that office, that they wouldn't have leaked this story."
- Good Morning America co-host Charles Gibson to Starr spokesman Charles Bakaly, February 1.

"Another question, the timing of this story. As you must have read, members of the Senate on both sides have criticized Judge Starr's office for, in effect, they say, trying to intervene in the impeachment process. What do you think about it?"

"I guess one of the questions is, some, some, the White House certainly has said, that it's a sign that he's out of control. At any point have you suggested to Judge Starr that its time to shut the office down or that he may be pressing too hard?"
- Good Morning America co-host Diane Sawyer to Judge Robert Bork, same show.


Clinton, a Republican?

"All right, then let me ask you this. Why, under any circumstances would the Republicans want to impeach a 'Republican' President?"
- MSNBC's John Hockenberry to GOP Sen. Charles Grassley, January 20.

"And Tim, in terms of the content of this address, if you closed your eyes and listened you might swear it was a Republican who was delivering that speech."
- Today co-host Katie Couric, January 21.

"Why, Lesley, do you think he's so hated? He's a moderate to a conservative right, basically?"
- CNN's Larry King to CBS reporter Lesley Stahl, February 2.


Managers Have Too Much Sway?

"Is the population of the Senate now at 113? Now here's what I mean: Are the House managers getting a disproportionate voice in how you should proceed?"
- MSNBC's Brian Williams to Democratic Senator John Kerry during live coverage in the afternoon, January 25.


Canonize St. William Clinton?

"One thing I can't figure is how did this guy thrive so much in adversity. I mean, if they indicted him now, he'd be canonized for God's sake."
- Geraldo Rivera to former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, January 20 Upfront Tonight.


Republicans Remind One of Nazis

"As she watches Republicans in Congress push ahead with impeachment proceedings against President Clinton, Ellen Mendel of Manhattan says she feels the same despair that she did as a girl in Nazi Germany when the efforts of a stubborn group of leaders snowballed, crushing the will of the people. 'It is apparent that the bulldozing campaign by the Republicans will not end,' said Ms. Mendel, a psychotherapist. And in a moment of self-analysis, she added: 'Their efforts are so abusive that I was beginning to feel a sense of discouragement. I have been feeling very isolated.'"
- Opening to a January 25 New York Times story by Ginger Thompson on liberal Manhattanites enraged by the Republican push for removal.

...And/Or Stalinists, So Clinton Should Sue for False Arrest

"Although Jonathan, if the Senate does go ahead with this finding of fact idea after the Republicans argued so strongly against censure, doesn't that make this a show trial? And you might even go as far to suggest, as Lanny Davis almost does, that the President could sue for false arrest if he's not allowed to present a case?"
- MSNBC host John Hockenberry on his show to law professor Jonathan Turley, January 27.

"But 'uniquely stupid' is not the word I would describe this process. It's Stalinist. It seems as though its gone on behind closed doors. Everything is according to a script. It's just arcane and impenetrable in the extreme and it has nothing to do with what we would consider normal fairness and trial procedure to be."
- Hockenberry to Turley after he asserted that the process can be constitutional while allowing for stupid actions, January 28.


Clinton, Soaring Internet Stock

"They're just tickled pink down here. The polls show the President went up in every respect after the [State of the Union] speech last night. You know, I've talked to one [White House] staff member who said, 'We worry. He never worries. He just always pulls it through' and I noticed in the paper there was a cartoon this morning comparing President Clinton to one of these great Internet stocks, one of these dot-coms that just go way up despite the fact that there may be no value there. That's what his critics say about him, and he just says 'yeah, yeah' and it goes up. The public loves it. They loved him last night and down here they're ecstatic."
- Sam Donaldson on Good Morning America, January 20.


Clinton on Pope's "Lofty Plane"?

"If there was any doubt that by virtue of his position, Clinton occupied as lofty a plane as the Pope on Tuesday or that the Pope, by virtue of being human, had some of the same needs as Clinton it was erased by the sign marking a restroom near their meeting room: ' President or Holy Father Only,' it read."
- Last sentence of a January 27 New York Times story by reporter James Bennet on Clintons St. Louis visit with the Pope.


Mills Rebuffed Racist Republicans

"Her [White House lawyer Cheryl Mills] rhetoric wasn't fancy, but it was on target. The G.O.P. is a party, after all, that owes its post-Barry Goldwater resurgence to opposition to civil rights. And while its leaders from time to time proclaim their belief in racial justice, their pledges have been mostly lip service. They're too genteel for a sheet-wearing bigot like David Duke but all too willing to embrace bigotry if it's dressed in a suit and tie. Mills, 33, is just the sort of hard-nosed advocate to drag such hypocrisy to the surface."
- Time's Jack E. White, February 1 "Dividing Line" column.


"America's Business" On Hold

"The Republican leadership has decided, and spoken....They want the calling of witnesses and the lengthening out of the process. This is where the matter now stands. Questions such as what to do about Social Security, improving the nation's schools, and the drug menace among America's youth basically are on hold. So is what to do about threats to health of the U.S. economy by what is happening in Asia and Brazil; the threats to U.S. security posed by Iraq, Iran, and North Korea; and the peril represented by a collapsing Russia and an emerging China all important parts of the people's business all remain pretty much on hold, while the trial drags on."
- January 25 "Dan Rathers Notebook" radio commentary posted on the CBS News Web page.


"Secret Clique" of Conservatives

"This time last year, Hillary Rodham Clinton described, in a now-famous appearance on the NBC News program Today, how a 'vast right-wing conspiracy' was trying to destroy her husband's presidency. As it turns out, some of the most serious damage to Bill Clinton's presidency came not from his high-profile political enemies but from a small secret clique of lawyers in their 30's who share a deep antipathy toward the President, according to nearly two dozen interviews and recently filed court documents."
- Opening of a front page New York Times story on January 24 by Don Van Natta Jr. and Jill Abramson.


Thank Heaven for Dan Quayle and His "Backward Remarks"

"Yes, in a campaign that promises us such brilliant but boring candidates as Bill Bradley and Al Gore, the return of Dan Quayle can only be seen as a plus. And it would appear he's off to a good start. In a recent fundraising letter, he wrote, 'I have ordered my staff to never, ever, utter the words "compassionate conservative." This silly and insulting nothing more than a code for surrendering our values and principles.' That's a dirty word, all right, compassion. God forbid the GOP should ever be connected with such an atrocious idea. The great thing about Quayle is that he never backpedals on his backward remarks. Or in his words, 'I stand by all the misstatements that Ive made.'"
- ABC News Los Angeles-based reporter Judy Muller in her weekly column on the Web page, January 25.


Bipartisanship: Republicans Do What Democrats Want

"Republicans Seem Poised to Call Witnesses, Risk Bipartisan Spirit."
- Headline over a January 27 Washington Post "analysis" piece by Eric Pianin.


GOP Response: Out of Date

"The Republicans are forced back on the issues they were touting in the '80s: tax cuts, Star Wars, opposition to abortion. It wasn't really a forward-looking proposal."
- Newsweek's Howard Fineman on MSNBC after the Republican response, January 19.


Not the Best Wording

"This is quite a blow to the White House...."
- NBC reporter John Palmer opening a January 23 Nightly News story on White House reaction to the news Monica Lewinsky would be interviewed by House managers.