Notable Quotables - 02/10/1997


Remember Those Prosperous, Tranquil Carter Years?

"They [journalists] have tended to write bad scripts, at least at first, for those Presidents who presided in moments of prosperity and tranquility and kept them that way. Cases in point: George Bush, Jimmy Carter, Dwight Eisenhower, William Howard Taft, and Martin Van Buren."
- Time columnist Hugh Sidey in a February 10 piece on how Clinton may become a forgettable President like Rutherford Hayes.


Editorials on the Front Page

"Like an ominous storm blown in from the East, the reality of welfare reform has descended with relentless and unsparing force on thousands of families like that of [Yvonne] Parris who begin the new year today with less cash to live on and the prospect of a welter of new rules aimed at restricting their access to government aid....Many who are against the cuts argue that the welfare overhaul does little to address the fundamental causes of poverty, but is instead based on long-standing myths and prejudices."
- Los Angeles Times reporters Carla Rivera and Hector Tobar in a front-page news story, January 1.


Aren't the Kids Worth More Taxes?

"Governor Shaheen, you've said that you want kindergarten available for every child in your state. And you're proposing to finance it with higher cigarette taxes and more gambling in the state. I guess you have to do that because you've locked yourself away from calling for any sales tax or income tax in New Hampshire. Are the kids not worth having a sales tax or an income tax?"
- Washington Post reporter David Broder to New Hampshire Democratic Governor Jeanne Shaheen, February 2 Meet the Press.


Cuomo, Crowley & Kennedy

CNN reporter Candy Crowley: "And the hearing on Andrew Cuomo's nomination as Housing Secretary was practically breathless."
Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.): "This is a sterling choice by the President."
Sen. Lauch Faircloth (R-N.C.): "You have, certainly have an impressive record and an impressive group of friends."
Crowley: "It should all be so easy."
- January 22 Inside Politics.


"Senate confirmation for two of President Clinton's other Cabinet appointees may not be so easy. Housing Secretary nominee Andrew Cuomo was grilled for three hours on the state of Housing and Urban Development. The Department is under congressional fire for alleged inefficiency and wastefulness."
- CNN The World Today anchor Kathleen Kennedy, same night.

The Most Trusted Comrade in America

"I thought that we Americans overreacted to the Soviets and the news coverage sometimes seemed to accentuate that misdirected concern. Fear of the Soviet Union taking over the world just seemed as likely to me as invaders from Mars. Well, perhaps I was naive, but I'd seen those May Day parades and Soviet bread lines and miserable conditions hidden behind them. That war-devastated country didn't seem that threatening to me...The nuclear arms race was on in earnest. All the anti-Soviet paranoia that had been festering since the war really blew up then. A Soviet bomb was seen as an assault on us. But I saw it as part of their pursuit of nuclear equality. After all, what should we expect, that our enemy's just going to sit still there and not try to develop the bomb?"
- Walter Cronkite on the year 1948 in Part 3 of the Discovery Channel's Cronkite Remembers, January 16.


The President Humbly Accepts Our Flaws!

"As he begins his second term you may lament that President Clinton leaves little eloquence. But in an age of focus groups and consultants saying, 'Keep it short. Don't take sides,' few politicians do. He faces personal charges about his conduct in a motel bedroom. And ethical allegations about opening the Lincoln bedroom to the highest contributor. But you come back to the fact that if Bill Clinton isn't always trusted he has twice been entrusted by the largest responsibility we have to bestow by voters who can have few illusions. Instead they seem to trust that as President Clinton displays his own excesses and frailties he forgives and accepts ours, too."
- NPR weekend anchor Scott Simon, January 19 NBC Today.


Can We Afford to Wait for President Gore?

"Still their shared needs and mutual admiration cover an essential difference between the two men. Both think deep thoughts about saving the world, but they approach the task quite differently. Clinton is often roundabout, if not waffling. Gore is a plunger who thinks and acts in a straight line. Because Gore has been a reserved politician, his sometimes messianic zeal has been overlooked. The Vice President has written that his call to save the environment began with the shock of a near-fatal car accident to his son, Albert III. Characteristically, Gore felt it wasn't enough to save one child; he wanted to save all the world's children. By the same token, he has said privately that his absorption with arms control in the 1980s began with dreams that he could not rescue his family from nuclear war."
- Newsweek's Evan Thomas, January 27.

People Are Too Stupid to Invest for Their Own Retirement

"It's one thing for someone like me, who makes a very good living, to bet on the stock market. I can afford to lose. But betting the federal budget on stocks is madness. And forcing millions of people who don't know stocks from smocks to let the market determine whether their retirement dinners will consist of cat food or caviar doesn't seem like the way we should treat people."
- Newsweek Wall Street Editor Allan Sloan, January 20.


What Bias? Who Cares?

"What were we going to do differently? Pretend that it wasn't static? Take up the slack for Dole? And we certainly can't do anything about the perception that we're too liberal. I thought David Brinkley (in his on- air anti-Clinton diatribe) struck a pretty good blow against the feeling that all reporters are liberal Democrats, but it doesn't seem to have changed anything. The truth is that I don't care anymore."
- ABC News political editor Hal Bruno quoted in the January Dateline, the newsletter of the D.C. chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (Parenthetical addition theirs).

"Although the experience and independence of Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, Dan Rather, and Ted Koppel would give their opinions a lot more weight than those of any politician, they still observe the disciplines of their craft. Their on-air analyses plumb the views and prejudices of others without parading their own."
- Former New York Times Executive Editor Max Frankel deploring ABC's hiring of George Stephanopoulos, January 19 New York Times Magazine.

"I was about to say that if you want to talk about bias, go ask President Clinton where the bias lies. As you know, the White House just issued this big huge study, they called it, of how the mainline media is sucked in by the right-wing conspiratorialists. My point is that everybody who watches television brings their own biases to it, and if what you're watching doesn't please you, then you think we're biased. Everybody dislikes the messenger. Everybody complains about us, right wing, left wing, Democrats, Republicans. They all pound on us. They all think we're unfair to them if we're telling them things they don't want to hear. And we do the best we can. We try to be fair."
- CBS 60 Minutes reporter Lesley Stahl on C-SPAN's Washington Journal, January 31.


That's the Declaration of Independence, Science Boy

"For Americans, 'the pursuit of happiness' is not just a slogan. It's written into our Bill of Rights. But what exactly is happiness?"
- ABC science reporter Michael Guillen on Good Morning America, January 21.


- L. Brent Bozell, Publisher; Brent H . Baker, Tim Graham; Editors
- Geoffrey Dickens, Gene Eliasen, Jim Forbes, Steve Kaminski, Clay Waters; Media Analysts
- Kathy Ruff, Marketing Director; Carey Evans, Circulation Manager; Brian Schmisek,Intern