Notable Quotables - 02/22/1999

Get Rid of the House Managers

"I can't think of anything that would be better for the American Republic than to see some of the Republicans who brought this bogus, inflated case and have put the country through all this turmoil for the last, almost a year than for them to be sent packing and to be replaced by someone who can put this in somewhat better perspective."
- Time national correspondent Jack E. White on MSNBC's McLaughlin Special Report, February 10.


Northeastern Liberals: In Touch

"The Republican managers pushed a case that was bogus from the beginning. It should have been a vote of censure in the House and be done with it. And look at the defectors, the Republican defectors in the Senate: Northeastern Republicans. That's the aspect of the party that's still in touch with the people."
- Newsweeks Eleanor Clift, February 13 McLaughlin Group.


Admiring the Liars...

"It was a weak obstruction of justice case for a couple of reasons. I think the biggest reason was the three principals involved in it - Clinton and Monica and Vernon Jordan - are pros, they know how to cover-up so there was never any, they didn't have to do any explicit 'now young lady, you have to lie.' Monica's a savvy gal. She knows how to lie when the time is right. Clinton's been doing it all his life. And Vernon is a terrific lawyer who knew exactly how not to get himself into trouble. And with those three principals involved you were never going to pin a case on them."
- Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas, February 13 Inside Washington.

"In a grand jury appearance last March, he [Vernon Jordan] testified that Lewinsky told him she did not have sex with the President, though he added he purposely did not press her for details, saying, 'I thought I'd heard enough.'

"His friends would say that's classic Vernon Jordan: smart, careful, always ahead of the game. He's a dazzling contradiction, a man who can charm an entire room and never give away his secrets, a man who fixes other people's problems and never seems to break a sweat over his own....Vernon Jordan, grandson of an African-American sharecropper, the only black man in his class at DePaul University, went from tending bar at an all-white club for lawyers, to become himself one of the most influential lawyers in America...."
- Good Morning America co-host Diane Sawyer, February 2.


...Hating the Truth-Tellers

"From Linda Tripp tattling on her pal Lewinsky to Hitchens ratting out his buddy Blumenthal to former Clinton aides George Stephanopoulos and Dick Morris taking pot shots at their ex-boss and cutting million-dollar book deals to tell all, the capital seems a colder place."
- U.S. News & World Report writer Franklin Foer on the scandal's losers, February 22 issue.


Anti-Democratic Republicans

CBS News analyst and U.S. News writer Gloria Borger: "All along you've seen the polls, the public has said well, don't remove him from office, but give him some kind of reprimand. Why cant you folks agree in a bipartisan way to do something, to reprimand this guy and they just couldn't get there....but essentially the Republicans were saying we're voting to convict and that's enough and we don't want to appear to be piling on, which was kind of strange reasoning."
Tom Friedman, New York Times: "Too late to be piling on."
Borger: "Right, and it's unconstitutional, and as Republicans why would they want to do anything the public wanted them to do? This would be a first."
- Exchange on PBS's Washington Week in Review, February 12.


Hugh's Glandular Thing

"I think it is fair to say in a case like this where a powerful man who is an astute politician, obviously intelligent, but who is driven to take risks. There is no doubt about that, not politically, he is very careful about that. But this is a glandular thing, really, with a lot of men and we all probably suffer from it to a certain, more or less extent that can eclipse one's rational faculties for a time, and I am sure that is what happened. It wasn't like he did something dumb or that he was venal about it so much as he was just driven, and his wife sees fit to forgive him for it. I don't know why the nation wouldn't forgive him."
- ABC 20/20 co-anchor Hugh Downs during a February 2 discussion on CNN's Larry King Live.


"Horrible" FNC Fed the Right

"Fox News Channel. The home of sludge-master Matt Drudge is horrible, but impressive ratings increases prove it has found its audience: viewers who have no concerns about journalistic standards. If the drive to impeach was kept alive by the right-wing Republican base, then Fox may be able to claim credit for keeping that base agitated by feeding it scandal stories everyday, even when nothing was happening."
- USA Today TV reviewer Robert Bianco, February 15.


Racist Managers, Honest Clinton

"Don't you think 13 guys, all of whom, you know, are not noted for any contribution to civil rights. I'm talking about the House managers. All of whom are born-again, all of whom are right-to-lifers, all of whom are you know, anti-immigration, pro-English Only, etc, etc, don't you think that when that face is presented, isn't that one of the reasons the majority, the vast majority of the American people support the President? When they look at the people prosecuting, some say persecuting him, and say, wait a second, those people wouldn't even let me into their home or their neighborhood or to work along side them?"
- NBC's Geraldo Rivera, February 2 Rivera Live on CNBC.

"I, you know, wasn't particularly a fan one way or the other of his [Clinton], until I became maybe his most ardent television defender. That's because I was offended by this case against him. But he seems to be a guy who is honest in every other aspect of his life but his sex life. He seems to be, you know that's where his problem is."
- Rivera, February 9 Rivera Live.


Managers Lack Good Breeding

"It is indicative of the House managers that they have consistently asked for too much and ended up with too little. They probably ought to have asked for just two counts and limited it to the perjury. They now come over here and they lay out a case in a manner that is so selective that it allows them to be blown up like, as my husband, my wonderful late husband used to say, like 'gone goslings,' and it's, I don't think it's just a mismatch between good lawyers and less good lawyers. This isn't just a matter of quality of breeding so to speak. It's a matter over bad judgment, overstating your case."
- NPR's Nina Totenberg, February 6 Inside Washington.


More Trial? Terrifying Nightmare

ABC legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin: "I don't think there are going to be any surprises, any new information. But the interesting point to keep in mind is that this may not be the final chapter. Kenneth Starr is still investigating. He is weighing whether to indict President Clinton on these facts, so it is worth keeping in mind whether an actual jury, not a Senate jury, may yet hear the same evidence."
Peter Jennings: "But just so that you don't terrify people altogether, Jeffrey, this is going to be the last of the Senate impeachment trial this week as far as we know."
Toobin: "That's right. This national nightmare is over. We'll see if there's another one."
- ABC News live coverage of final arguments, February 8.


Using Newt's Vindication to Take Pot Shots at Starr

"NEWT GINGRICH. IRS says foundation that gave him money was clean; message to Ken Starr: quitters win."
- February 15 Time "Winners & Losers" item.


Heckler: The Voice of the People, the Hero of Monicagate

"Good evening. We begin tonight with the voice of the people heard from the Senate gallery today during yet another procedural vote at the President's impeachment trial...'God almighty,' the man said, 'take the vote and get it over with.' He was arrested. That's him in the beard, slightly balding, on the right. He may think it was worth it, speaking as he does for so many Americans, whether they believe the President should be convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice or not. The best that we can say tonight is they are getting there."
- Peter Jennings, February 4 World News Tonight.

"You know who the hero of this whole thing is, it's that guy, what was his name, Richard Llamas, the guy who stood up in the Senate gallery last week and said, 'Good God vote and get over with this, will you.' If they had stretched this out for another two or three weeks, which if they would have had the kind of witnesses Bob [Novak] wanted to have, I want to tell you something, I think the people may have stormed the United States Capitol."
- Wall Street Journal Executive Washington Editor Al Hunt on a special edition of CNN's Capital Gang, February 11.


Monica, Part of an Anti-Climax?

"The very reality of her was more of a relief and revelation than anything she had to say. And that her long-awaited, much feared, out-of-body performance on the Senate floor should have been more anti-climax than denouement was the greatest justice of all."
- Time's Nancy Gibbs on Lewinskys video testimony, Feb. 15.


His Sixth Wife Got His Brain

"What-if department...What if President Clinton announced a cure for cancer developed by the National Institutes of Health? What would critics say? Would Bob Barr want him impeached for failing to tell us the study was going on? Would Rush Limbaugh decry the President taking credit while admitting getting rid of cancer wasn't a bad thing? Would Pat Buchanan insist that no nation other than America be given it? Would The Wall Street Journal worry about its effect on pharmaceutical stock prices? And so it goes...."
- CNN's Larry King in his USA Today column, February 15.