Notable Quotables - 07/07/2003

Just a Measly $400,000,000,000

Dan Rather: "Millions of seniors are now expecting President Bush and Congress to deliver on promises of some prescription drug coverage under Medicare. Lawmakers are still working out details, but as CBS's Joie Chen reports, the plan may wind up falling far short of what Medicare recipients were hoping for."
Joie Chen: "When you start to look at coverage levels, youll see whats referred to as the 'doughnut hole' that's the point at which there's no coverage. Participants would have to pay the entire cost of their prescriptions before they reach the level of catastrophic expense when the plan would pay for most of the drug costs....So why is there a doughnut hole at all? Well, with only $400 billion to spend, there just isn't enough money to fix it."
-CBS Evening News, June 24.


Upset by People Buying Own Pills

"Let me ask you about this doughnut hole in coverage....If I'm a senior and I'm paying my, my monthly, you know, premium, why should I have to then fork over all the money during that, that gap period?"
-NBC's Matt Lauer questioning Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist on Today, June 26.


Gov't Handouts Not Big Enough

"The AARP argues the plan in Congress, backed by President Bush, will short-change seniors....The government will only pay for half of drug costs up to $4500, and then there's a huge gap: no coverage until drug costs exceed $5800....Why such a big gap in coverage? Because the $400 billion Congress budgeted only goes so far....Some Democrats charge the recent tax cuts killed off any hope of closing the benefit gap."
-Norah O'Donnell on the June 23 NBC Nightly News.

Dean Reynolds: "In his weekly radio address, President Bush urged congressional leaders to quickly settle their differences on Medicare reform. The Senate and the House passed Medicare bills this week. Both would help seniors pay for prescription drugs, but many seniors doubt the help will be enough. Bob Jamieson has more."
Bob Jamieson: "The prescription drug plans passed by the House and Senate were not what they expected at the Levy Senior Center in Evanston, Illinois. Seventy-two-year-old Marjorie June, who spends $3000 a year on prescriptions, expected more help."
-ABC's World News Tonight/Saturday, June 28.

Teddy's Helping the Wrong Side

"Earlier today, Senator Edward Kennedy gave me his views of the issues involved. And I began by asking him about his signing off on a [Medicare] plan that would leave some seniors with less drug coverage than they need and whether he undercut those seniors and some of his own Democratic allies...."
"Let me ask you, though, about the politics of this. At a time when the Democrats are trying mightily to carve out distinct positions for themselves against a very popular Republican President, in effect, what you have done is helped a Republican President take a very controversial issue off the table."
-CNN's Judy Woodruff on Inside Politics, June 18.

"I sat down with New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton about a wide range of issues yesterday, including the White House-backed Medicare reform bill. Senator Clinton opposed the measure. She says it doesn't go far enough. Senator Edward Kennedy, however, decided to support the bill - he was a leading supporter - and I asked Senator Clinton if she thinks Kennedy made a mistake."
-Woodruff on the June 27 Inside Politics.


Solution Is in Taxpayers' Wallets

Aaron Brown: "Is it inherently a shakedown? I mean, it's a kind of subtle shakedown, and in some cases, by the way, not so subtle....There's nothing new about this. Big money has been driving campaigns for a long time. We spend years talking about campaign finance reform, which may or may not survive court challenge....Here's an easy solution to all of this - I so rarely come up with a solution to anything. Let's just publicly fund the campaigns. Let's use tax dollars."
Arianna Huffington: "I'm all in favor of that...."
-Discussion of President Bush's campaign fundraising on the June 25 edition of CNN's NewsNight.


"Us Guilty Liberals" in the Press

"In some ways, affirmative action is a diversion and a distraction. For one thing, it only affects people applying to about a hundred schools. It doesn't affect most black African-Americans or most whites. So it's a bit of a sideshow that assuages us guilty liberals."
-Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas discussing the Supreme Court's ruling on the University of Michigan's admissions policies, on Inside Washington, June 28.


"Flat Earth" Stance on Warming

Dan Rather: "President Bush has been criticized at home and abroad for pulling out of the international treaty to curb global warming, the Kyoto Treaty. Now, CBS's John Roberts reports, conservationists, environmentalists and some others are taking the President to task for what they say was the cynical changing of a major report on global warming. They say it was altered to put hardball partisan politics over hard independent science."
John Roberts: "Gagged and angry, environmentalists today denounced the Bush administration for censoring the scientific evidence on global warming."
-CBS Evening News, June 19.

"The flap over this new report gives new ammunition to administration critics, both here and abroad, who contend the President has ignored the threat of global warming to appease corporate polluters opposed to more environmental regulation."
-NBC's David Gregory on the June 19 Nightly News.

"Once upon a time, a scientist named Galileo said the Earth was round, and the political leaders of the time said, 'No, no, Galileo its flat,' and Galileo got life under house arrest for his little theory. Today, the vast majority of scientists will tell you the Earth is getting warmer and most would agree that industry is at least in part to blame. So far nobody's gone to jail for saying that, which doesn't mean the idea isn't squarely at the center of a political dust up - and not an insignificant one at that because, if the charges leveled against the White House are true, an important environmental question is being twisted or ignored for the sake of politics."
-CNN's Aaron Brown on NewsNight, June 19. Galileo was born 40 years after Magellan proved the world was round; he was actually punished by the Catholic church for saying the Earth revolves around the sun.


Gov. Lester Maddox, ?-GA

"[In the 1966 Georgia gubernatorial election], no candidate had a majority, and the state legislature chose [Lester] Maddox. Martin Luther King said it made him ashamed to be a Georgian....Maddox, the arch-segregationist, will also be remembered for appointing many blacks to state government, but he always believed in segregation. He also disliked drinking, smoking, liberals and the press. At the restaurant he sold axe handles as a symbol of defiance. They were unhappy days in Georgia. Mr. Maddox was 87."
-Peter Jennings on the June 25 World News Tonight. His lengthy obituary of the segregationist former Governor of Georgia never mentioned Maddox was a Democrat.


Ferocious Extremists vs. Equality

"Initial reactions to the opinion were swift and predictable. Those in favor of gay rights considered the opinion a triumph....While on talk radio conservatives called the decision a travesty....Gays and lesbians are clearly encouraged, but given some of the ferocious language on the other side, full equality may be a good ways off."
-ABC's Cynthia McFadden reporting on the Supreme Court's rejection of a Texas law against sodomy, World News Tonight, June 26.

Roger O'Neill: "From Main Street to Wall Street, the Supreme Court's two big decisions this week leave regular Americans with plenty to ponder....On the extremes, talk show host Rush Limbaugh lambasting the Court, agreeing with Justice Antonin Scalia's dissenting opinion that the Court has taken sides with gays in America's cultural wars."
Rush Limbaugh (from show): "I don't understand why the Supreme Court can decide. It's a cultural question and the people of Texas are the ones who decide this, not us."
-NBC Nightly News, June 26.


Rationalizing Lawlessness

"Once again in America, the smoldering ash of race and rage ignited...Onlookers cheered as police officers were pelted with rocks and bottles. Community leaders say this is not just about one death, but rather years of violent confrontations between police and citizens, high unemployment and even higher crime....If nothing else, Benton Harbor, Michigan may be a reminder: America is still at war of sorts, at home and abroad."
-CBS's Byron Pitts in a June 18 Evening News story detailing riots which followed the death of a suspect who wrecked his motorcycle while being chased by police.


It's Always Good to Raise Taxes

"It seems to me that instead of cutting taxes, we ought to be increasing the taxes to pay off the deficit, rather than let that thing build up to the point where our grandchildren's grandchildren are going to be paying for our period of time and our years at the helm."
-Former CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite on CNNs NewsNight with Aaron Brown, June 18.


Peter, the Canadian Crane Brother

"So it seems I've been playing the same effete, pompous character on television for 20 years. And I know what you're thinking: Wow, Peter Jennings looks terrible!"
-Actor Kelsey Grammer, who played the snobby "Frasier Crane" on Cheers and Frasier, guest hosting CBSs Late Show with David Letterman on June 20.