Notable Quotables - 07/13/1998

A Blow for Feminist Justice

"I'd be happy to give him [oral sex] just to thank him for keeping abortion legal."
- Time contributor and former White House reporter Nina Burleigh on Bill Clinton, as quoted by the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz, July 6. [Brackets in the Post].


Linda Tripp, the Evil Empress

"They [Linda Tripp and Lucianne Goldberg] wanted to make money on a book but once push came to shove they were perfectly willing to sacrifice the young former White House intern on the altar of greed, on the altar of hatred for Bill Clinton and his administration and I think they're going to accomplish that at least in the short term. But if it comes to trial Linda Tripp will be facing some severe questioning by Monica Lewinsky's very capable counsel. And my God, a first year law student hearing those tapes will be able to make her look like exactly what she is, a treacherous, back-stabbing, good-for-nothing enemy of the truth."
- Geraldo Rivera on CNBC's Rivera Live, June 26.

"Tripp lost membership in the family of man when day after day she looked into Monica Lewinskys eyes as a friend and at night hit the 'on' button on her Radio Shack tape recorder. No, there's enough about Tripp to criticize without getting to the heart of her darkness. While we are trying to make up our minds about the other characters in the drama, she can safely be cast as a villain - the Mark Fuhrman of the Starr investigation - because of her perfect rendition of the friend from hell."
- Time's Margaret Carlson responding to Jonah Goldberg in a Slate "dialogue" about Linda Tripp, June 30.

Conservatives Want an Enemy

"Bill Clinton himself ran for President in 1992 by bashing China. Even after recognizing the geopolitical need to deal with Beijing his administration remains worried about the domestic political cost, and with some reason: from the religious right denouncing alleged persecution of Chinese Christians, to the anti-abortion lobby opposed to China's family planning program, to human rights activists angered over Beijings treatment of dissidents, to trade protectionists and labor unions worried about the U.S. trade deficit with China, to conservative strategists looking for a post Cold War enemy to replace the Soviet Union, China tainted by Tiananmen has become a powerful political weapon for advancing domestic political agendas in the United States."
- CNN's Mike Chinoy on The World Today, June 26.

No Communism in China

"Various Chinese tell us today that the only people who think China is a communist country now live in Washington. Today in China, for many people, it is really about the pursuit of wealth."
- ABC's Peter Jennings introducing "A Closer Look" segment on the "new China," June 25 World News Tonight.


Geraldo's Daily Homage

"This place is different than any in the United States. It's hard to explain just why the President's decision to come here is so very controversial. Tiananmen is part Bunker Hill, part White House lawn and part Times Square. It's not just the place where they meet and greet visiting dignitaries. Virtually every major political event in Chinese history has echoed off these walls."
- Geraldo Rivera reporting for NBC's Today, June 24.

"And I tell you folks around here they are much more interested in the fate of the Japanese yen than whether or not the President had a yen for a young intern named Monica. Join me tonight, Rivera Live from China."
- Rivera promoting CNBC's Rivera Live, June 24.

"I was thinking if they give him any more airtime he's going to have to register as a pro-democracy dissident." - Rivera recounting joke he told Clinton, June 30 Today.

"Wouldn't it be very easy for the Chinese just to slip back to the pre-Clintonian days where repression was the rule and the airwaves were once again ruled by the state?"

"The President has not merely raised the issue of human rights, he has trumpeted it from virtually every rooftop in the country and yet he's not getting cut any slack back home by the critics right or left."
- Rivera's two questions to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, June 30 Today.


Lesson: Hush Money Isn't Taxable

"A definite political blow for Starr tonight. What the judge said, Peter, plays directly into what the White House's allies have been saying, that this is an over-zealous prosecutor over-reaching in a bid to bring down the President. One of the President's allies told us tonight this further weakens Starr's image as a man of justice."
- ABC's Jackie Judd ending a story on charges dismissed in the Hubbell tax evasion case, July 1 World News Tonight.

Gumbel's Last Gasps

"Whenever the methods of independent counsel Kenneth Starr are attacked someone is bound to claim that his tactics are no different than any other federal prosecutor, as if that's supposed to be comforting. Well, a Public Eye investigation has found that such claims are anything but reassuring. Rita Braver has the troubling story of some John Q. Public encounters with hardball prosecutors."
- CBS's Bryant Gumbel introducing a June 24 Public Eye story.

"Over five months have passed now since those first over-hyped reports alleged a sexual relationship between President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. Although Mr. Clinton has denied it and nothing has been proven, the mere suspicion seems to have obsessed a good number of media people and other Americans. What some view as high scandal in our country, is barely cause for concern elsewhere. Richard Schlesinger takes a look at the French connections." - Gumbel on Public Eye (which is off the fall schedule), July 1.

The Gorbachev of China?

"China understands that if they're going to globalize their economy and be a member of the family of nations, they've got to have rules that are modern and that means a legal system and that means expanding freedoms. I think that Jiang Zemin, the Chinese President, could well be the Gorbachev of China in the sense that he will try at least to preside over this change in a peaceful fashion."
- Newsweek's Eleanor Clift on the McLaughlin Group, July 4.

Face the Cliches

"Senator Ashcroft, let me start with you. Pat Robertson recently gave you $10,000. Is it fair, and will you be comfortable if you become the candidate of the Christian Right? Are you comfortable with that?"

"Mr. Kasich, there's a great controversy now going on amongst Republicans as to whether the Christian Right and pressure from that part of the party is going to drive the party so far to the right that it will be out of the mainstream of American politics. Do you worry about that? Do you see that as a problem?"

"Governor Alexander, it's not so much of people driving candidates one way or another, but are you worried that the Republican Party does seem to be drifting more to the right on social issues right now?"
- CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer questioning likely GOP presidential candidates Sen. John Ashcroft, U.S. Rep. John Kasich and former Tenn. Gov. Lamar Alexander, July 5.

Clinton's Luck or Media's Bias?

"Predictions of dire consequences if he went to Tiananmen Square have turned into widespread Hosannas of praise for President Clinton on the issue of human rights. Murphy's Law says things could still go wrong, but so far the famous Clinton luck, or whatever it is, is holding."
- ABC's Sam Donaldson, June 28 World News Tonight.


The President of the United States walked over the very stones where soldiers fired and students died. For the Chinese the ceremony was a political absolution, paying respects to the army that crushed democracy. The morning began as Mr. Clinton's critics had warned, but in the end he turned the memory of a massacre into a defense of democracy....This was the moment that carried the highest political risk in Mr. Clinton's controversial tour of China. But with his forceful statement in the news conference the President was able to deliver a sharp rebuke to his critics even while standing in Tiananmen Square."
- CBS reporter Scott Pelley, June 27 Evening News.

He Couldn't Be Any Better

"Let me ask you first, what is your response to what you heard and saw of the President in Beijing? You thought the President ought not go to Tiananmen Square. You thought he ought to stand up for human rights. It's hard to see how he could have done much better than he did."
- CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer to U.S. Representative Chris Cox (R-California), June 28.


Lunatics Question Clinton's Quest

"Gingrich and 150 GOP members of the House wrote a letter urging Clinton to cancel the summit until they finish investigating the still-unproven satellite and money investigations. Because Clinton will inevitably be probed until the day he leaves office, that would mean no meetings with the Chinese until 2001. In China, this was viewed by party hacks and dissidents alike as American lunacy. House Republicans would derail U.S.-China relations and raise global tensions just for a chance to stir-fry Clinton politically? Apparently so."
- Newsweek Senior Editor Jonathan Alter, July 6 issue.


Yes, But Not the News He Wanted

"The first story we've got Sunday night is gonna make news, real news, cause it's about a black-ops operation by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War."
- CNN's Jeff Greenfield promoting the discredited NewsStand: CNN &Time nerve gas story, June 5 Imus in the Morning.


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