Notable Quotables - 08/06/2001


Bill Clinton, "Honorary Homeboy"

"This is the latest installment of the Clinton story, a chance to re-emerge as the ex-President he really wants to be, but once again it is the tale of two Clintons: the one who loves glamour, the one who wants to make the world a better place....
"This morning no one will remember his first choice for office space was posh West 57th Street, just a couple of doors away from the trendy Russian Tea Room. This morning is a new beginning. After six months of learning how to live like the rest of us, learning that when the Chappaqua basement gets flooded the insurance doesn't cover it, and learning just how to use a normal phone...
"But all the real life is still in sharp contrast to that yearning for glamour: playing pool with Elizabeth Hurley, earning millions for all those speeches, jet-setting first class to the French Open. Today, by public relations design, he becomes an honorary homeboy."
- ABC's Robin Roberts in Harlem for the opening of Bill Clinton's office, July 30 Good Morning America.


Soaking Up the Love

"Now, the return of the Prodigal Son. The, you know, the man who left office disgraced, burdened down by at least three major scandals that I can think of, got a hero's welcome today, and I couldn't be happier....After impeachment, after Pardongate, after the fake stories about their pilfering of the White House, Bill Clinton's appearance today in Harlem must have been the feel good event of the season for the former President, and he soaked up the sunshine and love."
- Geraldo Rivera discussing Bill Clinton's "heroic re-emergence" at the opening of his new Harlem offices, on CNBC's Rivera Live, July 30.


"Like Glimpsing Churchill"

"Five months into the Great Electricity Crisis of 2001, the aura of impending disaster is receding, at least for now, from Sacramento and the rest of the Golden State. To be sure, [California Governor Gray] Davis still keeps the lights low and the air conditioning tepid in his capital offices, and when I saw him there it was like glimpsing Churchill in Whitehall during the blitz....In a way, the energy crisis is a blessing for a man such as this: a dramatic event that imperiled everyone in the nation's largest state and that called for a detail freak with an iron butt."
- Howard Fineman's July 25 "Living Politics" column, posted in the Newsweek section of MSNBC's Web site.


Harder For Which Side?

"In front of reporters, the Pontiff called the creation of embryos for research a symbol of a, quote, 'tragic coarsening of consciences'....Determining the right thing to do on stem cell research has not been so easy for Mr. Bush, and today the Pope only made it harder."
- NBC's David Gregory on the July 23 Nightly News.


Cheering Embryo Destruction

Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas: "Yeah, I cheered when I saw that [GOP Senator Bill Frist's proposal allowing federal funding of embryonic stem cell research under certain guidelines]. I mean, it took some guts because he'll take some political heat for it, but he knows that he's the pivot guy. I sort of secretly hoped that the White House put him out there to have him run up a trial balloon. I don't know that, but anything is possible."
NPR reporter Nina Totenberg: "I also think it's probably a very important event, and it's important that we not do the opposite, that we not sort of let 'know-nothingism' dominate our federally-funded science...."
- Exchange on Inside Washington, July 21.


"Conservative" Arlen Specter

"Adding yet another twist to the President's dilemma, even conservative Senators from his own party are urging him to support stem cell research."
- CBS's Sharyl Attkisson's voice-over of video of Republican Senator Arlen Specter, who has a lifetime conservative rating of only 41 percent from the American Conservative Union, on the July 22 Evening News.

Overdue Crackdown on SUVs

"It's been years since the U.S. government last set fuel efficiency standards for American automobiles, but that could soon change. With America's highways bumper to bumper in gas-guzzling SUVs, President Bush is about to get a recommendation from a federal advisory panel that cars and light trucks get more miles per gallon of gasoline."
- Dan Rather on the July 17 CBS Evening News.

"With increasing numbers of Americans telling opinion pollsters the President needs to get tougher on environmental protection, tonight the White House may have its chance. The President soon has to decide whether or not to toughen fuel mileage standards for those popular and thirsty SUVs on the road, but it may not be that easy."
- Brian Williams on the July 17 NBC Nightly News.

CBS's "Dumb-Ass" Anchorman

"Look, we've made mistakes in the past. Somebody wrote in the paper the other day that I was, quote, 'boneheaded.' Well, of course, it's a matter of record I'm boneheaded, said, 'well, this is bizarre.' Well, of course I'm bizarre, you know, we've known that for a long time...Somebody, I don't know if he put it exactly this way, but he said, 'well, you know, it's a dumb-ass thing he's doing.' Well, you know, I've been a dumb-ass all my life."
- Dan Rather on the Imus in the Morning radio program, simulcast on MSNBC, July 19, discussing his refusal to broadcast news about the scandal surrounding Democratic Congressman Gary Condit until his weekday CBS Evening News aired a single story on July 18.

Don Imus: "Bernard Goldberg, your former colleague, in The Wall Street Journal the other day said that you possess a liberal bias that you're even unaware of. What did you think of that? Well, first of all, do you? And second of all, what do you think of his comment?"
Dan Rather: "Do I what?"
Imus: "Possess a liberal bias."
Rather: "No, I don't think so, but other people have to judge that and, you know, he's entitled to his opinion, and that's, you know, I'm in favor of strong defense, tight money, and clean water. I don't know what that makes me. Whatever that makes me, that's what I am. But people are going to take those shots. When you're on television every night, people are going to take those shots."
- Exchange later on the same program.


Gorbachev Changed the World

"For this reporter the enduring memory of Katharine Graham as newswoman will be the interview a group of us had with Mikhail Gorbachev in 1988....When we walked into Gorbachev's office, Katharine Graham was beautifully coiffed and nervous as a schoolgirl (as was I). But she looked him straight in the eye and asked the long-planned first question, then followed up. We had a fascinating conversation with the man who changed the modern world."
- Washington Post senior correspondent and former Managing Editor Robert Kaiser, in a July 17 Style section tribute, "The Storied Mrs. Graham."


Uncle Sam Must Save Us From Killer Roller Coasters

"More trouble at the nation's amusement parks, two dozen people injured. Why won't Congress let the government regulate those parks?"
- ABC's Elizabeth Vargas, previewing an upcoming story on the July 31 World News Tonight.


Contemptuous Isolationism

"The New York Times in an editorial this morning makes the point that the United States just seems to be either withdrawing or showing no interest in any number of treaties that have been negotiated in recent years - the Kyoto treaty, the ABM treaty, watering down the UN agreement to resolve illegal trafficking in drugs, the non-proliferation treaty. Are you concerned that this is going to leave the United States looking as if it is somehow contemptuous of the work that has gone before and that we are somehow sort of an isolationist country that's willing to go it alone no matter what the other countries of the world think?"
- Bob Schieffer to National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice on CBS's Face the Nation, July 29.


Roger Ebert, Foreign Policy Whiz

"George W. Bush was so indifferent to the world that in the years before he became President he made only two overseas trips, both for business, neither for curiosity. No wonder he wants to break the missile treaty, alienate NATO, ignore global warming and reinstall Russia and China as enemies: Those foreign countries scarcely exist in his imagination. Why go to Australia when you have the Outback Steakhouse right here at home?"
- Movie reviewer Roger Ebert in a July 24 Chicago Sun-Times op-ed.


Watermelon Fruit Roll-Ups-Gate!

"When are blueberries and strawberries not berries at all? When they're in oatmeal made with figs dyed blue and apples dyed red. Label watchdogs claim Americans are being tricked by processed-food makers selling cheaper flavors....The Center for Science in the Public Interest, self-described food police, an independent, non-profit research organization, today petitioned the federal government to crack down on what it calls deceptive advertising - bold front panel sales pitches about flavor with actual ingredients listed only in the fine print, like watermelon 'Fruit Roll-Ups' made with pears but no watermelon."
- NBC's Jim Avila on the July 26 Nightly News.

Non-Partisan Clintonista

Diane Sawyer: "Watching you and watching you cover the news over the past year, you are so much about passion for politics, and it doesn't matter to you, I mean - I really mean this."
George Stephanopoulos: "Thank you."
Sawyer: "You've been completely non-partisan in covering the news."
- Exchange on ABC's Good Morning America, July 24.