Notable Quotables - 08/08/1998

Blaming Everyone But the Killer

"My concern with this guy, Weston, is he's a guy talking up this business about the evils of big government and he's a nut case, but this is his rant and I wonder if, you know, in some way the Republicans in this town haven't gone too far with this kind of logic."
-FNC analyst and Washington Post reporter Juan Williams on the Capitol Hill shooting, July 26 Fox News Sunday.

"This generous nation rebuilt its enemies and held the line against communism until communism died. We gave the world lessons in political and economic democracy and free speech and religious tolerance. We dealt with our flaws openly. And yet, as we end this American century, with the sounds of gunfire in our most treasured institutions, we still have so far to go. Just ask the families of officers Jacob Chestnut and John Gibson."
- NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw in end of the show thoughts on the day of the shooting, July 24.

"It is not hard to imagine, in the super-charged, controversial, scandal atmosphere of this country that somebody is angry at the President or anybody in politics in Washington and if not entirely got their feet on the ground, might act out. Is it?"
- MSNBC's John Gibson to security analyst Jeff Beatty, July 24.

"Quickly, we're almost out of time, but it seems to me that money is an issue. That [mental health] funding was cut 25 percent during the Reagan administration. It's gone down ever since. Don't we need to funnel more money into helping these people? The fact that half of the homeless population may be untreated mentally ill is a real tragedy don't you think?"
- Katie Couric to two psychologists, July 29 Today.

Tax Cut = Government Spending

"We're seeing this fascinating flip-flop where the Democrats now take all of the economic arguments Republicans used to give and the Republicans have become the free spending, because a tax cut is another way of talking about spending government money."
- Former New York Times and U.S. News reporter Steve Roberts on CNN's Late Edition, July 26.

"Since 1981 we have increased the national debt five times thanks to the tax cuts." - ABC's Sam Donaldson on This Week, July 26.


Linda Tripp, Wiretapping Witch

"Addressing an ungrateful nation from the courthouse beach, as the grand-jury stakeout is known, and shaking like a leaf, Tripp made a desperate effort to humanize herself as a truth-seeking patriot, a 'suburban mom' protecting her kids. 'Who am I?' she began. 'I'm you,' she answered, 'an average American.' I shouted back at the TV, 'No, you're NOT! Take that back!'"
- Time's Margaret Carlson, August 10 issue.

"Linda Tripp seemed to try to cast herself as a victim in this case, almost an unwilling participant. No mention of those 20 hours of tapes that she surreptitiously recorded with Monica Lewinsky. Is that curious from your perspective?"
- CNN The World Today co-anchor Jim Moret to CNN reporter Bob Franken the night Tripp spoke, July 29.

"Tripp [down arrow]: Says 'I'm you.' We're made-over, illegally-taping, friend-betraying Cruella DeVils?" - Newsweek's Conventional Wisdom Watch, August 10.

"Linda Tripp: She vents, Lucianne crows, Monica sings & Bill squirms. Its The Witches of Eastwick 1998!"
- Time's Winners & Losers feature, August 10.


Clinton Should Stonewall

"I simply do not understand why the President would agree to testify...I would push it to a constitutional showdown for the simple reason: these are unchartered waters. The Supreme Court has never spoken, as to whether a sitting President can be compelled to testify before a federal grand jury. So rather than leave us in sort of a legal limb, why not take it through the court system, let the Supreme Court review all the facts, all the evidence and make a determination whether or not the separation of powers doctrine bars a sitting President from having to answer to the subpoena?"
- CNN legal analyst and co-host of Burden of Proof Greta Van Susteren on The World Today, July 27.

"The mood in Congress is not for impeachment, and the mood in the country is not for impeachment. I would dare Congress to follow the President into the bedroom."
- Time Deputy Washington Bureau Chief Jef McAllister in the August 3 Time Daily.

"Clinton [down arrow]: 'I've done some things Im not proud of'... 'Nah, that won't work. Keep stonewalling.'"
- Newsweek's Conventional Wisdom Watch, August 10.


Clift Will Go Down with the Ship

Newsweek's Eleanor Clift: "If he told the truth the first time he should stick with it. If he's got adjustments to make, nows the time."
John McLaughlin:"So you think, you think that he will leave things the way they are because it is your feeling that he told the truth, right?"
Clift: "My feeling is that he told the truth and I know on this set there is an entire presumption of guilt. Read the words carefully. What did he admit to? Read the words carefully. What did he admit to?...At worst, this is lying about sex and the American people approach this with a great deal of common sense and they don't want to see it persecuted to the extent it's being persecuted."
- Exchange from The McLaughlin Group, July 25.


Thomas: Slave to the White Right

"Well, he has it right that he has that right to depart from what is considered to be the black mainstream in a way of thinking - that's fine. We're the first to agree with that. I would champion him on that. What is, the reason the people oppose him is that because that thinking is wrong, and thats why. And we expected a black Supreme Court judge to be more sensitive to the right way of thinking than he turned out to be. It's not that he doesn't have the right to do it, and he is a black man, a man in America, as he says. But he's not just any black man in America. He's someone who has the power to force his ideas and his way of thinking upon the rest of us. He's a life-altering black American man."
- Gannett News Service reporter Deborah Mathis on Clarence Thomas's speech to black lawyers, August 1 Inside Washington.

"Instead of discussing the work of the court or his judicial philosophy, Thomas spent half an hour lambasting the big, bad bullies in the liberal, pro-affirmative action camp for trying to make him an 'intellectual slave.' And you thought Johnnie Cochran, who happened to be in the audience, was a master of playing the race card!...

"The question never has been who Thomas is, but what he has done and how he got into a position to do it. Those are matters Thomas declines to explore, for a very good reason: he may not consider himself an intellectual slave, but he has been lavishly rewarded for serving a particular political master. He has never made a serious attempt to engage his black opponents in a serious debate about his ideas. He owes his meteoric rise exclusively to the patronage of conservative white Republicans with little interest in racial equality."
- Time National Correspondent Jack E. White in a piece subtitled "Clarence Thomas has a master: the right wing," August 10.


Any Tragedy Can Be Exploited

"Finally today, guns don't kill people, people kill people. That little slogan from the gun lobby kept running through my mind when I heard that those Capitol policemen had died. It made me wonder what might have happened if the deranged man who shot them had walked into the Capitol with another kind of weapon, say a baseball bat, or a hammer, or even a knife. My guess is not much would have happened....

"Maybe it's not guns that kill people, but in this case, it's hard to see how a deranged neer-do-well could have killed two police officers and wounded a bystander without a gun. Already there's talk, you heard it here this morning, about more security for the Capitol. But if we face up to the hard fact that there are a lot of deranged people out there, and that we need to make it harder for them to get guns, then perhaps we wouldn't need more security around our national shrines."
- CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer, July 26.


Public Apathy About Lying? Good

"I think, not to underestimate the American public. If you just look at one story where the press really almost entirely went one way and the public went the other way, was the whole episode of Monica Lewinsky. I mean there you had a story where the press was so consistently hostile on this story, and the public stood back and said 'Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute, we're not going to go along with it until we're a lot further down the road.' The public is a lot more sophisticated because they've been exposed to too many stories that turned out not to be true."
- U.S. News & World Report Publisher Mortimer Zuckerman on the July 7 Good Morning America.

"Like St. Louis fans more interested in McGwire chasing Maris's record than allegations the President was chasing Monica, the poll found most Americans, 67 percent, don't think it's important to know if the President had an affair.... Most Americans would not favor Mr. Clinton's resignation or impeachment, even if the allegations prove true. More than half favor a simple apology or just forgetting about it."
- Jerry Bowen on the CBS Evening News, July 30.


Geraldo Rivera Gets Religion

Katie Couric: "If Monica Lewinsky wrote the talking points herself the White House is reportedly, according to the New York Times, quite jubilant about this latest development because it blows a hole in Ken Starr's theory that this was a case of obstruction of justice."
Geraldo Rivera:
- Today, July 29.


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