Notable Quotables - 08/29/1994


The Starr Chamber

"There is growing controversy tonight, about whether the newly named independent counsel in the Whitewater case is independent or a Republican partisan allied with a get-Clinton movement. Among the questions about Kenneth Starr are these: the involvement of anti-Clinton activists in pushing for Starr's appointment to replace Robert Fiske. Also, Starr's public stand actively supporting a woman's current lawsuit against the President. This is a potentially important and explosive story, correspondent Rita Braver has the latest."
- Dan Rather on the August 8 CBS Evening News.

"Questions abound about how and why Republican Kenneth Starr suddenly came to be the new independent counsel in the Whitewater case replacing Republican Robert Fiske. New disclosures are fueling questions about whether or not Starr is an ambitious Republican partisan backed by ideologically-motivated, anti- Clinton activists and judges from the Reagan, Bush, and Nixon years. Correspondent Eric Engberg has tonight's CBS Evening News reality check."
- Rather, August 12.


Poor Bill Doesn't Get Enough Credit

"Why do you think that he doesn't get credit for the good news that's going on? And if Reagan was the teflon President, it seems like Bill Clinton is the velcro President. Every bad piece of news just sticks to him."
- Katie Couric questioning new Democratic National Committee adviser Tony Coelho on NBC's Today, August 18.

"He is receiving little or no credit for his accomplishments. He has, after all, cut the deficit, slashed about a quarter of a million jobs out of the federal bureaucracy, presided over a strong economy with low inflation, and deserves, one would think, some points at least for boldness of vision on welfare and health care reform. How does all that, and NAFTA, and the first assault weapons ban, weigh against the President's alleged indiscretions and shortcomings?"
- Ted Koppel on the President's low poll ratings, August 16 Nightline.


Clinton's Doing Great Things

Cokie Roberts: "You can argue whether it's good or bad to have assault weapons banned. I happen to think it's good."
Sam Donaldson: "...He stepped right out, his first day in office, or second day, said he was going to change the rules on gays and lesbians in the military. That was a great thing, but he didn't have the backing. And he has gone right down the line ever since, trying to do great things, many of which I think the American people agree with, but not having the public behind him."
- Exchange on ABC's This Week with David Brinkley, August 14.


All the President's Friends

"It seems to me that this President has had his ups and downs with the press. But it hasn't been any worse for him than it has been for any of his immediate predecessors. And there exists still a rather widespread feeling among reporters in this town that this President has set out to do the right thing, which they didn't feel about Ronald Reagan and George Bush, and that if he is able to accomplish even a fraction of this, there will be a tremendous amount of applause from the media in this town."
- ABC White House correspondent Brit Hume on CNN's Larry King Live, August 18.

>"Well, I think they basically hate him [Clinton], elements of the extreme far right...They just don't like his position on gut issues as far as the far right is concerned. For example, abortion...gays in the military....These are hot-button issues for the far right."
- CNN White House reporter Wolf Blitzer, same show.


Well-Organized Haters Who Are Well-Organized

"She [Hillary] is really convinced that the right wing is incredibly well-organized, and there is kind of a hate campaign going on in this country that is, is deeply and well-organized, and it poses a real threat to government and the Clinton's personally. And I mean, she may be right."
- Newsweek's Evan Thomas on Inside Washington, August 13.


Out on the Lunatic Fringe

"A more common response from critics is an uncomfortable sense of deja vu about Mr. Helms's continuing ability to affect government and policy despite his standing at the outer fringes of the political grid."
- New York Times reporter Peter Applebome on Helms' lunch with Judge David Sentelle, August 17.

"Despite original misgivings, he [Bob Dole] endorsed Oliver North's Senate candidacy in Virginia, the result of a convention dominated by ultraconservatives."
- Time reporter Laurence I. Barrett, August 22.


Two Takes on the CBO

"The Mitchell plan has gotten two bits of good news. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated the bill would achieve 95 percent health coverage as early as 1997, and would slightly reduce the federal budget deficit."
- Reporter Kwame Holman on PBS's MacNeil Lehrer NewsHour, August 10.


"The Congressional Budget Office gave a decidedly mixed review to the Senate leadership's health care reform bill. The agency, in a preliminary analysis, said the bill would achieve its goal of covering 95 percent of the population in 1997, almost immediately after enactment, but would increase the deficit by $9 billion by 2000."
- Washington Post reporters Dana Priest and Helen Dewar, same day.


Mitchell's Bureaucratic Bonanza? Tame?

"As reform goes, your bill, frankly, is about as tame as it gets.
- Today co-host Bryant Gumbel to Sen. George Mitchell, August 9.

Midnight Basketball or Else, Sucker

"Programs designed to aid inner city youths...are not pork... 'Pork!' scream the demagogues. 'Give us the death penalty!' The next time you or a loved one find yourself trapped in the night-mare of a violent crime, ask yourself if it wouldn't have been better for the 'perp' to have been off playing basketball some-where. You may find yourself suddenly in favor of even an imperfect attempt at prevention."
- New York Times columnist and former NBC News reporter Bob Herbert, August 17.


Bob Dole: The Real Forrest Gump

"[Forrest] Gump is the perfect embodiment of this summer of O.J.'s fall from grace and Whitewater, the political scandal with no there there...The hero's weariness is simply the fatigue of being the good guy. The character who does things is no longer heroic. As Clinton's experience has proved, doing things is polarizing and controversial. It opens the door for attack and low approval ratings. Better to do nothing and play it safe. Like Bob Dole."
- Washington Post movie critic Hal Hinson, August 14.


Please Direct My Thoughts, Carole Simpson

"I won't make any pretense that the American Agenda is totally neutral. We do take a position. And I think the public wants us now to take a position. If you give both sides and 'Well, on the one hand this and on the other that'-I think people kind of really want you to help direct their thinking on some issues."
- ABC News reporter Carole Simpson on CNBC's Equal Time, August 9.


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