Notable Quotables - 09/07/1998

The 1986 Presidential Campaign?

"What President Clinton has done today, ordered today, is similar, is similar to what President Reagan did in 1986. Some may want to note that 1986 was a presidential election year, and of course 1998 is a U.S. congressional election year. But Secretary of Defense Cohen, in answer, in response to a question at that live news conference a short while ago, came back very hard on the suggestion of a question that this was somehow related to events other than striking back at terrorists for the reasons of the bombings in east Africa."
- Dan Rather comparing Clinton's terrorist strike to Reagans bombing of Libya during live CBS coverage, August 20.

Time's Idea of Liberal Candor

"Inside the Beltway, the scandal is not the lie but the unvarnished truth. George Bush's campaign barb about Reaganism being voodoo economics raised far more hackles than his claim that Clarence Thomas was the most qualified man in America to be on the Supreme Court."
- Time Senior Editor Richard Stengel, August 31 news story.

"Things We're Looking Forward to Making Fun Of...Dan Quayle's next campaign."
- Time's "The List," August 31.


"Courageous Professionalism" in Lying to the Public for Months?...

Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz: "It's interesting to watch them, Ann Lewis and others, dutifully drag themselves before the cameras yesterday and saying, 'I know I've been telling you for months that this didn't happen. Well it did happen, but no one cares and lets move on.' So their own credibility has taken a hit."
Co-host Lisa McRee: "But it's also courageous professionalism, some would say."
- Exchange from August 19 Good Morning America.


...To Fight a Zealous Witch Hunt

"Lots of people in Washington are expecting the White House to go on the offensive with regard to Kenneth Starr and his investigation. And people are expecting detailed questions to leak out of that grand jury testimony, questions that make Kenneth Starr and his attorneys look like zealots who are on some sort of witch hunt. Do you think that might happen?"
- McRee to Kurtz, minutes later.

He Oughta Sue for a Third Term

"All of us could have had the judgment and discretion, the press, the prosecutor everyone to let this thing be something that was not a matter for public debate. Clinton should be suing for a third term! That's what should happen."
- U.S. News & World Report Washington reporter (and ex-Clinton aide) Matthew Miller on CNBC's Hardball, August 14.


Hillary Has Me In a Trance...

"I couldn't believe it when I first read that she didn't hear about it til' Thursday. It seemed improbable to me because she's so smart and because she's been here before. But I am beginning to believe it now. I mean, our reporting indicates that she, it sounds implausible, but marriages are complicated things and she may have just willfully decided she didn't need to hear it straight from Clinton and Clinton may have held out to the last minute before telling her."
- Newsweek's Evan Thomas on Inside Washington, August 22.

"When she first heard this, she probably thought, Oh, boy, could it be true? And as the evidence and the testimony developed, she thought, Oh, this very well may be true, but not until she heard it from his mouth, and that was the first time she may have heard it, was the weekend prior to his confession, that she absolutely knew it was true. I think she is honestly devastated. She looks heavy to me, but not bowed, which I think is important. And I think that she's showing some uber-feminism here."
- Gannett News Service writer Deborah Mathis, same show.


Hey, Aren't We All Pathetic Liars?

"The absolute truth about lying is that we all do, whether we like to admit it or not. To differing degrees, with different motivations. And studies show we're lying now more than ever before....One study found we deceive 30 percent of the people we interact with each week. Take deception at work. One survey of 40,000 people found that 93 percent admit they lie habitually on the job. So it's not just our politicians....And worst of all, studies say, we save our bigger lies for the ones we love. One in every three spouses has covered up an extramarital affair....How did we sink this low? Psychologists say the family unit, once strong and united, has been fractured and in many cases Mom and Dad no longer teach right from wrong....To tell the truth, we all lie. Some small fibs, some tall tales and some, like the President, get caught."
- NBC reporter Fred Francis, August 24 NBC Nightly News.

No Heroes in This Endless Tale

"What makes this scandal so discomfiting is that it involves elementary behavior and personal relationships everyone can identify with. Secret sex, tape recordings of a friend, a media frenzy, judicial zealotry [Starr video], self-righteous criticism, lies, betrayal, family and friends. As his own worst enemy, the President is in a class by himself. But there are no common heroes, no one player who has the universal admiration of a grateful nation. They may emerge, but its hard to see how, now that so much has been spilled out into the public in such a self-serving, and for some, infuriating fashion. At a time in America when so much is going so well, there is a longing for the simple satisfaction of looking to Washington and saying 'There's someone I can believe and believe in.'"
- Tom Brokaw ending NBC Nightly News, August 18.

"Just the other day when I called the CBS news desk to see what was going on, a colleague I've known for years joked she wasn't sure she knew me well enough to discuss what was on the front page of The New York Times - an account of how the President's advisers were debating whether a certain kind of sex play qualified as sexual relations. That's what has always set this story apart: it always gets worse. I have no idea what the President plans to tell the grand jury or what, if anything, he plans to tell the rest of us. But whatever he says, let's hope it's enough to bring this story to some kind of conclusion, because frankly, I've heard about enough."
- CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer, August 16.


Oh, What Might Have Been!

"It began with so much promise. Bill Clinton became the first Democratic President since Franklin Roosevelt to be reelected to a second term. This was the term he'd make his mark on history and determine how he'd be remembered. CBS's Wyatt Andrews looks tonight at the state of the Clinton legacy."
- Dan Rather, August 18 CBS Evening News.

"I think the bigger concern is that how this man who was filled with so much promise when he was first elected, you know, the first Democrat since Franklin Roosevelt and all that, could have squandered so much of the promise of his presidency on this silly fling, and if it hadn't been for Monica Lewinsky, Ken Starr would have come up empty-handed.... I don't get why Clinton's critics are so upset about this, and yet you talk about people who've lied to us about policy matters, you know, trading arms for hostages, or 'I won't raise your taxes' - and those lies affect my life. Clinton's lie doesn't affect my life."
- Newsweek's Eleanor Clift on CBS's Late Late Show with Tom Snyder, August 19.

Olbermann Resembles an Idiot

"Can Ken Starr ignore the apparent breadth of the sympathetic response to the President's speech? Facially, it finally dawned on me that the person Ken Starr has reminded me of facially all this time was Heinrich Himmler, including the glasses. If he now pursues the President of the United States, who, however flawed his apology was, came out and invoked God, family, his daughter, a political conspiracy and everything but the kitchen sink, would not there be some sort of comparison to a persecutor as opposed to a prosecutor for Mr. Starr?"
- Keith Olbermann, host of MSNBC's The Big Show, to Chicago Tribune Washington Bureau Chief James Warren, August 18.

"We got a number of calls from people who were offended by that remark, who thought I was comparing Starr to Himmler and insulting Starr, or who thought I was comparing Starr to Himmler and demeaning the terrible importance of the Holocaust. And to those people who were offended I sincerely and humbly apologize. I meant only what I said. Facially, the two men look vaguely alike. But I am primarily of German descent, so I carry with me an inherited shame and guilt about this. So despite the innocence of the intent of my remark there, I should have been much more sensitive about invoking that name in this context and for having not been so, I am very sorry. Still ahead for us tonight: did Olbermann's apology go far enough? We'll have the latest poll numbers on that."
- Olbermann on MSNBC, the next night.


Presidential Perjury Not Important

"He [Clinton] bears the larger part of the responsibility, but there is one point to what Ahmet and the other person have said, is that campaign finance reform is more important in the end, and we don't give that as much attention."
- Time's Margaret Carlson answering questions about who's to blame for Monicagate on Good Morning America, August 17.


America's In an Anti-Clinton Rut

"What does it say about the hole this President has to dig himself out of that he doesn't even get two hours of courtesy from Republicans before it's immediately suggested that the reason the attack happened was to divert people's attention?"
- NBC reporter Josh Mankiewicz interviewing former Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers, August 21 Dateline NBC.

"Since January, late night TV has seen America held hostage to jokes about the President's sex life. Almost nothing is off limits. In our comedy, just as in our politics, standards have changed."
- Mankiewicz, August 23 Dateline NBC.


Publisher: L. Brent Bozell
Editors: Brent H. Baker and Tim Graham
Media Analysts: Jessica Anderson, Geoffrey Dickens,
Mark Drake, Paul Smith, Clay Waters
Research Associate: Kristina Sewell
Circulation Manager: Michelle Baetz