Notable Quotables - 09/08/2008

Vol. 21; No. 18

Obviously Not the Media’s Choice


Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift: “This [McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin] is not a serious choice. It makes it look like a made for TV movie. If the media reaction is anything, it’s been literally laughter in many places across news-”
Host John McLaughlin: “Where is that? See that?”
Clift: “In very, very many newsrooms.”
— Exchange on The McLaughlin Group, August 31.

“It’s hard to know how many women will flock to the GOP ticket because of Palin. She is a far-right conservative who supported Pat Buchanan over George W. Bush in 2000. She thinks global warming is a hoax and backs the teaching of creationism in public schools. Women are not likely to be impressed by her opposition to abortion even in the case of rape and incest.”
Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter in a “Web exclusive” posted on his magazine’s Web site, August 29.


Are You Even More Unbeatable?

“What do you think of Senator McCain’s vice presidential choice?...Does the fact that he chose as his Vice President someone who has less experience than you take that weapon out of his arsenal?”
— CBS’s Steve Kroft to Obama on 60 Minutes, August 31.

Obama “Looks Like John Adams”

“[McCain has] done it [picked Sarah Palin] at great cost, because the whole Republican convention...was going to be the slogan, ‘He’s not ready to lead,’ meaning Barack Obama. Well, Sarah Palin makes Barack Obama look like John Adams. I mean, it’s just, it’s no contest.”
Newsweek’s Howard Fineman on MSNBC’s Countdown, August 29.

What’s the GOP’s Nastiest Smear?

“What of the attacks has busted through to you? What makes you angriest at John McCain, the Republicans? What’s being said about your husband that you want to shout from the mountain tops is not true?”
— NBC’s Brian Williams to Michelle Obama in a taped interview shown on the August 27 Nightly News.

“Many of the attacks that have come from John McCain’s campaign have been, quite frankly, condescending. Are you surprised by that? Does it anger you?”
— CBS’s Harry Smith to Democratic candidate Barack Obama on The Early Show, August 22.

Impressing His Biggest Fans

“I’m just not so sure I’ve ever witnessed anything like this in all of the politics that I’ve covered, which goes back quite a few years already. This place rumbled. And there were certain points during the speech when the stadium was just so alive, and the ground was almost quaking.”
— CBS’s Harry Smith on The Early Show, August 29, the morning after Barack Obama’s convention address.

“In many ways it was less a speech than a symphony. It moved quickly, it had high tempo, at times inspiring, then it became more intimate, slower, all along sort of interweaving a main theme about America’s promise, echoes of Lincoln, of King, even of Reagan and of Kennedy....It was a masterpiece.”
— CNN analyst David Gergen during live coverage following Obama’s convention speech, August 28.

Keith Olbermann: “For 42 minutes, not a sour note and spellbinding throughout in a way usually reserved for the creations of fiction. An extraordinary political statement. Almost a fully realized, tough, crisp, insistent speech in tone and in the sense of cutting through the clutter....I’d love to find something to criticize about it. You got anything?”
Chris Matthews: “No. You know I’ve been criticized for saying he inspires me, and to hell with my critics!...You know in the Bible they talk about Jesus serving the good wine last, I think the Democrats did the same.”
— MSNBC live convention coverage, August 28.

“[Obama] had to do two things. He had to be tough and he had to be detailed. We know he is eloquent. He can’t write an ineloquent check, this man.”
Newsweek editor Jon Meacham on PBS’s Charlie Rose following Obama’s speech, August 28.


George’s Impartial Analysis

George Stephanopoulos: “A night of perfect political choreography. The only problem Barack Obama has right now, and it’s a high-class problem, as Bill Clinton used to say, is can he top what happened tonight?”
Host Terry Moran: “An extraordinary series of speeches [by Bill Clinton and Joe Biden].”
— ABC’s Nightline on August 27.

“I think every night in this convention has built on the one that came before....The speeches have gotten better every night.”
— Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America, August 28.

An Inspiring “Night for the Ages”

“An incredible night: A return and a roar from the lion of the Democrats....You can almost still feel and hear the echo of the roar that went up last night when Senator Edward Kennedy returned to the convention....People were overwhelmed, simply overwhelmed. They knew it was a night to remember for all ages.”
— ABC’s Diane Sawyer on the first night of the Democratic convention, August 26 Good Morning America.

Co-host Maggie Rodriguez: “I think all of us on this shift stayed up a little bit later than we should, watching what I think couldn’t have been a more compelling first night of that convention.”
Co-host Julie Chen: “Yeah, Michelle Obama, so impressive, so, just inspiring to watch her speak.”
— CBS’s The Early Show, August 26.

Antsy for More Attacks on GOP

“There is one big missing piece tonight, I think, which is why the American people should throw the bums out. We haven’t heard one word about that. We have the most unpopular President in American history, and he’s barely been mentioned tonight. I just think that is an extraordinary gap.”
— CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin after the conclusion of the first night of the Democratic convention, August 25.

“You can say Barack Obama really needs something from Hillary Clinton. He needs her to wake up this hall after a speech that was not only not red meat by former Governor [Mark] Warner, but more like tofu with sprouts.”
— CBS’s Jeff Greenfield during live coverage, August 26.

“I am waiting for someone to take the podium and say the word ‘torture.’ I’m waiting for someone to take the podium, say the word ‘Iraq.’ I’m waiting for someone to take, to take the podium and talk about domestic surveillance and to talk about all the reasons that Democrats want to get rid of George Bush.”
Washington Post columnist and MSNBC on-air regular Eugene Robinson during live coverage, August 26.

Co-anchor Chris Matthews: “Keith, I am amazed why they don’t have more fun with the man who calls himself Dick Cheney. Why [not] more references? Why no, why don’t they talk about these villains, as they see them? Why don’t they talk about Bush, who they see as a villain.”
Co-anchor Keith Olbermann: “I know it works for me.”
— MSNBC live convention coverage, August 26.

Brian vs. the Glass Ceiling

“I assume she’s going to talk about that glass ceiling, i.e., a woman President of these United States, which begs the question as we listen to her tonight, if not her, who? And when?”
— Brian Williams previewing Hillary Clinton’s convention speech with NBC’s Chuck Todd, August 26 Nightly News.

Obama = “a Fiscal Conservative”

“Obama’s aides optimistically insist he will reduce it [the deficit], thanks to his tax increases on the affluent and his plan to wind down the Iraq war. Relative to McCain, whose promised spending cuts are extremely vague, Obama does indeed look like a fiscal conservative.”
— Staff writer David Leonhardt in an August 24 New York Times Magazine article on Obama’s economic ideas.

Admiring a “Profound” Attack


“What I liked about the performance by Barack Obama was this: He finally took on John McCain on the issue of our time, which is Russia, of course, and its invasion of Georgia. And he used the word ‘bluster’ twice. Now, there are a lot of neo-conservatives out there that just love the old black and white Manichaean Cold War feeling again. They’d like to get rid of color television, in fact. Let’s go back to the ‘50s and let’s fight with the Russians again....Here’s a guy, Barack Obama who’s not supposed to have a strong suit, in the area of foreign policy, calling it what it is: bluster. It’s just words, just sword-rattling, and he called it today. I thought that was profound.”
— MSNBC’s Chris Matthews anchoring live coverage of Barack Obama’s introduction of Joe Biden as his running mate, August 23.


“Tired of Being Called a Traitor”


“The Republican Party is corrupt through and through.... They’re too adept at thievery, at moving the Constitution into places it never meant to go. I think that they have an extraordinary ability to divide rather than unite. And I think that I am tired of being called a traitor because I like my flag and I like and I support the troops.”
— Actor Richard Dreyfuss on MSNBC News Live, August 27.


Mocking Obama’s Media Groupies


“I think there is a problem, though, with the media gushing over him [Barack Obama] too much. I don’t think he thinks that he’s all that, but the media does. I mean, the coverage after, that I was watching, from MSNBC, I mean these guys were ready to have sex with him.”
— HBO’s Bill Maher on Real Time, August 29.

PUBLISHER: L. Brent Bozell III
EDITORS: Brent H. Baker, Rich Noyes, Tim Graham
MEDIA ANALYSTS: Geoffrey Dickens, Brad Wilmouth, Scott Whitlock, Matthew Balan, Kyle Drennen and Justin McCarthy
INTERN: Lyndsi Thomas