Notable Quotables - 09/21/1998

Ken Starr's "Violent" Delivery

"Already, some of the more thoughtful members of the House and Senate have admitted, yes, they expect to be overwhelmed. There's very little they can do about this, when someone drives, as one House Judiciary Committee member put this some weeks ago, a truck bomb up to the steps of the Capitol and just dumps it on them. Now this is probably not the most advisable comparison when you consider what happened on these very steps not so many weeks ago, but it is in some ways, politically, a very violent action for Ken Starr to leave this on them weeks before an election when they're trying to decide how to deal with it."
- NBC's Gwen Ifill during live MSNBC coverage of the report being unloaded from the vans, September 9.


Echoing Clinton Talking Points

"Isn't it ironic that this started off with Whitewater and there is nothing in this report about Whitewater?"
- Barbara Walters to Jackie Judd, September 11 20/20.

"Jack, when the investigation turned from real estate to Monica Lewinsky did the special prosecutor have to go there, did he have any discretion to say, 'that's really not related'?"

"What about the report? He was obligated to write a report and deliver a report to Congress. Was he also obligated to make it as adversarial as it turned out to be?"
- Dateline NBC co-host Jane Pauley to NBC legal analyst Jack Ford, September 11.

"For all the legitimate criticism of President Clinton which there ought to be, let's not pretend for a moment that the Starr report is a balanced, judicious presentation. It's not. It is a partisan prosecutor with some zealous aides who's trying to make a case against a guy he despises."
- Al Hunt, Executive Washington Editor of the Wall Street Journal, September 12 Capital Gang on CNN.


Self-Righteous Hypocrites

"We've been hearing though, in recent days, Pat, Dan Burton say that he fathered a child out of wedlock. Congresswoman Helen Chenoweth say that even despite the fact she campaigned on family values and won as a result of that campaign, admit that she had an affair with a married man for several years. I mean, are there a bunch of self-righteous hypocrites on Capitol Hill?"
- Today co-host Katie Couric to Pat Buchanan, September 14.


Geraldo: I'm Almost Suicidal

"Perhaps the biggest loser today wasn't the First Family after all, but rather this generation's sense of innocence. If the President is an adulterer and a liar, where are our heroes?"

"You know, [co-host] Diane [Dimond], I would have been suicidal except for McGwire, I think."
- Rivera's comments before and after a September 9 CNBC Upfront Tonight story on home run slugger Mark McGwire.

"When you read the incredibly detailed, at times sick descriptions contained in the report of the independent counsel, you may be moved to search this document for a fold-out centerfold of a naked woman, because no matter what weighty language Starr and his staff used, this humiliating opus is about seduction, stupid sex and a President so hungry for sex that he puts at risk his marriage, his presidency and his legacy. But it is all about sex and sex lies and as humiliating as the X-rated details are, therein lies his only hope of political salvation. There is no Whitewater here. There is no Travelgate here. There is not Filegate here. There is no talk of talking points here. There is only talk of the sad, salacious story of Monica and Bill...."
- Opening on CNBC's Rivera Live, September 11.


Geraldo Shoots at the Media

"Will all of the media, including NBC, give even a fraction of the airtime and the newsprint that we gave to these allegations [Filegate, Whitewater, Travelgate] to the fact that no impeachable offenses were found? When are we going to say to the President of the United States, 'we're sorry'?"
- Geraldo Rivera, September 14 Rivera Live on CNBC.

"At one network, they got an anchorman married four times and the reporter married four times, there's eight divorces between them, and they're talking about the President's bad morals!"
- Rivera, making an apparent reference to Peter Jennings, September 14 CNBC Rivera Live.


Bipartisanship Over Impeachment

"For all the talk of bipartisan cooperation and caution, there's plenty of impeachment talk in the air, plenty of resignation talk in the air, and a definite push for fast public release of the details of the Starr report even before the Clinton camp sees it. With that in mind, House Democratic Leader Gephardt said today...'You don't overturn the results of an American election on a whim.'"
- Dan Rather, September 10 CBS Evening News.


Good Morning Advocacy

"But Congressman, at the same time, members of the President's party as well as Republicans begged him to talk, to go public, to say if he did something wrong, to apologize. He goes on television, he makes the speech. Whether or not he said the words, 'I'm sorry', in it, we all knew what he meant. Is this fair? Now everyone's distancing themselves from him and ready to attack him even though he sort of held up his end of the bargain?"
- Good Morning America co-host Lisa McRee to Congressman Jim Moran (D-Virginia), September 9.

"Thirty seconds, but I want to get this in: Janet Reno, ninety-day investigation to look into whether a special prosecutor should be appointed for this campaign finance thing. Is that a big problem for the President? Has he done anything that anybody else wouldn't have done?"
- ABC's Lisa McRee to Cokie Roberts, September 9.

"Couldn't this be just a witch hunt, couldn't the Democrats and President Clinton's people who've been defending him all these months be right, that even though he screwed up there's some political motivation there. Couldn't that be right?"
- Lisa McRee to humorist P.J. O'Rourke, September 10.

"But if there is no obstruction of justice, abuse of power proven, if it is simply about lying about a sexual relationship, is that impeachable?"

"The voters have twice elected this man President. Is it worth overturning the will of the people in order to impeach him if the only thing you can prove is that he lied about a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky?"

"In 1974 the House Judiciary Committee staff wrote a guideline for lawmakers saying, quote, not all presidential misconduct is sufficient to constitute grounds for impeachment. It seems that the polls indicate that the public feels the same way, that censure may make the public happy. Why not make a deal with the President? Get him to admit he was untruthful, and make a deal for censure, and let us get on with it as a country?"
- Lisa McRee to Reps. Bill McCollum (R-Fla.) and Martin Meehan (D-Mass.), September 15.

"But I guess the difference here is not, the average person wouldn't have a $40 million grand jury chasing down his personal life."
- Good Morning America co-host Kevin Newman to law professor Jonathan Turley after he suggested it'd be hard to justify prosecuting an average person for perjury if Clinton goes unpunished, September 14.


Brokaw: "All" Sides Guilty

"Despite the assurances from all parties they can pursue this matter and still do the business of the nation, it will be a discomforting distraction at several levels. It will harden and it will widen divisions just at a time when America had the opportunity to find common goals again. It will also keep good people of all ideologies from entering the political arena be cause they are repulsed by the bickering and the behavior and the self-righteousness on all sides. It will, as it has already, lead to more disclosures about the private lives of public people..."
- Tom Brokaw concluding a September NBC News Dateline special, "The President and the People."


Differing Takes on Protesters

"The Democratic Governor turned up his nose and refused to share the stage with President Clinton, but a half-block from Pine Crest Elementary, one parent's sign warned off talk of scandal Tuesday: Dear Press, The topic is education."
- Beginning of Associated Press story by Sandra Sobieraj headlined "Clinton Pushes Education Agenda," September 8.


"It was a tough first day of school for President Clinton. About 25 protesters turned out to jeer Clinton on his way to the Pine Crest Elementary School in Silver Spring, holding signs that read 'Time to Resign', 'Get Lost' and 'You're fired'. Another banner at the top of the lane leading to the school read: 'Embarrassed, disheartened, disgusted by our President.'"
- Opening by Reuters reporter Timothy Ryan, headlined: "Clinton Has Tough Ride As He Returns To Public Eye," same day.


Clinton's Just Like Us

"What about the possibility the President's apology has narrowed the gap, so to speak? That he's now more of a real person to real people living in the country, as opposed to being this political figurehead?"
- Today co-host Matt Lauer to a family therapist, August 20.

"Has this scandal done more to hurt the presidency or the press?"
- Lauer to liberal columnist Molly Ivins, September 14 Today.


Poor Internet-Deprived Slobs...

"There's also concern about the 83 percent of American households who do not have access to the Internet. There is the Government Printing Office, which promises to have copies a day later, but most Americans will have to rely on the print media..."
- ABC's Jack Smith, September 10 World News Tonight, the night before the public release of the Starr report.


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