Notable Quotables - 11/11/2002

News Media's Election Lessons:
Liberals Should Be More Liberal...

"Did you run too close to the middle? There's grousing already in the Democratic Party that Democrats didn't act like Democrats, they acted like watered-down Republicans."
-CBS's Harry Smith to Democratic National Chairman Terry McAuliffe on The Early Show, November 6.

"Do you think the Democratic Party has made a mistake pulling back from those grand initiatives like health care?"
-Chris Matthews to former Democratic Senator Bob Kerrey during MSNBC's election night coverage, Nov. 5.

"The knock on the Democrats tonight is that there was no consistent message, there were so many messages, and moreover you were intimidated by the President and you wouldn't speak out on the economy, and you wouldn't speak out on the war."
-Peter Jennings to Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray during ABC's 1am EST election special the night of November 5.

...While Republicans Should Reject Conservative Proposals

"His [President Bush's] one problem is going to be that the Republican base, movement conservatives, are now going to say to him, You've got the power, now use it, now get the agenda done. And they may not want that agenda pushed quite as hard as the movement conservatives do."
-CNN political analyst Jeff Greenfield during his network's continuing election coverage just before 2am on the night of November 5.

"The margin of victory is so narrow in so many of these races and its just a razor thin difference in some cases between the parties. Does that give you a responsibility to govern from the middle or with the majority do you go all the way to the right?"
-CBS's Harry Smith to incoming Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott on The Early Show, November 6.

"There are those out there who are saying, now that you control both Houses of Congress, that the President is going to have to be realistic about the amount of pressure put on him by the conservatives and religious right. What is your assessment of that? I mean, they are basically saying it's payoff time."
-CNN's Paula Zahn to Lott on American Morning, November 6.


Women vs. Ultra-Conservatives

"In Republican states, like Kansas, Arizona and Alaska, moderate, Democratic, pro-choice women hope to win by dominating the women's vote against ultra-conservatives."
-Lesley Stahl on the November 5 CBS Evening News.


Sounds "Conservative" to Bob

"[Former Clinton White House Chief of Staff] Erskine Bowles is well known throughout the state....He's a conservative kind of Democrat. I think he's run a good campaign, and Republicans are actually a little worried about that....He would be the kind of Democrat that would be a great asset to Democrats across the South in that he is pro-business, he is, he is fairly conservative."
-CBS's Bob Schieffer on the November 1 Imus in the Morning. Bowles, the North Carolina Democratic Senate nominee, opposed school vouchers, supported the most expansive prescription drug welfare entitlement program, wanted to impose family leave mandates on business and favored raising the minimum wage.


Mondale: Lone Living Liberal?

"[Walter] Mondale, like [the late Senator Paul] Wellstone, is a reminder of what the Democratic Party once stood for.... A Democrat from back when the party hewed to the left on most social issues, Mondale is likely to pick up Wellstones liberal banner as his own."
-Time's Jessica Reaves in an October 28 profile, "Where Have You Gone, Walter Mondale?" posted on


Wowed by Wonderful Walter

Claire Shipman: "Walter Mondale at 74, home in Minnesota, had figured his days in the political scrum were over. Civil rights champion, Senator, Vice President, and finally presidential candidate in 1984....Mondale helped to transform the Vice President's role from funeral attendee to policymaker. And then there's his penchant for being honest, sometimes at his own political peril."
Walter Mondale (1984): "Mr. Reagan will raise taxes, and so will I. He won't tell you. I just did."
Shipman: "That bit of honesty helped to trigger the crushing landslide loss to Ronald Reagan in 1984. He certainly proved he's unafraid to make a bold choice....Geraldine Ferraro is still the only female running mate in U.S. history. Indeed the most valuable thing he might bring back to the Senate for Democrats if he gets the chance is a steadied, practiced hand in foreign policy when the country needs it most."
-ABC's Good Morning America, October 30.


Nullifying Democratic Misdeeds

"Six days to the elections and the campaign has taken a dirty and decidedly negative turn. In a U.S. Senate race in Georgia, the Republican challenger questions the patriotism of the Democratic incumbent, a decorated amputee war hero. In the Minnesota Senate race, what was supposed to have been a memorial service for Senator Paul Wellstone was made into a partisan Democratic rally and the Republican candidate poses for interviews in front of a plane like the one in which the Senator died."
-Dan Rather's introduction to the October 30 CBS Evening News.

"Up next, I will ask the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, Harry Reid of Nevada, if some Republicans in Minnesota are going on the attack even before Paul Wellstone is buried."
-CNN's Judy Woodruff on the Oct. 28 Inside Politics.


Both Sides Equally Disgusting

"I find myself at exactly the right place for a reporter tonight. I'm annoyed at both political parties, and you can't be more fair and balanced than that. Last night's event in Minneapolis - calling it a memorial insults the dead - was totally tasteless....Equally shameless has been the reaction received here. There may in fact be non-partisans upset with the event, they may in fact exist. They did not make themselves known in our in-box today. Instead, what we received was a series of identical letters....I don't mean thematically identical; I mean literally identical. Word for word....So here is what last night proved: One side can be tasteless and the other side has the computer skills to cut and paste under the guise of genuine outrage. Which is worse? To me it's a tie."
-Anchor Aaron Browns Page Two commentary at the start of CNN's NewsNight, October 30.


ABC Covers All the Bases

"In Minnesota, an emotional and political upheaval when Paul Wellstone, the incumbent Democrat, died Friday in a plane crash. His memorial service this week turned into a political rally, giving a likely boost to Walter Mondale, the retired Senator and former Vice President who today began his campaign for Senate in Wellstone's place."
-John Donvan on ABC's Nightline, October 31.

"Both campaigns believe [Republican Senate candidate Norm] Coleman got a huge boost when a televised memorial service for Wellstone Tuesday night turned into a Democratic political rally."
-John Cochran on ABC's World News Tonight, Nov. 3.


Linking Bush with Mass Murderer

"Gun-rights advocates have been emboldened by an administration that is sympathetic to their cause. The closeness was underscored by the fact that the military-style gun used in the sniper attacks - named, unfortunately for the White House, Bushmaster XM15 - was manufactured by a company owned by Richard Dyke, a Bush fundraiser."
-Time's Karen Tumulty and Viveca Novak, Nov. 4 issue.

"The president of Bushmaster Firearms was the source of some controversy in the run-up to the 2000 presidential election. Richard Dyke was finance chairman for the state of Maine for George W. Bush's campaign back in 1999. He resigned after reporters pressed him on his companys use of loopholes to sidestep the 1994 federal ban on assault rifles and, in his words, 'because he didn't want the anti-gun people making an issue out of it all.'"
-Tom Brokaw on the October 24 Nightly News.


Just Outlaw Al-Qaeda's Guns

NPR's Nina Totenberg: "If we think were going to fight the war on terrorism without some sort of significant gun control, we are crazy. This was a military weapon, a copy of a military weapon. There is no reason to have such a gun, there is no reason not to have fingerprinting of these weapons so that we can tell what gun fired it."
Columnist Charles Krauthammer: "Let me assure you of one thing: Terrorists will find guns whether they're legal or not....Al-Qaeda doesn't observe gun laws."
-Exchange on the October 26 Inside Washington.


Fiercely Independent

Phil Donahue: "How about Mrs. Kennedy, will she win in Maryland? Bobby's oldest child."
Chris Matthews: "Well, I voted for her, but I don't think that's going to help. I think she's going to lose."
-Exchange on MSNBC's Donahue, November 4.


"Afraid" of "Frightening" GOP

"Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. You always hear the Kennedy mystique down in Maryland, for Lieutenant Governor. This is frightening. She may not get it."
-Former NBC reporter Star Jones on The View, Nov. 5.

"The shift in the consumer confidence, that drop, made me think that, you know, people would be sour going into the booth and it might work for Democrats, but I'm afraid that the Republicans maintain a five-seat lead."
-Time's Margaret Carlson predicting the GOP will keep the House, on CNN's Capital Gang November 2.