Notable Quotables - 12/05/2005

Please, Don't Railroad Saddam!

"Breaking news this morning. Saddam Hussein in court, defiant, massive security and the question: Can the former dictator get justice?"
-ABC's Charles Gibson opening Good Morning America, November 28.

"Well, this whole trial has been heavy with intimidation, John, and not just threats. Two of the defense lawyers have already been executed. So people are watching this very closely. And it plays into the hands of those who say it's impossible for Saddam Hussein to get a fair trial."
-CBS's Lara Logan on the November 27 Evening News.

Excited by Murtha's Defeatism

"The war of words over Iraq. Tonight a key Democratic supporter in Congress says it's time to get out....Good evening. When one Congressman out of 435 members of Congress speaks out against the war in Iraq, it normally wouldn't be news, but it was today, because of who he is: Congressman John Murtha, a Vietnam veteran....Today, John Murtha said the U.S. must get out of Iraq. It's a debate that has followed President Bush halfway around the world."
-NBC's Brian Williams opening the Nov. 17 Nightly News.

"John Murtha is not a household name, but on military matters, no Democrat in Congress is more influential....So today, when Murtha said it had not worked and called for withdrawing our forces, all of Washington listened."
-Bob Schieffer on the Nov. 17 CBS Evening News.

"In 1968, Walter Cronkite returned from Vietnam and told Americans that, in his opinion, the Vietnam War had become a stalemate. That was a turning point. Now, its too early to tell whether what happened this week was a turning point in Iraq, but it certainly was the Political Play of the Week. Congressman John Murtha...[is] a staunch defender of the military. He rarely speaks to the press. When he does, Washington listens. This week, Murtha spoke."
-CNN's Bill Schneider awarding Murtha the Political Play of the Week on The Situation Room, November 18.

"It was a bombshell from a decorated Vietnam veteran who had been one of the leading supporters of the war in Iraq....Murtha, who comes from a depressed blue-collar district which has already lost 12 soldiers, says the war has been mishandled, and people have had enough."
-Bob Orr on the November 18 CBS Evening News.

ABC Too Trusting of Liberal Spin?

"Good evening. We start tonight with the debate over the war in Iraq, more nasty and more vitriolic than ever. Today, an influential member of Congress, a decorated war veteran, who had supported the war called it 'a flawed policy, wrapped in illusion,' and said U.S. troops should withdraw now. President Bush is on a week-long trip to Asia. But he took every chance he could to say that people who question his rationale for going to war in Iraq are not only wrong, but irresponsible and unpatriotic."
-Anchor Bob Woodruff introducing the top story on ABC's World News Tonight, November 17.

"A clarification about a report that we aired last night in our coverage of the ongoing debate about the original case for war and the Democratic allegations that the White House misled the American public. We reported that the President was calling such charges 'irresponsible' and 'unpatriotic.' He did say they are 'irresponsible.' He did not call them 'unpatriotic.'"
-Woodruff on the next night's World News Tonight.

Moore's Rant, "Exclusive" to CNN

The Bush administration has wasted no time countering Murtha's statement. White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan has released this statement: Quote, 'Congressman Murtha is a respected veteran and a politician who has a record of supporting a strong America. So it is baffling that he is endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic Party...'Just moments ago, Michael Moore released this statement exclusively to CNN. He said, 'Unfortunately, the President doesn't understand that it is mainstream middle America who has turned against him and his immoral war, and that it is I and the Democrats who represent the mainstream. It is Mr. Bush who is the extremist.'"
-Anderson Cooper on Anderson Cooper 360, Nov. 17.

They Died for Cheney's Lies

Bill O'Reilly: "Is Iraq Vietnam?"
CBS's Mike Wallace: "Well, you know, 58,000 people were killed in Vietnam....Iraq is becoming a kind of Vietnam. We should never have gone into Iraq. We were sold a bill of goods. Now, whether the President was sold a bill of goods or whether Dick Cheney was sitting in the chair at that time, I don't know."
-Exchange on FNC's The O'Reilly Factor, November 28.

Seeing Symbolism in Locked Door

"[The President's trip to Asia] did produce a classic and symbolic video moment. It happened as Mr. Bush attempted to make his exit after a press conference in China, only there was no way out for the Commander in Chief....The moment seemed to symbolize Mr. Bush's dilemma throughout this Asia trip. Halfway around the world he's been unable to escape a domestic squabble over Iraq and whether its unpatriotic to question the war."
-Reporter Jessica Yellin discussing President Bush facing a locked door on his way out of a press conference in China, ABC's Good Morning America, November 21.

"In China over the weekend, the President's botched exit from an impromptu press conference spoke volumes about this latest trip abroad....Foreign travel has provided Mr. Bush no escape from his political troubles. In Argentina, trade talks collapsed overshadowed by anti-America protests and persistent questions about Karl Rove and the CIA leak investigation....In Asia, it was the increasingly bitter debate over Iraq hounding the President, putting him on the defensive about when troops would come home."
-NBC's David Gregory on the November 21 Nightly News. Each topic Gregory cited was raised as an issue by the press corps accompanying Bush on his trips.

Massive Spending = Budget Cuts

"The House narrowly approved a broad five-year budget plan early this morning that squeezes programs for the poor, for college students and for farmers."
-Washington Post reporters Jonathan Weisman and Shailagh Murray in a front-page article, November 18.

"The debate at times sounded more like a brawl....on a bill to reduce spending by $50 billion, including about $10 billion from Medicaid, and nearly $1 billion from food stamps, affecting 220,000 low-income Americans. Quite a turnaround, Democrats say, from the days after Hurricane Katrina when scenes of deep poverty shocked many Americans, including President Bush."
-Reporter Chip Reid, Nov. 18 NBC Nightly News.

Reality Check:

"Here's what's really going to happen: Spending will still grow, but only slightly slower. Instead of spending a total of $7.8 trillion in entitlement programs over the next five years, the GOP proposes to spend $7.75 trillion. That's a total difference of 0.6 percent. This is not starving the beast. This isn't even a tummy rumble."
-Stephen Slivinski, director of budget studies at the Cato Institute, in Cato's November 18 "Daily Dispatch."

Murtha vs. "Deluded Ideologues"

"Ideologues see the world through different lenses than ordinary people. From their perches in government or academe, they like to imagine themselves riding the waves of great historical forces. Faced with criticism, they point fingers at their enemies like Old Testament prophets and call down the wrath of heaven.
"But there's no reason the rest of us should delude ourselves, which is one reason, I suspect, that Democratic Congressman John Murtha, a retired Marine colonel and long-time friend of the U.S. military on the Hill, spoke yesterday with such unfettered outrage....Unlike Wolfowitz, who once went before Congress without even bothering to check how many Americans had died at his instigation, Murtha makes frequent visits to Bethesda and Walter Reed hospitals to talk to the maimed survivors of this conflict."
-Newsweek's Christopher Dickey in a November 18 Web commentary headlined Why "John Murtha Is Right."

Still Stands by His Slam

Rapper Kanye West, from NBC's telethon for Katrina victims: "George Bush doesnt care about black people."
Barbara Walters to West: "Do you think what you said then you still feel today?"
West: "I spoke from my heart and I stand by my statement."
-From Walter's November 29 ABC special, "The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2005."

More Hollywood Pomposity

"Bush 2. How depressing, corrupt, unlawful and tragically absurd the administration's world view actually low the moral bar has been lowered...Nixon, a true fiend, looks like a paragon of virtue next to the criminally incompetent robber barons now raiding the present and future. ...Lying about the war and profiting from it....This is indeed a league of bastards these men are human scum.
-Actor John Cusack in a November 11 posting to the blog.

"To send people off to die for a lie-I swear I never thought I'd see that again in my lifetime. We went through it in Vietnam. To me, it's the most unconscionable thing you can do. It's beyond impeachable. If we had just one house of Congress, this man would be impeached....How do you send people into a region, the most powerful superpower in the world, when you have no idea what's going on there? I'm not an Arab expert. Fine. So read a book! Sit down and learn something!"
-Actor/director Rob Reiner, as quoted by New York Times reporter Matt Bai in a November 13 profile.