Notable Quotables - 10/06/2008

Vol. 21; No. 20

Big Surprise — They Loved Obama

“Bottom line, the winner is Barack Obama. He comes into this race where the country wants change. His number one goal was to show that he belonged on that stage. He was a credible commander-in-chief, that he could hold his own on national security. He did that tonight. He gets the win.”
— ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Nightline, September 26, declaring Barack Obama the winner of his debate with John McCain earlier that night.

“On foreign policy, Obama certainly looked as though he were conversant. He had all the facts at his command....I think he could have been more combative. He seemed to be more genial than you might have expected. But, boy, he did show a command of foreign policy in terms of the nuts and bolts of it. And, of course, that is the expertise of John McCain.”
— NBC’s Andrea Mitchell judging Obama’s debate performance during MSNBC’s live coverage, Sept. 26.

McCain Is Just a Grumpy Old Troll


“Let’s start with John McCain. Do you think he was too troll-like tonight? You know, too much of a
troll?...Do people really want to put up with four years of that? Of sitting there angrily, grumpily, like a codger? Like, I don’t want to push it too far, but didn’t he seem really contemptuous of his op-ponent?...Is every press conference going to be like that? A troll-like performance, angry at the world?”
— MSNBC’s Chris Matthews to New York magazine’s John Heilemann during a midnight edition of Hardball following the September 26 presidential debate.


Scolding “Depression” Rhetoric...


“I spoke with your running mate, Sarah Palin, and she told me that if action is not taken, a Great Depression is quote ‘the road that America may find itself on.’...Isn’t so much of this, Senator McCain, about consumer confidence and using rhetoric like the ‘Great Depression’ — is that the kind of language Americans need to hear right now?”
— CBS’s Katie Couric interviewing John McCain about the financial crisis on the September 24 Evening News.


...But Katie Brought It Up First!

Katie Couric: “If this doesn’t pass, do you think there’s a risk of another Great Depression?”
Governor Sarah Palin: “Unfortunately, that is the road that America may find itself on....”
— Taped interview shown later on the same broadcast.

Smart People Are for Obama...

“Support for Mr. Obama is much stronger in the northeastern section of the state [of Virginia], especially in places like Fairfax County, near Washington, whose population is younger, wealthier, better educated and more diverse.”
New York Times reporter Ian Urbina, September 18.

Co-host Matt Lauer: “[The University of Virginia is] a very top-notch school. Is it representative of what’s happening in other schools and with the youth vote all around this state and maybe the country?”
NBC’s Luke Russert: “To a degree. You have to remember the smartest kids in the state go there, so it’s a little, leaning a little bit towards Obama.”
— Exchange on NBC’s Today, September 24. Russert later apologized in a blog item posted on


...With Racists Voting for McCain

“When we did our very first interview, and I asked you, I said, ‘Do you think the country’s ready for a black President?’ You said that you didn’t think it would hold you back....I know, for a fact, that there are a lot of people out there, there are a lot of people right here in Elko, who won’t vote for you because you’re black. I mean, there’s not much you can do. But how do you deal with it?”
— CBS’s Steve Kroft to Senator Barack Obama on 60 Minutes, September 21.

How Could a “Genius” Play Palin?

“Nancy, tell me why you think [Michigan] Governor [Jennifer] Granholm, who’s what, an Ivy League grad law? What? Didn’t she go to Harvard Law or something? She’s a genius. You think she is, in, in her manner, in her background and she’s born in Canada. How does she sort of fit the role of Sarah Palin? Why is she a good sparring partner to play that role?”
— MSNBC’s Chris Matthews on Hardball, September 30, asking Democratic strategist Nancy Skinner about Granholm playing Palin in Joe Biden’s debate preparations.

Palin As President? Really?!?

CBS’s Scott Pelley: “The criticism of Governor Palin is that she was a brilliant marketing choice for the campaign, but she’s not well versed on the economy or foreign affairs.... Can you see her as President of the United States?”
Senator John McCain: “Absolutely.”
Pelley: “As President of the United States?”
— Exchange on CBS’s 60 Minutes, September 21.

Palin Derangement Syndrome

CNN’s Jack Cafferty: “If John McCain wins, this woman will be one 72-year-old’s heartbeat away from being President of the United States. And if that doesn’t scare the hell out of you, it should....That [Sarah Palin’s interview with Katie Couric] is one of the most pathetic pieces of tape I have ever seen for someone aspiring to one of the highest offices in this country. That’s all I have to say.”
Wolf Blitzer: “She’s cramming a lot of information.”
Cafferty: “There’s no excuse for that. She’s supposed to know a little bit of this. You know, don’t make excuses for her. That’s pathetic.”
— CNN’s The Situation Room, September 26.

NBC Attempts to Impugn Palin

Co-host Meredith Vieira: “What about her credibility? You just heard this report, she claimed her state produced 20 percent of the energy in this country. Not true. Her campaign aides say she had visited Iraq. Not true....What about her trustworthiness?
Conservative Bill Bennett: “I think this is pretty small beer, really, pretty small stuff. She was in Kuwait. Did she step foot in Iraq? Maybe, maybe not....This is not big stuff.”
Vieira: “How is that small stuff? How is that small stuff?”
Bennett: “Well, because it is small stuff.”
— NBC’s Today, September 18.

An Empty Vessel, Like Thomas


“Is this a, like a Clarence Thomas where they wanted to pick an African-American for the Supreme Court so they picked the kind they wanted?...They have a person [Palin] here, who’s apparently, to some extent, in terms of foreign policy, tabula rasa. Someone they can fill up with all this neo-conservative thinking....Is that what they wanted, just sort of a vessel to sell and carry their product, rather than someone with independent thinking on foreign policy?”
— MSNBC’s Chris Matthews on Hardball, September 16.


Real Problem = Media Partisans

“Many in the media have been one-sided, sometimes adding to Obama’s distortions rather than acting as impartial reporters of fact and referees of the mud fights.... We hear a lot less about Democratic sins such as President Clinton’s distortions of Bob Dole’s position on Medicare in 1996 and the NAACP’s stunningly scurrilous ad campaign in 2000 associating George W. Bush’s opposition to a hate crimes bill with the racist murderers who dragged James Byrd behind a truck.”
National Journal columnist Stuart Taylor, Sept. 20.

No (D) for Charlie Rangel, But...

“The House also plans to investigate one of its own: New York Congressman Charles Rangel. He’s come under fire for, among other things, failure to pay taxes on a luxury villa he owns in the Dominican Republic. Rangel has rejected calls that he step down as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.”
— Brief item read by Katie Couric, Sept. 24 Evening News.


“The senior Republican in the U.S. Senate went on trial today for corruption — Ted Stevens of Alaska. Prosecutors say a contractor renovated Stevens’ home for free, but the Senator failed to report it as a gift....”
— Couric on the next night’s CBS Evening News.

Cities Need a Little Communism

“For Americans watching events unfold on television late last month, the arduous evacuation of New Orleans and the grandeur of the Olympic Games couldn’t have made for a starker contrast. However one feels about its other policies, the Chinese government is clearly not afraid to invest in the future of its cities....This kind of bold government planning died [in the U.S.] long ago, of course, a victim of both the public’s disillusionment with the large-scale Modernist planning strategies of the postwar era and the anti-government campaigns of the Reagan years. The consequences were obvious as soon as Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. And they have been reaffirmed many times since, with the collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis and myriad accounts of our country’s crumbling infrastructure.”
New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff in a September 14 “Week in Review” piece.

Behar Thrilled by Bill’s Touch

CNN’s Larry King: “He [former President Bill Clinton] made the first appearance on The View today. What was it like?”
The View co-host Joy Behar: “You know, it was Bill. He’s charming. He’s charismatic. You know, he touched me. I got a little tingle.”
— CNN’s Larry King Live, September 22.

From Now On, No Holding Back

“I’m actually going to be on more than I was previously, and I can say what I think....Basically, I can just sit there between appearances and eat ice cream for 20 minutes at a time and then come back and go, ‘That’s the crappiest answer I’ve ever heard in a debate.’”
— MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann on being replaced as co-anchor of live political events, CBS’s Late Show, Sept. 24.

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