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Notable Quotables - 04/19/1999

Mean Judge Ruins Clinton's Day


"President Clinton had hoped to use this day to demonstrate his role as commander-in-chief, making a quick visit to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana to thank the crews of B-52's who have been flying missions against Serbia. But, the President returned to the White House and some unwelcome news. A federal judge in Arkansas found him in contempt of court for his behavior in the Paula Jones case. NBC's Claire Shipman at the White House now and Claire, this is a legal tangle that simply will not die."
- Tom Brokaw on the April 12 NBC Nightly News.

 

Clinton Needs a Break, Like FDR


"I agree it was bad PR [for Clinton to play golf] and apparently a lot of people on his staff advised him not to do it. But you know, there's a great passage in Doris Kearns Goodwin's book about the Roosevelts in World War II in which she describes how President Roosevelt, when he would get in a real bind, would go out on his boat for a week or two to try to figure out how to get out of it and to clear his mind, to think clearly about it. Clinton was feeling exhausted, he wanted to get out, he wanted to, let some air in and I don't begrudge him."
- ABC News and National Public Radio reporter Nina Totenberg on the April 3 Inside Washington. Charles Krauthammer responded: "The comparison to FDR is simply absurd. That was a war that lasted half a decade. This was Day Six of the bloody campaign..."

 

If Only You'd Stuck with the Pack


"Let me end with this. How many times, sitting in front of your computer typing away stories about cigars and cocktail dresses, did you look up and think to yourself why did I ever pursue the Paula Jones story?"
- Last question from Today co-host Matt Lauer to Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff on his Lewinsky scandal book Uncovering Clinton, April 8.

 

Lucianne's Got a Gun!


Forrest Sawyer:"The public relations person [Lucianne Goldberg] who started Linda Tripp, is now packing heat. Do not mess with Lucianne. People who have complained to her personally on the street have gotten her upset. She has renewed her pistol permit and apparently she has a designer, snub-nosed .22."
Diane Sawyer: "There are people who think her tongue should have been licensed, but to have a gun as well..."
- Exchange on Good Morning America, March 26.

 

Send the Ad Bill to Sarah Brady


ABC News reporter Bob Woodruff: "The law would forbid felons from getting permits, but those convicted of most misdemeanors could get them, and under Missouri law, that would even include certain types of assault, stalking, harassment, and child molestation. Even supporters have a hard time defending this."
Woodruff to concealed-weapons law supporter Michael Gordinier: "Explain to me why people who have committed misdemeanors are allowed to get concealed weapons permits?"
Gordinier: "I don't know."
Woodruff: "So allowing people to carry concealed guns will mean allowing some criminals to carry them, too. The voters decide today if that is worth the risk."
- End of an April 6 World News Tonight story on Missouri's concealed-weapons ballot initiative.


Zhu Rongji, Witty Oppressor


"Zhu Rongji is the kind of foreign leader the American public finds delightfully appealing: straight-talking, savvy, witty. Clinton officials want to like the Chinese premier, too. They call him the architect of China's economic reforms. President Clinton observed Zhu's success last summer when the President visited modern Shanghai, where Zhu was once the reform-minded mayor."
- ABC's Ann Compton, April 8 Good Morning America.

"The other purpose of Premier Zhu's U.S. visit: To dispel the notion held by most Americans that Chinese leaders are stiff, humorless communist ideologues. Repeatedly Premier Zhu took aim at Chinas critics, showing flexibility on issues like human rights and toughness on other core issues like the future of Taiwan. He also ad-libbed throughout the day and even joked about sensitive subjects like allegations of Chinese spying."
- CNN's Andrea Koppel on The World Today, April 8.

"Black hairs have already turned to gray, he [Zhu] said last month, expressing his frustration at the slow pace of negotiations with the U.S. for China's entry into the World Trade Organization. He could have been referring to his own life story, an ever more difficult struggle against the forces of disintegration, anarchy, and corruption that could yet rip China apart. Tall and sharp, with the features of a falcon, Zhu dominates meetings with his quick mind. His IQ must be 200, Deputy U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers once said."
- Time East Asia correspondent Terry McCarthy, April 12.


Geraldo's Heroes


Geraldo Rivera to Susan McDougal's attorney Mark Geragos: "If I was there, buddy, I'd give you a slap on the back. I'd give you a high-five and a hug."
Geragos: "Geraldo, I wish you were here. I'll tell you. I want to thank you. You were kind of, as they say, early money in this case and we appreciate it more than I can tell you."
Rivera: "Well, it was really my pleasure. I really thought all along that to bring the criminal contempt after she did 18 months on the civil contempt showed a kind of viciousness that made Ken Starr a legal terrorist in my book."
- CNBC's Upfront Tonight, April 12.

"Dear Larry: You were absolutely terrific in your appearance on my show! The ratings went through the roof. Now get better fast and come back on. The hypocrites are waiting, shaking in their self-righteous boots! Best wishes. Geraldo."
- January 15 letter from Geraldo Rivera to Larry Flynt, published in the Flynt Report released in March.

 

Moderates are Fixing the GOP...


"I think it's been reported increasingly lately that the Republican Party realizes, especially moderate members of the party, that they have a real identity crisis and a real split within the party, people like Christine Todd Whitman, et cetera. And they had a meeting down in Florida, I believe, where they talked about the only people that still liked them are what businesspeople and who else did they say, one other subset of the population, it was pretty small. So do you think that they are going to fix the party? Don't you think they might somehow bring it more to the center? They realize they are alienating so many moderate Republicans in this country..."
- NBC's Katie Couric to former Texas Governor Ann Richards as she hosted a 92nd Street Y appearance in New York City on March 3 shown by C-SPAN on April 3.


...While Zealots Inspire Murders


"Let's talk a little bit more about the right wing because I know that's something you feel very strongly about. But this is actually not necessarily about the right wing, but perhaps a climate that some say has been established by religious zealots or Christian conservatives. There have been two recent incidents in the news I think that upset most people in this country, that is the dragging death of James Byrd Junior and the beating death of Matthew Shepard. I just would like you to reflect on whether you feel people in this country are increasingly intolerant, mean- spirited, etcetera, and what, if anything, can be done about that because a lot of people get very discouraged when they hear and see this kind of brutality taking place."
- Couric to Richards, same event, minutes later.


Easy-to-Command Automatons


"So what would you say to Reverend Robertson? A lot of people look to him to figure out where they should vote, what they should think to be guided by him. What would you say?"
- Today co-host Maria Shriver to conservative columnist Cal Thomas, whose new book Blinded by Might argues religious conservatives have become too entangled in politics, April 2.


Post to Hillary: Forget the Senate, You're "Queen of the World"!


"Forget the Senate. Over the last 12 days, Hillary Rodham Clinton has looked and sounded more like a candidate for Secretary of State. There she was in Egypt, gently urging tolerance for the minority Coptic Christians. There she was in Tunisia, lashing out at Islamic radicals in other countries who oppress women. And here she was in Morocco, speaking out on everything from the Middle East peace process to the NATO airstrikes in Yugoslavia....

"But the sight of the First Lady back on the world stage where she feels so sure-footed brought into sharp focus the peculiar trade-offs facing her as she decides whether to run next year for the seat of retiring Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.): How does a woman who eagerly told an audience this morning about education and economics in Guatemala and Uganda turn her attention to the pork-and-potholes issues that arise in places like Utica and Ithaca? How does a woman whose international profile is so high that bystanders in Africa two years ago referred to her as the queen of the world adjust to becoming a low-ranking member of the seniority-conscious Senate?"
- Washington Post reporter Peter Baker in an April 1 news story about Hillary Clintons trip to Africa.


Brokaws Greatest Liberals


"Commenting on the Republican newcomers, [retired Senator Mark] Hatfield told a reporter, There are those who think we should be of one mind. They feel, perhaps, that diversity in the party is a weakness, not a strength. Im an Old Guard Republican. The founders of our party were for small business, education, cutting the military budget. That was our platform in 1856 and I think its still a darned good one. Some of the newer Republican Senators, with their strict conservative dogmas, may never understand a man like Mark Hatfield, but then theyve never shuttled Marines ashore under heavy fire at Iwo Jima or Okinawa. Theyve never looked out on the otherworldly landscape of nuclear devastation and shared their lunch with a starving Japanese child."
- Tom Brokaw on page 339 of his book on World War II veterans, The Greatest Generation.


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