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Notable Quotables - 08/24/1998

Embassy Bombing: Blame GOP


"As for beefing up security at U.S. embassies around the world, CBSs Sharyl Attkisson reports U.S. officials are trying to move quickly despite drastic budget cutbacks by Congress in recent years. Attkisson's sources tell her the State Department is now being inundated with calls from American embassies wanting security inspections and other help."
- Dan Rather on the August 13 CBS Evening News.

 

Rivera's Panty Raid Ravings


"He did something terrible. He cheated on his wife and he lied about it. That's what they have after four years and $40 million. Why wasn't that money spent to make our embassies bomb-proof?"
- Geraldo Rivera in an MSNBC Web site chat session to promote his new second CNBC show Upfront Tonight, August 18.

"Bill Clinton is paying his own legal fees. Guess who's paying Ken Starr's? Almost overlooked in the midst of the enormous attention being paid to next Monday's showdown, is the fact that the independent counsel tonight is in real peril himself, profoundly threatened by Judge Norma Holloway Johnson's decision that Mr. Starr show cause why he should not be held in contempt for what the judge feels is a pattern of allegedly illegal leaks of secret grand jury information....As to the question of whose paying his legal tab: you and me. It will be piled onto the tens of millions his panty raid has so far chalked up."
- Geraldo Rivera on CNBC's Rivera Live, August 13.

"Mr. President, we love you. I want to hug you, I want to hug you, please do the right thing. This is nothing, this is nothing. Thomas Jefferson did not have this in mind, I swear to God.... I would give Ken Starr the Nobel Peace Prize were he to be man enough not to refer a sex lie to the House for impeachment."
- Rivera urging Clinton not to cooperate, August 6 edition of Rivera Live on CNBC.

 

Is He Great, or Just Naughty?


"Women who've been polled seem to put it behind them as well, and are willing to move on and forget about it. Is that because Bill Clinton's been such a great President whom they elected in great part, or is there something I want to say almost sexy about a man who can get away with things over and over again?"
- Good Morning America co-host Lisa McRee to Deborah Tannen, August 18.

 

Banal Bob Easily Impressed


"I'm going to take a deep breath here, Dan. That was just an extraordinary statement. I, I don't recall, in all the time I've been in Washington, hearing something quite like that. Is it enough? I don't know....This was just an extraordinary statement tonight, just the fact that the President of the United States would come on television and discuss something like this, that in itself is extraordinary. But to say that he had misled his wife, he had misled his family, you don't hear this kind of thing very often, Dan."
- CBS News reporter Bob Schieffer just after Clinton spoke, August 17.

 

Loves Man or Job? Saudi Shame


"I think she loves the guy. As hard as it is for us to believe, she loves the guy. And I was sitting around with some friends of mine over the weekend and we said well, alright, if she was married to a used car salesman, would she still be there? And you know what? She wouldn't. But she's married to a President and she is the First Lady, so they both are doing this."
- Time columnist and reporter Margaret Carlson on CBS's This Morning, August 18.

"Who has ever been punished more for adultery in this country? I mean, you have to go to Saudi Arabia to see people shamed the way the President was. And I think it was nobody's business."
- Carlson on NBC's Today, August 19.

 

Dan's "Personal Life" Twist


"Results are in tonight from a CBS News poll taken since Monica Lewinsky's testimony to the Ken Starr grand jury: 63 percent of those polled said even if there was wrongdoing by the President, it would have been better for the country if the Starr investigation into Mr. Clinton's personal life and whether he lied about it had never started."
- Dan Rather's twist on a poll which really asked "Whatever happened, would it have been better if the investigation had never begun?" August 7 CBS Evening News.

 

Can the Scandal Now End?


"The President testifies. Making history at the White House. President Clinton under oath answering questions from Kenneth Starr about Monica Lewinsky. Did the President have sexual relations with her? Did he lie about it? Or ask anyone else to lie about it? Will Ken Starr let it end here?"
- Tom Brokaw introducing the August 17 NBC Nightly News.

 

Provider-in-Chief


"The Cold War is over, but President Clinton is still Commander-in-Chief of the economy. Thats been Clinton's salvation. It explains the vast discrepancy between his high job performance ratings - 76 percent say he can get things done - and his low personal ratings - just 34 percent consider him honest and trustworthy. He may not always be truthful, but he's a good provider."
- CNN political analyst William Schneider on The World Today, August 12.

 

Knew He Was Lying All Along?


" I, like many Americans, figured out months ago that something inappropriate went on between these two people that the President was embarrassed to talk about....I never said I absolutely believed no sex went on. I am not that naive."
- Eleanor Clift on FNC's OReilly Factor, August 16.

vs.

Clift: "If he told the truth the first time, he should stick with it. If he's got adjustments to make, now's the time."
John McLaughlin: "So you think, you think that he will leave things the way they are because it is your feeling that he told the truth, right?"
Clift: "My feeling is that he told the truth and I know on this set there is an entire presumption of guilt. Read the words carefully. What did he admit to? Read the words carefully. What did he admit to?"
- July 25 McLaughlin Group.

 

Missing Clinton Already


"Clinton over the years has shown a great capacity for self-pity, but in this sense it would be partly deserved: no ordinary citizen would face Clinton's present excruciating legal bind. No ordinary errant male would face a special prosecutor with four years of relatively slim results and an ever expanding mandate to search for potential illegality....But legal rights are for ordinary folks, not the man elevated to the office that transmutes a lifetime of ambition, dealmaking, and supercharged hormones into a symbol of dignity, power and promise to serve the greater good."
- Time Senior Editor Nancy Gibbs, August 10 cover story.

"The danger, of course, is a field of cardboard candidates, life-like creatures who can pass any background check but lack heart, instinct, and fire. Already, Dan Quayle and Trent Lott have announced that they have never committed adultery. It's enough to make you start missing Clinton."
- Time Senior Writer Eric Pooley concluding an August 10 story on the impact of the Starr probe.

 

Rogue Prince of Prosperity


"After a while, the two Clintons can give you whiplash. Dr. Clinton is a more successful President than the fevered critics can yet acknowledge. His decision to stiff liberals and play to the bond market in 1993 paid off; the economy boomed and the deficit went from $290 billion to zero. With Congress, he revolutionized welfare (rolls are plummeting nationwide), put real money in the pockets of the working poor, made community college virtually free, brought health coverage to millions of uninsured kids, passed gun control and family and medical leave. Crime is way down; the Dow has more than doubled since Ken Starr began his investigation."
- Newsweek Senior Writer Jonathan Alter, August 24 issue.

"The ironies for a President not given to irony are endless. Consider this: the best chance for Clinton to shine in history might be for Congress to force him to pay the price for lying about sex. In the unlikely event he is pushed from office, it would take only weeks, maybe just days, before a vast national remorse set in. We destroyed our lovable rogue prince of prosperity over this? Clinton would become a martyr to a legal system run amok. His defeat would mean victory over not just sheet-sniffing prosecutors but all those who would criminalize politics with endless investigations. As legacies go, balancing the budget might look puny by comparison."
- Jonathan Alter, later in same article.

 

Hillary's on Target


"Hillary Clinton attacked her husband's attackers, saying a lot of the criticism comes down to an anti-Arkansas bias. Well, chief among his critics, it can fairly be said, is Kenneth Starr. And the Starr Wars, it can also fairly be said, targeted Arkansas, home of the Whitewater affair and the investigation that now, four years later, seems to be winding up with the Lewinsky affair. From the beginning, Mr. Starr's tactics and motives have come under fire, especially the way he went after low level targets..."
- Morley Safer introducing a re-run of a story on Ken Starr's tactics, August 16 60 Minutes.

 

France Says Why the Fuss?


"The reaction I pick up from overseas is: 'Oh you Americans make to much about sex. We do this in France. We do this in other countries. It's never reported. Its not an issue.' True enough. But the other and in a way more telling point that they make is that we Americans have lost a sense of proportion. This is not worth this attention. This press coverage. This special investigation. That somewhere we've lost a sense of balance and have lost our senses."
- CNN's Garrick Utley before Clinton's August 17 address.

 

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