Notable Quotables - 09/24/2007
We All Know He’s a Liar
“Senator, good morning to you. Let me ask you right out of the bat — when the President speaks about Iraq tonight, do you believe that he will have any credibility?”
— NBC’s Meredith Vieira to GOP Senator Chuck Hagel on the September 13 Today. (With WMV video/MP3 audio)
“There’s so much of this that’s truly, and I don’t mean this in a cartoon sense, fantastic. When you’re with the President, does he live in this world? Or does he just sell it?”
— MSNBC’s Chris Matthews to Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) during live coverage after Bush’s Iraq speech, Sept. 13.
CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux: “How does the President regain the credibility that he needs to convince the American people that that’s true [that the surge is working], Tony?”
Retiring White House press secretary Tony Snow: “Well, you know what Suzanne, your credibility rating — journalists’ credibility ratings are lower than the President’s.”
— Exchange on CNN’s The Situation Room, September 13. (With WMV video/MP3 audio)
Aha! It Really Was Blood for Oil
“Harsh accusation: One of the most respected figures in Washington says the Bush administration went to war in Iraq because of oil....One of the best known and most highly regarded people in Washington, the former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan, says the Bush administration went to war in Iraq largely because of oil.”
— Anchor Dan Harris on ABC’s World News, Sept. 16.
“Are we fighting for the American oil companies, for Mobil and Exxon?...Should we put Exxon signs up over Arlington Cemetery and Mobil signs up there, like they have at baseball stadiums?”
— MSNBC’s Chris Matthews talking about Greenspan’s “largely about oil” comment, September 17 Hardball.
Co-host Matt Lauer: “Liberal bloggers are having a field day with this. They’re saying, ‘Here’s a Republican saying the administration lied about the reason to go to war.’ Is that a spin? Is that fair?”
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan: “It’s utterly unfair. I was expressing my view. Saddam Hussein was obviously seeking to get a chokehold on the Straits of Hormuz....It was necessary to get Saddam out of there.”
— Exchange on NBC’s Today, September 17.
“Have to Have” More Government
“It’s not government-run, but certainly the government is involved. And, in fact, every industrialized country in this world that is successful with health care — often more successful than we are — has a partnership between government and the private sector. And that’s what I think we have to have in this case.”
— ABC’s medical editor Dr. Tim Johnson discussing Hillary Clinton’s new health care plan on the September 17 World News with Charles Gibson.
Yearning for More Liberal Hillary
“Critics are saying that this in some ways is the kind of plan you would have rejected back in 1993....Have you watered down reform?...Some of your competitors are saying you’ve taken more money from the insurance industry than any other candidate, so the question is, is there a conflict looming on the horizon? Are you losing some leverage in asking these insurance companies to get on board and make tough choices?”
— NBC’s Matt Lauer to Hillary Clinton on Today, Sept. 18.
Matt Pushes for “Lobbying Tax”
Matt Lauer: “Do you ever think about how much money is in politics, in political contributions, in lobbying? And wouldn’t it be a great idea if we took even half of that money that’s spent by corporations and special interests trying to influence politics and dedicated it to changing the world for the better?...What about a lobbying tax? If you’re gonna spend a certain amount of money lobbying for a special interest cause, you have to match that amount of money by giving it to help education or to fight AIDS?”
Ex-President Bill Clinton: “Well, that’s not a bad idea.”
— NBC’s Today, September 5. (With WMV video/MP3 audio)
Pining for Return to Clinton Era
“Nobody can bask in applause with quite so much style — the gentle wave, the grin the shape of a sideways comma, the sense that he knows he deserves the accolades and yet is humbled by all the clapping, which makes people clap harder....He still has this way of presenting his ideas for reforms as simple, elegant solutions....Listening to the man think out loud again, it was hard not to pine for an era before bad news got really bad, before Sept. 11 showed up on the calendar every year as Patriot Day.”
— Washington Post staff writer David Segal on the launch of Bill Clinton’s latest book, September 5 Style section.
Conservatives = Flat-Earthers
“The connection of Reagan’s emphasis on tax reduction to his late  campaign surge was lost on reporters covering the Republican candidate. One of them was Walter Isaacson, a twenty-eight-year-old Time correspondent. The former Rhodes scholar, in his second year with the magazine, was given the plum assignment of covering Reagan. On the campaign trail that last week, he introduced himself to me and started a conversation about Reagan’s and my tax-cutting views. He said he believed I was the only journalist he knew who actually supported Kemp-Roth, which accurately reflected the political press corps’ mind-set. ‘I just wonder if you could explain to me how you got there,’ he said. Walter sounded like a modern scientist encountering somebody who believed the earth was flat.”
— Robert Novak in his new book, The Prince of Darkness: 50 Years Reporting in Washington. Isaacson rose to run Time magazine and was later President of CNN.
Fox News Worse than Terrorists
“Al Qaeda really hurt us, but not as much as Rupert Murdoch has hurt us, particularly in the case of Fox News. Fox News is worse than Al Qaeda — worse for our society. It’s as dangerous as the Ku Klux Klan ever was.”
— MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann in an interview with Playboy magazine, October issue.
“The Osama bin Laden tape. First, why is he still free to make one? And in it he criticizes congressional Democrats and just rants without making a specific threat or point. So he’s Sean Hannity?”
“He criticizes the Democrats, makes vague threats, is cranky, and has a bad dye job on his beard. Brent Bozell? No, there’s another Osama bin Laden tape.”
— MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann teasing an upcoming segment on a new bin Laden tape, Sept. 7 Countdown. (With WMV video/MP3 audio)
News to Katie: “It’s Not All Bad”
Katie Couric in Iraq: “What would you like people to know that you don’t think they’re hearing back home?”
Army Sgt. Jamie Wall: “The good things, the good things that happen out here, the good things that soldiers do for the Iraqis and how the Iraqis react to us. It’s not all bad.”
Army Sgt. Brady Marcus: “If we pulled out now, the gangs would take over, the streets would be in mayhem, and this place would be a disaster area. That’s just my opinion.”
Couric: “Sounds like in your opinion there’s no easy answer.”
Marcus: “There’s not an easy answer. We’re at war, Katie, and it’s not an easy thing to get through.”
— CBS Evening News, September 5.
Finally, a Viable Peace Plan
“Let’s face it: If the mothers ruled the world, there would be no G—damned wars in the first place.”
— Actress Sally Field at the Emmy awards, September 16. In its live broadcast of the awards ceremony, Fox cut off Field after she said “there would be no-” (With WMV video/MP3 audio)
Decrying Fox’s “Censorship”
NBC’s Bob Faw: “We are, we brag, an open society. But Sunday on Fox TV, when Sally Field swore about the war, her profanity was bleeped....”
Washington Post’s Tom Shales: “To censor her, supposedly on the grounds of profane language, but perhaps on the grounds of what she said politically, that’s a very dangerous thing to happen in America.”...
Faw: “Increasingly, more seems off limits. Returning coffins of dead soldiers and sailors, for example, can no longer be photographed as they once were.”
— NBC Nightly News, September 18.
“Some say the Fox network, owned by well-known conservative Rupert Murdoch, was engaged in political censorship. Fox said the comments might be considered inappropriate by some viewers....It’s the Sally Field case that is provoking the real cries of political censorship because Fox cut off not only her expletive, but also her entire thought.”
— ABC’s Dan Harris on Good Morning America, Sept. 18.
Clinton “Almost Got” Osama
CNN’s Larry King: “Are we ever going to get Osama?”
Former President Bill Clinton: “Well, not if we don’t put the right resources into the right places.”
King: “You almost got him.”
Clinton: “I did.”
— CNN’s Larry King Live, September 5.
Bin Laden as Innocent as O.J.
Rapper Mos Def: “I don’t believe it was bin Laden today....”
Host Bill Maher: “You don’t think bin Laden knocked down the World Trade Center?”
Def: “Absolutely not....I don’t. You know what, I don’t....In any barbershop I am so not alone, I’m so not alone.”
Maher: “That doesn’t mean you’re right.”
Def: “That don’t mean it is not valid neither. Highly-educated people in all areas of science have spoken on the fishiness around the whole 9/11 theory....The way that this government has pursued its foreign interests has been meddlesome, murderously meddlesome.”
— HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, September 7.
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