The Best of Notable Quotables; December 20, 1993

Vol. Six; No. 26

Courage to Change Award (for Presidential Puffery)

“If we could be one-hundredth as great as you and Hillary Rodham Clinton have been in the White House, we’d take it right now and walk away winners...Thank you very much and tell Mrs. Clinton we respect her and we’re pulling for her.”

– Dan Rather at a May 27 CBS affiliates meeting talking via satellite to President Clinton about his new on-air partnership with Connie Chung.


“Clinton’s campaign, conducted with dignity, with earnest attention to issues and with an impressive display of self-possession under fire, served to rehabilitate and restore the legitimacy of American politics and thus, prospectively, of government itself. He vindicated (at least for a while) the honor of a system that has been sinking fast. A victory by George Bush would, among other things, have given a two-victory presidential validation (1988 and 1992) to hot-button, mad-dog politics – campaigning on irrelevant or inflammatory issues (Willie Horton, the flag, the Pledge of Allegiance, Murphy Brown’s out-of-wedlock nonexistent child) or dirty tricks and innuendo (searching passport files, implying that Clinton was tied up with the KGB as a student).”

Time Senior Writer Lance Morrow in Man of the Year cover story, Jan. 4 issue.

“There’s no doubting that the nation is about to be led by its first sensitive male chief executive. He’s the first President to have attended both Lamaze classes and family therapy (as part of his brother’s drug rehabilitation). He can speak in the rhythms and rhetoric of pop psychology and self-actualization. He can search for the inner self while seeking connectedness with the greater whole.”

Newsweek Washington reporter Howard Fineman, January 25 news story.

“Without running the risk of being considered ‘touchy-feely,’ Clinton is known as a hugger of men and women. Simple handshakes aren’t enough for this man whose theme song easily could be borrowed from the cotton industry’s ‘the touch, the feel, the fabric of our lives’....What one does with hands, lips, arms, trunks, and legs carries far more weight that a barrage of insults, eloquent speeches, or sweet poetry whispered in the ear. The problem is that many of us, unlike Clinton, have lost touch with touch.”

– “Style Plus” article in the December 14, 1992 Washington Post.

“[Clinton] pointed out the Andrew Jackson magnolia tree. He’s a very good historian. Harry, I think if you had been in the room, any viewer-listener who had been in that room, would have been impressed with the breadth of his knowledge. I mean he talked about the Oscars. He talked very knowingly about Clint Eastwood and his new movie Unforgiven, Jack Nicholson’s role in A Few Good Men, and then switched very quickly to a knowledgeable analysis of Arkansas’s chances against North Carolina in the big basketball game tomorrow night.”

– Dan Rather to CBS This Morning’s Harry Smith, after March 25 Clinton interview.