Probe Into Fast and Furious Fiasco “Mostly Show Business”
Anchor Carol Costello: “So what I’d like you to do is douse us with reality, because this has become very partisan, this argument over Eric Holder. Eric Holder has testified before the House Judiciary Committee nine times. Each time he has admitted Fast and Furious was a dreadful mistake, and each time Holder says he was unaware of the tactics of the operation. Why don’t Republicans believe him?”
CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin: “Well, this is really much more to be filed in the category of politics than law....The idea that there is some sort of corruption here, that there is something sinister, has not been proven at all, at least as far as I can tell....I think this is mostly show business one way or another.”
— CNN Newsroom, June 13. [Audio/video (0:45): Windows Media | MP3 audio]
Going After Holder: An Ideological Vendetta or “Ethnic” Disdain?
Anchor Judy Woodruff: “Why were Republicans today again coming down so hard on the Attorney General?”
NPR legal correspondent Carrie Johnson: “Well, almost from Eric Holder’s nomination and even before his confirmation in 2009, leading Senate Republicans had insisted that they were going to target Eric Holder as vulnerable to political attack....”
Newsweek managing editor Daniel Klaidman: “This Attorney General, perhaps more than any other members of the Obama Cabinet, is associated with some of the more progressive policies of the Obama administration. And so he’s become a lightning rod for conservatives....It’s gay marriage, it’s immigration, and it’s civil rights issues, and so all of these issues have made him a kind of a vulnerable target in some ways for partisan attack.”
— From a discussion on PBS’s NewsHour, June 12.
“It’s almost like a ‘stop and frisk.’ Here’s a chance to humiliate a distinguished member of the United States government, close friend of the President’s.... Is this ethnic?... It smells like it to me, and I think there is a disdain on the part of some Republican — not all, certainly not Boehner — but some of them down in the rank-and-file, red-hot end of the team, that do talk down to the President and his friends, absolutely.”
— Chris Matthews talking about Attorney General Eric Holder, MSNBC’s Hardball, June 19.
She’s “Hoping” Obama’s Blame Bush Strategy Still Works
Clip of President Obama: “I inherited a trillion-dollar deficit. We had a surplus; they turned it into a deficit....It’s like somebody goes to a restaurant, orders a big steak dinner, martini, all that stuff. And then, just as you’re sitting down, they leave — and accuse you of running up the tab.”...
Co-host Joe Scarborough: “What do you think, Mika? Do you think it will work, blaming George Bush?”
Co-host Mike Brzezinski: “Well, I’m hoping. But I think it’s a tough sell.”
— MSNBC’s Morning Joe, June 13. [Audio/video (0:24): Windows Media | MP3 audio]
Slashing Mitt: “He’s Sold His Soul” to the Evil “Right Wing”
“We’ve had experience with a President who came to office with an empty head on foreign policy, and bought the entire neo-con pitch hook, line, and sinker. The result was the one war in this country’s history that truly deserves a dunce cap....The scariest thing about Mitt Romney is that he really is open for bids. He’s sold his soul to every right-wing faction that’s out there: the neo-cons on foreign policy; the religious right on social policy; Grover [Norquist] on the tax issue. Why have a brain if you don’t have to think? With this crowd around, his only job is to do exactly what he’s told. He’s done just that....This guy isn’t a candidate. He’s a speaker system.”
— Chris Matthews on Hardball, June 18.
Justifying Obama’s “Private Sector Is Doing Fine” Blunder
MSNBC host Chris Hayes: “We’ve lost 600,000 jobs in the public sector since the beginning of this recession, largely at the local and state level. And those didn’t have to happen. Those layoffs did not have to happen if we had extended revenue sharing from the federal government.”
Co-host Ann Curry: “He [President Obama] is right in saying that the private sector is doing better than the public sector, is he not? And so that was his point, that this comment was taken out of context.”
— Talking about President Obama’s statement that “the private sector is doing fine,” NBC’s Today, June 11. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the current unemployment rate among government workers is 4.2%, the lowest of any industry sector.
Spinning Rude Interruption as Racist Eruption
“This disrespect of this human being cannot be disconnected from the fact that he’s black...There is a basic, lesser humanity generally ascribed to black people, even one this alpha, this much in power, this much in control.”
— MSNBC contributor Touré on The Dylan Ratigan Show, June 15, talking about a Daily Caller reporter interrupting President Obama to ask a question on immigration earlier that afternoon.
“It’s very, very difficult to place race outside of this context, mostly because a lot of the interruptions, a lot of the disrespect has been unprecedented. We haven’t seen anything like this before. A lot of people will suggest that it’s because the Republican Party has moved so far to the right that they’re willing to do things that were unthinkable.”
— Politico reporter Joe Williams on MSNBC’s The Ed Show, June 15.
“Let’s face it: Many on the political right believe this President [Barack Obama] ought not to be there — they oppose him not for his policies and political view but for who he is, an African American!”
— Longtime ABC newsman Sam Donaldson in an e-mail to the Huffington Post, as quoted in a June 16 article.
Don’t Blame Obama — No President Could Succeed These Days
“For Barack Obama, a President who set out to restore good relations with the world in his first term, the world does not seem to be cooperating all that much with his bid to win a second....The dire headlines from around the world only reinforce an uncomfortable reality for this President and any of his successors: Even the world’s last superpower has only so much control over events beyond its borders....”
— New York Times reporter Peter Baker in a June 18 front-page “news analysis.”
“Is it possible for a President — any President — to succeed in the modern world of politics?... Pessimism about our nation’s future, partisanship and a splintered media makes it clear that any President elected or (re-elected) has slim hopes — or at the most a very narrow window — for political success....The idea that the President can drive the hourly, daily or weekly message of his choosing feels outdated. The bully pulpit may still exist, but it’s far less bully than it once was.”
— The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza in his June 18 “The Monday Fix.”
Would “Rigid Republican Factions” Reject Reagan & Bush?
“From these rocks [in Kennebunkport, Maine], the 41st President watches politics from a distance, his son saying neither his father, nor Ronald Reagan, would be accepted by any rigid Republican faction today. [to Bush] Jeb said recently that he worries about the Republican Party and the polarization.”
— Anchor Diane Sawyer profiling George H. W. Bush on ABC’s World News, June 15. [Video (0:53)]
Chris Offers “Help” to Struggling Democratic Candidate
“You should be miles ahead of him [Scott Brown]. What’s going on up there?...Let me help you on this, to the extent that I, as a journalist, can help you. We have a new figure that just came out, and this shows the American people, and people in Massachusetts, as well as everywhere else, how they got screwed under the W. administration....”
— Host Chris Matthews to Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren on MSNBC’s Hardball, June 13. [Audio/video (0:54): Windows Media | MP3 audio]
Joy Jabs Mitt: “I’d Like to See His House Burn”
Mediaite’s Tommy Christopher: “He was making fun of the President for wanting to hire more policemen and firemen and teachers saying, you know, ‘Didn’t he get the message of Wisconsin that we want less government?’”
New Current-TV host Joy Behar: “Oh, less government? That is an idiotic statement. Can I just say that? I mean, I’d like to see his house burn, one of his millions of houses burning down. Who’s he going to call, the Mormon fire patrol?...What am I supposed to do if my apartment gets caught on fire? Am I gonna call Mitt Romney to come and put it out? See what I mean?”
— From an interview posted on the Mediaite Web site, June 12.
Mitt the Bully vs. Obama the Basketball Lover
“President Obama’s love for basketball can be traced back to his high school team”
— Headline over a 5,500 word June 10 Washington Post article excerpted from David Maraniss’s new Obama bio.
“Mitt Romney’s prep school classmates recall pranks, but also troubling incidents”
— Headline over a 5,400 word May 11 Washington Post front-page investigation into Mitt Romney’s time at a Michigan prep school in the mid-1960s.
Climate Change a Bigger “Challenge” than World War II?
“Climate change is the biggest governing challenge we face. It’s the biggest governing challenge I think we’ve ever faced. One way or another, we’re going to have to dramatically reduce the amount of carbon we’re putting in the atmosphere and the scale and scope of that undertaking is every bit as transformational as the industrial revolution or the transition to the digital age.”
— MSNBC weekend host Chris Hayes in one of the network’s “Lean Forward” ads shown on June 13. [Audio/video (0:45): Windows Media | MP3 audio]
Media Are Just Too Fair to Lying Republicans
“‘I don’t see the liberal bias — and I’m trying to — that I hear about,’ he says. ‘What I do see is a bias toward fairness, a bias toward neutrality....’”
— Aaron Sorkin, creator/writer of HBO’s The Newsroom, as quoted in a June 20 USA Today article.
America Faces “a Lot of Trouble If We Don’t Re-Elect” Obama
“I think that we did a really good thing when we elected Barack Obama....He has proven himself to be not only qualified for the job, but very good at it. The things that he’s managed to get accomplished in the face of so much pushback is amazing. And I think — this is Morgan Freeman’s personal thought — we’re going to be in a lot of trouble if we don’t re-elect him because people on the other side of the fence scare me.”
— Actor Morgan Freeman on PBS’s Tavis Smiley, June 19.
Yeah, Just Like All Businessmen — Evil
Host Piers Morgan: “Did you like being, for what you were for a long period, the most evil man on television?”
Actor Larry Hagman, who plays “J.R. Ewing” on Dallas: “Well, you know, I don’t think I was an evil man. I was just like a Texas businessman, that’s all.”
Morgan: “Yeah, evil.”
— Exchange on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, June 12. [Audio/video (0:15): Windows Media | MP3 audio]
Sign up to receive Notable Quotables via e-mail.
PUBLISHER: L. Brent Bozell III
EDITORS: Brent H. Baker, Rich Noyes, Tim Graham
DEPUTY RESEARCH DIRECTOR: Geoffrey Dickens
TIMESWATCH: Clay Waters
NEWS ANALYSTS: Scott Whitlock, Brad Wilmouth, Matthew Balan, Kyle Drennen and Matt Hadro
INTERNS: Jeffrey Meyer, Kelly McGarey and Matt Vespa