Nothing to Cheer About
"There's not a good deal for Iraqis to be happy about at the moment. Life is still very chaotic, beset by violence in many cases, huge shortages. In some respects, Iraqis keep telling us life is not as stable for them as it was when Saddam Hussein was in power."
-ABC's Peter Jennings during a prime-time special on December 14, the day Saddam's capture by American forces was announced.
"Joy at the capture of Saddam Hussein gave way to resentment toward Washington Monday as Iraqis confronted afresh the bloodshed, shortages and soaring prices of life under U.S. occupation."
-Lead sentence of Reuters correspondent Joseph Logan's December 15 dispatch, "Saddam Arrest Cheer Fades Into Iraqi Ire at U.S."
Get Him a Softer Blanket
Lesley Stahl: "Let me raise the whole question of, for lack of a better term, torture. Let's say he [Saddam Hussein] is not forthcoming. Would we deprive him of sleep, would we make it very cold where he is, or very hot? Are there any restrictions on the way we treat him to get him to cooperate more than he has been?"
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld: "You know, to even raise the word 'torture' in terms of how the United States military would treat this person seems to me is unfortunate. We don't torture people...."
Stahl: "Sleep deprivation, that kind of thing? You're ruling it completely out, is that what you're telling us?"
-From a special edition of CBS's 60 Minutes devoted exclusively to news on Saddam's capture, December 14.
Some Germans Missed Hitler, Too
"The tyrant has fallen. But for some, he's a fallen hero.... Even many who suffered under Saddam have mixed feelings....Iraqi'=s are much like abused children: scarred by the man who was both father figure and enforcer. His rules were simple. Obey, and he would provide jobs, food rations, electricity and security. Rebel, and punishment was merciless. But Saddam Hussein also gave Iraqis dignity and pride. He became a symbol of defiance across the Arab world, never backing down from a fight....Those who loved him and those who hated him still can't separate the man from the country in their minds. For many, his humiliation is their own."
-Kimberly Dozier in a December 16 CBS Evening News story about Iraqi reaction to Saddam's capture.
Touting a Trial's "Embarrassment"
"What happens to Saddam Hussein now becomes an international political problem for this administration in two ways: First, Saddam Hussein was at the heart of Iraqi politics for 30 years really. He was President since 1979, but really in power before then. And for about 15 of those years the United States had an interesting relationship, to say the least, with the Iraqi government. Secretary Rumsfeld was over in Baghdad meeting with Saddam Hussein years ago. There are allegations that the United States provided weapons to Saddam Hussein's regime during the Iran-Iraq war. And all that could spill out in a big show trial."
-White House correspondent Terry Moran during ABC's live coverage at about 8:10 a.m. EST on December 14, about an hour after Saddam's arrest was announced.
"Could this trial be very embarrassing to the United States? We supported him for so long. We gave him some of the instruments that he used to terrorize his own people. Could it be embarrassing for the United States?"
-ABC's Charles Gibson to NYU law professor Noah Feldman on Good Morning America, December 15.
Chris Bury: "Saddam Hussein has not always been America's enemy, and as Nightline correspondent Deborah Amos reports, that might prove embarrassing in any trial."
Deborah Amos: "The trial of Saddam Hussein will not be cheap - more than $100 million for the investigation and prosecution in an Iraqi court. Saddam's capture is a tremendous success, but a tribunal has certain risks....A public hand shake in 1983 by President Reagan's special envoy, Donald Rumsfeld, led to secret supplies to Iraq's military and a tilt toward Iraq against the Islamic fundamentalists of Iran. Saddam could use the trial to turn the tables on his former allies."
-ABC's Nightline, December 16.
Bill Clinton, Integrity Expert
George Stephanopoulos: "And for his crowning moment [testifying at Slobodan Milosevic's war crimes trial], General Clark calls on a big gun as a character witness."
General Wesley Clark: "This is a statement from former President Bill Clinton: 'Contrary to Mr. Milosevic, General Wesley Clark carried out the policy of the NATO alliance, to stop massive ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, with great skill, integrity and determination.' And I ask that this be submitted as an item for the record."
-ABC's This Week, December 21.
Gore Is a "Hardcore Centrist"
"In his endorsement Tuesday Al Gore said, 'We need to remake the Democratic party.' You're considered, Governor Dean, more, more left-leaning and Al Gore is considered sort of a hardcore centrist, if you will. The two of you, specifically, what do you think needs to be done to remake the Democratic party?"
-Katie Couric to Howard Dean on the Dec. 10 Today.
Dean's Practically a Republican
"This five-term former Governor had a moderate record during his ten years in the Vermont state house. He was a fiscal conservative, well known for being frugal from budget cuts to his own bargain-basement wardrobe. [Howard] Dean supports a balanced budget amendment, and he was given top marks from the National Rifle Association."
-Byron Pitts in a December 9 CBS Evening News story.
Readying Next "Reform" Push
"The U.S. Supreme Court today upheld the new campaign finance law designed to stop unlimited campaign donations to political parties, what's called 'soft money.' The ruling was five to four. CBS's Wyatt Andrews has details on the Court's decision and how special interest donors with deep pockets have already found a way around it."
-CBS's Dan Rather on the December 10 Evening News.
"The majority warned that the law is not a cure all, saying that 'money, like water will always find an outlet.' And ABC's John Cochran reports the big money is already flowing and outside groups are preparing to spend large amounts of money to influence the next campaign."
-Peter Jennings on the Dec. 10 World News Tonight.
"This ruling doesn't remove the place of money from campaigns. Far from it. In fact, many believe it will only help President Bush who has the built-in advantage of the White House for fundraising and sky's the limit because he chose not to accept the restrictions that come with federal matching funds for the campaign."
-Tom Brokaw on the NBC Nightly News, December 10.
Nina's Electric Demons
Washington Post editorial writer Colbert King: "I don't view the timber industry as the Devil incarnate. I just can't bring myself to do it. And I cannot view the utilities the same way."
NPR reporter Nina Totenberg: "I could."
-Exchange on Inside Washington, December 6.
Please, Hillary, Please, Please!
"If one of the leading candidates falters or the convention becomes deadlocked, would you, under any circumstances, accept the Democratic nomination in 2004?"
"So no matter what happens, absolutely, categorically, no?"
"You would never accept the nomination in 2004?"
"But you wouldn't accept the nomination?"
"Okay, so the door is sealed?"
"How about 2008?"
-A few of Tim Russert's questions to Senator Hillary Clinton on Meet the Press, December 7.
Poor Charlie Feels Rejected
"We're going to turn next to politics, particularly Senator Hillary Clinton. What was she doing yesterday all over the Sunday news shows, all of them raising once again the will she or won't she question....George [Stephanopoulos], it seems like a lot of us can't take no for an answer."
-Co-host Charles Gibson discussing Senator Clinton's disavowal of plans to run for President in 2004, on Good Morning America December 8.
High Taxes Fueled '90s Boom?!?
"Between the primaries and the inauguration, moreover, facts can radically change....The week after the election he [Bill Clinton] was told for the first time in a briefing that the prospects of a dangerously high government deficit were far worse than he had been led to expect. He dropped the middle-class tax cut and made raising taxes one of his primary goals. The tax increase is seen by most economists as critical in producing the boom of the Clinton years."
-Veteran Washington reporter Elizabeth Drew in a profile of Wesley Clark in The New York Review, Nov. 20.
She's Very PC, but Katie Can't See
Katie Couric: "Time magazine's Person of the Year issue hits news stands today and this year it honors the American soldier. Jim Kelly is
Time's Managing Editor and veteran war photographer James Nachtwey was embedded with the Army's First Armored Division in Baghdad and took the remarkable images in this weeks issue, he was also wounded while on assignment. Gentlemen, welcome, good morning, nice to have you both. I was so, I have to say, just personally, I was so pleased to see this....Tell me why you all decided to honor the American soldier? Wondering why there's no woman on the cover, too?"
Time's Jim Kelly, pointing to cover: "This is a woman."
Couric: "Oh, there you go, oh sorry....I couldn't tell because of her helmet."
-Exchange on NBC's Today, December 22.