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Notable Quotables - 01/10/2000


Time: Heroic Clinton & Eleanor; Backward Winston Churchill

"One of President Clinton's accomplishments has been to restore the strength of Franklin Roosevelt's legacy by reforming welfare and conquering runaway deficits while still showing how government could help average citizens. He's written a fascinating piece about what Roosevelt means today."
- Time Managing Editor Walter Isaacson on Bill Clinton's piece about Person of the Century runner-up FDR, "To Our Readers" article in the December 31 issue.

"In his approach to domestic issues, individual rights and the liberties of colonial subjects, Churchill turned out to be a romantic refugee from a previous era who ended up on the wrong side of history. He did not become Prime Minister, he incorrectly proclaimed in 1942, 'to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire,' which then controlled a quarter of the globe's land. He bulldoggedly opposed the women's-rights movement, other civil-rights crusades and decolonization, and he called Mohandas Gandhi 'nauseating' and a 'half-naked fakir.'"
- Time Managing Editor Walter Isaacson in a separate article explaining why Winston Churchill was not picked as Person of the Century, December 31.

"Roosevelt made another great contribution: he escorted onto the century's stage a remarkable woman, his wife Eleanor. She served as his counterpoint: uncompromisingly moral, earnest rather than devious, she became an icon of feminism and social justice in a nation just discovering the need to grant rights to women, blacks, ordinary workers and the poor. She discovered the depth of racial discrimination while touring New Deal programs (on a visit to Birmingham in 1938, she refused to sit in the white section of the auditorium), and subsequently peppered her husband with questions over dinner and memos at bedtime. Even after her husband's death, she remained one of the century's most powerful advocates for social fairness."
- Isaacson in same article.


Can We Have Another Camelot?

"And Ben, what about recapturing the spirit and the elegance and the style of Camelot? You knew that very well, the administration of John F. Kennedy. Is that going to be possible in the next century?"
- Tom Brokaw to former Washington Post Editor Ben Bradlee, during NBC's December 31 prime time coverage.


Reagan, Thatcher Mattered? No

"Let's talk about who's on the list and who isn't. Why on Earth, for example, Ronald Reagan when there's no JFK, there's no LBJ, there's no Dwight Eisenhower who won a war?"
- Bryant Gumbel in December 24 discussion on CBS's The Early Show about the Time/CBS News book, People of the Century: One Hundred Men & Women Who Shaped the Last One Hundred Years.

Bryant Gumbel: "On the women's front, Eleanor Roosevelt is obviously a given. Do we agree with the Margaret Thatcher pick?"
Dan Rather: "I don't, to be perfectly honest."
Gumbel: "I don't either."
Rather: "...My guess, Margaret Thatcher is there, as much as any reason, because she is a woman."
- Exchange from the same Dec. 24 Early Show panel.


Gumbel the Great

"Gumbel has long been one of television's best and brightest. He may not be great to work around or for, but when the camera flickers to life, he makes just about whatever he's doing better because he's doing it. There hasn't been anyone better on the morning shows for the past two decades, and that's why he was wooed by a host of network suitors when he chose to leave NBC....Make no mistake, the program has its weaknesses....Whatever his peccadilloes, Gumbel isn't one of them. In truth, the 'Gumbel factor' may be The Early Show's only and greatest asset."
- Boston Globe writer Renee Graham, December 14 "Living/Arts" section essay.


Bias In a Time Capsule

Diane Sawyer: "We thought what better way to start our special time capsule broadcast than with a quote, an entry from the President of the United States. Peter Jennings sat down with President Bill Clinton yesterday, and this is what he had to say."
Peter Jennings to Clinton: "What's the toughest question that you think you can ask yourself and answer that you'd like to be put in a time capsule?"
Bill Clinton: "What is the meaning of life? To search for God and good and love and to live by what you believe."
Sawyer, back on live: "And there it is, from President Bill Clinton."
- December 17 Good Morning America during which the ABC show buried a time capsule.


Cuban Kids Fear U.S. Kidnappers

"Part of what the children talked about was their fear of the United States and how they felt they didn't want to come to the United States because it was a place where they kidnap children, a direct reference, of course, to Elian Gonzalez. The children also said that the United States was just a place where there was money and money wasn't what was most important. I should mention, Peter, that, you know, as you talk about the global community, Cuba is a place, because of the small number of computers here - in the classrooms we visited yesterday there was certainly no computers and almost no paper that we could see - this is a place where the children's role models and their idols are not the baseball players or Madonna or pop stars. Their role models are engineers and teachers and librarians, which is who all the children we spoke to yesterday said they wanted to be."
- ABC's Cynthia McFadden referring to her visit to elementary-school-age kids, live from Havana during ABC 2000 coverage, December 31.


The Berlin Wall Suddenly Fell, But Germany's Far Ahead of America

"After World War II, then we went through decades of Red-hunting, Red-baiting, fear of communists and then all of a sudden the Berlin Wall, that symbol of everything that happened, Gloria, fell."
- Washington Week in Review moderator Gwen Ifill reviewing the century, December 31.

"We are making these tremendous strides and yet there's a great gap, it seems to me, in this country in terms of helping people cope with a lot of these things. We have 45 million Americans who have no health insurance and we're the only Western country that still has no health insurance program. Germany's had one since 1870."
- Former Washington Week in Review moderator Paul Duke on the December 31 show.


Bradley vs. Greedy Tax Cutters

"Since the time of the first Neanderthal primary, rule No. 1 in politics has been to tell people what they want to hear. That's why, despite unprecedented prosperity, so many candidates are yammering about tax relief. Greed is in. People are driving to the store in $40,000 vehicles that look like Panzers. But Bradley goes around talking about the shame of child poverty and the medically uninsured as if the TV show everyone's yapping about were called Who Wants to Be a Humanitarian?"
- Time reporter Steve Lopez, December 20.


Hillary Knocks My Socks Off

"I'm endlessly fascinated by her....She's so smart. Virtually every time I've seen her perform, she has knocked my socks off."
- CBS News reporter Lesley Stahl on Hillary Clinton, as quoted by Gail Shister in the December 8 Philadelphia Inquirer.


Clinton's Like a Fine Sports Car

"It's not unlike watching a BMW, fully loaded, the sunroof back, the heated seats, the Blaupunkt speakers blasting. No curves, no spin, a 180-kilometer-an-hour purity of performance. It's December and a press conference in the bowels of the cement box that is the State Department, and up there on the stage, hand jauntily in pocket and press corps in the palm of his hand, the President is wowing 'em again. So you have again the fractured promise of William Jefferson Clinton. Oxford Bill with the political skill set of a veteran Chicago ward heeler. More intellectually supple than Al Gore without the rent-a-wreck personality. More politically attuned than George W. Bush, and he really reads the books."
- Washington Post reporter Michael Powell in a December 9 "Style" section story the day after Clinton's press conference.


"Dispassionate" Clinton Attack

"Eschewing the sharp partisan rhetoric that had colored much of the budget debate, Clinton yesterday was rather dispassionate, saying simply that the budget bill 'avoids risky tax cuts that would have spent hundreds of billions of dollars from the Social Security surplus and drained our ability to advance education and other important public purposes.'"
- From middle of November 30 story by Washington Post political reporter Charles Babington.


Another Christmas Saved By The Heroic Federal Toy Regulators

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams: "If you're like most Americans, your weekend plans will include some form of holiday shopping and if kids are involved, that means toys, and that of course always leads to the question: Are they safe? Luckily, there's someone in Washington whose job is to make sure they are."
Reporter Bob Faw: "....back at the lab, the pinching and poking - the protection of children - goes on. Another Christmas saved."
- December 3 story on a Consumer Product Safety Commission bureaucrat.