Notable Quotables - 01/16/2006
NBC: Alito May Be a “Zealot”...
“If he [Supreme Court nominee Sam Alito] has a good, strong, solid performance where he comes across as a conservative judge with good temperament, he’s confirmed. If he comes across as a conservative political zealot, he’s in trouble....The question is, is this a conservative judge or a conservative zealot? That’s what the hearings will show.”
— NBC Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert previewing the Alito confirmation hearings on Today, January 9.
...Certainly Is “Ultra-Conservative”
“Let’s face it, he [Judge Alito] is an ultra-conservative and his track record on the bench is that he goes to the right on key issues.”
— Co-host Matt Lauer to former Republican Senator Fred Thompson on NBC’s Today, January 10. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
Can’t We Stop Retrograde Alito?
Co-anchor Elizabeth Vargas: “You are one of a handful of pro-choice Republicans. But if you get the sense in these hearings that Judge Alito would overturn or weaken Roe v. Wade, would that make him unqualified, in your opinion?”
Liberal Republican Senator Arlen Specter: “I would not decide my vote on a single issue....”
Vargas: “Democrats know that if they really do decide they want to oppose the appointment of Judge Alito to the Supreme Court bench, their best bet to do this is to filibuster.”
Specter: “There are no extraordinary circumstances to warrant filibustering Judge Alito.”
Vargas (astonished): “None?”
— From a taped interview shown on ABC’s World News Tonight, January 9.
Miners Die, Blame Tom DeLay
“I don’t think what happened in West Virginia is totally divorced from the K Street project. It was all about deregulation. Tom DeLay fervently and sincerely believes that every regulation — the regulations that have removed 99 percent of lead from the air, the regulations that have saved the Great Lakes — they are a burden and an onerous intrusion upon American business, and I think that what you’ve seen is Tom DeLay’s America in action.”
— Columnist and PBS NewsHour panelist Mark Shields, referring to the deaths of 12 West Virginia coal miners, on Inside Washington, January 6. The cause of the mine disaster has not yet been determined. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
Dan Yearns for First Husband Bill
Dan Rather: “Mr. President, when we traveled with you in China, you weren’t aboard Air Force One. Do you miss it?”
Former President Bill Clinton: “Well, I don’t miss the trappings so much, but I loved the plane because it’s a great place to work.”
Rather: “Do you, in some quiet moment, look forward to the time maybe when you fly on it in a different capacity, as First Husband?”
Clinton: “Well, the answer to that is no, I don’t....”
Rather: “Well, as you know, we now have on television, we have a woman President of the United States.”
Clinton: “Yeah, Geena Davis.”
Rather: “Is the country ready for a woman President, a real woman President as opposed to one on television?”
— Exchange on CBS’s 60 Minutes, January 1. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
Bush’s War Dodgers Flubbed Iraq
ABC’s John Donvan: “Was it a wrong war to go into from the beginning?”
Representative John Murtha: “Absolutely....”
Donvan: “Do you think, in the end, that the enthusiasm for going to Iraq that the President had would have been different if, like you, he had actually ever seen combat? Or if Dick Cheney, like you, had ever actually seen combat or Rumsfeld or Wolfowitz or Feith, men who wanted to go to war and had never seen combat? Do you think it would have made a difference if they’d had that experience?”
— From ABC’s Nightline, January 2.
Still Enthralled by Cindy Sheehan
“I give it to Cindy Sheehan, the Gold Star mother who gave the President a vacation from Hell and brought the war home in a way that it hadn’t been before and set the stage for the deceleration in the President’s poll ratings.”
— Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift on the Dec. 24 McLaughlin Group, when asked to choose a “Person of the Year.” (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
“To number three in our Top Five in ’05, Cindy Sheehan, a grieving mother who lost her son in Iraq. She took her opposition to the war directly to the western White House. Love her or hate her, and many people do, she has forced the nation and President Bush to take a long, hard look at the war....The one thing that was almost impossible to do in 2005 was to ignore her.”
— Co-host Carol Costello on CNN’s American Morning, December 28, reviewing the top newsmakers of 2005.
Tom & Ted: We Must Raise Taxes
Tom Brokaw: “This disconnect between those people who are in uniform and fighting this war over there and a large portion of our population [is] because no sacrifice is being asked of anyone at home. The President is not asking us to conserve oil or to ration gasoline or to push hard for alternative sources of energy in this conflict.”
Ted Koppel: “Or to pay a nickel more in taxes.”
Brokaw: “Or to pay more in taxes for it....I don’t believe that this administration, or, for that matter, the opposition has asked enough of the American people.”
— Exchange on NBC’s Meet the Press, December 25.
...While Giving Health Care to All
Ted Koppel: “We have been priding ourselves on having the best medical care in the world, and you know something? You [Tim Russert] can get the best medical care in the world. He [Tom Brokaw] can get the best medical care in the world. I can. Most Americans can’t. And there are 43 million Americans who aren’t getting any medical care at all. That is a scandal.”
Tom Brokaw: “That is getting attention at least, where people are trying to come to grips with that. And what was so stunning to me was that the Bush administration, after winning a very sizeable popular vote in the 2004 election, put as its highest priority the reform of Social Security and not health care in America because I thought that’s where most people were concerned.”
Moderator Tim Russert: “Agree?”
Koppel: “Sure. I’m not gonna disagree with him. I’m at NBC here. I got to agree with Brokaw.”
— Exchange on NBC’s Meet the Press, December 25. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
Upset that Iraq, Katrina Eroded Public’s Faith In Big Government
“There are many, many questions about the competence of the government in Katrina, the competence of the government in terms of intelligence. But there’s not the good part which happened in the ’60s. There’s not a civil rights movement. There’s not a race to the moon, where things are, show what government can do in a positive way, and I think this has been a difficult year for government as an idea. And I think that the President, who has chosen to project power in this way, to use Richard Haass’ phrase, as a ‘war of choice,’ he has done so in a way that now has raised a lot of questions about fundamental competence of the government, both abroad and at home.”
— Newsweek Managing Editor Jon Meacham when asked to name the biggest story of 2005, on NBC’s Meet the Press, January 1.
Spying on Terrorists? Disgraceful!
CNN’s Larry King: “What do you make of the tapping of phones in the interest of national security?”
CBS’s Andy Rooney: “Well, I think it’s a disgrace, an absolute disgrace. And how the President has convinced himself or how the Vice President has convinced the President that this is a good thing to do, in the interests of American security, it’s a disgrace....Our whole country was built on the idea that we are free from that kind of government. I mean, it is seriously wrong what’s happening in Washington and how they’re forcing it down our throats, I don’t know....That’s not the way to protect ourselves.”
— Exchange on CNN’s Larry King Live, January 6.
Bush “Greatest Tyrant In World”
“No matter what the greatest tyrant in the world, the greatest terrorist in the world, George W. Bush says, we’re here to tell you: Not hundreds, not thousands, but millions of the American people, millions support your revolution, support your ideas and we are expressing our solidarity with you.”
— Singer Harry Belafonte to Venezuela’s left-wing President Hugo Chavez during a televised rally on January 8, in a clip shown on FNC’s Hannity & Colmes the next day.(With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
Stop the Labels, Start the Hugs
“They [the terrorists] are, in a way, the most sympathetic [characters in the movie Syriana], but I think that’s important. Because if you are going to fight a war on terror, which is not a state that you can go and bomb, then you need to understand what it is that creates the people that would do such horrible things, rather then just saying — labeling them as evildoers.”
— Actor George Clooney, who produced and stars in the movie Syriana, in a soundbite shown on FNC’s Special Report with Brit Hume, January 4. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
No Blood for Corn Oil
Co-host Carol Costello: “Willie Nelson, he’s got a brand new career now, he’s selling fuel. He’s making bio-fuel. It’s made from any number of crops, lots of businesses and local governments are switching to it....Nelson says it not only helps the farmers, but it’s an anti-war statement. So it’s a double whammy, according to Willie Nelson. He says why not grow our own fuel, instead of starting wars over it.”
Co-host Miles O’Brien: “Well, then we’d have to invade Nebraska. Get the corn, right?”
Costello [laughing]: “That’s true. I never thought of that.”
O’Brien: “Well, it’s just a thought.”
— Exchange on CNN’s American Morning, December 30.
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