Notable Quotables - 02/07/2000
Tilting Right: A Political Disaster
"George W. Bush had to put forward a tax cut plan of over a trillion dollars over a ten-year period. He had to agree with Steve Forbes on the language in favor of a constitutional amendment to ban all abortions....George W. Bush did not want to have to stake out those kind of strong conservative positions in a primary campaign that could hurt him with a mainstream electorate in a general election."
- NBC Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert on MSNBC the night of the Iowa caucuses, January 24.
"Steve Forbes pushed George Bush to the right on the abortion issue all during the Iowa campaign because of the importance of the religious right and social conservatives there, and now when he gets to New Hampshire, he's going to push George Bush to the right on the tax issue. So George Bush is really losing the middle ground that he wants to be in for a general election."
- Andrea Mitchell to David Yepsen of the Des Moines Register on MSNBC's Decision 2000, January 25.
"George W. Bush is in something of a box here. Going to South Carolina, he's going to have to attack McCain from the right. He's going to have to make himself, that is Bush, more conservative and more of an attacker, which may help him in South Carolina, but won't help make him a better general election candidate in the fall."
- Newsweek's Howard Fineman on MSNBC the night of John McCain's victory in New Hampshire, February 1.
"But the really costly war he [George W. Bush] never had to wage was the one that time and again has crippled Republicans by Easter the fight to win over the conservative faithful with all sorts of promises and pledges and litmus tests that haunt the candidate for the rest of the campaign. From the very first day, Bush positioned himself as a new kind of Republican, who talked about the poor and spoke Spanish and spanked the House Republicans for their cold hearts and small minds."
- Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy, January 31 Time.
Forbes, You're Far Out
"You say [your appeal is] broad-based, but you oppose Roe v. Wade, you oppose gays in the military, you oppose the teaching of evolution, you oppose the ban on school prayer, you oppose a waiting period on gun purchases. Do you really expect to win moderate votes in this country?"
- Bryant Gumbel to Steve Forbes, January 24 Early Show.
CBS Finds the Far Right
"Now to Bill Whitaker covering George W. Bush's talking the right talk, as in Republican hard right, to try to take out Steve Forbes in Iowa and focus on eliminating John McCain in New Hampshire."
- Dan Rather, January 23 CBS Evening News.
"Both front-runners are hoping to appeal to moderate voters and the party establishment was hoping to keep their favorite, Bush, from being shoved too far right on the issue [abortion] like Bob Dole was."
- CBS reporter Bill Whitaker, January 27 Evening News.
Hate That Gigantic Tax Cut
"Bush's problem is that supporters find it difficult to articulate why they vote for him other than the belief that he offers the best chance for the Republicans to regain the White House. His 'compassionate conservatism' so far seems composed of little more than a gigantic tax cut. Pressed from the right by Steve Forbes, Bush came out against the Supreme Courts ruling on abortion in Roe v. Wade, a decision sure to come back to haunt him. In the dispute over South Carolina's flying of the Confederate flag, he hedged wanly. Bush's tax program would eliminate the hard-earned federal budget surplus over the next decade and would, as John McCain pointed out, disproportionately favor the wealthy."
- U.S. News owner Mortimer Zuckerman, Feb. 7 issue.
A "Very Worthy" Liberal Cause
"I remember when Diane and I had just started this show, we celebrated your 89th birthday with you when you were just starting out in California. Today we celebrate your 90th, and this is very worthy work that you do, bringing attention to campaign finance reform."
- ABC's Charles Gibson to Granny D, who is walking across America, January 24 Good Morning America.
An "Evolving" Reactionary
"Something is going on. I mean I wrote about McCain, as you know, in the December issue of Vanity Fair and he has this remarkable appeal. He's a down the line conservative. He's voted for every item in the Contract for America and yet he has this appeal to centrists and even some liberal Democrats despite a rather reactionary record in many ways. He is evolving."
- Carl Bernstein on CNBC's Rivera Live the night of the New Hampshire primary, February 1.
Clinton: Victim or Martyr?
"Has timing again helped him in that he's a President with a sex scandal, but he is also a President with a sex scandal in what is now incrementally a more progressive America? Could you paint a scenario where he is someday martyred by, you know, the American Compendium of American History?...for what he was put through."
- MSNBC's Brian Williams to Clinton biographer David Maraniss, January 26 The News with Brian Williams.
"As we look at the man about to pass the baton, can it be said the he is both the recipient of changing times, meaning news media mores, the victim of news media stories that never would have been in print or broadcast years ago, and kind of the recipient and a victim?"
- Brian Williams to liberal historian and resident NBC analyst Doris Kearns Goodwin on MSNBC's The News with Brian Williams, January 27.
Raves for State of the Union
"Virtuoso, Peter. The address of a proud President, a tireless policy wonk and a very shrewd political strategist. He essentially handed Vice President Gore his campaign plan tonight. Lots of proposals that he suspects won't pass prescription drugs, gun control, Medicare reform and he sets up Vice President Gore to run against a do-nothing Congress this fall, just like Harry Truman did in 1948."
- ABC political analyst George Stephanopoulos minutes after the State of the Union speech, January 27.
"For many years Presidents delivered the State of the Union message in writing. Woodrow Wilson revived the tradition of delivering it in person, turning a duty into an opportunity to rally support for a Presidents programs. Tonight Bill Clinton mounted the Bully Pulpit one last time as President to preach, to teach, to prod the country toward his vision of America in the 21st century."
- CBS News anchor Dan Rather concluding CBS's State of the Union coverage, January 27.
GOP Hates Civil Rights Advances
"Mr. Street, since 1964 Democrats have received on average 83 percent of the minority vote in elections. One might reasonably conclude that is because the GOP as a party and their candidates are simply less sensitive to minority issues. So if a Governor Bush is elected, or any of the GOP candidates, will that strike a blow to further civil rights advances in America?"
- MSNBC's Greg Jarrett, anchoring The News with Brian Williams, to Philadelphia Mayor John Street, January 17.
President Clinton, Racial Healer
"President Clinton, who has spent more time in the inner cities of America than any other President, was there again, helping black youngsters paint their club. And reminding us that Martin Luther King once said all Americans are tied together inescapably....No President has spoken more often or more bluntly about the need for racial harmony than Bill Clinton, even a prominent black Republican gives him credit for that....Still, many African-Americans feel that the promise he offered seven years ago has not been fulfilled....The turning point, many believe, was the election of 1994 which gave Republicans full control of Congress. Many African- Americans believe the President then compromised too much on issues such as welfare reform, crime legislation and affirmative action."
- ABC's John Cochran, January 17 World News Tonight.
More Surgery Needed
"I had my opinions surgically removed when I became a network correspondent."
- CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl denying liberal bias, FNC's The OReilly Factor, January 25.
"It's unlikely that many of the Presidents ideas will make it through Congress this year. Yet the politically savvy Clinton framed his proposals in conservative terms keeping the budget balanced, paying off the national debt in 13 years, and easing the tax penalty on married couples."
- U.S. News & World Report's Kenneth Walsh, Feb. 7.
Liberals Loved It Like Me
"There was stuff in there that liberals had to love. A new federally-matched retirement program for working people who don't have 401(k)s through their employer, that the federal government will give you $500 if you put in $500. A new federally-funded program to allow people who can't afford those college entrance test prep courses, Stanley Kaplan kind of stuff. You know, it makes a lot of sense. Why should some people have an advantage that way?"
- Time Washington Bureau Chief Michael Duffy on the State of the Union, Jan. 28 Washington Week in Review.
How Dumb Are We, Larry?
"We begin by going right to the hotel that houses the winner of the Iowa poll tonight. Governor George W. Bush of Texas, and with him is his lovely wife Laura. George is on the right. Laura is on the left."
- Larry King hosting his CNN show, January 24.