Notable Quotables - 02/12/1996


Maria Shriver: Did the Homework, Failed the Test

Tim Russert: "How long did you take to prepare for that interview?"
Maria Shriver: "A couple of weeks, about two or three weeks, and I read everything. I memorized that book up and down. I memorized everything that was written about Whitewater, about Travelgate, about Hillary Clinton, about First Ladies....You want to admire her, and yet you're a journalist and you have to ask her these tough questions, you have to be skeptical, and you can't just come on and do this like `Oh, you're so wonderful' interview."
- Maria Shriver on her interview with Hillary Clinton, CNBC's Tim Russert, Feb. 4.

Reality Check:
"What's this week been like for you personally?"

"...In the book, you write about preparing your daughter Chelsea for the negative things people might say to her about her father, but you don't say in the book about preparing her for the negative things people might say about her mom. What's this past week, two weeks been like for her?"

"...But this is beyond the territory, I mean, this is tough. This is your mom someone's talking about. Is she upset about this? What have you said to her?"

"...Whitewater. I know you've been answering questions on this subject for four years. Thousands of documents have been handed over, but they still want even more. As you look back on this, do you wish you'd never worked for Madison Guaranty?"

"...You also quote a letter in there that Nelson Mandela wrote to one of his daughters while he was in prison, and I'm paraphrasing a bit, but he wrote that there is no personal misfortune that one cannot turn into a personal triumph if one has the iron will and the necessary skills. You clearly have an iron will, you clearly are skilled. How are you going to turn this personal misfortune into a personal triumph?"
- Some of Shriver's tough questions to Hillary Clinton, January 16 Today.


Dan Rather's Partisan Offensive

"The Republican Whitewater offensive is taking an unprecedented turn: First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton has been subpoenaed and now must testify before a Whitewater federal grand jury. That grand jury is led by a Republican prosecutor, Kenneth Starr."
- Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, January 22.


Forbes: Unknown or Well-Known?

"The quest for the man behind the ads, however, is more difficult than usual because he has almost no record to scrutinize. The flat tax advocate with the quirky smile and scholarly glasses emerges from the closed world of a billion-dollar private company that makes few public pronouncements."
- Los Angeles Times reporter Eleanor Randolph, January 19 front page story.


"But Forbes does have a record. His columns provide a clear guide to his thinking over time."
- Los Angeles Times reporter Ronald Brownstein, January 23 front page. (Contrast first noted by National Journal.)


Walter Cronkite's Middle Ground Between Freedom and Oppression

"Cronkite, Mr. Middle American Everyman, even advocates a new sociopolitical system. `We may have to find some marvelous middle ground between capitalism and communism,' he says....`While each nation has distinctive problems, for the United States the first priority of the new order must be a revision of the educational system to...guarantee that each of our citizens will have equal resources to share in the decisions of the democracy, and a fair share of the economic pie.'"
- Former CBS anchorman Cronkite quoted in a January 21 Los Angeles Times Magazine profile by Newsday TV writer Verne Gay.


The Media's New Campaign: Stop the Flat Tax

"The heart of his fiscal crusade is his flat tax, a plan derided as `deja voodoo' by economists who blame Reagan's supply-side tax cuts for the explosion of the national debt. He has captured perfectly the fury Americans feel for a system they think treats them like suckers while the rich enjoy a secret tax code written just for them - not withstanding his flat tax could favor the rich even more effectively."
- Time Senior Editor Nancy Gibbs, January 29.

"[Forbes] is changing the debate in a really sorry way. This was the week that we left an honest attempt to do something about entitlements and we traveled into cloud cuckoo land, which is where the flat tax is."
- Newsweek Washington Bureau Chief Evan Thomas, January 20 Inside Washington.

"You know when George Bush called Ronald Reagan's plan voodoo economics, he was right, and the people who are calling Steve Forbes' plan voodoo economics are also right."
- U.S. News & World Report Senior Writer Steven Roberts on CNN's Late Edition, January 21.

"[Forbes] is a modern-day robber baron. He just wants to legitimize an idea that will benefit him and his income tax bracket."
- Newsweek's Eleanor Clift on The McLaughlin Group, January 27.


No One Left But A Couple of Thousand Reporters

"Despite what the Republicans may say, there's no left in this country, L-E-F-T. Liberalism has largely been pilloried, and successfully so, by Newt Gingrich and others who preceded him...Imagine, here we have the freest nation on Earth and our political dialogue is impoverished. You can't even acknowledge being a liberal. This is not to say that liberals have all the answers. This is to say, rather, that liberals have been excluded from the table that might allow them to make a contribution."
- Retiring TV talk show host Phil Donahue on ABC's Nightline, January 26.

"They are still among the few people in this country who spend a lot of time talking to other people - and actually trying to understand people - who are different from themselves. At a time when so many on the right and what remains of the left actually brag about refusing to socialize with, publish alongside or even speak to those who do not already agree with them, the responsible news media provide the few vehicles by which we encounter and try to communicate with each other."
- ABC reporter Michel McQueen in a Newsweek forum on the news media, January 29 issue.

Why Republicans Will Regret Saving PBS

"In working recently on a documentary about Andrew Carnegie and 19th century industrialism, I explored a period of greed, of rapidly growing wealth inequality, of painful structural changes in the economy, or a frustrated labor movement, and of unethical business dealings born from an absence of regulation. I found it surprisingly good preparation for my next project, a documentary about the Reagan years."
- Josh Clark, associate producer for documentaries, WGBH-TV in Boston, in the January/February 1996 Mother Jones.


Newsweek's Idea of an Investigative Reporter

"`She's [Sarah McClendon] a real treasure for journalism in this city,' says investigative reporter Robert Parry, a former staffer with the Associated Press and Newsweek, now freelance. `There was a time in journalism when journalists took pride in being individuals instead of being members of the pack.' A disgruntled loner, Parry is a perfect speaker for tonight's meeting. His topic is the `October Surprise,' a much probed but never proved tangle of allegations involving top CIA officials and monied Republicans who supposedly schemed to sabotage an October 1980 release of the 52 U.S. hostages in Iran, thereby putting the kibosh on President Carter's re-election. Parry talks spellbindingly for two hours about a House committee's classified `X-files,' which he stumbled upon in `a converted ladies' room, with the tampon dispenser still on the wall': the Hashemi brothers...BCCI links...a $20 million deposit...David Rockefeller...the Shah's twin sister...a Marcos bagman. McClendon appears to doze off during parts of the presentation, then pipes up with such on-point questions as: `Was there any sort of French intelligence input in those [classified] papers?'"
- Washington Post reporter Richard Leiby on gatherings held by McClendon, Jan. 24.


- L. Brent Bozell III, Publisher; Brent H. Baker, Tim Graham; Editors
- Geoffrey Dickens, Gene Eliasen, James Forbes, Steve Kaminski, Clay Waters; Media Analysts
- Kathleen Ruff, Circulation Manager; Jessica Anderson, Intern