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Notable Quotables - 02/23/1998

Saturday Night Massacre by Spin Control


"For Ken Starr to say he's going to investigate the leaks is as believable as O.J. Simpson looking for the real killer."
Wall Street Journal Executive Washington Editor Al Hunt on CNN's Capital Gang, February 7.

"What Starr is doing is trying to construct the truth according to Ken Starr, and according to Miss Lewinsky's lawyer he's reneging on his offer of immunity, because she's not saying what he wants and what he's doing is trying to get people to say what he wants. He's the one who is suborning perjury here in my view. He has gone way beyond the pale in term of his treatment of witnesses."
Newsweek's Eleanor Clift, February 7 McLaughlin Group.

"You don't have to have a moments sympathy for the President to know that this convergence of Jones, Starr and the FBI is not right. No one is worried much about civil liberties when Sipowicz is browbeating the bad guy on NYPD Blue. But the latest Washington drama is for real. As Starr disgraces the Judicial Branch and Clinton the Executive one, things once lost like respect for privacy, the presidency and proportion cannot be retrieved. Next up: perhaps the Legislative Branch, to stage a trial blending the worst of Watergate and Melrose Place, a show so repulsive it might even shame Ken Starr."
Margaret Carlson in Time, Feb. 2.


Starr on Trial in Medias Kangaroo Court


"Ginsburg told ABC News he is not coordinating with the President's lawyers, but he is not the only one to complain that Starr's tactics border on abuse. Whitewater figure Susan McDougal has long maintained that she's in jail on contempt charges only because she wont invent facts to fit Starr's story. The question now is whether Starr's tactics will prove more offensive to the courts and the public than any alleged wrongdoing by the President that Starr is investigating."
ABC's Michel McQueen, February 7 World News Tonight.

Anchor Len Cannon: "The President's popularity continues to climb while new leaks raise more questions about this crisis and about the special counsel who is running the investigation."
Paul Begala on Meet the Press: "Ken Starr has become corrupt in the sense Lord Acton meant when he said absolute power corrupts absolutely."
Top of the show tease, February 8 NBC Nightly News.

"CNN has learned the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee plans to ask Attorney General Janet Reno to investigate whether Ken Starr should be removed from office. Sources say Congressman John Conyers is writing a long letter to Reno, accusing Starr of repeated abuses of power, including pressuring witnesses to commit perjury. The allegations are specific and serious, aimed at a man who already has given many people the impression hes on a mission. That may have a lot to do with Starrs religious and Republican roots..."
Greta Van Susteren hosting the February 5 CNN special "Investigating the Investigator."

Tom Brokaw: "Still ahead tonight. Investigating the President. A growing backlash against independent counsel Kenneth Starr. Is he out of bounds or just tone deaf?"
Victoria Toensing: "Ken Starr has a political tin ear. And that is what has really hurt him."
Brokaw: "Has Starr gone too far in his pursuit of Monica Lewinsky and the President?"
February 16 NBC Nightly News.

"So over the next few weeks President Clinton's most delicate relations may not be with an independent counsel who stones every turn of his life or an old intern spinning astounding stories, but with millions of Americans who've come to like and admire Bill Clinton and don't want to feel foolish for believing in him. And to be sure prosecutor Kenneth Starr has also put himself on trial. If after all of the agony over these past few weeks it doesnt produce a single plausible actual charge against President Clinton, and probably soon, it may be the independent prosecutor who could be dismissed by the American public."
NPR anchor Scott Simon on NBC's Today, February 1.


Still Shilling for the Clinton Marriage


"The only people who count in any marriage are the two that are in it. There is a simple alchemy to their relationship: she's goofy, flat-out in love with him and he with her. They dont kiss. 'They devour each other,' says one aide. He needs her for intellectual solace, political guidance and spiritual sustenance ....Clinton haters and even some supporters wonder whether their marriage will end with the presidency. That seems wildly unlikely. Neither Clinton plans to trade in a public career for shuffleboard. As long as they're in the limelight, their turbulent partnership seems certain to endure for better or worse. That's because they see themselves in almost Messianic terms, as great leaders who have a mission to fulfill. Her friends speculate that the Bible gives her a historical context for what she's going through. There's a lot of consolation, guidance and refueling that comes from reading about centuries- old calamities, says a friend. Given the storm they're in, it's a source of inspiration they'll need."
Matthew Cooper and Karen Breslau, Feb. 9 Newsweek.

"There is no arrangement about tolerating infidelity. They are passionate about each other, for better and worse. More than one staffer reports being embarrassed when in the room with the first couple as they openly touched each other."
U.S. News & World Report writer and CBS News analyst Gloria Borger, Feb. 2.

 

Gingrich Just As Immoral As Clinton, Tripp Worse


"Bill Bennett, Mr. Virtues, has said basically that Clinton is morally unfit to hold office. I'm sure Bill believes that, but this is the same Bill Bennett who has a close friend and goes on trips with Newt Gingrich, the Speaker of the House who's been accused of some of the same sort of moral turpitude that the Presidents been accused of....Gingrich gave his wife her walking papers a day out of cancer surgery. Now that's character and as long as we play political games, and we view character in a ideological sense, I dont think the American public is going to be anything but cynical."
Wall Street Journal's Al Hunt on CNN's Capital Gang, Feb. 1.

"Friends dont tape friends, so could we all quit calling Linda Tripp anything but the spy-provocateur she is? Nothing in this mess is more inexplicable than how anyone could record, day after day, the most intimate details, real or imagined, of another person's life."
Time columnist Margaret Carlson, February 9.

 

Clinton's State of the Union: The Naked Pause That Refreshes


"He invited his exhausted audience to take a holiday from Lewinsky and spend a refreshing hour and 12 minutes feeling like a country again. For once the talk on the screen was not of oral sex, but of our lives and fortunes and sacred happiness. He had become all human nature, the best and the worst, standing there naked in a sharp, dark suit, behind the TelePrompTer. That which does not kill him only makes him stronger, and his poll numbers went through the roof....That may have been a miracle, but it was no accident: Americans are less puritanical and more forgiving than the cartoon version suggests, and this President is never better than in his worst moments."
Time Senior Editor Nancy Gibbs, February 9.

 

Smearing Clinton Like Jewell?


"A final thought on what you have seen and heard in this edition of Impact. A breaking news story is never the full picture. Remember speculation that Middle Eastern terrorists bombed the Oklahoma City Federal Building? In fact, Americans did it. Remember first reports that Princess Diana was hounded to death by the paparazzi? In fact, we learned that the man driving her speeding limousine was drunk. And that investigation is not over. Remember Richard Jewell highly suspected in the Olympic park bombing? In fact, the FBI apologized for targeting the wrong man. And now we are in the middle of another breaking story; the President and his accusers. All the facts are not in."
CNN's Bernard Shaw at the end of the January 25 Impact.

 

  If Frogs Had Guns, Dan Rather Would Make Sense


kermit.gif (38325 bytes)"Ken Starr and his people have been working for three to four years, spent more than $30 million, they've used dozens if not a hundred or so FBI agents. They may have turned this up, whether you had the Paula Jones case or not. But again maybe not, but again that's like if a frog had side pockets he'd probably wear a handgun. It didn't happen that way."
Dan Rather on the Late Show with David Letterman, Feb. 5.

 

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Eric Darbe, Geoffrey Dickens, Gene Eliasen, Steve Kaminski, Clay Waters; Media Analysts
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