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Notable Quotables - 03/08/1999

Juanita Doesn't Deserve Air Time


"I don't believe it at all. Anybody who waits 21 years to surface a charge like this, and has no evidence to back it up, other than very circumstantial, what she may or may not have told some of her friends at the time, has sworn in the deposition that it never happened, and now all of a sudden comes forth with this story, the story doesn't deserve to be dignified by being broadcast and displayed. What I find fascinating about this case is that we've sunk so low now that a charge of this magnitude can be leveled against the President of the United States with next to no evidence at all. I think that's outrageous."
- Time national correspondent Jack E. White, February 27 Inside Washington.

 

Why Give Lisa Myers the Glory?


"Among the institutions that have gotten lambasted throughout the last year of the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the President's impeachment process are the media. And there are a lot of people watching tonight, watching the Dateline program tonight or watching this program now, who dont see an investigator searching for the truth necessarily at the bottom of this allegation. They see, you know, a reporter who, when the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke, said 'Who can I get? Who am I going to get to interview? What's going to make my career?' The reason we know about this rape allegation is because of the ambitions of a reporter, not because of a search for the truth. What do you say to that?"
- MSNBC's John Hockenberry to Lisa Myers the night her story appeared on Dateline NBC, February 24 Hockenberry.

"But if they said 'inconclusive' [the FBI on Broaddrick], if impeachment is over, if this has no legal standing now, if it's past the statute of limitations, why are we bothering with it at all, Laura Ingraham?"
- MSNBC's John Hockenberry, February 24.

 

We Knew It, And Blew It Off


"The allegation was passed on to reporters for the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times in the waning days of the 1992 presidential campaign. Regarding it as the kind of toxic waste traditionally dumped just before Election Day, both newspapers passed on the story - that a nursing-home executive had been sexually assaulted in 1978 by Bill Clinton, then the Attorney General of Arkansas."
- Opening of February 24 New York Times story by reporters Felicity Barringer and David Firestone.

 

Broaddrick: Everybody Looks Bad


"The game is winding down now, and the stands are nearly empty. But for anyone still bothering to watch, last week brought a clearer picture of both our dishonorable President and the dishonorable way in which he was impeached by the House. Even 21 years after it happened, Juanita Broaddrick's story - told convincingly to Lisa Myers on Dateline NBC - helps fill out the dark side of both Bill Clinton and those who tried to destroy him."
- Newsweek Senior Writer Jonathan Alter, March 8 issue.

 

Is It True? All That Matters Is the Right-Wing Conspiracy Peddled It


"These allegations go back more than 20 years. This woman made no charges at the time. It's my understanding that she couldn't even recall initially the year. Investigative reporters for major publications have looked at it since 1991. Ken Starr passed on it. You know, where is this going to go except among all the Clinton haters and the right-wing conspiratorialists? It's great fodder, but you know, you proved the guy's a cad, you're not going to prove he's a violent criminal."
- Newsweek's Eleanor Clift, February 20 McLaughlin Group.

Alicia Mundy, Mediaweek: "She has no attachments to any of those right-wing nut groups. She has great credibility. I think you have to sit and listen to her. This is a serious charge."
Jonathan Alter, Newsweek: "It is not true she doesn't have any attachments to any right-wing groups. I'm not calling her a right-winger, but this story was peddled by the same old right-wing enemies of Clinton in Arkansas. That doesn't mean it's not true, but her story was peddled by them. Again, that's the context."
- Exchange on MSNBC's Hockenberry, February 23.

 

Hillary's a Centrist?


"In many ways, Rudy and Hillary will be battling each other on the same centrist policy terrain...Clinton's education agenda - accountability and school choice but not the vouchers - fits the mold. The trouble is that it looks too much like the moderate conservatism practiced by Giuliani and George W. Bush. Clinton's fight for survival hasn't allowed him to highlight differences with GOP centrists; he has more effectively defined himself against far-right zealotry. That leaves the task to Gore and Hillary. A Hillary campaign could help forge a guiding agenda for the post-Clinton era."
- Time writer-reporter Romesh Ratnesar, March 1 issue.

 

Don't Care Enough to Do Our Job


"Just when the air was clearing in Washington - when politicians were finally putting aside the presidential sex scandal and moving on to Social Security and tax cuts - another woman has come forward alleging sexual misconduct by Bill Clinton. Corroboration is scant, the White House denials are emphatic, but this tale has an unpleasant new twist: it is a charge of sexual assault.....With impeachment over and the statute of limitations on the alleged crime long passed, the story seems unlikely to have much traction. Broaddrick herself says, 'I'm just hoping this absolutely goes away in the next week.' A weary nation would probably agree."
- Beginning and end of Adam Cohen's March 1 Time story.

Dan Rather: "They are nervous about, number one, whether this information is accurate, whether it's really true or not. And then number two, even if it does it turns out to be true, it happened a long time ago and number three, they've gotta be figuring maybe, just maybe the American public has heard all they want to hear about this and are saying you know, Next. Let's move on to the next thing."
Don Imus: "I was reading in either Time or Newsweek that even the woman herself, Juanita Broaddrick said that she hopes that this thing went away this week and even she was sick about hearing about it and it's her story."
Rather: "Well, let's hope she gets her way with that."
- February 23 Imus in the Morning on MSNBC.

 

This Story Stinks (Right, Boss?)


"They [the White House] said...consider the source. It comes from a very partisan source, the Wall Street Journal editorial page. I think we have to say, in fairness, there have been lots of stories over many years about President Clinton and his personal background. This does not fit the pattern or seem to be consistent with that behavior in any way. So I think we need to be highly skeptical of the story."
- Washington Post reporter John Harris, February 19 Washington Week in Review. The next morning the Post put its own story about Broaddrick on its front page.

 

Watch Republicans Get Blamed


CNN's Mary Tillotson: "Do you see any possibility there may be some Democrats hurt by this if the public decides the woman's telling the truth?"
Cynthia Tucker, Atlanta Journal: "...I really don't think so..."
Tillotson: "So the way things have gone now, do you see any Republicans losing their seats over the charge that the President raped somebody?...They seem to catch the flack, don't they?"
- Exchange on CNN & Company, February 25.

 

Priss Conference


"What lessons have you learned from your thirteen-month ordeal? Do you think the office of the presidency has been harmed? And what advice do you give future Presidents?"
- UPI's Helen Thomas in one of three questions from U.S. reporters to President Clinton the day the Broaddrick story broke in the Wall Street Journal, February 19.

"I wonder if you could share with us some your thoughts about the pros and cons of Hillary running for the Senate seat in New York?"
- Question from Larry McQuillan of Reuters at same press conference. (The other U.S. media question was about Kosovo.)

 

No Heroes in the Monica Wars


"This scandal has been a kind of dispiriting year in which it's very hard to find anyone you would look at unequivocally as a hero."
- Los Angeles Times reporter Ron Brownstein on CNN's Inside Politics, February 15.

"The system worked and it was good the President finally admitted it was all his fault. But after what we came to know about him, he had no cause to celebrate. Nor do the rest of us. There were no heroes here. This story helped no one."
- CBS's Bob Schieffer ending the February 14 Face the Nation.

 

Unanimous Principled Democrats


"It is significant that ten Republicans defected and voted against removal of the President. They must truly have voted their conscience, to bolt the party line. Critics point to the fact that not one Democrat crossed over to the other side. But could that have been that not one Democrat could honestly believe the House managers had made their case?"
- ABC's Hugh Downs in his Feb. 19 column for abcnews.com.

 

Geraldo Favors Clinton? No!


"I spoke briefly to Juanita Broaddrick today and she didn't want to talk to me, she was talking to one of my producers. I got on the phone and said, 'Hi it's me.' I introduced myself. And I asked her the question. I said, 'Did anyone put you up to that sworn affidavit in which you denied, you know, that you had been, that this had happened?' And she said, 'No.' And I said, 'Okay.' And then she said she didn't want to talk to me. And I said, 'Why not?' She said, 'Because I'm too biased.' 'What do you mean too biased?' [She] said, ' Too biased in favor of Clinton.' I said, 'Well you are only talking to people who are against Clinton?' And that's when she, uh, she hung up on me. So anyway."
- Geraldo Rivera, February 22 Rivera Live.