Notable Quotables - 05/09/1994


Media Euphoria After the First Whiner Speaks

"Hillary Rodham Clinton today, summoned the White House press to, as you can see, that meeting in the Lincoln Room at the White House. And she was cool, articulate, and for the most part very responsive to all questions."
- Tom Brokaw after Hillary Clinton's press conference, April 22 NBC News special.

"Women around this country will find this undoubtedly important: `We have had some difficulty adjusting, we're transitional figures.' She points out, that in her view, the country is having some difficulty adjusting to a working woman in the role of First Lady. This came up during the presidential campaign between she and Mrs. Bush, as you'll recall. But I think most people will regard this certainly as an enormous effort by Mrs. Clinton to set the record straight as she can."
- Peter Jennings after Hillary Clinton's press conference.

"What happened was a riveting hour and 12 minutes in which the First Lady appeared to be open, candid, but above all un-flappable. While she provided little new information on the tangled Arkansas land deal or her controversial commodity trades, the real message was her attitude and her poise."
- Time Washington reporter Michael Duffy, May 2.

"She's been rezoned back into the stratosphere. And when you watch that, you just wonder why they waited so long. She's at least as good a communicator as her husband, and people have said about Clinton, `If you've got Elvis let him sing.' Well, I don't know what the analogy is, this was Streisand...For anybody except the Whitewater fanatics, this was an A-double-plus in both categories [style and substance]."
- Newsweek reporter Eleanor Clift on The McLaughlin Group, April 23.

"She seemed utterly convinced and thus utterly convincing... There was also a self-effacing candor to her performance. She admitted to problems arising from `our inexperience in Washington' and confessed to certain errors in judgment about releasing information."
- Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales, Apr. 23.

Reality Check:
"She promised to `be as forthcoming and accessible as you need me to be' but answered precise questions with lawyerly evasions: `There's no evidence of that....I don't think there's any evidence of that....I know of nothing to support that.' She evoked the amnesia defense more often than Ronald Reagan did in the days of Iran-Contra."
- Gannett columnist Tony Snow, April 29 Washington Times.


Charles Kuralt: Image vs. Reality

"He has been the nonideological fixture of common decency, uncommon intelligence and humanism (both secular and religious) while the country's ideological pendulum has swung from left to right and halfway back again."
- Boston Globe television critic Ed Siegel upon Kuralt's retirement, April 3.

"I think liberalism lives - the notion that we don't have to stay where we are as a society, we have promises to keep, and it is liberalism, whether people like it or not, which has animated all the years of my life. What on Earth did conservatism ever accomplish for our country? It was people who wanted to change things for the better."
- Charles Kuralt talking with Morley Safer on the CBS special, One for the Road with Charles Kuralt, May 5.


Aldrich Ames: Reagan's Fault

"The KGB has always been in the market for moles, or `deep- penetration agents,' as they are more properly known. It stepped up its recruiting efforts in the early 1980s when Ronald Reagan's `evil empire' rhetoric, combined with the Kremlin's own paranoia, made the Soviet Union fear a first strike."
- Newsweek Washington reporter Douglas Waller, May 9 issue.


But Hillary Hasn't Endorsed Necklacing Enemies...Yet

"Do you know there are people who say that she [Hillary Clinton], like Winnie Mandela, gets too far out front, that it's not healthy politically for a woman to be so far out front?"
- Dan Rather to Winnie Mandela, April 28 CBS Evening News.


Liberal = More Caring

"More so than any other current Justice, Blackmun was determined that the `modest pleas' of the downtrodden would not go unheard.. To the surprise of nearly everyone, the quiet Minnesota justice slowly transformed himself into an outspoken liberal and a champion of justice and fairness."
- Los Angeles Times reporter David G. Savage, April 7.

"Justice Harry Blackmun wrote the landmark abortion-rights ruling early in a 24 year philosophical journey that brought him a new sensitivity toward the human beings behind the legal issues."
- opening of story by Associated Press Washington reporter Laurie Asseo, April 7 Boston Globe.


Stop Whitewater

"Whitewater has been overdone by far. There have been too many rumors published, too many errors made and too much rushing to judgment without the facts."
- Jack Nelson, Los Angeles Times Washington Bureau Chief, in the April 14 Boston Globe.

"Give me the facts, give me a real scandal, but do not give me this real scandal, this shrill barking, this rumor mill, this mindless plunge off, maybe Garrison Keillor's right, a non- existent cliff. This is not investigative journalism. Sometimes it is propaganda, but mostly it's the hot wind of a mob all shouting into each other's faces."
- Former Wall Street Journal reporter Ellen Hume in a National Press Foundation session on Whitewater, shown on C-SPAN, April 19.

"The real problems of this country are can my kids get a job, can I afford to get sick or I lose my house if I get sick. The fact that Hillary Clinton might be hypocritical in when she condemns the greed of the '80s, that's not a problem, that's a political point."
- Newsday Washington columnist and former New York Daily News Washington Bureau Chief Lars-Erik Nelson, April 19 ABC News Viewpoint.


The Media Spectrum

"An ultraconservative Republican from suburban Indianapolis... [Rep. Dan] Burton today is a favorite of the far right. This is a man who wanted to use nuclear weapons against Iraq and have every American tested for AIDS. He's against abortion, family leave, and the Brady bill. His voting record in Congress has earned him a 100 percent rating from the American Conservative Union."
- ABC reporter John McKenzie on Day One, April 10 (1992 Americans for Democratic Action rating: 10).

"Mitchell's other assets: He's a moderate and a known consensus- builder."
- USA Today reporters Adam Nagourney and Bill Nichols on Senator George Mitchell in April 7 story on possible Supreme Court candidates (1992 American Conservative Union rating: O; 1992 Americans for Democratic Action rating: 95).

So Much for Generosity of Spirit

"Then one day in the summer of 1981 I found myself at the L.L. Bean store in Freeport, Maine. I was a correspondent in the White House in those days, and my work - which consisted of reporting on President Reagan's success in making life harder for citizens who were not born rich, white, and healthy - saddened me....My parents raised me to admire generosity and to feel pity. I had arrived in our nation's capital [in 1981] during a historic ascendancy of greed and hard-heartedness....Reagan couldn't tie his shoelaces if his life depended on it."
- New York Times editorial page editor (and former Washington Bureau Chief) Howell Raines in his book Fly Fishing Through the Midlife Crisis.

[Clarification, November 2003: It has come to our attention that while the sentence, "Reagan couldnt tie his shoelaces if his life depended on it, appeared on page 84 of the book by Raines, it came in the midst of a multi-paragraph quote in a chapter in which he favorably recited the comments on things great and small (during a fishing venture to Hunting Creek near Thurmont, Maryland), from his companion on the trip, Dick Blalock. The other quotes attributed in the book to Raines are accurate and reflect his personal views.
The paragraph in full from which the quote came: "'See that pool?' said Dick. 'That was Jimmy Carter's favorite pool when he was President Were only about a mile from Camp David. The Fish and Wildlife Boys kept the stream lousy with big brood fish from the hatcheries when he was up here. I knew a guy who used to slip in and give every big trout in the stream a sore lip whenever he heard Carter was coming. Of course, I liked Carter. Charlie Fox and Ben Schley taught him a lot about fishing, and he ties a good fly. Reagan couldn't tie his shoelaces if his life depended on it.'"
We regret the confusion.]


Publisher: L. Brent Bozell III
Editors: Brent H. Baker, Tim Graham
Media Analysts: Andrew Gabron, Mark Honig,
Kristin Johnson, Steve Kaminski, Mark Rogers, Tammy Smyth
Circulation Manager: Kathleen Ruff
Interns: Clay Waters