Notable Quotables - 05/09/2005

Good Democrats, Evil Republicans

"I believe it is true that a significant chunk of the press believes that Democrats are incompetent but good-hearted, and Republicans are very efficient but evil."
-Wall Street Journal political editor John Harwood on the April 23 Inside Washington.


Night of Obnoxious Questions

"Sir, you've talked all around the country about the poisonous partisan atmosphere here in Washington. I wonder why do you think that is? And do you personally bear any responsibility in having contributed to this atmosphere?"
-Los Angeles Times reporter Ed Chen to President Bush at a White House press conference, April 28.

"Mr. President, your State Department has reported that terrorist attacks around the world are at an all-time high. If we're winning the war on terrorism, as you say, how do you explain that more people are dying in terrorist attacks on your watch than ever before?"
-ABC White House reporter Terry Moran's question to Bush at his April 28 press conference.

"Mr. President, under the law, how would you justify the practice of renditioning, where U.S. agents who brought terror suspects abroad, taking them to a third country for interrogation? And would you stand for it if foreign agents did that to an American here?"
-CBS's Mark Knoller to Bush at the April 28 press conference.

CBS Readies Toe Tag for Reform

"Good evening....The President makes his final push on Social Security reform. Congress says it's ready to get serious about it, but is the whole idea already dead?"
" sense of it is that nobody [on Capitol Hill] is anywhere close to coming up with a bill yet. Do you think this thing is already dead?"
-Bob Schieffer introducing the April 26 CBS Evening News and questioning CBS's national political correspondent Gloria Borger later in the same newscast.


Those "Seething" Christians

"Thousands of Christian conservatives gathered in Kentucky, seething over what they call the 'filibuster against faith,' and spoiling for a political fight."
-CBS's Joie Chen on the April 25 Early Show, on efforts to get a Senate floor vote for long-stalled judicial nominees.

Fearing Return to "Wild West"

"Guns blazing this morning over a controversial new law in Florida, a gun law. Supporters say it gives people the right to meet force with force.....Is it turning Florida into the Wild West?"
-ABC's Diane Sawyer, Good Morning America, April 27.

CBS's Jim Acosta: "Some in Miami's law enforcement community fear the law is 'shoot first, ask questions later' and could turn the state into the Wild West....Former Miami prosecutor Katie Phang wonders how the legal system would sort out a bar fight that escalates into a firefight."
Katie Phang: "Who's going to start claiming self-defense? Who's going to start saying what was reasonable? What wasn't? There used to be a time when the jury would decide that, but now? Now it's going to be who has the better aim, in my opinion."
Acosta: "Dead men don't talk."
Phang: "I guess not."
-CBS Evening News, April 26.


A License to Kill?

"Governor Jeb Bush has signed Florida's so-called 'Shoot First, Ask Questions Later' gun bill. That measure allows Florida gun owners to use deadly force if they fear for their own lives."
-CNN's Bill Hemmer on American Morning, April 27.

"What was it Clint Eastwood said, 'Go ahead, make my day?' Well, Florida Governor Jeb Bush has done just that for gun owners here in Florida. It's going to be a lot easier to shoot and kill someone in the name of self-defense."
-Reporter Jeffrey Kofman on ABC's Good Morning America, April 27.

Bob Schieffer: "I want to make sure were reporting this story correctly....I get in an argument with my neighbor across the fence in the back yard, and I have a feeling that he's getting ready to shoot me or something, so I pull out a gun and shoot him. And that's okay under this law?"
Reporter Jim Acosta: "That's about it."
-Exchange on the April 26 CBS Evening News.

"What's reasonable? Is it reasonable if kids are acting up ringing doorbells, running away, pounding on windows? Does that constitute a reasonable fear for your life?"
-Aaron Brown to NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre on CNN's NewsNight, April 26. LaPierre said no.

Needed: More Pro-Tax Stories

"Buried in the back pages of The Washington Post [was] a story in which Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Green-span said the runaway federal deficit was getting so bad, he expected taxes would have to be raised....We haven't heard much about that story, have we? That's the real filibuster here, the way both sides have figured out how to keep changing the subject by pandering to special interests as they refuse to make the hard choices on taxes and spending necessary to fix the nation's increasingly perilous financial state."
-CBS anchor Bob Schieffer in his closing commentary on the April 24 Face the Nation.

Ask a Biased Question...

"An ABC News poll has found little support for changing the Senate's rules to help the President's judicial nominees win confirmation. The poll found that two-thirds of Americans oppose any such rules changes."
-ABC's Charles Gibson on World News Tonight, April 25.

"By a 2 to 1 ratio, the public rejected easing Senate rules in a way that would make it harder for Democratic senators to prevent final action on Bush's nominees. Even many Republicans were reluctant to abandon current Senate confirmation procedure."
-Washington Post reporters Richard Morin and Dan Balz in an April 26 front-page story.


"The Washington Post has a front-page headline today based on a new poll that says, quote, 'Filibuster Rule Change Opposed.' But the poll makes no mention of filibusters whatsoever, nor does it mention that new rules would apply to all future presidents....If you doubt whether the framing of a poll question can influence the outcome, consider this. When a Republican poll said quote, 'Even if they disagree with a judge, Senate Democrats should at least allow the President's nominations to be voted on,' 81 percent said they agreed."
-FNC's Brit Hume reading a short Grapevine item on Special Report, April 26.


Great Strides in Political Meanness

"It is hard to remember a time when politicians tried to hide handicaps.Wheelchairs are now so accepted in public life that many conservatives feel free to treat Max Cleland, a former senator from Georgia who lost two legs and an arm in Vietnam, as disrespectfully as any other Democrat."
-New York Times critic Alessandra Stanley in an April 29 review of an HBO movie about Franklin D. Roosevelt.


A "Dictatorship of Certitude"

"He [Cardinal Ratzinger] said in his homily, on the death of Pope John Paul, that the world faces the menace of a dictatorship of relativism. And what he seems to represent is a dictatorship of certitude. I mean, one of his biographers said that he wanted to fight political totalitarianism in the world with ecclesiastical totalitarianism."
-Roll Call Executive Editor and FNC contributor Mort Kondracke on Special Report with Brit Hume, April 19.


A Nazi Pope?

"Cardinal Ratzinger's past includes a brief membership in the Hitler Youth movement, service in the German army in World War II, which was mandatory. But given his past associations do you think that will create a rift between Christians and Jews, and what can he do to fix that?"
-NBC's Katie Couric to liberal priest Father Andrew Greeley on the April 20 Today. Greeley, a critic of Cardinal Ratzinger, dismissed her concern.


Looking at Vietnam "Objectively"

Actress Jane Fonda: "From an historical point of view, they were defending their country. If we had been invaded and an invading force came into this country and divided us in half at the Mississippi River...we would understand why people were fighting....We should never have been there."
Host Chris Matthews: "There were a lot of people, Jane, who....can't imagine slipping out of their American skin, their American soul and becoming so objective, as you just were a minute ago....How do you step out of being an American to make such an objective judgment?"
-Exchange on MSNBC's Hardball on April 15. Fonda was promoting her new book, My Life So Far.


Raging Rosie's Ridiculous Rant

Rosie O'Donnell: "This President invaded a sovereign nation in defiance of the UN. He is basically a war criminal. Honestly. He should be tried at The Hague. This man lied to the American public about the reasons for invading a nation that had nothing to do with 9/11. And as a Democrat, as a member of this democracy...I feel I have a responsibility to speak out, as does every other person who disagrees with this administration. And it's scary in a country that you can say something against the President and then worry about your career. That Dan Rather gets taken off CBS News for writing, for saying a report that essentially was true, that George Bush did not show up- "
Geraldo Rivera: "Okay, okay, we get it, we get it!"
ODonnell: "Okay, there you go. Anyway, it infuriates me."
-FNC's At Large with Geraldo Rivera, April 30.