Notable Quotables - 06/07/2004

Dreaming of a "Bush Nightmare"

"[Senator John] Kerry has yet to pick a running mate, but belief appears to be growing that the Democratic dream team - and President Bush-s nightmare - would be Kerry and Republican Senator John McCain. Look at this: The latest CBS News poll indicates Kerry with an eight-point lead [49 to 41 percent] over President Bush. With McCain on a Kerry ticket, the lead grows to 14. McCain insists he is not interested in joining the Democratic ticket."
-Dan Rather on the May 27 CBS Evening News.


Invoking Reagan to Help McCain

"It was Ronald Reagans 11th Commandment: 'Thou shall not speak ill of another Republican.' But on Wednesday, Republican House Speaker took a pot shot at fellow Republican Senator John McCain....Do you get the feeling, Senator, you're playing for the wrong team?"
-NBC's Matt Lauers introduction and question to McCain on the May 20 Today show.

Let's Just Report Anti-Bush News

"A new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that nearly two-thirds of Americans think the U.S. is bogged down in Iraq. Nearly six in ten say the administration lacks a clear plan. And for the first time, fewer than half of the Americans we talked to, 47 percent, approve of Mr. Bushs overall job as President; 50 percent disapprove."
-The only numbers from an ABC News/Washington Post poll cited by Peter Jennings on World News Tonight, May 24.


"Kerry draws just modest benefit from Bush's difficulties. He's got a scant five-point lead over Bush in trust to handle the economy, and its Bush +6 in trust to handle Iraq and Bush +13 in trust to handle terrorism. But Bush did somewhat better against the Democratic candidate on all these a month ago. Bush continues to be better rated than Kerry in honesty, strong leadership and consistency; he's also much better rated in trust to handle a crisis and making the country more secure."
-ABC News polling analyst Gary Langer, in an analysis of the same survey posted May 24 on

John Kerry, Right In the Middle?

"On national security, the Kerry strategy: Subjected to slings from both right and left, is looking to find a path down the middle."
-NBC's Kelly O'Donnell on the May 27 Nightly News.


Record High or Record Hype?

"Almost everywhere there was a Democrat today, they were blaming the President for the current price of gasoline, about two bucks a gallon, which is certainly a record."
-ABC's Peter Jennings on World News Tonight, May 18.

"Politics at the pump: Who's to blame for record-high gas prices?"
-NBC's Tom Brokaw on the May 19 Nightly News.

"Two weeks before the summer driving season begins, John Kerry and other Democrats want to turn frustration over record-high gas prices into votes."
-Reporter Carl Quintanilla on NBC's Today, May 19.

"As gas prices continue to hit record highs, the CBS News poll found that more than half of Americans say higher gas prices have affected them a lot."
-Anthony Mason on the May 27 CBS Evening News.

Jake Tapper: "Resentment of record-high prices...has fueled a bitter debate among politicians and caused much voter anger. At the pump these days, emotions pour out like bubbling crude....The consumers we talked to were scared."
Man buying gas: "It's going to kill us. These prices are going to kill us, man."
-ABC's Good Morning America, May 19.

Reality Check:
"In inflation-adjusted 2004-dollar terms, today's price is low compared to the historical record of pump prices over the last 86 years. In fact, motor gasoline prices are 25 percent lower than the 1981 high of $2.79 per gallon. Between then and now, the real cost of motor gasoline to consumers has fallen by $0.69 per gallon."
-May 24 "Pump Price Update" from the American Petroleum Institute, posted on their Web site,


Unmasking the Media's Mockery

"I sent President Bush a 21-page memo saying, 'I know these meetings occurred' and you said the following things.' My colleagues at the Washington Post said, 'You sent President Bush a 21-page memo? He's never read a 21-page memo!' But to his credit he did."
-Bob Woodward on CBS's Late Show with David Letterman May 28, explaining how he landed an interview with Bush for his book on the Iraq war, Plan of Attack.

Iraq War "Not a Noble Enterprise"

"[During World War II] we knew what we were fighting for. We knew how important it was. We loved our country. We loved our Commander-in-Chief....This is not, in my estimation, a good war....I don't know how we got into a position where our present Commander-in-Chief and the people around him had the guts to take our kids and send them on what seems to be - it sure is not a noble enterprise."
-CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace at a May 28 Smithsonian Institution "National World War II Reunion" event shown later that same day on C-SPAN.


-Kids Had More Fun Under Saddam

"The Sami sisters, ages 17, 15 and 11, listen to Madonna and Britney Spears. They read Agatha Christie novels and watch movies starring Russell Crowe. They also rarely venture outside their upscale home in central Baghdad out of fear of explosions and violence....Their teenage world was simpler when Saddam Hussein was in power. Back then, they said, they hung out with friends at the Pharmacists Club, a swanky place with a swimming pool to which their father, the vice president of Iraq's Pharmacists Union, belonged....Iraq's new freedom - or chaos, depending on your point of view - has imprisoned the girls."
-Chicago Tribune's Deborah Horan in a May 24 article.

A Sideshow - But Let's Keep It Up

"Good evening, everyone. The Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, was asked at one point today whether the prison investigation in Iraq was diverting attention from the general mission in Iraq and Afghanistan. 'Yes,' he said. 'That's not to say it shouldn't. It's too bad, but that's life.' Mr. Rumsfeld is right, of course. And we begin tonight with another piece of the Abu Ghraib story which has made life difficult for the Bush administration and for the country's reputation in the Middle East."
-Peter Jennings on ABC's World News Tonight, May 20.

Only Fools See "Lefty Spin"

"Events on the ground have confirmed the thrust and credibility of the reporting on this conflict and that the press generally has been more reliable than official statements as a guide to what is happening. My view is that both this country and Iraq are at a critical juncture in a huge, costly and controversial undertaking and that readers who view the work of reporters covering this for major U.S. news organizations as 'lefty spin' are fooling themselves."
-Washington Post Ombudsman Michael Getler, in a May 23 column rejecting reader complaints that the Post's Iraq coverage has downplayed U.S. achievements.

Bush's Cynical Iraq Distraction

"We've heard it all for months now: The U.S. is a target for terrorists. So why this latest frenzy...without a change in the terror alert? Some Democrats suggest it may be a political smokescreen, pointing out the intelligence failures leading up to the war in Iraq....Better safe than sorry is a powerful adage, while the political cynics may say it applies to a White House concerned with safe-keeping the White House in November."
-CBS's Thalia Assuras on the May 27 Early Show reporting on warnings about possible terror attacks in the U.S.


Russert: Bias-Free for 44 Years

"It was the 1960 presidential race....Every house had a Kennedy sign, and there were Kennedy fliers all over the place. And so I took a Kennedy flier and put it inside of each newspaper and delivered it. And there was one Nixon supporter on the block who obviously called the Buffalo News, and the superintendent drove to Billy's house. And [Billy Clouden, the boy who owned the paper route] said, 'What did you do?' I said, 'Oh, I just saw these fliers, and I thought, rather than have to do the paper one day and then the flier the next day, it's one-stop shopping.' And it was a very rude awakening of the notion of a free press and objective journalism, and that's the last time I showed my bias."
-NBC's Tim Russert in an interview with Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz published in the Washington Post Magazine, May 23.


Peter Perplexed by Prison Stats

"Today the government said that America's prison population grew 2.9 percent last year to nearly 2.1 million. Thats a record number of people in jail and prison. One out of every 75 American men was incarcerated. The number went up even though the crime rate continued to fall."
-ABC's Peter Jennings on World News Tonight, May 27.

Andy's Plan for More Liberalism

"Some days, I have the nervous feeling that too few people who aren't smart enough are making too many important decisions in Washington....Instead of sitting on the sidelines in funny costumes, just thinking and talking about what's wrong, college professors should do something. We'd establish a new government agency called The Smart Board....If the professors had advised against attacking Iraq, it would have been harder for the President to do that. The professors would give Congress and the President their best advice on whether or not they should pass a new tax decrease that leaves no rich person behind."
-CBS's Andy Rooney on the May 16 60 Minutes.