Notable Quotables - 06/28/1999

George W. Is An Extremist...

"I think Bush is in bigger trouble when the suburban moms and women discover that he is really not laissez-faire on the particular issue. He is the most anti-choice Governor in the country in this session in the Texas legislature. He can only finesse that for so long. He is not as moderate as he pretended to be....He is signing a bill to cut off all family planning funds to clinics that provide abortions, which includes Planned Parenthood. I think that's pretty extreme."
- Newsweeks Eleanor Clift, June 19 McLaughlin Group.


...But Dukakis Was a Moderate

"In 1988, campaign strategists for the senior Bush decided to change Dukakis's image to define him for the voters themselves. While Dukakis had been regarded as a moderate, the Bush forces succeeded in portraying him as a liberal elitist out of touch with average Americans. Today George W. Bush is considered a centrist by many Republicans, but Democrats and activist groups are already starting to portray him as a hardline conservative."
- CNN's Jeanne Meserve, June 8 Inside Politics.


It's Not Your Father's Racist GOP

"What he says it is, essentially, is he's not taking the extreme positions that some in his party have taken for the last four or five years. He said on Saturday, you know, I'm not, I'm conservative, but I'm not uncompassionate. I believe in education. I believe essentially in the environment. I'm not going to say the kind of race-baiting things that perhaps my father or others in the party have said. He's going to be much more, I think, moderate on health and safety issues, things that appeal particularly to suburban women."
- Time's Michael Duffy, June 14 Good Morning America.

"It's not traditional Republican Party stuff. The interesting thing about his whole speech all the way along is there isn't a drop of anger anywhere. He's a Republican running without anger, which we haven't seen in a long time."
- Newsweek's Howard Fineman, June 14 Hardball on CNBC.


Victim of Gun Lobby Bullies

"One Congressman says the Columbine massacre did cause a change of heart for him on gun control. That's put him right in the cross-hairs, however, of the powerful gun lobby and some of his friends. How high a cost will he have to pay?"
- Tom Brokaw introducing a June 16 NBC Nightly News story on Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak.


That Insane Anti-Tax Pledge

"All right. But pledge-smedge. Lawrence O'Donnell, you know it seems to me a lot of Americans out there watching this conversation might say it sounds like, you know, the Salem witch trials, this pledge. You have to take these little code words and pass these litmus tests."
- MSNBC host John Hockenberry on George W. Bush agreeing to the Americans for Tax Reform pledge against raising income taxes, June 8.

Moderator Paul Duke: "Well, another thing he did this week was to indicate that he would not raise taxes. And as we all know, one of the biggest mistakes that his father made was to make that pledge back in 1988 that he would not raise taxes, and that helped to bring about his defeat."
Michael Duffy of Time: "I read an interview with George Senior recently, said that the mistake was actually raising taxes. He hasn't yet admitted the mistake was promising in the first place never to raise taxes."
- PBS's Washington Week in Review, June 18.


Clinton's Heroic Place in History

"I think he meant that, but I think he was also thinking internally about himself. And why shouldn't he? Six months ago this President stood on the question of whether he was going to be removed from office in disgrace. Tonight, Ted, he emerges as a Commander-in-Chief of a successful military and diplomatic operation of significance. It has to be an immensely satisfying moment for him, justifiably so, because in his search for a place in history, he has now, by this action, added a mark on the plus side of the ledger."
- Sam Donaldson when asked what Clinton meant by "we've achieved a victory for a stronger America," after ABC's coverage of Clinton's address on the end of the Kosovo war, June 10.


What Impeachment?

"I think one thing we've said this evening is that the correlation between being chaste and having character is pretty minimal....It [The Lewinsky scandal] will not be the thing we remember the '90s for, which is a period of unparalleled prosperity, a really strong economy, and Clinton did fight hard for certain things for the middle class, and for this economy that he'll be remembered for. So yeah, we focus a bit on the scandal of the moment when it's happening, but historically, I don't think we'll worry about whether he was chaste or not when we were saying whether he has character."
- Time Managing Editor Walter Isaacson on MSNBCs Hockenberry, June 21.

Clinton the Racial Healer

"I think we're changing and I think Bill Clinton has to take a lot of credit for healing the racial divide. He's the first President ever to be comfortable with black people. Black people look at him and they say, 'My goodness, this is someone who respects our dignity as human beings? And maybe we can fix this thing.' Louima's verdict is a very positive indication also that maybe we are getting beyond justice for one, injustice for the others."
- Geraldo Rivera, June 9 Rivera Live on CNBC.


Where Did Our Momentum Go?

"You'll start debate on the youth violence bill today. That, of course, comes up with tougher punishments for youths who commit crimes with guns. But then you will deal with the actual gun bill. Why talk about the penalties for guns before you talk about the guns themselves?"
- Today co-host Matt Lauer to Congressman Bob Barr (R-Ga.), June 16.

"There is some fear among some people that now that school is out, and parents aren't sending their children off into what they may view as harm's way every day that there's gonna be some momentum lost on gun control. Do you agree with that?"
- Lauer in same segment to Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.).

"But didn't the public cry out for more gun control after the shootings, the tragedy, the massacre in Littleton, and what happened to the momentum that was building when this was before the Senate?"
- Substitute co-host Ann Curry to the Heritage Foundation's Marshall Wittman, June 21 Today.

"Littleton, Colorado, is 1700 miles from Washington, D.C., but it might as well be a million. For many survivors of the Columbine shooting, today's collapse of gun control legislation feels like a slap in the face. NBC News correspondent Jim Avila has that part of the story."
- MSNBC's News with Brian Williams anchor Sara James, June 18.

"Isn't it also true that the proponents of gun control are not nearly so well organized? You had this well-financed, well-organized National Rifle Association group. I mean, President Clinton noted again this week that the United States is the only Western country without significant gun control. So doesn't the other side have to do a much better job of getting into the ball game?"
- PBS's Washington Week in Review moderator Paul Duke, June 18.


Christian Coalition = Inquisition

Syndicated columnist Jack Germond: "Well it may be a religious organization as well and thats their business. The part we know about is very political."
Newsweek's Evan Thomas, talking over Germond, referring to how it is religious: "So was the Spanish Inquisition."
- June 12 Inside Washington.


So-Called Christian Coalition

"The IRS notified the powerful lobbying group calling itself the Christian Coalition that it is not entitled to the tax exempt status of a religious group. The reason given: Too much partisan political activity...."
- Dan Rather, June 10 CBS Evening News.


Hillary's Unknown Religious Side?

Tom Brokaw: "You write in the book that at one point Mrs. Clinton said to her friend, as she retreated to her religious and spiritual convictions, 'I've got to take this, I have to take this punishment. I don't know why God has chosen this for me but he has, and it will be revealed to me. God is doing this and he knows the reason. There is some reason.' Is this a side of Hillary that we don't know very well, do you think?"
Bob Woodward: "Indeed. And that inner life has, of course, given her some strength."
- Dateline NBC, June 16.

"Hillary went through her own stations of the cross in the Whitewater investigation, pre-Monica."
- Woodward on CNBC's Hardball, June 21.


Modest Gun Control

"On Capitol Hill there are growing indications tonight that Senate-approved modest gun control legislation is fast losing velocity toward approval in the House...."
- Dan Rather, June 10 CBS Evening News.

"Now about the latest prospects for passage of even limited gun control measures currently before the U.S. House..."
- Dan Rather, June 15 CBS Evening News.


Attack of the Illogical Cliches

"One of the oldest battle strategies in the book is up and running today for a hack attack in cyberspace. The FBI is warning of a Trojan Horse sent by e-mail, a gift bearing a killer computer virus inside. One of our best writers, Richard Schlesinger, has the 'you've got mail' story, and how even Microsoft got caught with its portals down."
- Dan Rather, June 11 CBS Evening News.


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