Notable Quotables - 08/04/2003
Sons Killed as WMD Cover-Up?
"The fact [is] that the administration really made very little attempt to take them [Uday and Qusay Hussein] alive. They wanted to spare themselves the headache of a trial, but they also surrendered a major opportunity to uncover the real reason we went to war - unless they don't believe those weapons are there."
-Eleanor Clift on the July 26 McLaughlin Group.
Can't Satisfy the Press
Tom Brokaw: "There's fresh video tonight, as well, of the bodies of Saddam's two sons after they were cleaned up by Army morticians....Are those new images any more persuasive to the Iraqi people?"
Richard Engel: "They are not really more persuasive, but they certainly are more controversial. These bodies were quite radically altered. First, the men were shaved, then putty was used to remodel their faces. Make-up was also applied to make them look more lifelike....All of this has been quite offensive to Islamic sensibilities here. Muslims are generally buried in a simple white shroud without any embalming process at all, Tom."
-NBC Nightly News, July 25.
"Why not wait 'em out, starve 'em out? Try and take 'em alive as opposed to engaging in this gun battle? Once they had 'em surrounded and cornered, they weren't going anywhere."
-CNN's Aaron Brown to retired General David Grange on NewsNight, July 23.
"Article 17 of the Geneva Conventions requires countries at war to, quote, 'ensure that the dead are honorably interred, if possible, according to the rites of the religion to which they belong.' Does the President, as Commander-in-Chief, believe that the United States is bound by that, when it comes to the bodies of Uday and Qusay Hussein?"
-ABC's Terry Moran questioning new White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan at the July 23 briefing.
"In theory, pursuing with intent to kill violates a long-standing policy banning political assassination. It was the misfortune of Saddam Hussein's sons, Uday and Qusay, that the Bush administration has not bothered to enforce the prohibition....The ban has been overlooked so often in recent years that some wonder why the administration doesn't simply declare the measure null and void."
-George Gedda, longtime foreign affairs reporter for the Associated Press, in a July 23 dispatch.
Iraq Success = Vietnam Quagmire
"This is not the first time the U.S. has gone to war based on facts that later turned out to be questionable. Almost 40 years ago, President Johnson pointed to unconfirmed reports of attacks on American ships in the Gulf of Tonkin to convince the Congress to widen the war in Vietnam."
-CBS's Jim Acosta on the July 19 Evening News.
NBC's Bob Faw: "In Jessica Lynch country...they are thrilled the soldier - today awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and POW medal - is coming home, but they are troubled about the situation she left behind....As Wirt County, West Virginia, prepares a hero's welcome, it also worries Iraq might be a quagmire like Vietnam."
Businessman Thorn Roberts: "Where's the light at the end of the tunnel in this situation? Remember LBJ's remark about the light at the end of the tunnel in Vietnam?"
-NBC Nightly News, July 21.
Transforming Bush Into Clinton
Reporter Joie Chen: "The Bodnars watched as President Bush declared the mission accomplished on May 1st, but they've also watched as almost every day since brings a report of another U.S. soldier killed or wounded in Iraq - more than one hundred dead, 49 killed in action. Once ardent Bush supporters, the Bodnars now suspect the White House overstated its case to justify the war. They have nagging suspicions about how long this mission is going to take and why the President sent Americans in the first place. Ada Bodnar has a message for him."
Ada Bodnar: "For the President, 'I trusted you. You betrayed me. I still want to believe in you.'"
-CBS Evening News, July 27.
Kill an American, Get on CBS
CBS's David Hawkins: "In an exclusive interview with CBS News, three men who claim to have participated in several recent and deadly attacks on U.S. soldiers say they're not doing it for love of Saddam, but instead for God and country....They claim to be the ones who attacked a military convoy last week west of Baghdad, an attack that killed one American soldier. We were led to these men by a Baghdad gun-runner."
Hawkins with several disguised men in the desert: "Why do you fight? Why do you attack American soldiers?"
Translator: "This is an occupation, so we fight against the occupation."
-CBS Evening News, July 21.
Bush's Buckeye Base Buckling...
"In Ohio, Iraq Questions Shake Even Some of Bush's Faithful"
-Headline of a July 17 article by New York Times reporter James Dao.
...Or Media Credibility Crumbling?
"In conversations here with nearly three dozen voters, the vast majority said they generally like President Bush and believe he is doing a good job. Many people said they remained convinced that Iraq posed a threat, even though no chemical or biological weapons have been found. And there was a broad consensus that the result of the war - the ousting of a brutal dictator - was good for Iraq as well as the United States."
-Seventh paragraph of Dao's story, the first place in his article in which he summarizes what he found in Ohio.
Where Is Tax Cut for Non-Payers?
"Today millions of middle-class Americans will begin receiving the $400 per child payments, but many poor Americans will get nothing. Missing out on the tax credit in the mail this weekend: military families and their loved, one million children."
-ABC's Elizabeth Vargas introducing a July 26 World News Tonight/Saturday story. Lower-income families who won't receive the tax credit do not owe any federal income taxes.
Budget Deficits Are Intolerable...
"How can you, as the Republican Speaker of the House, tolerate such spending, such deficits?
Looking at the high cost of occupation in Iraq and the needs we have in this country, would it not have been better to have smaller tax cuts in order to keep down the deficits?"
-Tim Russert's questions to Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert on NBC's Meet the Press, July 20.
...But Can't We Spend More?
"AmeriCorps - the Senate passed $100 million to keep that program funded. The President and the First Lady have praised the program, 50,000 Americans teaching kids, mentoring kids; in return, they get their education paid for. Will the House provide the $100 million to keep AmeriCorps going?"
"But this is an additional $100 million to keep 20,000 volunteers working."
-Russert pleading with Hastert a few moments later on the same program.
Another Tough Hillary Interview
HBO's Bob Costas: "How, from where you sit, have you maintained your dignity, and how can you be so controlled under circumstances that would be trying for the best of us?...If you became President, what kind of First Gentleman would Bill Clinton be?...What are your best and worst qualities as a politician?"
Senator Hillary Clinton: "Probably my worst quality is that I get very passionate about what I think is right."
-From HBO's On the Record with Bob Costas, July 18.
"Fill" Them Or Pick 'Em Clean?
"After a July 10 speech by [Democratic Congressman Dick] Gephardt, left, in Emmetsburg, Iowa, Martin Eischen, right, accepts the presidential hopeful's pledge to fill taxpayer's pockets."
-Caption on a photo that appeared alongside a July 20 Washington Post story in which reporter Jim VandeHei noted that Gephardt would suspend all of the Bush tax cuts from 2001, 2002 and 2003 to finance his plan for universal health care.
Communist Eggs Just Taste Better
"Environmental groups are alarmed about decreasing sturgeon stocks....Caviar Emptor, a sturgeon advocacy organization, said beluga sturgeon numbers had decreased by 90 percent in the past 20 years. Many people blame increased pollution and the collapse of the Soviet Union, which once tightly regulated caviar production."
-New York Times reporter Jeffrey Gettleman in a July 20 article about a Southern U.S. businessman who sells paddlefish eggs as an alternative source of caviar.
Sounds Like a Threat
"If you can help him get a dominant position on Sunday morning, he [George Stephanopoulos] is in a position to be a journalistic leader for the next 30 years."
-Tom Bettag, the Executive Producer of ABC's Nightline who will also serve as Executive Producer of Stephanopoulos's This Week program, in an interview with AP media reporter David Bauder, July 17.
Helen Thomas, Nutty Old Liberal
David Letterman: "Who drives you nuts?"
Ari Fleischer: "Helen Thomas, but don't tell anybody.... Helen is very liberal, she disagrees with everything I say, she still thinks Al Gore won Florida. She reminds me of my mother."
-Exchange on CBS's Late Show, July 17, shortly after Fleischer's last day as White House Press Secretary.