Notable Quotables - 08/22/1988


Anonymous Sources


"Tom, the selection of Dan Quayle was a big surprise to folks on this floor tonight. And that's why many of the Republican sources that we usually talk to are speaking to us only, honestly, only off the record...A seasoned politician from California told me he thought that Quayle had only been on the list to give him some publicity. A former Republican National Committee official said 'last night at dinner we were joking about Quayle, we trashed him.' A very famous conservative said it makes Bush look like he wasn't strong enough to pick Dole or Kemp. And from Indiana today, one of Quayle's home state politicians said 'it can't be Quayle, can it really.'"
- NBC News reporter and former aide to Morris Udall, Ken Bode, during August 16 convention coverage.

"I bemoan the fact that the anonymous source is taking over journalism...It's a lousy trend that is eroding the credibility of newspapers and adding to the irresponsibility of newspapers."
- NBC News President Michael Gartner writing in the August 11 Wall Street Journal.


Campaign '88: Senator Dan Quayle


"What is really hypocrisy, as I hear that word bandied about, is to watch some pontifical powdered poop asking Dan Quayle questions and know that that person was hiding out during the Vietnam War carrying a Viet Cong flag."
- Senator Alan Simpson on NBC Nightly News, August 18.

"You're opposed to abortion in any form. You also have opposed the ERA, and you're opposed to increasing the minimum wage, which is important to a lot of women out there. Aren't you going to have a hard time selling Dan Quayle to the women of this country?"
- question from Tom Brokaw, August 17 convention coverage.

"On ideology, instead of drawing Bush toward the center, he is being presented as someone who appeals to the party's right wing. That doesn't particularly help."
- CNN commentator Frederick Allen during August 17 convention coverage.

"But last night, the first decision that he made...He put a Senator on the ticket who doesn't have a great civil rights record, who voted against the civil rights bill and voted to sustain a veto on the civil rights bill."
- Ken Bode during NBC convention coverage August 17.


Republican National Convention


"The Vice President's problem here in the Superdome next week is that if he pleases the conservatives by picking Congressman Jack Kemp, or former U.N. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick or Senator Alan Simpson, he risks alienating all those so-called Reagan Democrats whom he badly needs and women voters too with whom he is already in trouble."
- ABC's Jim Wooten, August 9 World News Tonight.

Republican consultant Haley Barbour: "The people these people [delegates] represent are majority opinion in the United States."
Lesley Stahl: "Well but how, not on national health, not on women's issues, not on Equal Rights Amendment, not on abortion."
- Face the Nation, August 14.

"In this hall tonight you'll hear nothing of Iran/Contra, or Meese, or Deaver, or Nofziger, or the tragedy in Beirut. You'll hear the triumphs."
- Brokaw, August 15.

"This is clearly being seen as a great night for the conservatives. But, the delegates here are much more conservative than the country as a whole....But, it is a very conservative platform, Senator, and the country is not that conservative...Do you believe that by moving toward the right, by staying very conservative - that's the way to keep the Reagan Democrats in your column?"
- ABC's Lynn Sherr to Senator Thad Cochran, August 16.

"The most dramatic way for Bush to come out from under Reagan's shadow would be to declare himself for the ERA. He used to be for it but changed his position after the Republicans discarded support for the ERA in their platform. That was the beginning of the gender gap."
- Cox reporter Liz Carpenter, August 17 USA Today.

"Do you think it's a cosmetic change, what the Republicans are trying to do down here in New Orleans, forget about the evangelical look, the extremists, the Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, but change the whole cosmetics of the conservative right?"
- Question from CBS This Morning co-host Kathleen Sullivan to Dukakis campaign chairman Paul Brountas, August 17.

"He's against outlawing abortion, he's against President Reagan's Star Wars defense, he worries about the poor and homeless...Nine delegates to this convention describe themselves as liberals....Harold Fergiss: a lonely, rather brave figure out there on Canal Street. Symbol of the kind of Republican that once was, but almost isn't anymore.
- Charles Kuralt on CBS, August 17.

"Is there any concern on your part that this ticket might just be a little too conservative? It's to the right of most Americans in the country right now."
- CBS correspondent Lesley Stahl, interview with Pete DuPont, August 18.

"But for all the talk about Bush's asserting his political independence, the Vice President cannot hope to defeat Michael Dukakis without standing on the shoulders of the President. Bush appears, on present form at least, overmatched as a candidate, offering the voters little more than a resume without a rationale."
- Time National Political Correspondent Laurence Barrett, August 22 issue.


Bush Speech


"Bush distorted Dukakis' record liberally...He said Dukakis would deprive everyone of a handgun. Gun control Dukakis is for, but he's never said that. He suggested Dukakis was the one who didn't want voluntary prayer to be said in the school. But of course it's the Supreme Court of the United States who said that. He said Dukakis is preaching an America in decline, but in fact Dukakis has very carefully not said that. He said just the opposite."
- Sam Donaldson, August 18.

"That list of five social issues...I think may come back to haunt him. That is not a run to the political center."
- CNN commentator Frederick Allen, same night.


Reagan Record


"Reagan said he's not responsible for the deficits, but he's the man who insisted on super large defense expenditures and cutting taxes so you didn't pay for them."
- Donaldson, August 15.

"I think it's a dangerous failure at least in terms of programs. A mess in Central America, neglect of the poor, corruption in government....And the worst legacy of all, the budget deficit, the impoverishment of our children."
- U.S. News & World Report Editor and CBS News consultant Roger Rosenblatt, August 15.


- L. Brent Bozell III; Publisher
- Brent H. Baker, Tim Graham; Editors
- Jim Heiser, Richard Marois, Patrick Swan, Dorothy Warner; Media Analysts
- Cynthia Bulman; Administrative Assistant