Notable Quotables - 09/15/2003


Has Bush Finally Stopped Lying?

"Last night, do you feel the President began to level with the American people?"
-Diane Sawyer to Democratic candidate Howard Dean on ABC's Good Morning America on September 8, the morning after President Bush's speech to the nation.


At Last, Spending They Don't Like

Dan Rather: "Good evening. $87 billion, minimum. That is what President Bush is asking Americans to spend for the war on terror, mostly in Iraq, but also in Afghanistan and around the world. $87 billion, that's $300 for every man, woman and child in the United States...."
John Roberts: "The collective gasp of sticker shock echoed from Baghdad to the halls of Congress today as lawmakers learned the cost to occupy and rebuild Iraq....That could jeopardize the Presidents other spending priorities."
-CBS Evening News, September 8.

"Congress is concerned about burdening taxpayers with an additional $87 billion. Thats far more than the U.S. spends annually on education and nearly triple the budget for homeland security."
-NBC's Norah ODonnell on Today, September 9.


Better Spent on "Starving" Kids

Cynthia Bowers: "When Shawn Chisamore heard the President promised $87 billion to fight terror overseas, he was taken aback. In his house, $87 is hard to come by....Like millions of other American families, the Chisamores are struggling to make ends meet....Wife Shelly is the primary breadwinner, working at the local high school cafeteria."
Shelly Chisamore: "Money could be spent here just like on all the kids that are starving. Working in a school system, I see that every day."
-CBS Evening News report from Harvard, Illinois, Sept. 8.


Tanned, Rested, and Biased

"On World News Tonight, an influential voice in Iraq says the U.S. must leave, and there's been another car bombing. We'll take 'A Closer Look' tonight at how Iraq is going to dominate business in the Congress this fall: so many priorities and too little money. The Democratic presidential race: John Kerry attacks the President today. He says the American people have been misled about Iraq."
-ABC's Peter Jennings returning to World News Tonight on September 2 after a lengthy vacation.


Brokaw Channels Liberal Gripe

"Senator Biden, obviously there has been a profound failure of intelligence about what would happen once we got to Baghdad. Shouldn't someone in the administration be held accountable for that?"
-NBC's Tom Brokaw to Democratic Senator Joe Biden during coverage of Bush's speech on September 7.

"Same question to you that I asked Senator Biden. Should someone be held accountable for what happened in Baghdad once we got there and found the situation was 180 degrees different than what the Pentagon had promised it would be?"
-Brokaw to retired U.S. Army General Barry McCaffrey a few moments later.


Bush "Imposing Pax Americana"

"The White House can read the polls, they sense that increasing anxiety among the public about the direction, the duration and the cost of Iraq and very typically he went big, both on the number that he asked for, which only covers the next year as you point out, and on the argument for it. He essentially is asking the public to support him in imposing a kind of Pax Americana on the Muslim Middle East. It is a very big, enormous task he is asking the public to join in."
-ABC White House correspondent Terry Moran during live coverage of the President's September 7 speech.

Will Phony Charge Stick to Bush?

"No weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq, this was certainly a cornerstone of the rationale for going to war there last spring. Tony Blair was charged with sexing-up intelligence to justify war. Do you think that charge could be put on President Bush?"
-Harry Smith to Senator Ted Kennedy on CBS's Early Show, September 9. An official investigation discredited the BBC story claiming Blair "sexed-up" the British report.


Display of Liberal Meanness

"On Iraq visit, gushes about 'wonderful start' to rebuilding. He's sounding more and more like Baghdad Bob."
-Newsweek's "Conventional Wisdom" column assigning a down arrow to Donald Rumsfeld, Sept. 15 issue.

"With millions looking for work, he [President Bush] still insists his tax cuts will create more jobs. Maybe in India."
-The same column giving Bush a down arrow.


Deriding Bush's "War on Terror"

"The suicide hijack attacks on New York and Washington in 2001 produced a remarkable outpouring of sympathy for America, but sympathy soured as Bush declared a vague 'war on terror' that he took to Afghanistan and then, far more controversially, to Iraq."
-Reuters' caption on a September 2 photo composite of anti-war demonstrators.

Endless Vietnam Analogies

"It's an argument that seems likely to become louder in the months ahead: Is this truly a continuation of the war against terrorism, or is it possibly another drawn-out, inconclusive Vietnam War in the making?"
-CNN's Brian Cabell wrapping up a story on Iraq for the September 8 edition of NewsNight.


Diane Wants a Bigger Tax Hike

"Governor Howard Dean...said he's absolutely clear, repeal the Bush tax cuts, period. And yet, you say just repeal those on people over $200,000, which doesn't amount to much money....If you only repeal those above $200,000, we calculate that it comes to some $40 billion against a potential $470 billion deficit. What does it gain?"
-ABC's Diane Sawyer to Democratic candidate John Kerry on Good Morning America, September 2.


Still in Denial After 20 Years

"I don't think anybody who looks carefully at us thinks that we are a left-wing or a right-wing organization."
-Peter Jennings, as quoted by USA Today's Peter Johnson in a September 9 article on his 20 years as sole anchor of ABC's World News Tonight.

"I think that we've gotten it mostly right on the big and the complex issues of our time. And in fairness to my competitors - and Peter just celebrated his 20th anniversary - I think you could say the same thing about Peter Jennings and Dan Rather as well. These three aging white guys have been at this for a while now, and for the most part I think that we've served this country very well."
-Tom Brokaw on CNBC's Capital Report September 5, his 20th anniversary as anchor of NBC Nightly News.


"Meathead" for Governor

"I'm very fond of him [Arnold Schwarzenegger] but I don't think he's a public servant....Rob Reiner is really the only qualified guy in our profession to go into politics."
-Actor Martin Sheen discussing the California recall election on CBS's Late Late Show, August 22.

Jeering Pro-Bush 9/11 Flick...

"Simultaneously dull and disgraceful, DC 9/11: Time of Crisis, a new Showtime movie, uses the tragic attack on America in 2001 as the basis for a reelection campaign movie on behalf of George W. Bush. The film is an insult to those who perished in the attacks and, really, an insult to America generally, but it's so insanely boring that people aren't likely to become very outraged over it. Written by conservative Republican Lionel Chetwynd, who admits to a bias in Bush's favor, the primitive propaganda that portrays Bush as the noblest hero since Mighty Mouse."
-Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales, September 6.


...Cheering "Formulaic" Liberal Pic

"It could easily be argued that any movie that upsets the National Rifle Association has to be worth something. The Long Island Incident: The True Story of Carolyn McCarthy is worth plenty and, as it happens, will give the NRA fits. Hooray!...Obviously, the film has a strong point of view, and the more one shares it, the more one will be willing to overlook the fact that it can be formulaic and simplistic.... The Long Island Incident isn't subtle, but it is tough, strong and admirable - just like the woman whose story it tells."
-Shales in a May 2, 1998 Post review of NBC's movie about Carolyn McCarthy, a housewife who wins a seat in Congress after her husband is murdered by a madman.


Fox's Fraying "Demagogues"

"I was thinking...about the long history of political demagoguery in this country on the right and on the left, and it occurs to me that every one of the demagogues, or every set of demagogues, from...Father Coughlin to Joe McCarthy, have at some point self-destructed. Did you get some kind of comfort from this laughable lawsuit that maybe the latest set of demagogues are starting to fray at the edges and may be headed towards self-destruction?"
-MSNBC's Keith Olbermann to liberal author Al Franken on the Sept. 2 Countdown, referring to the dismissal of a lawsuit filed against Franken by FNC.


Caving to Crabby Atheists

"Last Sunday....I remarked that a long time ago someone said that in wartime, there are no atheists in foxholes....To all of you [atheists] who took offense, I can only say that none was intended and I regret a poor choice of words. Well, let me amend that slightly. I direct those words to all who wrote, except the guy who capped his criticism by calling me a 'doddering old retard.' He has my personal invitation to stuff it."
-CBS's Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation, August 24.