Notable Quotables - 10/05/1998
The Slut Made Him Do It
"But, do you give
the President at least a little, not credit, but a little
sympathy, when you read details like snapping the straps of a
thong underwear, her thong underwear to entice him, asking for a
job. Do you think that it mitigates our view of the President in
- Good Morning America co-host Lisa McRee to conservative columnist Betsy Hart, September 17.
But Wasn't It His Stain?
"Has the President
been tainted forever as a result of all this? Will he never,
ever be able to remove the stain of Monica Lewinsky and their
relationship and his, what many people believe, is his
dissembling in describing the nature of that relationship?"
- Tom Brokaw to historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, after NBC's playback of Clinton's grand jury testimony, September 21.
Deep Thought in the Morning
brings up an interesting point. If there were no major
revelations in the Starr report about all the gates - Filegate,
Travelgate, Whitewater - why shouldn't Ken Starr then pick up
the other portion of the tab?"
- Matt Lauer to Sen. Frank Murkowski, who had suggested making Clinton pay the tab for the Lewinsky probe, after a clip of Mike McCurry urging Starr be made to pay the cost of the probe incurred before Lewinsky, September 16 Today.
More Ken "Gone Too Far" Starr
"In Depth: What
many people are asking. Did Ken Starr go too far?....Did the Ken
Starr report to Congress go over the top? Still ahead tonight
NBC News In Depth. Were all those graphic and intimate details
about the President's Oval Office affair really
necessary?....When we come back, NBC News In Depth tonight. Did
Ken Starr go too far and reveal a lot more than Americans needed
or wanted to know?"
- Tom Brokaw plugging a Sept. 16 NBC Nightly News story.
"As the nation studies the complete Starr report now in
bookstores as an instant paperback, many Americans, even Clinton
opponents, accuse Starr himself of going overboard, going too
far in the level of detail....Another question: Did Starr go too
far in pursuing the Lewinsky affair in the first place. Is a
sexual affair worth impeachment? Many constitutional scholars
say no, that it's a punishment meant for a much graver offense
against the nation."
- NBC's Pete Williams in the subsequent story.
Eleanor Clift's Alter Ego
"I wish the right,
which never cared in the slightest about sexual harassment,
would stop trying to stretch this into sexual harassment and
concentrate on something else."
- Newsweek's Jonathan Alter on CNBC's Hardball, Sept. 22.
"History will eventually record that Washington's
excruciating investigative culture of perjury traps and sexual
witch hunts was a greater threat to the republic than Clinton's
illicit sex and lying, no matter how sordid and stupid they
- Newsweek's Jonathan Alter, October 5 issue.
"Charming" Hatred of Tripp
"This was a setup
from the beginning wasn't it?....How can it not be a set up if
you're recording conversations, you're taking notes?....Linda
Tripp said in a press conference that she's really just like the
rest of us, in essence, but is she really?"
- Questions from Dan Abrams of Court TV to Lucianne Goldberg, September 23 Today.
"After reading the transcript of her testimony to the grand
jury, some of it was absolutely charming. I mean I don't know if
that's the word or not. To me, the highlight quote in all of
that is at the very end of her grand jury testimony, Tim, when
the grand jurors said, 'Do you have anything else you would like
to say?' And she said 'Yes, I'm sorry this has happened,' and so
on and so forth, and her last sentence was, 'I just hate Linda
- Bob Schieffer, host of CBS's Face the Nation, on CNBC's Tim Russert, September 26.
"Ken Starr's investigation was predicated on Linda Tripp
manipulating Monica Lewinsky to implicate Vernon Jordan, an
implication that has not been borne out. So this whole
investigation was built on a legal fraud."
- Newsweek's Eleanor Clift, September 26 McLaughlin Group.
But Extreme Bias is Okay
"Judging from what
we have heard so far and what we have been exposed to in
language and description, the difficult days ahead would be well
served by two elements missing up to this point: a viable
political center to serve as a common ground for the extremes
and a little discretion to serve as a substitute for the feeding
frenzy in a debate of this magnitude. These are sobering times.
Big questions. It should not be politics as usual."
- Tom Brokaw ending the September 21 NBC Nightly News.
Suppress the Tape
happened? A week ago the Republicans were saying: 'We're going
to handle this in a bipartisan manner. It's not going to be
politics, just the law.' What could be a reason, other than just
partisan politics, to release this [videotape]?"
- Matt Lauer to Tim Russert, September 17 Today.
"Is there anything anyone can do to stop this? Could a
grand juror say, 'I don't want my questions released.' Could the
President do it, could anybody stop this release?....As a
lawyer, is this a terrible precedent we're setting?"
- Good Morning America co-host Lisa McRee to ABC News legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, September 18.
"The Republicans of course are coming out and saying this
was serious, bipartisan, collegial, cooperative, respectful
conversation, and the Democrats are coming out and saying they
rammed it down our throats. There was never any discussion. This
is a rush to judgment purely to embarrass this President. My
question at the get-go is already it smells. It's the weightiest
thing they do, to remove a President from office, and already it
- MSNBC host Edie Magnus on the tape release vote, Sept. 18.
No Nonpartisan Niceties at Time
"You don't have to
care much for Clinton to know that any number of things about
Starr's inquiry feel unsound. His indifference to the niceties
of nonpartisanship, his way of delivering the evidence without
the exculpatory alternatives that prosecutors generally offer
would be enough. What's really unsettling is the larger dynamic.
At a time when the notion of a protected personal realm is
beginning to seem quaint and sepia toned, even people who don't
expect government investigators on their doorstep sense that
Starr has breached more than just the President's tattered
- Time Senior Writer Richard Lacayo, October 5 issue.
GOP Helping the Mafia Get Off
"Secrecy in the
grand jury is so sacred prosecutors never disclosed what the
testimony was about disgraced former President Nixon, or thug
dictator Manuel Noriega or Mafia kingpin John Gotti. No such
luck for Bill Clinton. One of the few people in America whose
grand jury testimony can be made public.... Legal scholars warn
all this could have a bad effect on the legal system. Said one,
the next time a prosecutor tells a Mob informant that his grand
jury testimony will be secret, he'll answer, 'Oh yeah, look what
happened to Clinton.'"
- Beginning and end of CBS Evening News story by Eric Engberg, September 17.
The Starr Report: Unimpressed by Its Disgusting Overkill
Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, Zoe Lofgren, told CBS
News Friday night the President should be impeached for
threatening the Constitution. She says you can't impeach a
President because he's a bum, or you ought not to. Hasn't this
come down to just about that? I mean, once you get through the
Starr report - and I, like you, sat down yesterday and read it
from start to finish, all 400-plus pages - once you get past all
the sex and the nasty business, there's not much there besides a
President who's trying to, and he did lie, to get around a
- Bob Schieffer to Sen. Orrin Hatch, Sept. 13 Face the Nation.
"Mr. Starr's defenders admit that he, too, has been blinded
by his distaste for Mr. Clinton and has committed excesses in
his desire to hold the President accountable. The independent
counsel's 445-page report to Congress, packed with almost
pornographic sexual detail and damning commentary on the
President's motives, is the most glaring example of
prosecutorial overkill, some of Mr. Starr's associates
- New York Times reporters John M. Broder and Don Van Natta Jr. in a front page story, September 20.
"Again, I don't think it's so much what Clinton did as the
overkill aspect of this. My, when I was watching the tape, in
the first couple of minutes, you could just see the prosecutors
were going to go overboard on what is a sad, tawdry little
thing, that just doesn't deserve the massive machinery of the
Constitution to resolve it."
- Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas on the TV talk show Inside Washington, September 26.
Ted Turner: We're Just As Bad
"We are often
judgmental about people that are different from us...and we
don't even understand what their problems are...A lot of
students got killed at Tiananmen Square, but I remember several
students got killed at Kent State. And, remember, they have a
lot more students than we do. We shot down our own
- Ted Turner promoting the new 24-part CNN documentary series Cold War, September 24 Washington Post.
Kids, This Ain't the Teletubbies!
"Now, just a
reminder, to those of you in the audience: If you're usually
watching Teletubbies at this hour, you probably shouldn't be
watching this now. Ask your mother's permission. You go ask her
- Dan Rather before airing of Clinton video, Sept. 21 at 9am ET.
L. Brent Bozell
Editors: Brent H. Baker and Tim Graham
Media Analysts: Ross Adams, Jessica Anderson,
Geoffrey Dickens, Mark Drake, Paul Smith, Clay Waters
Research Associate: Kristina Sewell
Circulation Manager: Michelle Baetz