Notable Quotables - 12/15/2008
Must Swear In Obama Right Now
“We can’t afford to waste an hour, much less a day or a week or a month. And this business of being a lame duck President and saying, you know, ‘Adios. I’m going to the ranch. I’m just not going to do very much during this period.’ We can’t afford it....We’re in possibly, possibly the biggest crisis we’ve been in since December 7, 1941, and maybe since the time of the Civil War. So, we can’t afford to have this interregnum.”
— Ex-CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, December 5.
“If I had my druthers right now, we would convene a special session of Congress, amend the Constitution and move up the inauguration from Jan. 20 to Thanksgiving Day....Just get me a Supreme Court justice and a Bible, and let’s swear in Barack Obama right now — by choice — with the same haste we did — by necessity — with L.B.J. in the back of Air Force One. “
— New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, Nov. 23.
“Thanksgiving is next week, and President Bush could make it a really special holiday by resigning. Seriously....Just to be on the safe side, the Vice President ought to turn in his resignation first. (We’re desperate, but not crazy.) Then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would become President until Jan. 20. Obviously, she’d defer to her party’s incoming chief executive, and Barack Obama could begin governing.”
— New York Times columnist Gail Collins in her November 22 column, “Time for Him to Go.”
Host Gwen Ifill: “Maybe what people are beginning to say is that this President-elect should be President now? ...”
New York Times reporter Peter Baker: “That’s right, exactly. People voted for change and [there’s] this strange, odd 77-day waiting period that we impose, in effect, between our election and our inauguration.”
— PBS’s Washington Week, December 5.
“No lame-duck President can do anything meaningful after the successor is elected. The time is spent figuring out things like how many presidential pardons to issue, many to convicted political pals....We should move the President’s inauguration up to the first Tuesday in December, one month after the election....People who elect a new president are eager for the change to take place. The sooner the better.”
— USA Today founder Al Neuharth, November 14 column.
It’s Just the Best Transition Ever
Co-host Diane Sawyer: “Speaking of the President-elect, kind of an anniversary today, 30 days since he was elected. So, it’s time to launch the first annual, ever, 30-day George Stephanopoulos presidential election awards....What are the headlines to you?
George Stephanopoulos: “Well, he’s managed the transition with the same kind of precision and discipline that he managed to show during the campaign....It’s hard to imagine this first month going much better for the President-elect.”
— ABC’s Good Morning America, December 4.
Loves Obama’s “Effortless Mosaic”
“What you don’t see is what we saw back in 1992 when Bill and Hillary, you know — very importantly Hillary Clinton — were creating that first Clinton cabinet. They were trying to pick one from column ‘A’ and one from column ‘B,’ and diversity was such an important goal....They had to check off all the other boxes. It was very artless and very calculated in the way they did it, and what this seems to be is effortless. They’re creating a mosaic, but they’re not doing it by self-consciously creating that mosaic.”
— NBC’s Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC Live, December 3.
A Cabinet of Flaming Moderates
CBS’s Bob Schieffer: “A lot of people said this is going to be a very extremist President and all that, that he’s a very liberal Democrat, but as we have seen in appointment after appointment, he’s hewing to the center. He’s picking a bunch of flaming moderates here....”
Co-host Harry Smith: “Yeah, Bob, I would guess that the only people who really feel like they have their feathers ruffled are, maybe, the liberal Democrats.”
— CBS’s The Early Show, December 4.
Do We Need a Little FDR?
“Now to a name that’s been in the news a lot lately: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the man who led this nation out of financial disaster and guided us right through to victory in World War II. We can no longer talk to him, but tonight we think we have about the next best thing. FDR’s grandson, Curtis Roosevelt....[to Curtis Roosevelt] In your estimation, could we use a little FDR right about now?”
— NBC’s Brian Williams, November 28 Nightly News.
Obama = Instant World Peace
“There are many who had such an optimistic and hopeful opinion of things, and you certainly can’t expect things to change on a dime overnight, but there are many who suggested that with the outgoing Bush administration and the incoming Obama administration there would be something of a lull in terrorism attacks. There had been such a global outpouring of affection, respect, hope, with the new administration coming in, that precisely these kinds of attacks, it was thought — at least hoped — would be dampered down. But in this case it looks like Barack Obama is getting a preview of things to come.”
— MSNBC daytime anchor Alex Witt on November 27 talking about the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India.
Drooling Over Fascinating Obama
“His belief that there is a place in America for someone who transcends the usual labels has brought us all to this place....In becoming President, he has redeemed the American promise that an individual can make his own destiny and create a new world. We are all members of that new world now, and that for us makes him the Most Fascinating Person of 2008. Good luck, Mr. President.”
— ABC’s Barbara Walters on her December 4 special, The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2008.
We Get Hillary, Plus Wisdom of Bill
“You know, she [Hillary Clinton] is the biggest star of all, in many regards, in Washington except for the President of the United States....What’s so interesting here, though, Obama now gets the wisdom — and Bill Clinton has real wisdom when it comes to foreign policy — of Bill Clinton in this deal. Not only will Clinton not be sidelined, carping from the sidelines, he will be giving his thoughts about what he is strongest at.”
— Former Washington Post and Time correspondent Carl Bernstein talking about the selection of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, MSNBC’s Morning Joe, December 3.
Pining for a “Return to Camelot”
Co-host Bill Weir: “Well, there is big buzz this morning about a possible replacement for New York Senator Hillary Clinton when she moves to Foggy Bottom. One big political name could [be] replaced by an even bigger one. And who could upstage a Clinton but a Kennedy?...”
Co-host Kate Snow: “So, tantalizing. Kennedys and Obamas and Clintons, all the talk.”
Weir: “Exciting to talk about.”
— ABC’s Good Morning America, December 6. The on-screen graphic read: “Return to Camelot.”
Now For Some Real Socialism
“The incoming administration is making it abundantly clear that it plans an active multi-billion dollar approach to kick-starting the economy. As one top economic adviser to Barack Obama put it, the era of dithering is over.”
— CBS’s Dean Reynolds on The Early Show, November 24.
KGB “Honorable,” Like Our FBI
“We have an FBI, and we’re not prejudiced against somebody who’s worked at the FBI. It’s an honorable place to work. And the KGB, I think, was an honorable place to work. It gave people in the former Soviet Union, a communist country, an opportunity to do something important and worthwhile.”
— CNN founder Ted Turner on Meet the Press, Nov. 30.
U.S. “Naked Aggression” in Iraq
Moderator Tom Brokaw: “Your friend, Jimmy Carter, tried to be friendly with Leonid Brezhnev, and for his friendliness what did Brezhnev do?...He invaded Afghanistan.”
Ted Turner: “Well, we invaded Afghanistan, too....At least it’s on the border of the Soviet Union....”
Brokaw: “But, Ted, don’t try to go there in terms of justifying that....”
Turner: “Why can’t I try and justify it?
Brokaw: “It was naked aggression on the part of the Russians at the time.”
Turner: “Well, going into Iraq was naked aggression on the part of the United States.”
— NBC’s Meet the Press, November 30.
Guantanamo for Elephants?
“The word, ‘zoo,’ is sort of elephant-speak for Guantanamo. They’re really, they are suffering and being tortured.”
— Actress Lily Tomlin at an animal-rights protest in Los Angeles, clip shown on NBC’s Today, December 4.
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