"Now poised to become the first female senator from Massachusetts, Ms. Coakley, 56, is seen as a highly disciplined, if not passionate, politician who rarely surprises or missteps." - Reporter Abby Goodnough, December 10.
"A Brown win remains improbable, given that Democrats outnumber Republicans by 3 to 1 in the state and that Ms. Coakley, the state's attorney general, has far more name recognition, money and organizational support." - Abby Goodnough, January 8.
"It's pretty clear that no matter what happens, the voters are sending a message that they are in a bad mood. You cannot fail to notice that people are ticked off. The economy feels awful. The weather feels awful. Did you know that the cold snap in Florida hit the people who breed tropical fish so hard that there is a national guppy shortage? Things are bad, bad, bad. If Coakley loses, the inevitable conclusion will be that the message was a repudiation of Obama. My own theory is that the national angst is causing people to ignore the issues and just react to candidates' personalities." - Columnist Gail Collins, January 16.
"But the deeper intramural divisions are within the Republican Party, a sign of the intensity and unpredictability of the grass-roots conservative movement. Across the country, Republican candidates are running as outsiders with the backing of conservative Tea Party groups, challenging Republicans identified with the party establishment. Several analysts said the victory in the Massachusetts Senate race of Scott Brown, a Republican who ran with Tea Party support, could encourage more challenges and drive incumbents further right." - Adam Nagourney and Carl Hulse, January 25.
"Maybe he still dreams of bridging the partisan divide; maybe he fears the ire of pundits who consider blaming your predecessor for current problems uncouth - if you're a Democrat. (It's O.K. if you're a Republican.) Whatever the reason, Mr. Obama has allowed the public to forget, with remarkable speed, that the economy's troubles didn't start on his watch." - Columnist Paul Krugman, January 18.
"The president, who was making his first political appearance of the midterm election year, acknowledged the anger, but he accepted none of the blame. He sought to cast the election as a choice between furthering a populist Democratic agenda or emboldening an obstructionist Republican one. 'We have had one year to make up for eight,' Mr. Obama said. 'It hasn't been quick, it hasn't been easy. But we've begun to deliver on the change you voted for.'"- Reporter Jeff Zeleny in the same issue, January 18.
"I like the fact that Rush is now splitting the black people in half, and that they're two different communities. That's ridiculous. I mean, Rush is a particularly vile human being. And I even hate the fact that we have to discuss his comments here and spread them more widely than they've already been dispensed. I mean, I think that most people in America at this point, you know, the basic humanity of people rises at a time like this. And I don't think that most people, right or left, wherever they are, agree with Rush Limbaugh at all on this particular issue." - Columnist Charles Blow on the New York Times edition of MSNBC, January 15 responding to Rush Limbaugh's remarks on Haiti.
"In 1984, Ronald Reagan won every Northeastern state. Since then, the leadership of the G.O.P. has systematically shed its idealists in favor of ideologues, reducing itself to the current Cheney-Limbaugh illusionati whose strategy is to exploit faith and ignorance by fanning fear and hatred. But, Northeasterners are not so easily duped. Voters there tend to be wealthier, better educated, less religious and more progressive than those in other regions." - Charles Blow, May 23, 2009.
"That was the plainspoken style of the last years of Justice Stevens's tenure. In cases involving prisoners held without charge at Guantánamo Bay and the mentally retarded on death row, his version of American justice was propelled by common sense and moral clarity, and it commanded a majority." - From the "Sidebar" legal column by Supreme Court reporter Adam Liptak January 26.
"There may not be a person in America without a strong opinion about what coulda, shoulda been done to prevent the underwear bomber from boarding that Christmas flight to Detroit. In the years since 9/11, we've all become counterterrorists. But in the 16 months since that other calamity in downtown New York - the crash precipitated by the 9/15 failure of Lehman Brothers - most of us are still ignorant about what Warren Buffett called the "financial weapons of mass destruction" that wrecked our economy. Fluent as we are in Al Qaeda and body scanners, when it comes to synthetic C.D.O.'s and credit-default swaps, not so much. What we don't know will hurt us, and quite possibly on a more devastating scale than any Qaeda attack." - Columnist Frank Rich, January 10.
Week in Review and Book Review Editor Sam Tanenhaus on the Republican's upset victory in a special Senate election in Massachusetts: "Well John, I'm actually writing a story about it. I don't know if that good news for our readers, but it's got me thinking a lot about it, and one thing I'm struck -"
Host John Harwood (interrupting): "- is it called 'The Death of Liberalism'?"- Exchange on the January 22 edition of the New York Times Special Edition on MSNBC. Tanenhaus is the author of the 2009 book "The Death of Conservatism."