The Worst ‘Notable Quotables’ of the Past 20 Years: The Clintons

To commemorate the Media Research Center’s 20th anniversary this month, we’ve just published a special expanded edition of our ‘Notable Quotables’ newsletter with more than 100 of the most outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes we’ve uncovered over the past 20 years. Earlier this week, I presented quotes showing the media’s sympathy towards totalitarian communism and hostility towards Ronald Reagan and other conservatives.

Today’s installment: The media’s love affair with Bill and Hillary Clinton. For 15 years, liberal reporters have made themselves looked like the sycophants they are, as they made excuse after excuse for the Clintons’ moral failings even as they applauded the couple’s supposed greatness. But perhaps no one looked sillier than Dan Rather on May 15, 2001, when the then-CBS News anchor was asked on Fox’s The O’Reilly Factor if he thought Bill Clinton was honest.

Video (0:41): Windows (1.26 MB), plus MP3 audio (163 kB).

BILL O’REILLY: “I want to ask you flat out, do you think President Clinton’s an honest man?”
DAN RATHER: “Yes, I think he’s an honest man....I do.”
O’REILLY: “Even though he lied to Jim Lehrer’s face about the Lewinsky case?”
RATHER: “Who among us has not lied about something?...I know that you consider it sort of astonishing anybody would say so, but I think you can be an honest person and lie about any number of things.”

I’ll let you decide whether Rather was more or less adoring than former Time magazine reporter Nina Burleigh, who made this suggestion in July 1998 during the Lewinsky scandal: “I would be happy to give him [Bill Clinton] a blow job just to thank him for keeping abortion legal. I think American women should be lining up with their presidential kneepads on to show their gratitude for keeping the theocracy off our backs.”

Some of the other quotes that show the media’s affection for Bill and Hillary:

“I must say I was struck by the expanse of their chests, though. They may have to put out their stats.”
— Newsweek reporter Eleanor Clift on the new Democratic ticket of Bill Clinton and Al Gore, CNN’s Inside Politics, July 9, 1992.

“If we could be one-hundredth as great as you and Hillary Rodham Clinton have been in the White House, we’d take it right now and walk away winners....Tell Mrs. Clinton we respect her and we’re pulling for her.”
— Dan Rather to Bill Clinton at a May 27, 1993 CBS affiliates meeting, talking about anchoring with Connie Chung.

“Hillary Rodham Clinton will define for women that magical spot where the important work of the world and love and children and an inner life all come together. Like Ginger Rogers, she will do everything her partner does, only backward and in high heels, and with what was missing in [Lee] Atwater — a lot of heart.”
— Time correspondent Margaret Carlson, May 10, 1993.

“She’s ecumenical but prefers Italian and Mexican. The President fixes her eggs with jalapeno peppers on the weekends....Valentine’s Day at the Red Sage restaurant. Even at a romantic outing, the President can be the date from hell, talking to everyone but the girl he brung....Finally alone, they have ‘painted soup’ and the lamb baked in herbed bread. They exchange gifts and touch each other more in two hours than the Bushes did in four years.”
— Time reporter Margaret Carlson, June 1993 Vanity Fair.

“His sturdy jaw precedes him. He smiles from sea to shining sea. Is this President a candidate for Mt. Rushmore or what?...A single medley of expressions from Clinton may be worth much more, to much of America, than every ugly accusation Paula Jones can muster.”
— Los Angeles Times television writer Howard Rosenberg reviewing Clinton’s Inaugural Address, January 22, 1997.

“There is a simple alchemy to their relationship: she’s goofy, flat-out in love with him and he with her. ‘They don’t kiss. They devour each other,’ says one aide. He needs her — for intellectual solace, political guidance and spiritual sustenance....They see themselves in almost Messianic terms, as great leaders who have a mission to fulfill. Her friends speculate that the Bible gives her a historical context for what she’s going through. ‘There’s a lot of consolation, guidance and refueling that comes from reading about centuries-old calamities,’ says a friend. Given the storm they’re in, it’s a source of inspiration they’ll need.”
— Matthew Cooper and Karen Breslau writing in the February 9, 1998 Newsweek.

“I’m endlessly fascinated by her [Hillary Clinton]....She’s so smart. Virtually every time I’ve seen her perform, she has knocked my socks off.”
— CBS’s Lesley Stahl, as quoted by Gail Shister in the December 8, 1999 Philadelphia Inquirer.
Tomorrow’s edition: America the Awful. To read the full issue, and watch any of the 50 video clips that accompany the issue, please visit www.MRC.org.
Rich Noyes
Rich Noyes
Rich Noyes is the Senior Editor for Newsbusters