Picking up where we left off, here are the judges' picks for worst Quote of the Year during the Slick Willie era.
Onward, Christian Mouth-Breathers, 1993: "Corporations pay public relations firms millions of dollars to contrive the kind of grass-roots response that Falwell or Pat Robertson can galvanize in a televised sermon. Their followers are largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command." -- Washington Post reporter Michael Weisskopf, February 1 news story.
Hurray, Grown Men Can Weep, 1994: "Around the global village, women cheered and grown men wept. At his press conference, [Gold medal-winning speed skater Dan] Jansen paused to take a call from the President, the man who's made America safe again for tears." -- Newsweek Senior Writer David A. Kaplan, February 28 news story.
God Should Give Jesse Helms AIDS, 1995: "I think he ought to be worried about what's going on in the Good Lord's mind, because if there is retributive justice, he'll get AIDS from a transfusion, or one of his grandchildren will get it." -- National Public Radio and ABC News reporter Nina Totenberg reacting to Senator Jesse Helms' claim that the government spends too much on AIDS research, July 8 Inside Washington.
Comical "Correction" of the Decade, 1996: "In her Wednesday Commentary page column, Linda Bowles stated that President Clinton and his former campaign adviser Dick Morris both were `guilty of callous unfaithfulness to their wives and children.' Neither man has admitted to being or been proven to have been unfaithful. The Tribune regrets the error." -- Chicago Tribune "correction," September 5.
Republicans For Killing Kids, 1997: "The mood of the Republican congressional leadership is so ideologically obtuse as to doom even this modest first step down the path of responsibility. They would rather kill people than raise taxes." -- Former Los Angeles Times reporter Robert Scheer in an April 22 column on the Kennedy-Hatch health for children bill.
Taking Turns Playing Monica, 1998: "I would be happy to give him [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." — Time contributor and former reporter Nina Burleigh recalling what she told the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz about her feeling toward Bill Clinton, as recounted by Burleigh in the July 20 New York Observer.
Self-Obsessed Clinton Ogling, 1999: ABC News anchor Carole Simpson to Bill Clinton: "You’ve got the big plane, you’ve got the big house, you’ve got the cars, the protection. Aren’t you going to suffer great post-partum depression after you leave office?"....
Simpson to Clinton while inside Arkansas tomato factory: "I have to bask in this moment, for a moment, because I am here talking to the most powerful man on the planet, who was a poor boy from Arkansas..."
Clinton, cutting her off: "A place like this."
Simpson: "Place like this. I am an African-American woman, grew up working class on the south side of Chicago, and this is a pretty special moment for me to be here talking to you. How does it feel talking to me? That I made it, too, when people said I wouldn’t be able to?" -- From Simpson’s taped interview with President Clinton, on ABC’s World News Tonight/Sunday, November 7.
Terrorized Elian Photo Warms My Heart, 2000: "Yup, I gotta confess, that now-famous picture of a U.S. marshal in Miami pointing an automatic weapon toward Donato Dalrymple and ordering him in the name of the U.S. government to turn over Elian Gonzalez warmed my heart. They should put that picture up in every visa line in every U.S. consulate around the world, with a caption that reads: ‘America is a country where the rule of law rules. This picture illustrates what happens to those who defy the rule of law and how far our government and people will go to preserve it. Come all ye who understand that.’" -- Thomas Friedman, former New York Times reporter and occasional PBS Washington Week in Review panelist, April 25 New York Times column.
So close, the 2000 runner-up was also quite funny:
"But should you be using the national airwaves to promote your opinions?"-- Diane Sawyer to Fox News Channel show host Bill O’Reilly, October 10 Good Morning America.