deadlines amuse me

exploring how the world works and why it works that way …

A special White House press secretary Quotabull

with one comment

We want fresh thinking, to charge the batteries, and passionate participation. There is a lot of value added in Tony coming on board and helping us internally with his own views and ideas. It fits into the mold.

— Dan Bartlett, an adviser to President Bush, April 27, 2006, on the appointment of former Fox News Sunday host Tony Snow as White House press secretary.

The president’s message and vision are firmly in place and are not going to change. But it still helps to have a new messenger. It helps to wipe the slate clean.

— Mark McKinnon, a political adviser to President Bush, April 27, 2006, on the appointment of former Fox News Sunday host Tony Snow as White House press secretary.

Tony Snow should provide a smooth presence at the podium. But the problems that presidents have are political problems and policy problems, not press problems. But it is often the press problems that get addressed.

— Martha Joynt Kumar, a Towson University professor who studies presidential communication, April 27, 2006, on the appointment of former Fox News Sunday host Tony Snow as White House press secretary.

I feel so loved.

The first words uttered by White House press secretary Tony Snow at his first press briefing, May 16, 2006.

Q: Tony, I’m curious, why won’t you comment at all on the USA Today story, or at least talk in a limited way about how average Americans’ phone records are handled by the National Security Agency?
MR. SNOW: Because it’s inappropriate.

— Excerpt from White House press secretary Tony Snow’s first press briefing, May 16, 2006.

This is the operative statement. The others are inoperative.

Ron Ziegler, press secretary to President Richard Nixon, during April 17, 1973, press briefing at the height of the Watergate scandal.

This strategy represents our policy for all time. Until it’s changed.

Marlin Fitzwater, assistant to President Reagan for press relations and press secretary to President George H.W. Bush, quoted in Newsweek, April 2, 1990.

Those who talk don’t know what is going on and those who know what is going on won’t talk.

Larry Speakes, White House press secretary, on the news blackout at the Nov. 21, 1985, Geneva summit meeting between President Reagan and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev.

He’ll outline his policy — it will not be — I think it’s the beginning rather than the — I don’t want to overcharacterize, but I would say that it — it’s not — it will not be — it will not answer every single question. It is not intended to answer every single question about conduct and behavior. There needs to be additional consultation, and I think it will take more time for all the questions to be worked out.

Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers’ response at her first press briefing to a question about President Clinton’s intent to end the ban on the gays in the military.

Q: Do you think you got a fair chance [as the first woman to hold the job of White House press secretary]?
MS. MYERS: I think I did get a fair chance. I don’t think those two things are incompatible. I think there can be sort of unusual challenges or can be additional barriers or hurdles that you have to clear. But I think certainly — I think I’ve gotten a fair chance. And I think I’ve been — I think, by and large, most of you — all of you actually — have treated me fairly. I think you’ve — I think you are professionals who work hard every day to do a job that you think is important — that is important. I think you’re here to keep government accountable. And I think that this nation owes you a debt of gratitude for doing that. I don’t always like it; the President and people who work and serve in this building don’t always like it; but it is important.

— Excerpt from final press briefing by Dee Dee Myers, Dec. 22, 1994.

I work for him despite his faults and he lets me work for him despite my deficiencies.

Bill Moyers, press secretary to President Lyndon Johnson, quoted in The New York Times, April 3, 1966.

Nobody believes the official spokesman … but everybody trusts an unidentified source.

Ron Nessen, press secretary to President Gerald Ford.

Of course, the reporters aren’t the only ones who behave differently before the cameras. I acted differently, too. At the televised briefing I would sometimes lean into the podium, raise my hand and do my best to deliver a sound bite for the evening news. I liked mixing it up with reporters. I enjoyed a good intellectual televised argument. But the briefing always had an air of theater to it — on both sides of the podium.

Ari Fleischer, President Bush’s press secretary from January 2001 to July 2003.

QUESTION: Mike, at the beginning of all of this, and since, White House aides and Clinton allies had a lot to say about Ms. Lewinsky and her credibility and her character. Do you expect that the President has some message for her today or does the White House have something to say to her?
QUESTION: To Ms. Lewinsky. I mean, there was a time when White House aides and his allies were doing a lot to try to undercut her credibility.
McCURRY: I don’t believe that that’s true. I know I don’t believe I’ve ever done that, and I don’t believe that that’s true.

Exchange between reporter and Mike McCurry, press secretary to President Clinton, during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Aug. 17, 1998.

Q: What do you think about — some Democrats have started talking about impeaching Alberto Gonzales. You’ve had strong comments before about Democrats launching investigations. What about impeachment?
MR. SNOW: Well, permit me to be strong again. This is another — what you have in American politics today — and it’s something that I think people are increasingly getting fed up with — is kind of a race to be most toxic. How can you try to elevate the stakes in what ought to be common, reasoned debate, and do it also in an atmosphere in which Congress, itself, has had a very difficult time getting its own work done? In this particular case, the Attorney General has testified truthfully, and this is the kind of thing that is designed to turn up the temperature rather than to turn on the light.

Exchange between reporter and White House spokesman Tony Snow during July 31 press briefing.

So it is with great regret, after long soul-searching, that I must inform you that I cannot in good conscience support your decision to pardon former President Nixon even before he has been charged with the commission of any crime. As your spokesman, I do not know how I could credibly defend that action in the absence of a like decision to grant absolute pardon to the young men who evaded Vietnam military service as a matter of conscience and the absence of pardons for former aides and associates of Mr. Nixon who have been charged with crimes — and imprisoned — stemming from the same Watergate situation. Try as I can, it is impossible to conclude that the former President is more deserving of mercy than persons of lesser station in life whose offenses have had far less effect on our national well-being.

— Excerpt from Sept. 8, 1974, letter of resignation from White House press secretary Jerald terHorst, who served only a month, to President Gerald Ford.

xpost: Scholars & Rogues and 5th Estate


Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

August 1, 2007 at 8:05 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Bloggers Choice Awards
    Hello. I am contacting political bloggers around the country since I am one as well. I hope this email is not an intrusion. Like you, I am competing in the Bloggers Choice Awards.
    Anyway, I would like it very much if you would go to
    and vote for me for best political blog and best overall blog as well, IF AND ONLY IF you feel my blog is of a high quality. I really think I have a legitimate shot at winning. If you are open to spreading the word, that would be cool as well.
    Also, if you would like me to vote for you as well, please let me know. Cross promotion is a win win for all involved.
    Thank you.
    eric aka
    P.S. If you are open to doing a link exchange, I get some pretty decent traffic.


    August 3, 2007 at 6:15 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: