Ross Mackenzie

Before they recede too far into the rear-view mirror, quotations sublime and ridiculous from the political game . . .

President Barack Obama, immediately following his election to the Senate in 2004: "I can unequivocally say I will not be running for national office in four years. . . . I am a believer in knowing what you're doing when you apply for a job, and I think that if I were to seriously consider running on a national ticket, I would essentially have to start now, before having served a day in the Senate. There may be some who are comfortable with doing that, but I'm not one of those people."

Karl Rove, political strategist and former Bush deputy chief of staff: "Obama's victory marks the death of the campaign finance system . . . (intended to) reduce the influence of money in politics and level the playing field for candidates. . . . Rather than showing the success of a new style of post-partisan politics, Obama's victory may show the enduring truth of the old Chicago Golden Rule: 'He who has the gold, rules.'"

Former Senator Fred Thompson, at last summer's Republican National Convention: "(Democratic nominee Obama is) history-making in that he is the most liberal, most inexperienced nominee ever to run for president. Apparently (Democrats) believe that he would match up well with the history-making, Democrat-controlled Congress -- history-making because it's the least accomplished and most unpopular Congress in our nation's history."

Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan: "What a task President-elect Obama has ahead. He ran on a theme of change we can believe in, but already that seems old. . . . In his inaugural, he may find himself addressing something bigger, and that is: Belief we can believe in. The return of confidence. The end of absence. The return of the suit inhabited by a person. The return of the person who will take responsibility, and lead."

Former Clinton administration Defense Secretary William Perry: "President Obama will almost certainly face a serious crisis with Iran. Indeed, I believe the crisis point will be reached in his first year in office. So on the nuclear front, President Obama will face a daunting set of problems."

Ross Mackenzie

Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.

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