Ross Mackenzie

A grab-bag of quotations on subjects currently in the news . . .

President Obama, with reporters during his first flight aboard Air Force One -- dressed in a flight jacket bearing his name and the presidential seal: "I've got my spiffy jacket, so I thought I'd come and show it off. What do you think about this spiffy ride?"

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, on Afghanistan: "This is a long fight, and I think we're in it until we are successful along with the Afghan people. I do believe there will be a requirement for sustained commitment here for some protracted period of time."

Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, who withdrew his nomination as secretary of health and human services because of his failure to pay income taxes, in 1998 Senate floor remarks on a bill reforming the Internal Revenue Service: "Make no mistake, tax cheaters cheat us all, and the IRS should enforce our laws to the letter."

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Iran: "I think we've got a problem. . . . I think the Iranians are on a path to building nuclear weapons. (Talking to them diplomatically is fine, but) we don't have a lot of time."

Barbara Crafton, at "Blind cynicism is no more intelligent than blind faith. It's not really smarter to think nothing is true than to think everything is. That bored roll of the eyes, that drawn out 'Oh, puhleeze' -- those things are not as sophisticated as they feel to the one employing them. Keep them up for long, and you just sound like a teenager who longs to appear worldlier than she is."

Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater Worldwide, whose employees have played key roles as security guards in -- most notably -- Iraq: "Our teams are not cooking meals or moving supplies. They are taking bullets. They are military veterans who have chosen to serve their country once again. Very few people know someone who would voluntarily go into a war zone to protect a person he has never met. I know 1,000 of them, and I am proud that they are part of our team."

Michael Steele, an African-American conservative disliked by the liberal Barack Obama, shortly after his election as chairman of the Republican National Committee -- when asked whether he had any words for Obama: "How do you like me now?"

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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