The war in Iraq was by far the top interview topic of the year. But there were also Q&A's with the likes of John Stossel, Sean Hannity, Lee Hamilton and Gourmet magazine editor Ruth Reichl on such subjects as media subjectivity, the unraveling of the Republican Party, the 9/11 Commission and the politics of food. Here are some of the year’s best quotes:
I don't think we're going to make it for another three years there. I think there's going to be a civil war in Iraq if the president doesn't change course. The public won't stand for U.S. forces being caught in a civil war. If all hell breaks loose in Iraq, those forces will be coming home much, much sooner -- to the electoral peril of Republicans. I don't think they have another three years to wait.
-- Ivan Eland, director, Independent Institute's Center on Peace & Liberty (March 25)
We should keep the troops there, in the desert, looking after the international boundaries, making sure there are no atrocities, making sure oil and gas goes out, otherwise leaving Iraq to the Iraqis.
--Daniel Pipes, conservative columnist, counterterrorism analyst and author (April 1)
I don’t see anytime soon that we can depart, because we would take an insecure situation and make it even more insecure.
-- Dan Senor, former adviser to Paul Bremer, the administrator of the Iraq Coalition Provisional Authority (June 17)
It’s time to change direction. The public knows this. Some people don’t agree with me, but as a whole most of the people believe it is time to either redirect ourselves or redeploy our troops. I think 25,000 or 30,000 in that region would be plenty.
-- U.S. Congressman Jack Murtha (Jan. 21)
When was the last time you, in a local newspaper, had given to you the press release on the local citations for the Bronze Star, the Army Commendation Medal, the Silver Star, the Distinguished Service Cross or the Navy Cross?... Why should the American people be reminded, regularly, about Haditha, instead of being reminded that we have real, live, walking, talking war heroes living among us?
-- Col. Ollie North, host Fox News’ "War Stories" (July 1)
What is a little surprising to me here in the United States is that Afghanistan seems to be very much the minor military preoccupation here. And yet I believe that what is happening in Afghanistan is of greater strategic importance than what is happening in Iraq.
-- Liam Fox, British Conservative Party “shadow defense minister” (Oct. 21)
We really owe the Iraqi people, having upset their apple cart; we owe it to them to not just abandon them at their biggest moment of need as their country descends into civil war.
-- Scott MacLeod, Time magazine Cairo bureau chief (Dec. 12)
I would be a lot more sympathetic with the Bush administration if they had said they had decided to go into Iraq substantially because of oil. It would have made sense.
-- Kevin Phillips, policy analyst and author of “American Theocracy” (March 15)
Years from now, I hope to be meeting young Iraqis who don’t really remember the war very well but who can date their own emancipation from it.
-- Christopher Hitchens, writer/pundit/atheist (Jan. 6)
I think ultimately (the war on Islamic terrorism) is winnable. But it's going to be a long time before there is a victory declared. There are different bouts and rounds, but it's not going to be like it is in the movies. The end is just not going to be that way.
-- Steve Emerson, director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism (Aug. 19)
I think that debate on the cost-benefit of security measures and on the balance between security and freedom will just be a part of our lives now for a good time to come.
-- Lee Hamilton, co-chair, 9/11 Commission (Sept. 9)
We have defended the Republic of Korea -- South Korea -- for over a half century. It's time for them to step up to the plate and for our troops to leave and get out of harm's way.
-- Richard V. Allen, former Ronald Reagan foreign policy adviser (Oct. 14)
I have been very critical of (President Bush) the past year – rather tough on him. But as an individual, I think one can not argue with the fact that he is reliable as to his word, he’s brave and he has a quality of going forward if he believes he is right and simply accepting the slings and arrows of the world. And that is something to be admired in a politician.
-- Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal columnist and ex-presidential speech writer (Jan. 28)
If you want to have large-scale unskilled immigration, then you better get rid of the welfare state first.
-- Steve Camarota, Center for Immigration Studies (April 8)
There is no willingness on the part of our government to implement the immigration laws of our country or to enforce them in any way. Nor are they willing to secure our border, even in a time of war.
-- Bay Buchanan, chairman of Team America (March 4)
Both sides of the aisle are enamored of pork and increased entitlement spending, which is still where 65 or 58 percent of federal spending goes. But frankly, one of our disappointments is the president. He’s the only person around who’s been elected by the whole country. He’s got to show the kind of national leadership that says, “When I say I’m going to veto” -- and he has said that now on 133 separate measures – he means it.
-- Ed Fuelner, president of The Heritage Foundation (March 11)
The growth of government has gotten out of control. I blame the Congress more than I blame even the administration. In that case they've become too entrenched in their own power. They've become Democratic light. I think they need to go back to the principles that got them into those positions of power in the first place.
-- Sean Hannity, co-host “Hannity & Colmes” (Feb. 17)
The alarms are endless. Almost all are wrong. And yet the failure of the previous alarms to kill us does not make us less fearful when the press moves on to the next alarm.
-- John Stossel, “20/20” anchor and author of “Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity” (May 20)
I make it a point -- and a point of pride -- to have people not know my politics. I don't think they are relevant to a show that analyzes the news, so I prefer to keep them to myself off the air, as I do on.
-- Eric Burns, “Fox News Watch” host (Sept. 2)
The American economy is very strong. I call it the “Greatest Story Never Told.” I think that profits are strong. Productivity is strong. Job creation is strong. Tax rates are low. I think the outlook for the stock market and the economy is extremely positive. People should be in the market. Stocks are undervalued. And this expansion cycle will go on for I would say at least three or four more years.
-- Lawrence Kudlow, economist, host of CNBC’s “Kudlow & Company” (June 10)
Fidel is not a socialist hero if one thinks of the socialism in Sweden or Europe. If we are talking about Soviet socialism, that’s what he is. In that sense, he’s more like Stalin. I think Fidel has more followers outside Cuba than inside Cuba.
-- Frank Calzon, Center for a Free Cuba (August 5)
Our food in this country is very much determined by our government food policies. If we have a crisis about obesity, which we do, it has to do with government policy. If we have a diabetes crisis, which we do, it has a lot to do with the fact that we have been subsidizing the wrong foods.
-- Ruth Reichl, editor Gourmet magazine (Sept. 16)
It's going to be a very good Democratic year.
-- Stuart Rothenberg, editor, "The Rothenberg Political Report" (Oct. 7)
The big thing that's happening in this election is that independent voters who in the past two elections have tended to act -- in terms of their voting behavior -- more like Republicans than Democrats suddenly have shifted hard to voting Democratic. ...
Joe Trippi, Democrat campaign consultant (Nov. 4)
I think (losing Congress) was a cold slap on a cold face on a very cold morning that will hopefully wake up the conservative movement within the Republican conference within the House.
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (Texas), chairman, House Republican Study Committee (Dec. 16)