Sometimes quotations in the original say things better and more instructively than rewrites. Herewith, a sampler of comments recently in the news....
John McCain, on the Senate Commerce Committee's defeat of Mary Gall's nomination to be chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission: "What she faced was a group of [Democratic] senators with rope in their hands. For partisan reasons, Ms. Gall was going to be hanged regardless of what she said."
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who negotiated with Yasser Arafat at Camp David a year ago, on his opinion of Arafat now: "A thug, [Arafat runs a terrorist enterprise]. I think he should feel a cold shoulder from the world, telling him: 'The only way we will deal with you seriously is to put the code of terror behind you and turn back to the negotiating table.' We're not talking about someone who just came out of the woods. He got a Nobel Prize for peace after signing agreements."
Pope John Paul II, on "the creation for research purposes of human embryos destined for destruction in the process": "A free and virtuous society, which America aspires to be, must reject practices that devalue and violate human life at any stage from conception until natural death."
Former President Jimmy Carter, on George W. Bush as president: "I have been disappointed in almost everything he has done."
National Democratic Chairman (and Clinton crony) Terry McAuliffe, on a New York Times story about Republican practices in November's Florida presidential recount: "This story confirms our worst fears about the Bush team's campaign to manipulate the Florida vote. It proves that President Bush was determined to win by any means necessary, including violating the spirit if not the actual letter of the law."
Art Linkletter of the United Seniors Association: "The so-called Patients' Bill of Rights is not the answer [to improving health-care coverage]. The real solution is not to expand the size, scope and cost of government but to expand individual freedom to choose alternatives. Why doesn't someone in Congress propose a 'Patients' Declaration of Independence'? Congress should give every American more freedom to choose doctors they trust, specialists they need, and prescription drugs they can afford. True security comes from having true freedom - not simply the freedom to sue a health-care provider but the freedom to choose a different, better, more responsive health-care provider to begin with."
New York magazine's editor Caroline Miller, on her publication's combative media columnist, Michael Wolff: "People enjoy Michael because he's willing to take on media establishment figures who other people would love to write about but are afraid to. It's one of the few columns that is aggressively, frankly, unapologetically his opinion. He doesn't pretend to be neutral. That's why [his column] is a great read."
Almiro Rodrigues, presiding judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, reading the tribunal's guilty verdict to General Radislav Krstic for overseeing the slaughter of 7,500 Muslim men in Srebrenica in July, 1995: "At issue is not only extermination of the Bosnian Muslim men of fighting age alone. At issue is the deliberate decision taken with complete awareness of the impact the murders would inevitably have on the entire group. By deciding to kill all the men of Srebrenica of fighting age, a decision was taken to make it impossible for the Bosnian Muslim people of Srebrenica to survive. Stated otherwise, what was ethnic cleansing became genocide."
The Weekly Standard magazine, in an editorial: "This has so far been the most unrhetorical presidency of modern times. And the media abhor a vacuum. Because Bush hasn't been dominating the airwaves, the media commentators have been able to. Bush makes liberal commentators in the media more powerful by not using the power of the White House to offer a competing view."
University of Michigan Business School Professor (and former American Motors chairman) Gerald Meyers, and his daughter Susan, on out-of-control executive pay: "Everyone knows that top executives are overpaid. Until now, no one has been willing to do anything about it. But doesn't it make good sense to call back bonuses and stock options awarded on the basis of a performance that doesn't materialize, or that proves excessive with the passage of time? Isn't this fair to stockholders and other stakeholders?"
Laura Bush, on stem cell research, propriety, etc.: "[My husband and I] have talked about it a lot. It's a very important issue. He's looking at it from a lot of angles. [Before the president's announcement Thursday, had the first lady made up her mind on the issue?] Sure. [But] I'm not going to tell you. I don't get to be the one. I'm not elected. I'm not the president."