On the record.
Date: Mon, 11 Dec 95 12:37:11 -0800
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Subject: On the record.
[This is a real lesson in fine points and nuance... -psl]
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"I haven't committed a crime. What I did was fail to comply with the law."
-- David Dinkins, New York City Mayor, answering accusations that
he failed to pay his taxes.
"They gave me a book of checks. They didn't ask for any deposits."
-- Congressman Joe Early (D-Mass) at a press conference to answer
questions about the House Bank Scandal.
"He didn't say that. He was reading what was given to him in a speech."
-- Richard Darman, director of OMB, explaining why President Bush
wasn't following up on his campaign pledge that there would be
no loss of wetlands.
"It depends on your definition of asleep. They were not stretched out.
They had their eyes closed. They were seated at their desks with their
heads in a nodding position."
-- John Hogan, Commonwealth Edison Supervisor of News Information,
responding to a charge by a Nuclear Regulatory Commission
inspector that two Dresden Nuclear Plant operators were sleeping
on the job.
"I didn't accept it. I received it."
-- Richard Allen, National Security Advisor to President Reagan,
explaining the $1000 in cash and two watches he was given by
two Japanese journalists after he helped arrange a private
interview for them with First Lady Nancy Reagan.
"I was a pilot flying an airplane and it just so happened that where I
was flying made what I was doing spying."
-- Francis Gary Power, U-2 reconnaissance pilot held by the
Soviets for spying, in an interview after he was returned
to the US.
"I was under medication when I made the decision not to burn the tapes."
-- President Richard Nixon
"Smoking kills. If you're killed, you've lost a very important part of
-- Brooke Shields, during an interview to become spokesperson
for a federal anti-smoking campaign.
"I've never had major knee surgery on any other part of my body."
-- Winston Bennett, University of Kentucky basketball forward.
"I support efforts to limit the terms of members of Congress, especially
members of the House and members of the Senate."
-- Vice-President Dan Quayle
"Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates
in the country."
-- Mayor Marion Barry, Washington, DC
"Sure, it's going to kill a lot of people, but they may be dying of
something else anyway."
-- Othal Brand, member of a Texas pesticide review board, on
"Are you any relation to your brother Marv?"
-- Leon Wood, New Jersey Nets guard, to Steve Albert, Nets TV
"Beginning in February 1976 your assistance benefits will be discontinued
... Reason: it has been reported to our office that you expired on January
-- Letter from the Illinois Department of Public Aid
"The Holocaust was an obscene period in our nation's history... this
century's history.... We all lived in this century. I didn't live in
-- Dan Quayle, then Indiana senator and Republican vice-presidential
candidate during a news conference in which he was asked his
opinion of the Holocaust.
"In the early sixties, we were strong, we were virulent..."
-- John Connally, Secretary of Treasury under Richard Nixon, in an
early seventies speech, as reported in a contemporary "American
"Rotarians, be patriotic! Learn to shoot yourself."
-- Chicago Rotary Club journal, "Gyrator".
"The streets are safe in Philadelphia. It's only the people who make
-- Frank Rizzo, ex-police chief and mayor of Philadelphia.
"I've always thought that underpopulated countries in Africa are vastly
-- Lawrence Summers, chief economist of the World Bank, explaining
why we should export toxic wastes to Third World countries.
"The crime bill passed by the Senate would reinstate the Federal death
penalty for certain violent crimes: assassinating the President;
hijacking an airliner; and murdering a government poultry inspector."
-- Knight Ridder News Service dispatch
"After finding no qualified candidates for the position of principal,
the school board is extremely pleased to announce the appointment of
David Steele to the post."
-- Philip Streifer, Superintendent of Schools, Barrington Rhode
"The doctors X-rayed my head and found nothing."
-- Dizzy Dean explaining how he felt after being hit on the head
by a ball in the 1934 World Series.
© 1995 Peter Langston