Skip to main content
U.S. Edition


Return to Transcripts main page


CNN 25 'They Said What' - Top 25 Soundbites

Aired November 26, 2005 - 15:00   ET


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR, CNN 25: And good afternoon everyone. I'm Tony Harris at the CNN Center at CNN 25 PRESENTS is next.
But first here's what's happening right now in the news. As CNN was first to report, police in Yakima, Washington have recaptured two of four inmates who escaped from the county jail yesterday. The two were found about four miles away from the jail. Authorities say the four escaped by tying bed sheets together and using them as a rope.

Thousands are sleeping in tents and open-air courtyards, after an earthquake in Eastern China the 5.5 magnitude quake left at least a dozen people dead and nearly 400 others are injured, 20 of them seriously. China's state-run media reports that more than 8,000 homes were destroyed and 129 thousand damaged.

There is snow in Buffalo and other parts of upstate New York and meteorologist Brad Huffines says folks returning home from the long Thanksgiving Day weekend can expect snow in the Rockies tomorrow. You can also look for strong thunderstorms in the Midwest and further south.

I'm Tony Harris at the CNN Center in Atlanta. More news at the bottom of the hour. CNN 25: They Said What? Begins right now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I felt that I had to tell the truth.

LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR, CNN 25: Twenty five years and so many sound bites.


KING: The turn of a phrase that caught the attention of the world and kept it.

RONALD REGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE U.S: Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.

KING: Who said it? When?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we all get along?

KING: Television news introduced the sound bite.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where's the beef?

KING: And the sound bite is what everyone remembers.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: I did not have sexual relations with that woman.

KING: So tune in, listen up and -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep hope alive!


KING: Hello, I'm Larry King. And welcome to our CNN special. It's an hour devoted to looking back at memorable moments over the past 25 years of CNN's broadcasting history. If a picture tells a thousand words, a sound bite writes a book. It's a statement about who we are and where we're going. For the past 25 years, CNN has helped make the sound bite a crucial part of history.

Our country, the vernacular and pop culture. For the next hour we will entertain and inform you with some of the most memorable sound bites and commentary from some unusual suspects. Let's get started with a look at the sound bite leaders, the American presidents. During CNN's first 25 years the United States has had five presidents, and when they talked we all listened. Whether we wanted to or not.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And a sometimes emotional farewell speech, President Conner --

PRESIDENT CONNER: We live at a time of transition, an uneasy era which is likely to endure for the rest of this century.

SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON, (R) TEXAS: We had interest rates that were 21 percent. You had gas lines. It was an uneasy time, but I also think that a negative message cannot stand.

REV. JESSE JACKSON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: General Carter gave us a dose of honesty and core reality.

MADELINE ALBRIGHT, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: President Carter I think was very conscious of the complications of the world and the role of the United States and sensed that the U.S. had to have a moral foreign policy in terms of pursuing human rights and that in this period of transition the U.S. needed to be clear about what we stood for.

TORIE CLARKE, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: I think it was very representative of his administration, not hopeful, not inspirational and not strong leadership.

ARIANNA HIFFINGTON, POLITICAL ACTIVIST: You know, everybody thinks it's a time of transition. I think when Adam and Eve were in paradise and Eve ate the apple, I'm sure he turned to her and said, darling, we're living in a time of transition.

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: We're blaming this malaise on the American people. That's what it seemed of and it was so refreshing that he's left the office and become a saint. He's become a wonderful expresident.

RONALD REGAN: Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.

JIM CLANCY, ANCHOR, CNN INTERNATIONAL: Most of the world heard Ronald Reagan say this and thought he's not in touch with reality. Let's remember that the CIA, mi-5, no one, no intelligence agency was predicting the collapse of communism.

DARRELL HAMMOND, COMEDIAN: Basically, the way he said walls. Tear down that wall, wall, in a second he had sort of encapsulated literally baseball church charity drives and f-16 fighter jets.

ANNOUNCER: COULTER, CONSERVATIVE ANALYST: We know later now the state department officials were going crazy. They kept taking it out of the speech and kept getting new faxes of the speech and it kept being cut and he kept writing it back in. So for one thing it just proves the idea of Ronald Reagan being a senile old man being led around by his advisers. Oh no to the contrary.

KIM COLES, COMEDIENNE, ACTRESS: Maybe that's an O.G. Gangster, yo, tear down this wall, son, what am I going to do? Guess what he tear down the wall. Gangster? I think so.

GEORGE BUSH, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE U.S: I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States. Read my lips, no new taxes.

CLARKE: May the words I utter today be sweet for tomorrow? I may have to eat them.

MO O'BRIEN: ROCCA, CONTRIBUTOR, "THE TONIGHT SHOW:" Why are we reading his lips? Is this some Republican gambit to capture the hearing impaired vote?

JACKSON: Would the sound bite lose projection, but it not cause budget reality, so he had to raise taxes and on that basis, the sound bite had to drive him out of office.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I actually used it for myself because I used to say, read my pins.

BILL CLINTON: And will to the best of my ability. I say again, the era of big government is over. But we can't go back to the era of fending for yourself. We have to go forward.

JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I never knew exactly what that meant.

ALBRIGHT: He was trying to do something that I think was a hallmark of his administration was to figure out how the government could be on your side without overwhelming you.

CLARKE: I really think he was sincere about many things but he didn't look like he really believed it. He looked like a man who was paired into words.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been the heart and soul of the Democratic Party since Franklin Roosevelt back in the depression. So for Bill Clinton to say the era of big government is over, close the chapter in the Democratic Party ideas.

CLINTON: I did not have sexual relations with that woman. Miss Lewinsky.

HAMMOND: President Clinton wasn't involved in a fender bend or a violation of recycling laws. This was stuff that James Bond can't get out of.

COULTER: I mean, he had been so smarmied, so lying through his teeth.

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT: I think this was an issue that people could relate to. They could understand. It may have happened in their own lives, I think people like Bill Clinton living up to a reputation of a rebel, a good old boy.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: If you tended to love Bill Clinton you thought he was getting the rawest deal in the world and that a horrible evil prosecutor was out to get him. If you didn't like Bill Clinton, it just reinforced your idea that was slick Willie.

After President Clinton's (INAUDIBLE) still 71 percent thought he had a successful presidency. People were able to divorce the personal mistake from what happened.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE U.S: Preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the United States. So help me god.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have unconfirmed reports this morning that a plane has crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center.

BUSH: I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you and the people -- and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.

HUTCHISON: I think people loved his decisiveness. They loved his spontaneous ability to just say the right thing.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He's appeared to everybody else this was the most natural reaction. This was a president with his people in pain.

GERGEN: It was a moment you could never find after Katrina. You could never duplicate it again, but it was probably the high point of his precedence.


KING: No discussion of presidents or politics would be complete without a look at their role in pop culture. A bit later, we'll look at some of the more comical things our leaders say. Sometimes without knowing it.

BUSH: I'm president of the United States, and I'm not going eat any more broccoli.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where's the beef?

KING: Politics, is it something to chew on? When CNN's top sound bites continues. Sometimes it's not about what you say, but how you say it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never mind if it's true. It's a sound bite and that sound bite's going to be on the evening news.

KING: As the world turns so does the sound bite. Stay tuned.


KING: Americans have a tendency to think of the world as existing only from sea to shining sea, but events over the past 25 years have forced us to look beyond ours borders, and become aware of the world and listen.


NELSON MANDELA: This is one of the most important moments in the life of our country and join that we can loudly proclaim from the rooftops, free at last.

JEFF KOINAGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: South Africa had just held its first election after more than half a century of the most draconian system ever known on the planet, apartheid and Nelson Mandela had been elected the first president of a new South Africa.

ALBRIGHT: Here was a person who had been jailed and who had suffered but then was able to turn all of that into a magnificent movement and encouragement to his people to create a free country.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He has been the president who brought about a just and democratic revolution without blood, but with reconciliation and that will be his legacy.

MARGARET THATCHER, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: For those waiting with bated breath for that favorite media catchphrase, the u-turn, I have only one thing to say. You turn if you want to.

QUEST: Unemployment was over 2 million, things were looking very grim for the British economy and what Margaret Thatcher did was take her critics' criticism and basically ram it down their throats, back at them again.

CLARKE: One tough broad. You know, she tossed other people don't go wobbly on me. One tough broad.

ALBRIGHT: Sometimes thought about using the same term, as the lady's not returning to refer to my myself as people thought that I might change and I didn't.

EARL SPENCER, PRINCESS DIANA'S BROTHER: I would believe the press would kill her in the end, but not even I could imagine that they'd take such a direct hand in her death as seemed to be the case.

CLANCY: There was bitterness in that comment. Bitterness toward the press and those for whom Diana had become something of a trophy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whether she was coming out of a gym or out of Buckingham Palace and it was incredible how a woman had a magnet with the media, incredible presence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Princess Diana is remembered for who she was, this tremendous figure on an international stage not just a princess in Britain, but also a princess, really, of the world.

YASSER AFARAT, PALESTINIAN LEADER: I condemn terrorism in all its forms.

AMANPOUR: It was so important at the time because Yasser Arafat the leader of the Palestinian people had, for the first time publicly said that they would renounce terrorism.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The revolutionary Arafat, the leader of Fatah coming out and saying that he recognized that there had to be a different course.

CLARKE: It was pretty clear it was just words. You know, you can't talk the talk, you to walk the walk.

YITZHAK RABIN, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: We would vote against you, the Palestinians. We say to you today in a loud and a clear voice, enough of blood and tears. Enough!

CLANCY: Tears came out of the eyes of grown men as they realized he wanted to put an end to one of the bloodiest chapters of the 20th century history, the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

AMANPOUR: I was covering another story, but like everybody around the world we were glued to the television sets.

CLANCY: Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin were standing up with President Clinton. They hadn't yet shaken hands.

AMANPOUR: To see him prodded by President Clinton, shake Yasser Arafat's hand was an amazing, historical moment.

ALBRIGHT: When I was on the White House lawn during that speech and was deeply moved by the whole scene and especially by Prime Minister Rabin's words and in listening to him today 12 years later how much more blood has been shed since then.

OSAMA BIN LADEN (Translator): We declared a Jihad, a holy war against the United States government because it is unjust, criminal and tyrannical.

CLANCY: Osama Bin Laden I think was giving us a glimpse in that CNN interview of who he is and what he is about.

ALBRIGHT: He picked the wrong people to make a statement like that about.

AMANPOUR: The full force of what Osama Bin Laden said and threatened then has and is playing out now. The attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, and now the turning Iraq into his global Jihad base is causing huge problems all over the world.

MOHAMMED SAEED AL-SAHAF, IRAQI INFORMATION MINISTER: We crushed the forces in Saddam at the national airport and we cleaned the whole place of the airport by our Republican guard.

CLANCY: This is the mouthpiece of Saddam Hussein's regime. Never mind if it's true or false. It's a sound bite and that sound bite will be on the evening news.

GERGEN: We thought they had weapons of mass destruction, little did we know they didn't have the weapons and they did have crack because clearly he was on drugs when he was out there.

CLARKE: I remember those briefings. He would saying that and it was ludicrous and there was coverage of the coalition forces in Baghdad in control of the airport and those sorts of things. And we all said they called it the ministry of disinformation for a reason.

AL-SAHAF: Now the Republican guard is in full control of Saddam's National Airport.


KING: Fighting a war with words. Americans aren't the only ones that know how to use the media and the sound bite to their advantage or disadvantage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do not know how to say it.

KING: There's more to come on CNN's THEY SAID WHAT? Sometimes words can mark a shift in attitudes and deliver reality into our living rooms.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just cried. I was just really sad.

KING: From magic to mayhem, the sound bites that became signs of the time.


KING: And take a turn in the spin cycle. How the media machine can take a statement, wash it up and wring it out, but does it still ring true? Stay tuned.


KING: The space shuttle disaster was just one of the many events that challenged how we perceive our country and our national pride. Those events are often remembered by a sound bite that marked a turning point, a moment when we knew our lives would never be the same again. They were words that spoke volumes about the times we lived in.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On November 11, 1991, I was in a car coming back from a story and heard breaking news on the car radio.

MAGIC JOHNSON: Because of the HIV virus that I have attained, I will have to retire from the Lakers.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was an incredible shock. We hadn't had an athlete of his caliber say that he had the AIDS virus.

CHARLES BARKLEY, FORMER NBA PLAYER: I just cried. I was just really sad. I was sitting at home watching the press conference.

KENNY SMITH, FORMER NBA PLAYER: You just thought that he was going die in less than 30 days or something.

KOINANGE: It did definitely change America's perception of AIDS. In the '80 s, everyone thought this was a homosexual disease or the disease of the poor or intravenous drug users. Now it was affecting everyone across the board.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now you see people coming up and kiss him and hug him. I think he's the only person I know that could have handled that, come out and said he had it and then do what he's done.

NANCY REGAN: Just say no to drugs.

ROCCA: She is so intoxicatingly chic she's so regal Nancy Reagan is sending the message that taking drug is socially unacceptable that at the chicest cocktail parties taking drugs it's declassee.

JACKSON: There was a rising flow of drugs coming into our country at the border, in our streets and to say just say no was too simplistic.

BEN STEIN, ECONOMIST: Which is fine if she could legitimize it in the eyes of young people so they could say to their friends who offered them reefer, no, as Nancy Reagan says no.

CLARKE: That is still a powerful expression. If parents say that to their kids, and have their kids repeat it it makes a difference. She really started an important movement.

RAFAEL PALMEIRO, FORMER BALTIMORE ORIOLE: I have never used steroids, period. I do not know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I felt bad for all those guys when they had to testify before Congress. It was an uncomfortable situation and I thought Rafael Palmeiro was speaking the truth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The steroids scandal, I think is as a baseball fan is the worst thing that's happened to this sport. Baseball is a game of numbers. I taught my children how to do batting averages at the same time they were learning two plus two. The numbers don't mean anything if players are using steroids.

RODNEY KING: Can we all get along? Can we get along?

CROWLEY: He was the wrong one in this if you looked at it. If you'd seen the Rodney King beating many people felt this was over the line.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I remember these four police beating him into submission and then these four police being set free.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: There was rioting in Los Angeles after the Rodney King verdict and it was a terrible situation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People were beating people up because of one verdict.

KOINAGE: It was an America that we had never seen before at the time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do we see that picture in the first place? A white photographer named George who could have said that negro was in the wrong neighborhood and they caught him why is he out here? The white photographer was the hero, Rodney King was the victim.

ANITA HILL, LAW PROFESSOR: I felt that I had to tell the truth. I could not keep silent.

JACKSON: One had an impression of Anita Hill of telling the truth of what happened to her facing them to get Clarence Thomas in.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You had a national town meeting of the whole country because everybody was watching and everybody took sides one way or the other.

JUDGE CLARENCE THOMAS, U.S. DISTRICT COURT OF APPEALS: As far as I'm concerned, it is a high-tech legend for uppity blacks.

CATHERINE CRIER, ANCHOR, COURT TV: In fact it was Anita Hill who ended up getting lynched and I think we understood even more how much more race could play a role in something as important as a Supreme Court nominee.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anita Hill has vanished into insignificance and hardly anyone remembers her name and even may go down in history books as one of the great interpreters of the constitution.

AL GORE, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The American people want to make certain that every vote counts and that every vote is counted fairly.

CLARKE: I don't think anybody disagreed with him. I think they counted him and he lost. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bush won.

CARVILLE: Al Gore is created the ultimate crime in that he's been right about more things than anybody in our lifetime and the press and the chattering class just pace people to the right.

STEIN: What Al Gore meant when he said he wanted every vote to count and he wanted the votes recounted until he won. His was the cry of a whining baby who could not believe he had lost the election.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was in West Palm Beach when they were counting the votes. It was the first time the word Chad was uttered. I remember saying to my elections official what's a Chad?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You could not script a more bizarre scenario than the Florida recount because you had this very big state where the votes were divided by so small that in the Olympics, a percentage difference of that degree is called a dead heat.


KING: Questioning our civic duty and our personal role in the electoral process is one of the legacies of election 2000, but the whole experience can be distilled into a statement that can last less than a minute and that's the power of the sound bite.

Still to come on CNN's THEY SAID WHAT? Politicians preach on in their own unique way.

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER: Don't be economic girly men.

KING: For other political leaders the truth hurts and sometimes it can be optional until what you say and how you say it is dissected by the media machine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lefty to do things righty. Not good.


LARRY KING, HOST: Welcome back to CNN's "They Said What?" The most memorable sound bite of the past 25 years and we've been listening to the comments of presidents and politicians, comedians and curmudgeons, and sometimes it's not about what you say, but how you say it and, of course, how it's reported. And that brings us to our next topic, the media machine.


RONALD REAGAN, FMR. U.S. PRESIDENT: Go ahead, make my day.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POETICAL CORRESPONDENT: This was a line out of a Clint Eastwood movie. And everybody knows Clint Eastwood is the ultimate tough guy.

CLINT EASTWOOD, ACTOR: Go ahead, make my day.

CROWLEY: Washington is very much about power. Who has it, who wields it, "go ahead make my day" is a power sentence. It's a challenge.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: It was a challenge to Congress. You want to defy me? You want to stand up to me? Watch how I handle you. It was a threat and it portrayed Ronald Reagan as tough and strong.

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, FMR. SECRETARY OF STATE: Public figures are also very aware of how they look on television, how they sound on television. I think it has made people learn to talk more succinctly and be aware of their public image.

REV. JESSE JACKSON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: It is the only medium through which you can communicate (UNINTELLIGIBLE) with millions of people.

REAGAN: It takes two to tango.

JACKSON: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the adjustable sound bite that sums up your whole message is critical to penetrating the public consciousness.

ANN COULTER, CONSERVATIVE ANNALIST: Reagan sure packed a lot into his sound bites. I mean, there was a philosophy behind what Reagan said.

REAGAN: Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate.

BEN STEIN, ECONOMIST: Reagan was able, basically without firing a shot to turn the entire world balance around.

TORIE CLARKE, FMR. PENTAGON SPOKESWOMAN: What he believed came through in a very clear and consistent fashion and that's a great communicator.

BILL CLINTON, FMR. U.S. PRESIDENT: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.

SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHINSON (R), TEXAS: When he said that it was so clear and concise that people expected that it was true.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bill Clinton said that in January 1998 when everyone in Washington was in an uproar over the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

CROWLEY: It was clearer with the body language rather than the words that the president was trying to put an end to this.

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We had a body language expert look at that bite and he told us that liars tend to use exaggerated body gestures of frankness when they're lying and to watch out for that. So when Bill Clinton said, "I did not have sex is with that woman, Miss Lewinsky" and he's a lefty and he used his right, watch out. Lefty, using his righty? Not good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of people said, my goodness, is the president lying to the American people? Clinton, of course, believed he didn't lie because of his definition of sex.

CLINTON: These allegations are false.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today, we have 24-hour cable. People expect quicker action. They know that things are going happen fast and that there's going to be an opinion formed very quickly.

CARVILLE: One of the things that, you know, television has done is it has caused people to, at a level, pay a high price for -- to put it generously, misstatements.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My fellow Americans, major combat in operations in Iraq have ended in the battle of Iraq. The United States and our allies have prevailed.


SCHNEIDER: Bush made that statement from the deck of an aircraft carrier. There was a banner behind him that said "mission accomplished."

CROWLEY: This is an administration, like administrations before President Bush, that understood that the television could be used in many ways and one of those was for the message behind you in a sort of subliminal -- not so subliminal advertising.

JACKSON: He was looking tough and selling strength. He he knew that the media would take that sound bite and it would roll all over the world with it that night. So it achieved that day's purpose.

SCHNEIDER: President Bush loves to present himself as the commander in chief. He loves the military part: The salute. He walks with a certain military swagger.

CROWLEY: There, was in a flight suit, he looked so "Top Gun," so macho. Here was a president and we prevailed and we wanted to prevail. The nation was with him. I remember talking to democrats going oh, my word, you know, I mean, nobody could have done that better. Can you imagine? I mean, this -- they were just in awe of this photo op.

CLINTON: The greatest source of America's generosity is the good heart of the people.

GEORGE BUSH, FMR. U.S. PRESIDENT: And in the aftermath of the devastating tsunami we come to you not as presidents, but as two private citizens.

SCHNEIDER: A lot of people in the world remember the first President Bush and Bill Clinton as good guys, they were popular in the world. Under this President Bush the United States, there's no question about it, is very unpopular. It's image has been tarnished. President Bush is not a popular man overseas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much. Thank you very much.

SCHNEIDER: Well, the image of public figures is crucial in politics today because since the advent of television, some 50 years ago, politics has become intensely personalized.

You sell an image and you use the media to do that.

CLINTON: They asked up symbolically to screw in the last few screws.

SCHNEIDER: So when these two ex-presidents joined forces and promoted this old humanitarian effort for the relief of the tsunami, I think it reminded people all over the world, you know, for a lot of its history, America was the good guys.


KING: It's all how you spin it in the media. I'm sure the next generation of politicians will have their own way of delivering the perfect sound bite.


ANNOUNCER: Coming up, legal eagles who also play with words.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you do the crime, you gotta do the time.

ANNOUNCER: It's all about trials and errors. And politicians say the funniest things.

AL GORE, FRM. U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: I took the initiative in creating the internet.

BUSH: But if he's so smart how come every internet address begins with dubba-ya?


KING: The blind eyes of justice get a peek at fame when criminal trials become part of television. Much like the old O.J. Simpson trial did. For months, Americans were glued to every nuance of the so-called "trial of the century" and we learned, a well-spoken sound bite can change the course of a case for better or for worse.


JOHNNIE COCHRAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: If it doesn't fit, you must acquit. JACKSON: The glove didn't fit, therefore, acquit. Summed up his whole argument in the end, he prevailed.

MOSS: The thing that bother mead about that bite, it's the hat that didn't fit.

JIM MORET, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, INSIDE EDITION: It had nothing to do with the evidence. It had to do with passion. It had to do with a tag line. It had to do with marketing.

CATHERINE CRIER, ANCHOR, COURT TV: I think for the jury when they were to go back in the jury room they had that one phrase to encapsulate the defense. Johnnie knew the power of words and played it to the ultimate.

HEIDI FLEISS, "HOLLYWOOD MADAM": It was a nightmare and I tried very hard to keep a little bit of dignity.

CLARKE: Not an ounce of sympathy for her.

KIM COLES, COMEDIENNE, ACTRESS: She used to be the madam of I bordello. A house of ill repute and now she's talking about dignity?

MORET: Heidi Fleiss, describing her situation as a nightmare, is interesting because Heidi Fleiss flaunted the fact that what she did was serve as a madam and she had a black book that had people's names in it.

CRIER: No, no, she committed a crime and it was long standing, she did very well for a long time with her enterprise and I didn't see anything at all inappropriate about the results.


I sit here in front of you guys, furious at myself, disgusted at myself for making a mistake of adultery.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There's no question Kobe Bryant was embarrassed. He was caught red-handed having an affair.

CRIER: And there with his wife and flashing her new, what was it, $4 million diamond ring on her finger and looking at him lovingly.

LARRY SMITH, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: It did cost him $4 million, didn't it?

CRIER: All I could see was a managed athlete saying just as much as he thought he could say and still get away with it.

SMITH: Kobe Bryant was in the spotlight from 18 years old on. How tough is that? None of us can really know.

MORET: I can tell you that while Kobe Bryant was under investigation, I remember going a Lakers game and I saw kids and women wearing Kobe Bryant jerseys and I thought how fascinating. Who are our heroes? TAMMY FAYE BAKKER, WIFE OF TELEVANGELIST JIM BAKKER: Hope that Jerry Falwell and his family never have to suffer the way that they've made our family suffer. I wake up every morning wishing that they had killed me and Jim does, too.

MO ROCCA, CONTRIBUTOR, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": Tammy Faye Bakker is painting Jerry Falwell as Don Corleone, the televangelist as Mafioso, here.

COLES: She's a tough chick and she's a survivor, you know, I like her and she was just going through hell at that moment and she wanted everybody to than I wake up in the morning and I wish they would just kill me.

CRIER: Tammy Faye is one of those that has made a whole new career and life for herself coming out of this.

MORET: She was larger than life and when people are larger than life and they fall, they fall farther and it hurts when they land.

MICHAEL JACKSON, SINGER: I ask all of you to wait and hear the truth before you label our condemn me. Don't treat me like a criminal because I am innocent.

CLARKE: Didn't believe him then and I still don't believe him.

STEIN: I Happen to be a huge fan of Michael Jackson and I think he has been persecuted and tortured and tormented because he's rich and he's kind of wacky in his behavior.

MORET: The fact is no one ever heard the truth because the case never got to court. Skip forward a number of years and we saw a case brought against him once again and we saw a trial and we also saw a vindication of sorts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hold your head high, Martha!

MARTHA STEWART, CONVICTED OF PERJURY/OBSTRUCTION: Today is a shameful day. It's shameful for me and for my family and for my beloved company.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I was standing on the steps of the courthouse just a few feet away from Martha when she made that statement and the words that still ring with me are "my beloved company."

CARRIE LEE, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR: I think she was very sincere and over 200 people losing their jobs. Of course a lot of people lost money as far as here shareholders are concerned.

CRIER: She chose the moment, I think to present arrogance rather than humility.

COLES: She's actually back and better than ever which is fabulous. There's a little twink in her eye and now she's M. Diddy. MORET: She came to be a symbol for the government as well saying no one is too big. No one is too important. If you do something wrong, we'll get you.

LT. COL. OLIVER NORTH, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: I saw that idea of using the Ayatollah Khomeini money to support the Nicaraguan Freedom Fighters as a good one. I still do. I don't think it was wrong. I think it was a neat idea.

COULTER: It was a brilliant idea. You can understand the human sentiment of wanting to get American hostages back.

JACKSON: He rationalized and broke the law and what he would call "neat," others would call "slick" and in fact, "illegal."

ROCCA: At the end of defending himself for lying to Congress he describes it as "a neat idea." What you call the Richey Cunningham defense.

MORET: Oliver North represented, for many people, the American way and for others he represented everything that was wrong with the government, believing that our way or the highway is the only way.


KING: The sound bites of American law and order that we will never forget and only time will tell if high-profile legal cases will continue to draw the attention they have for the past 25 years.


ANNOUNCER: Don't touch that remote. The best sound bites are got come.

REAGAN: There you go again.

DANA CARVEY, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": Not going to do it, wouldn't be prudent at this juncture.

ANNOUNCER: Comedians who built careers on panning politics, comment on the sound bites that made us stop and say, "they said what?"



KING: They've been lampooned on late night, been elected mainstays in monologues, many of the memorable sound bites of the past 25 years have been political. Our fearless leaders can motivate on the line about a single phrase, a word, or an idea and more times than not they make us laugh.

H.W. BUSH: I do not like broccoli! And I haven't liked it since I was a little kid. And my mother made me eat it and I'm president of the United States and I'm not going eat any more broccoli. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where's the beef?

CLARA PELLER, ACTRESS: Where's the beef?

ANDY BOROWITZ, SATIRIST: I'm not exactly sure why quoting a commercial gets you the nomination.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where's the beef?

BOROWITZ: If he had said, "Great taste, less filling," would this have done it?

CLINTON: I experimented with marijuana a time or two.

DARRELL HAMMOND, COMEDIAN: The danger with running for president is sooner or later some sound bite is going hit.

CLINTON: I didn't inhale and never tried it again.

HAMMOND: And all of the comics are going pick up.

CARVEY: Not going do it, wouldn't be prudent at this juncture.

H.W. BUSH: Read my lips, we're not going do it.

BOROWITZ: He may as well have said read my lips, second term.

JACKSON: America, stay out the bushes.

BOROWITZ: Sound bites kind of rule in politics because you always want to have something really quick that will make it on the news. Doesn't have to mean anything, it just has to be short.

JACKSON: Keep hope alive. Thank you.

COLES: It's not even "keep hope a live," it's all one word, keephopealive!

REAGAN: There you go again.

BOROWITZ: He was from Hollywood, he knew when a line worked and he stuck with it.

REAGAN: I can't help it, there you go again.

COLES: I think politicians are funny because they take themselves so seriously.

CLINTON: I feel your pain.

HILARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: Yes. It takes a village.

BOROWITZ: It really depends on what village you're talking about. Greenwich Village I'm not so sure they would be so good at raising a child. ROCCA: It takes a village to raise a child and if that village just happens to include 270 members of the Electoral College then great, you can also become president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have as much sperience (SIC) in the Congress as Jack Kennedy did when he sought the presidency.

REAGAN: This fellow they've nominated claims he's the new Thomas Jefferson.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator, I serve aye with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy.

REAGAN: I knew Thomas Jefferson.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine.

REAGAN: He was a friend of mine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy. .

REAGAN: Governor, you're no Thomas Jefferson.

I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent's youth and inexperience.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was part of Reagan's overall genius that he was just about as good as anybody when it came to the spoken word.

REAGAN: Just one personal request, go out there and win one for the Gripper.

ROCCA: Because so much American political commentary is focused on personality, these are exactly the kinds of things that are fodder for comedians.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you'd only take your clothes off and let me see you naked, there would be no more racism.

BOB DOLE, FMR. SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER: Bob Dole would be the republican nominee.

Bob Dole will be the president of the United States.

Bob Dole...

CLARK: Bob dole's terrific. I never got the speaking in the third person thing.

DOLE: Which I hope says something about Bob Dole.

CARVILLE: Perot might have been of the most interesting people to come along in politics in a long, long time.

CARVEY: You're not listening to one word I'm saying, are you.

H. ROSS PEROT, FMR. TEXAS BUSINESSMAN: May I finish? May I finish?

CARVILLE: He was a little nutty.

PEROT: Please let me finish. It wasn't my crossfire, is it Larry?


PEROT: Now...

ARIANNA GUFFINGTON, WWW.HUFFINGTONPOST.COM: We thought that there was something really unhinged about him.

AL SHARPTON (D), NEW York: I know unquestionably, unequivocally I've been to jail more times than anybody running for president of the United States.

ROCCA: A lot of celebrities go to rehab before making the comeback. Al Sharpton went to prison.

JESSE "THE BODY" VENTURA (I), MINNESOTA: The American dream live on in Minnesota as we shock the world.

CLARKE: I don't think he really socked the world. I don't think the world realized who the governor of Minnesota was.

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SR. U.N. CORRESPONDENT: What I was shocked about was learning that wrestling was fixed.

ROCCA: The wrestling moves may have all been faked, but the votes were real.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who am I? Why am I here?

BOROWITZ: Sound bites are there strictly to get on TV and in turn, it shortens our attention span because we're not used to any speech longer than about four words.

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: Don't be economic girly men.

BOROWITZ: As an economic girlyman, I was offended by it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, this is true, I call the democrats girlymen and that was wrong because that is no way to treat a lady.

BUSH: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah, Ramzi -- Ramzi al Sheab or whatever the guy's name was.

COLES: Here's the thing about George, there's always a twinkle in his eye whenever he does something off.

BUSH: Sorry Ramzi if I got it off.

COLES: I said that and now you're lambasting that for the rest of my life for that?

GORE: I took the initiative in creating the internet.

MOOS: This was a bite that launched a million jokes.

If he's so smart how come internet address begins with dubba-ya? Not one dubba-ya, but thre dubba-yas.

COLES: Think sound bites have two effects. They either set it in the great direction or they send it in the rotten direction.

KERRY: Not only are we going New Hampshire.

ROCCA: First they're going to New England.

KERRY: We're going to South Carolina, and Oklahoma and Arizona.

ROCCA: And then the southwest and back to the plain states.

KERRY: And North Dakota and New Mexico and we're going California and Texas and New York.

ROCCA: I mean, unless you're trying to rack up frequent flier miles, this itinerary just doesn't make sense.

KERRY: And we're going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan and then we're going Washington D.C. to take back the white house.

COLES: Yeah! He was excited. He was excited about running this country.

KERRY: Yeah!

STEIN: There's medication for that.

BUSH: There's an old saying in Tennessee and I know it's in Texas and probably in Tennessee that says fool me once, shame on -- shame on you.

COLES: The phrase is fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice -- no.

BUSH: If you me, can't get fooled again.

STEIN: That's very funny. Bush has managed to make incredible political capital out of his not being the smartest guy in the room.

BUSH: Well we all make mistakes. I've been known to mangle a syll-able or two myself, you know?

CLINTON: Nobody's a sense of humor in this country anymore.

PEROT: I would like to finish.

KING: What is it? PEROT: May I finish? OK.

KING: OK, go ahead.

PEROT: I'd like to finish. May I finish?

KING: No, but he brought up a specific point.

PEROT: Could I finish a sentence?

KING: Yeah, go on. OK.

PEROT: Just once for a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) joke.


KING: Politics unusual, indeed. Humor will always go hand in hand with the political landscape and I'm sure the comedians will never run out of material. That's it for this edition of CNN 25. To learn more about the sound bites you remember best check out our website at And be sure to tune in next month as we take a look at some of the top newsmakers of the past 25 years and see where they are now. Thanks for joining us. I'm Larry King.


CNN TV E-mail Services CNN Mobile CNNAvantGo Ad Info About Us Preferences
© 2007 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines