U.S.

Perspectives: The Year in Quotes—And Cartoons

"I don't do cowering."
—President-elect Barack Obama, during a June interview with Rolling Stone after securing the Democratic nomination, on the tendency of past party nominees to put up meek defenses in the face of Republican attacks—an allusion to John Kerry's failure to discredit the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and Michael Dukakis's tepid response to the Willie Horton ads, which painted him as weak on crime

"I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities."
—Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, taking a jab at Barack Obama's résumé at the Republican National Convention

"It's 3 a.m. and your children are asleep. Who do you want answering the phone?"
—A campaign ad for Sen. Hillary Clinton, unveiled in February, aiming to raise doubts about Barack Obama's experience

"I think I was unprepared for war."
—President George W. Bush, during a November exit interview with ABC's Charlie Gibson, adding that he "didn't campaign and say, 'Please vote for me. I'll be able to handle an attack'."

"I approved this ad, not the other one."
Casey Knowles, the young girl in the stock footage from Clinton's 3 a.m. ad, in a video response endorsing Barack Obama. Knowles, who turned 18 in time to vote in November, said she disliked the ad's "fearmongering."

"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our Founders is alive in our time ... tonight is your answer."
—President-elect Barack Obama, on the night voters chose him to be the country's 44th—and first African-American—chief executive, before a crowd of more than 100,000 in Chicago's Grant Park

"Although we weren't able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks
to you it's got about 18 million cracks in it."
—Sen. Hillary Clinton, conceding defeat on June 7 in the race to become the Democratic nominee for president, emphasizing the total number of votes she had received along the way

"Senator Obama, I am not President Bush. If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago."
—Sen. John McCain, striving to distance himself during the last debate from the current president and fellow Republican

"I mean, 'whitey'? That's something that George Jefferson would say."
Michelle Obama, invoking the 1970s sitcom character to refute unsubstantiated Internet rumors that she had given a speech at her church on the "sins of whitey"

"We are closer to the end of this problem than the beginning."
—Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, delivering an optimistic economic forecast in late April, when he predicted that the credit crisis—then in its ninth month—was more than half over

"We are in the midst of an economic tsunami."
—Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, telling the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in October that he was "shocked" by the depth of the financial crisis

"Bitch may be the new black, but black is the new president, bitch."
"Saturday Night Live" comedian Tracy Morgan, playing off an earlier line from his costar Tina
—Fey, who embraced the insult often thrown at Hillary Clinton by declaring that "bitch is the new black"

"I am proud to be the prime minister of a country that investigates its prime ministers."
—Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, announcing his plan to resign due to an ongoing corruption investigation against him

"All I can report is it was a size 10."
—President George W. Bush, lightheartedly referring to the shoe that was thrown at him by an Iraqi journalist at a joint press conference in Baghdad with the country's prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki. In the Arab world, shoe throwing is a vicious form of insult.

"It's the longest Hail Mary pass in the history of either football or Marys."
—Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank, on Sen. John McCain's decision to suspend his campaign and return to Washington in September to help Congress approve the $700 billion bailout plan, which Frank dismissed as a political stunt

"As California goes, so goes the nation ... whether you like it or not."
—San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, celebrating the California Supreme Court's decision in May to overturn the state's ban on gay marriage—six months before voters approved a ballot initiative to amend the state's constitution and define marriage as a union between a man and a woman

"This is like inviting Pol Pot to a human-rights conference."
—Former U.N. deputy secretary-general Mark Malloch Brown, on the appearance of Zimbabwean tyrant Robert Mugabe at the U.N. World Food Summit. Mugabe has been blamed for throwing his country—once the breadbasket of Africa—into a deep food crisis