Some of these quotations -- from the notebooks of Washington Post local staff reporters -- strayed a bit too far from the tales they were supposed to tell. Others died with stories that didn't run. Most were sacraficed in the daily struggle to fit too many details into too little space. s
Rather than leave them to suffocate in old notebooks, these orphaned declarations are presented as evidence that 1980 may not have been particularly laudable, but it was usually worth talking about.
"I'd rather have chewed 50 feet of barbed wire than to lose this election." -- Jody Powell, White House press secretary.
"There is nothing wrong with a president talking to God. It's only when God starts talking back that you have a problem, especially when God keeps changing his mind." -- G. Gordon Liddy during a speech at George Washington University.
"I'm really in favor of gun control, but for God's sake don't quote me. In Virginia, saying you're for gun control is like saying you think Thomas Jefferson is overrated." -- Northern Virginia law enforcement official.
"How's the school board going? Well, you know, garbage in, garbage out." -- A D.C. school board member.
"The only place where you'll still find Marvin Mandel's picture on the wall is at his mother's." -- A former Maryland Democratic precinct official. w
"Sin has always been popular. The devil has always been a popular fella." -- The Rev. Tom Williams, leader of a movement to ban books in Abingdon, Va.
"In [considering] this tax, do we not have an obligation to examine the tenor of the times?" -- Maryland state delegate considering a bowling tax before 200 angry bowlers opposed to it.
"I think if you put up with the crap you ought to be in on the bucks." -- Rep. Barbara Mikulski, speaking on behalf of a bill to entitle former spouses of foreign service officers to pension benefits.
"Well, I'm about five inches taller than John Dalton, and inch or two shorter than Jay Rockefeller." -- Maryland Gov. Harry Hughes, when asked to compare himself with other governors in the country.
"A lot of things are working in this government, a hell of a lot of things are going on and going very well and they're working because somebody is making them work." -- D.C. Mayor Marion Barry.
"I've seen the paint on my car go to hell. I've seen some plants dying. And maybe . . . we'll all die of arsenic poisoning. But for now I've got a great view of Puget Sound." -- Resident of Tacoma, Wash., who lives next to an arsenic manufacturer.
"I live in mortal fear of heart attacks. I mean these dudes are old." -- Waitress at Congressional Country Club during a golf tournament.
"If men could menstruate, this story would be on the front page every day." -- Woman commenting on toxic shock syndrome.
"To quote one wizened old politician, 'The masses have spoken -- God damn them.'" -- Northern Virginia Democrat after the defeat of Rep. Joseph L. Fisher.
"You know the difference between Sodom, Gomorrah and Middleburg? Middleburg has a water tower." -- Loudoun County lawyer after the love-triangle shooting trial of a Middleburg horse trainer.
"The percentage of criminals among the Cuban refugees is not as high as the percentage of members of U.S. Congress who have been indicted." -- Archbishop Edward A. McCarthy in an appeal for help in resettling Cuban refugees.
"Your effectiveness criteria would tend to bring this government to a screeching halt. Effectiveness would impair the continued operation of government." -- D.C. City Council member.
"I want my sons to live as long as Ronald Reagan has, and with him in the White House, I don't think that's even a remote possibility." -- Carter campaign worker.
"Never!" -- Maryland Senate candidate Ed Conroy when asked if Israel had ever done anything wrong.
"It's the way things are done in this city." -- Washington women defending her father against a conflict-of-interest charge.
"Just change the date and run the story from the last demonstration. It's the same old bull." -- U.S. marshall commenting on arrests at the latest Pentagon demonstration.
"Arlington's strip-search policy is just typical of that county's neanderthal attitude about running that jail. I mean, how many people actually pull knives out of their underwear?" -- Northern Virginia lawyer.
"They got a little chimp in a closet somewhere. . . . They give him a red marking pen and a whole list of people and they say, 'Tell us who to cut!'" -- D.C. health official commenting on Department of Human Services cutbacks.
"They're not welcome here. The people in this area are very peace-loving people. They ought to shoot every one of them." -- Resident of Queens, N.Y., protesting the presence of an Iranian mosque in his neighborhood.
"The cause of death was clearly cross-examination." -- flustered prosecuter in a murder trial at the Quantico Marine Base.
"When you're stupid as a stump, you won't be able to hide it from the voters for two whole years." -- Democratic Party worker after the election of Republican Frank Wolf to Northern Virginia's 10th District congressional seat.
"I get tired of coming here every morning to play. I'd love to do some serious work someday." -- D.C. City Council member John Wilson.
"This crime was definitely committed by criminals." -- Fairfax City police officer.
"Two rules in law: You don't make friends prosecuting women, and you don't make them by ignoring threats against kids." -- St. Mary's County prosecutor before the trial of a woman who had pointed a gun at a 15-year-old.
"They're easier to get then fingertips . . . and the donor doesn't miss it."
-- Scientists explaining the use of infant foreskins in the production of the cancer drug interferon.
"Mr. Chairman, the citizens of this city have less rights than trees do!" -- D.C. City Councel member discussing whether to remove tax-exempt status from the American Tree Institute.
"I wanted to be a pork queen ever since I was a little kid. But I was a homely little kid with floppy ears and buck teeth. I still got to be pork queen." -- Remembrance of Soo Greiman, the 1973 Iowa pork queen, now a hog farmer.
"You never worry about bobcats and coons until they get into you chicken house and geese start disappearing." -- Loundoun County farmer.
"I heard he had a nervous breakdown. I suspect it's true." -- Washington official talking about his boss.
"If I spend two months on anything, it'll be a hell of a story." -- arrogant Washington Post reporter.
"I've got a story for you bigger than Watergate." -- Anonymous caller to The Washington Post.