January 27, 2014

Looking back at some famous quotes generated by the “Lewinsky Scandal”


In addition to generating a lot of political fireworks, the “Lewinsky Scandal” involving President Bill Clinton and 22-year-old White House intern Monica Lewinsky generated several famous quotations.

On January 26, 1998, President Bill Clinton held a press conference in which he famously and vehemently denied having an affair with Lewinsky, saying:

       “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky!”

Of course, months later, after a grand jury investigation, he admitted that he did.

But on January 27, 1998, the day after Bill’s initial high profile denial, First Lady Hillary Clinton defended her husband and uttered another now-famous quote.

She said it in an interview with Matt Lauer on the Today Show.

Lauer politely but persistently asked tough questions about Bill’s “alleged” affair with Monica and about the so-called “Whitewater” investigation into the Clintons’ past financial affairs, which was being conducted by independent counsel Kenneth Starr.

Hillary gamely stood by her husband, just as she did six years earlier, during the Clintons’ game-changing January 26, 1992 interview on 60 Minutes, when she huffed: “I’m not sitting here as some little woman standing by my man, like Tammy Wynette.”

In the Today Show interview, when Lauer asked her about Lewinsky, Clinton said (apparently unaware of the multiple ironies): “I think the important thing now is to stand as firmly as I can and say that, you know, the president has denied these allegations on all counts, unequivocally.”

She went on to say she was “very concerned about the tactics being used and the kind of intense political agenda” of people who were criticizing and investigating the Clintons.

She told Matt:

“The great story here for anybody willing to find it and write about it and explain it is this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president.”

Hillary’s use that day made the term “vast right-wing conspiracy” a widely-known political phrase. But she didn’t coin it.

It had been used years before in news stories unrelated to the Clintons.

In 1991, a story about British movies in the Detroit News said: “Thatcher-era Britain produced its own crop of paranoid left-liberal films... All posited a vast right-wing conspiracy propping up a reactionary government ruthlessly crushing all efforts at opposition under the guise of parliamentary democracy.”

An Associated Press story in 1995 used the phrase in a story about the Oklahoma City bombing, saying it was the work of a few malcontents rather than “some kind of vast right-wing conspiracy.”

In the fall of 1998, the Lewinsky Scandal went on to generate yet another famous quote.

On August 17, 1998, President Clinton gave videotaped testimony to the grand jury. The video was released publicly by the House Judiciary Committee of Congress on September 21, 1998.

When it was, the world heard Bill’s legendary response when asked if he and Monika had previously lied when they said there is no sexual relation between them. He said, straight-faced:

“It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is. If ‘is’ means is and never has been, that’s one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement.”

I am not now and never have been part of any right-wing (or left-wing) conspiracy. But I have to say, I think that “meaning of the word ‘is’” quote, in particular, is an example of why Bill got the nickname “Slick Willie.”

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Post them on the Famous Quotations Facebook page.

Related reading…

January 07, 2014

“We don't need no stinking badges!” – the misquote that became a famous quote


“We don’t need no stinking badges!” is one of the few famous lines that is both a famous quote and a misquote. It’s also the source of many variations about stinkin’ things we don’t need.

The evolution of this line began in 1927 with the publication of the novel The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, a tale of greed, betrayal and madness written by the mysterious author and leftist/anarchist B. Traven (c. 1890-1969). 

The main characters are three American prospectors searching for gold in Mexico’s Sierra Madre mountains: Fred C. Dobbs, Bob Curtin and an old-timer named Howard.

In a scene later made famous by the movie version, the prospectors run into a group of shady-looking, heavily-armed Mexicans, who they suspect are bandits. 

Indeed, the Mexicans are bandits and the meeting ends up in a gunfight. But just before the shooting starts, the leader of the bandits tells the prospectors that they are federales — the local “mounted police.”

Dobbs says skeptically of that claim: “If you are the police, where are your badges?”

In Traven’s book, the bandit leader replies angrily (and colorfully):

“Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabron and ching’ tu madre!”

The answer given by the head bandido in the 1948 movie adaptation of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a bit different than that.

Most notably, it leaves out the English and Spanish profanities. (You can look up the meaning of cabron and ching’ tu madre on this web page.)

The famed film was released in the U.S. on January 7, 1948. Some sources say January 6th, but I believe that is either a local premiere date or simply wrong.

In the movie, Fred Dobbs is played by Humphrey Bogart and he asks the same question as in the book: “If you are the police, where are your badges?”

The bandit leader, called “Gold Hat” in the script and played by actor Alfonso Bedoya, responds sneeringly:

      “Badges? We ain’t got no badges! We don’t need no badges!
       I don’t have to show you any stinking badges!”

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre became one of the most highly-praised and popular movies ever made. So, it’s no surprise that Bedoya’s famous “no badges” lines spawned some humorous parodies.

What is unusual is that one of the parody versions became far better known than the lines in the original film. In fact, many people mistakenly think it comes from the 1948 movie.

That renowned version is, of course:

       “Badges? We don't need no stinking badges!”

If you’re a Mel Brooks fan, you know those lines are in his hilarious movie, Blazing Saddles, which was released on February 7, 1974.

What you may not know is that the same lines were first spoken by Mickey Dolenz in 1967, in the TV comedy show The Monkees.

Mickey says it in the episode titled “It’s A Nice Place To Visit” (the first episode of Season 2), which originally aired on September 11, 1967.

In that episode, Mickey and two of his Monkees bandmates, Peter Tork and Michael Nesmith, dress up as Mexican bandits to rescue their singer Davy Jones from a “real” Mexican bandit who has taken him prisoner.

Before they leave to save Davy, Nesmith says: “Wait a minute, don’t you think maybe we oughtta take something out with us, like a club card or some badges?”

Dolenz replies with a heavy Mexican accent (about 9 minutes in): “Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges!”

I don’t know if Mel Brooks was a Monkees fan, but seven years later he made those words immortal by putting them in the script for Blazing Saddles.

In a now famous scene in that movie, the corrupt State Attorney General Hedley Lamarr, played by Harvey Korman, has a sheriff’s badge given to one of his Mexican bandit henchmen, played by Rick Garcia

Korman says to Garcia: “Be ready to attack Rock Ridge at noon tomorrow. Here’s your badge.”

Garcia contemptuously throws the badge on the ground and replies with a thick Spanish accent: “Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges!”

Few people know those same words had been previously used in a Monkees episode.

But because of the huge popularity of Blazing Saddles, they became a famous movie quotation and sparked countless satirical variations based on the linguistic formula “We don’t need no stinking [fill in the blank].”

I’ve posted some of my favorite variations in a post on my Quote/Counterquote blog.

You can also click this link to see some recent examples from news stories and blogs — unless, of course, you don’t need no stinking examples.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     * 

Comments? Corrections? Post them on the Famous Quotations Facebook page.

Related reading and viewing…

Copyrights, Disclaimers & Privacy Policy


Copyright © Subtropic Productions LLC

All original text written for the This Day in Quotes quotations blog is copyrighted by the Subtropic Productions LLC and may not be used without permission, except for short "fair use" excerpts or quotes which, if used, must be attributed to ThisDayinQuotes.com and, if online, must include a link to http://www.ThisDayinQuotes.com/.

To the best of our knowledge, the non-original content posted here is used in a way that is allowed under the fair use doctrine. If you own the copyright to something posted here and believe we may have violated fair use standards, please let us know.

Subtropic Productions LLC and ThisDayinQuotes.com is committed to protecting your privacy. For more details, read this blog's full Privacy Policy.