"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 your life."
~ Brooke Shields, during an interview to become spokesperson for a federal anti-smoking campaign
"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, D.C.
"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 chlordane
"Beginning in February 1976 your assistance benefits will be discontinued. Reason: it has been reported to our office that you expired on January 1, 1976."
~ Letter from the Illinois Department of Public Aid
"The streets are safe in Philadelphia. It's only the people who make them unsafe."
~ Frank Rizzo, ex-police chief and mayor of Philadelphia
"I've always thought that underpopulated countries in Africa are vastly underpolluted."
~ 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 Island