Last night on Countdown, 4 of the 12 'Special Comments' were re-aired. I'm not sure what the criterion was to be chosen for the show, but some of Keith's best work was displayed.
In order they were:
1.) September 11, 2006. Live from Ground Zero. From the transcript:
And lastly tonight a Special Comment on why we are here. Half a lifetime ago, I worked in this now-empty space.
And for 40 days after the attacks, I worked here again, trying to make sense of what happened, and was yet to happen, as a reporter.
And all the time, I knew that the very air I breathed contained the remains of thousands of people, including four of my friends, two in the planes and — as I discovered from those "missing posters" seared still into my soul — two more in the Towers.
And I knew too, that this was the pyre for hundreds of New York policemen and firemen, of whom my family can claim half a dozen or more, as our ancestors.
I belabor this to emphasize that, for me… this was, and is, and always shall be, personal.
And anyone who claims that I and others like me are "soft", or have "forgotten" the lessons of what happened here — is at best a grasping, opportunistic, dilettante — and at worst, an idiot — whether he is a commentator, or a Vice President, or a President.
2.) August 30, 2006 On Rumsfeld:
The man who sees absolutes, where all other men see nuances and shades of meaning, is either a prophet, or a quack.
Donald H. Rumsfeld is not a prophet.
Mr. Rumsfeld’s remarkable speech to the American Legion yesterday. It demands the deep analysis - and the sober contemplation - of every American.
For it did not merely serve to impugn the morality or intelligence - indeed, the loyalty - of the majority of Americans who oppose the transient occupants of the highest offices in the land; Worse, still, it credits those same transient occupants - our employees - with a total omniscience; a total omniscience which neither common sense, nor this administration’s track record at home or abroad, suggests they deserve.
3.)October 5, 2006 On Bush's lies, and the scapegoating of Democrats:
And lastly tonight, a Special Comment, about — lying. While the leadership in Congress has self-destructed over the revelations of an unmatched, and unrelieved, march through a cesspool… While the leadership inside the White House has self-destructed over the revelations of a book with a glowing red cover…
The President of the United States — unbowed, undeterred, and unconnected to reality — has continued his extraordinary trek through our country rooting out the enemies of freedom: The Democrats.
4.) November 6, 2006 'Making it up as you go along, sir' Pre-election comment:
And finally tonight, a Special Comment about tomorrow's elections.
We are, as every generation, inseparable from our own time.
Thus is our perspective, inevitably that of the explorer looking into the wrong end of the telescope.
But even accounting for our myopia, it's hard to imagine there have been many elections more important than this one, certainly not in Non-Presidential years.
And so we look at the verdict in the trial of Saddam Hussein yesterday, and, with the very phrase "October, or November, Surprise" now a part of our vernacular, and the chest-thumping coming from so many of the Republican campaigners today, each of us must wonder about the convenience of the timing of his conviction and sentencing.
But let us give history and coincidence the benefit of the doubt — let's say it's just "happened" that way — and for a moment not look into the wrong end of the telescope.
Let's perceive instead the bigger picture:
Saddam Hussein, found guilty in an Iraqi court.
Who can argue against that?
He is officially, what the world always knew he was: a war criminal.
Mr. Bush, was this imprimatur, worth the cost of 2,832 American lives, and thousands more American lives yet to be lost?
Is the conviction of Saddam Hussein the reason you went to war in Iraq?
It seems to me that every one of his Special Comments was more powerful than the one before; Could these be the best of the best? Would you have picked the same ones? I profess a fondness for his comment on Clinton versus Fox New's Chris Wallace; but I don't think it's necessarily his best.