I am intently focused on this matter and will make it a priority to correct the errors and minimize them in the future.

— Kerry Weems, acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, quoted in a Sept. 10 New York Times story that says, “Private insurance companies participating in Medicare have been allowed to keep tens of millions of dollars that should have gone to consumers, and the Bush administration did not properly audit the companies or try to recover money paid in error.”

What’s important is to fully vet these kinds of videos before putting them to air, which we’ve consistently done over the years.

— CNN spokesman Megan Mahoney, explaining why CNN delayed running a video of Osama bin Laden on Sept. 7 by a half hour after Fox News and MSNBC. CNN had ended its 27-year relationship with Reuters eight days earlier and had to obtain the tape from the Arabic news network Al Jazeera.

I get all the candidates confused. Nobody really has me interested. Possibly John McCain. I like his personality. Although we all know that none of them are truthful, he has a more honest aura about him.

— Lakewood, Colo., Democratic voter C.J. Mueller in a Sept. 12 New York Times story on early primaries.

Ideas do matter. The American people are sick of the nonsense. They’re cynical. They’re angry, they’re sick of the status quo. … They’re looking for someone to call them to action. … I don’t think anyone has effectively done that so far.

— an unidentified Republican strategist in a Sept. 2 Washington Post story outlining seven questions to be asked as the presidential race passes Labor Day.

The reality is both parties are brain-dead — they have no new big ideas to deal with the challenges we face today. Which is why I continue to believe that there is an opening for an independent, reform-oriented campaign to run against politics as usual and on a solutions-driven message.

— Dan Gerstein, a centrist Democrat and strategist, in a Sept. 2 Washington Post story outlining seven questions to be asked as the presidential race passes Labor Day.

America is a land of many faiths, and our society is enriched by our Muslim citizens. May the holy days of Ramadan remind us all to seek a culture of compassion and serve others in charity. Laura and I send our best wishes. Ramadan Mubarak.

— from a Sept. 7 Presidential Message from President Bush to Muslims celebrating Ramadan.

The President has nominated Thomas F. Stephenson, of California, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Portuguese Republic. Mr. Stephenson currently serves as a Partner at Sequoia Capital. Prior to this, he served as President of Fidelity Ventures. Earlier in his career, he served as a Securities Analyst at Fidelity Management Company. Mr. Stephenson received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, his master’s degree from Harvard Business School and his JD from Boston College Law School.

— from a Sept. 12 White House personnel announcement of an ambassadorial appointment for Thomas F. Stephenson, who made a $225,000 contribution to the president’s inauguration ceremony and who raised at least $300,000 for the president’s campaign, qualifying Mr. Stephenson as a 2004 Bush “Super Ranger.”

Hispanic Americans have helped establish America as a place of freedom and opportunity, and their contributions have illustrated what is best about our great Nation. Their hard work, love of country, and deep commitment to faith and family have shaped the character of our country and helped preserve the values we all cherish. By sharing their vibrant culture and heritage, Hispanic Americans have also enriched the American experience and helped define the unique fabric of our Nation.

— from a Sept. 12 White House announcement proclaiming Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 as National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Q But you’re not addressing his question, Tony, about the open-ended commitment.

MR. SNOW: Yes, I am, Bill. It’s a verbal game.

Q Why is it an open-ended commitment?

MR. SNOW: It is a verbal game.

Q I don’t think so.

MR. SNOW: Okay. Bill, can you tell — yes you do. You absolutely understand it’s a verbal game, simply because if I can’t give you an absolute date, you define it as an open-ended commitment.

Q We’re not looking for an absolute date —

MR. SNOW: Yes, you are.

Q You’ve said it’s not an open-ended commitment.

Q — he’s asking you if this is an open-ended commitment.

MR. SNOW: And I have just made the point to you —

Q Why isn’t it an open-ended commitment if we’re going to stay until the job is done?

MR. SNOW: Because the job will get done.

Q All right, two things.

Q Let’s hope.

Q Two things. What —

MR. SNOW: Wait. Will you concede that there has been an improvement on the ground as a result of the surge?

Q Sure.

MR. SNOW: Thank you.

Q But that’s not the point. (Laughter.)

MR. SNOW: It’s absolutely — see, that may not be the point to you, but it is to the people who are fighting.

Q In other words, there’s no answer.

MR. SNOW: No, the answer is, when you have success, build on it.

Q Bill, are you finished?

Q For now. (Laughter.)

Q Okay, thank you.

Q Bill, what — I mean, not Bill — (laughter.) Anyway, Tony, what —

MR. SNOW: All us white guys — (laughter.)

Q I did not say that, okay? (Laughter.) The first day and the last day. (Laughter.)

Anyway, Tony, what number draft is the President on for tomorrow night? And also —

MR. SNOW: What number draft? Oh, my goodness, we have gotten into process heaven. Go ahead.

Q Yes, what number is he on?

MR. SNOW: I don’t know. The last time I saw, it was in the 20s.

— a Sept. 12 exchange between reporters and presidential spokesman Tony Snow during his last White House press briefing.

Quotabull is a weekly feature of Scholars & Rogues appearing Thursdays.