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Key to success: Vision Key to success: Passion Key to success: Perseverance Key to success: Preparation Key to success: Courage Key to success: Integrity Key to success: The American Dream Keys to success homepage More quotes on Passion More quotes on Vision More quotes on Courage More quotes on Integrity More quotes on Preparation More quotes on Perseverance More quotes on The American Dream


George Mitchell

Presidential Medal of Freedom

A vacancy occurred on the Supreme Court, and President Clinton told me that he wanted to nominate me to that vacancy. It was very flattering, and under almost any other circumstance, I would have immediately said yes and been thrilled about it. But I told him that I thought we had a real chance to pass health care reform. I'd been working closely with Senator John Chafee of Rhode Island, a Republican, a close personal friend of mine, a really wonderful man and a great senator, and we thought we might be able to develop a bipartisan package. As it turns out, we were wrong -- we couldn't. And my estimate of the situation proved incorrect, and we couldn't pass legislation. But at that time, in the spring of '94, it looked possible. So I told President Clinton, "I'm flattered, and I think I could do a good job. But you can get plenty of people to serve well on the Supreme Court. What's really important is if we can pass this health care reform. It'll be great for the country."
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George Mitchell

Presidential Medal of Freedom

As I told Colonel North in the hearings, people admired his patriotism, his courage, and his loyalty, but he cast the argument in religious and patriotic terms, that if you believe in America, then you must give aid to the Contras, and if you don't, then it's somehow unpatriotic. And what I said to him was that in America people are free to criticize the policies of the government, and that's not evidence of lack of patriotism. In terms of religion, I said that, "Although he's regularly asked to do so, God doesn't take sides in American politics," and that it is possible for one to love America and to love freedom and to honor God, as much as did Colonel North, and still disagree on the policy of aid to the Contras. It is not a case of religion and patriotism on one side and lack of religion and patriotism on the other.
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Mario Molina

Nobel Prize in Chemistry

It's easy to exaggerate problems as well, so we have to be very cautious. We have to always preserve our integrity as scientists. Even though we were advocates in terms of trying to get society to do something about it, we had to continue with honesty, in terms of how to express these fears, for example, to the news media. It's easy to try to exaggerate the problems just to get more attention. So for me, it was very clear that the best way to deal with that was to do the best science that I was capable of doing. Furthermore, to try to distinguish clearly when I was talking as a scientist, in contrast to talking just as a person with value judgments, in terms of thinking that society should do something about it, but that's not necessarily the scientific issue. That's more a conviction issue.
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Scott Momaday

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

Scott Momaday: I think it takes a lot of resolve. You have to believe in what you're doing, and you have to do it to the best of your ability. That calls for reaching down inside yourself and coming up with resolve, determination. That may be the most important thing, as I think of it. Writing is a way of expressing your spirit. So there's much more to it than the question of material success. You are out to save your soul after all, and be the best thing that you can be in your whole being. In the Plains culture, which is my ancestral culture, and a warrior culture, there were four principles. A warrior had to live by these principles: bravery, fortitude, generosity and virtue. When I learned about those principles, they have been extremely important to me, you know. I would like to live my life according to those four things. I would like to do it in my writing, as well as in my other activities. That's what I believe. I would and do tell students, writing is the expression of your spirit, but you must live by certain ideals, and they must inform not only your writing, but the way in which you have breakfast with your mate, as well.
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Scott Momaday

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

I like for my work to be recognized and appreciated. But in a greater sense, I think it's taken too seriously by many people. It begins to be an end in itself, and that's wrong. If you can do your own work and satisfy your own demands, then the acclaim -- you know -- if it's there, it's great, if it's not, it doesn't matter that much. As long as you can be true to yourself, and save your own soul, that's what really matters.
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