NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — President Barack Obama’s acknowledgement that his promise that Americans could keep their health insurance plan turned out to be inaccurate topped this year’s list of best quotes, according to a Yale University librarian.
Other notable quotations on Fred Shapiro’s eighth-annual list included Pope Francis’ urging that the Catholic Church reduce emphasizing hot-button issues like abortion, a Republican governor insisting on changes in his party and a Pakistani teenager who was shot by the Taliban calling for a campaign against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism.
“I think there is a theme of change,” said Shapiro, associate librarian at Yale Law School. “We have the health care law running into problems. We have the pope who is ruffling some feathers. We have an education activist standing up for the rights of women to have an education. You have Republican Party officials advocating change within that party.”
As Obama’s new health care law was rolled out with a faulty website, millions of Americans received cancellation letters from insurance companies. With his credibility on the line and his approval rating in polls ebbing, Obama announced a shift in policy to fulfill his promise that people could keep their health insurance plans, saying insurers should be allowed to continue selling plans that would be deemed substandard under the health care overhaul to existing customers.
The pope drew attention this year after imploring the church to avoid an obsession with “small-minded rules” and to emphasize compassion over condemnation in dealing with touchy topics like abortion, gays and contraception. The pope also restated the church’s opposition to abortion.
In an off-election year, there were fewer quotes from politicians and a more diverse collection ranging from religion to baseball. Still, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford became the first Canadian to make the list with his admission in November that he smoked crack cocaine.
One top quote came from 2012, shortly after the shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, when Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association said, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” The list is compiled by mid-December, and later quotes are carried into the following year.
The original “Yale Book of Quotations” was published in 2006 by Yale University Press, and Shapiro has updated it with an annual list of the top 10 quotes. Shapiro picks quotes that are famous, important or revealing of the spirit of the times, not necessarily ones that are the most eloquent or admirable.