Year in Review: The Best Quotes of 2013 | Reader's Digest

Year in Review: The Best Quotes of 2013

As 2013 winds down, we reflect on the words—funny and serious—that proved to be history in the making.


Also published in Reader's Digest Magazine December 2013
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    Chip Somodevilla/ Getty Images

    “I want to look out one more time. I’m not going to see this again.”

    —President Barack Obama, surveying the crowd at his second inauguration

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    “I was the Justin Bieber of the ’70s. Really. Ask your mother.”

    —Barry Manilow, to his audience on the opening night of his Broadway show

    Kena Betancur/ Getty Images

    “I’m basically the healthiest fat guy you’ve ever seen.”

    —New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, as he ate a doughnut on a late-night talk show

    Peter Dejong/AP Images

    "I'm a flawed character."

    —Lance Armstrong, admitting in a TV interview that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win seven Tour de France titles

    Pool /Getty Images

    “Not everyone is going to be able to be a combat soldier, but everyone is entitled to a chance.”

    —Former defense secretary Leon Panetta, about lifting the U.S. military ban on women in combat

    Jason Merritt/Getty Images

    “You guys are just standing up because you feel bad that I fell, and that’s really embarrassing, but thank you.”

    —Jennifer Lawrence, after she stumbled onstage to accept the Academy Award for Best Actress

    Win McNamee/ Getty Images

    "It's wonderful to see you in good health and combative as ever."

    —Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain to Hillary Clinton, in a hearing about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya a month after she had fainted from dehydration 

    Courtesy of Jean Becker

    "Please put the harps back in the closet."

    —Jean Becker, aide to former president George H. W. Bush, after the president was admitted to a Houston hospital for complications from bronchitis

    Alex Wong/ Getty Images

    “If you’re not getting a call from a terrorist organization, you’ve got nothing to worry about.”

    —South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, on the uproar over surveillance of American citizens by the National Security Agency

    Kent Horner/Getty Images

    “I never was asked, Did you see her in person?”

    —Manti Te’o, Notre Dame football star, to Katie Couric about Lennay Kekua, with whom he’d claimed to have an online relationship

    Jason Merritt/ Getty Images

    “I’ll tell you what, if there’s anyone out there that has never said something that they wish they could take back, if you’re out there, please pick up that stone and throw it so hard at my head that it kills me.”

    —Paula Deen, on the Today show, about using offensive language about race

    Taylor Hill /Getty Images

    “My arms are aching like you wouldn’t believe.”

    —Daredevil Nik Wallenda, upon completing his high-wire walk over the Grand Canyon

    Laura Cavanaugh/ Getty Images

    “I was Hannah Montana’s mother … Where did I go wrong?”

    —Brooke Shields, on Miley Cyrus

    Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

    "The administration does not support blowing up planets."

    —Paul Shawcross, chief of science and space in the White House Office of Management and Budget, rejecting a viral petition for the creation of a national-defense "Death Star"

    Chip Somodevilla/ Getty Images

    “You could call this about as close to a cure, if not a cure, that we’ve seen.”

    —Anthony Fauci, MD, of the National Institutes of Health, regarding the promising treatment of a baby born with HIV

    Keith Srakocic/ AP Images

    "It's stupidity. But you can't arrest somebody for being stupid."

    —Fred Abdalla, sheriff of Jefferson County, Ohio, explaining why he didn't arrest the teens who witnessed the Steubenville rape

    Win McNamee/ Getty Images

    “I would give $200 million for my dad to be back here and be alive. There’s no price on the hell you go through with this.”

    —Garrett Webster, son of Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster, on the $756 million NFL settlement to compensate former players with brain injuries

    Frederick M. Brown/ Getty Images

    “Here’s some Twinkies trivia for you: Twinkies are the only food that has a longer shelf life than the life of the average shelf.”

    —Jay Leno, on the snack returning to grocery shelves eight months after Hostess’s bankruptcy

    Chris Jackson/ Getty Images

    “He’s got way more than me. Thank God.”

    —Prince William, responding to a reporter’s question about the royal heir’s hair

    Mark Wilson/Getty Images

    “Twenty years from now, if there is some obscure Trivial Pursuit question, I am confident I will be the answer.”

    —Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, in remarks opposing the Affordable Care Act made during a 21-hour marathon speech

    Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

    “One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world.”

    —Pakistani student activist Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012

    Courtesy of University Communications, University of Wisconsin.

    “The era of the lawn in the West is over.”

    —Paul Robbins, director of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin, on dwindling water supplies in the Southwest

    Paul Marotta/ Getty Images

    “You must act. Be bold, be courageous. Americans are counting on you.”

    —Former Arizona Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, to lawmakers at a hearing on gun violence

    Karwai Tang/ Getty Images

    “I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity.”

    —Angelina Jolie, on her double mastectomy after learning she carried the breast cancer gene

    Britta Pedersen/ Corbis

    "Lean in."

    —Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, who suggests that more women should strive for professional success

    Courtesy of Massachusetts General Hospital

    “This amount of carnage in the civilian population, this is what we expect from war.”

    —Alasdair Conn, MD, chief of emergency services at Massachusetts General Hospital, after the Boston Marathon bombing

    Justin Sullivan/ Getty Images

    “What they did on Twister was pretty damn accurate.”

    —Truck driver David Bergquist, after a powerful tornado ripped through Moore, Oklahoma

    Oli Scarff/ Getty Images

    “I came to commemorate the greatest hero of our modern age. She took a nation on its knees and breathed new life into it.”

    —Anthony Boutall, who camped out overnight near St. Paul’s Cathedral to see the funeral procession for former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher

    David Levenson/ Getty Images

    “What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness.”

    —George Saunders, at a Syracuse University commencement

    Charles Krupa/ AP Images

    “The Pope buys a 1984 Renault … Now, there’s a man who believes in the power of prayer.”

    @CarTalk, on Pope Francis’s latest ride

    Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

    “It’s the most important battle of the 21st century, whether what we have in common is more important than their differences.”

    —Former president Bill Clinton, at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City

    Handout/ Getty Images

    “I don’t want to live in a world where everything that I say, everything I do, everyone I talk to, every expression of creativity or love or friendship, is recorded.”

    —Edward Snowden, on the U.S. government monitoring Internet usage

    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    “We’re devastated. We just lost 19 of the finest people you’ll ever meet.”

    —Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo, after a wildfire killed 19 firefighters outside Phoenix, Arizona

    Angelo Merendino /Getty Images

    “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, she became a butterfly.”

    —Michelle Knight, one of three captives held prisoner for ten years in Ohio, to the Cleveland Police Department after they rescued her

    Alex Wong/Getty Images

    “Instead of being tucked safely in their beds at home, we saw rows of children lying side by side, sprawled on a hospital floor, all of them dead from Assad’s gas, and surrounded by parents and grandparents who had suffered the same fate.”

    —Secretary of State John Kerry, in a speech condemning a chemical attack in Syria

    Chip Somodevilla/ Getty Images

    “We seek a future when a child can walk down the street and not worry that others see him as dangerous because of the color of his skin.”

    —Tracy Martin, after George Zimmerman was acquitted of murdering Martin’s son, Trayvon

    Chris Jackson/Getty Images

    “Nolle timere.”

    —Irish poet Seamus Heaney’s final words (“Don’t be afraid”), to his wife in a text message

    Mark Tade

    “I don’t know if it’s in the same league as landing on the moon, but it’s right up there—Star Trek stuff, for sure.”

    —Donald A. Gurnett, physics professor at the University of Iowa, on the spacecraft Voyager’s historic entry into interstellar space

    Bruce Glikas/ Getty Images

    “I always viewed myself as first and foremost American.”

    —Nina Davuluri, the first Indian-American to be crowned Miss America, after social media posts about her race

    Atta Kenare/ Getty Images

    “@BarackObama I express my gratitude for your #hospitality and your phone call. Have a good day Mr. President.”

    —Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Twitter, after a phone call that was the first direct communication between the leaders of their countries in 34 years

    Ernesto Mastrascusa/ Getty Images

    “I wanted [this swim] to be a lesson for my life that says, Be fully engaged. Be awake and alert and alive every minute of every waking day.”

    —Diana Nyad, on being the first person to swim from Havana, Cuba, to Key West, Florida, without a shark cage

    Andrew Harrer/ Getty Images

    “Some of us feel we are in a circular firing squad.”

    —West Virginia Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, about the government shutdown

    Joe Amon/ Getty Images

    “It does give you a perspective on humanity … They just came in, they helped, and they left.”

    —Boulder resident Kim Schuler, on receiving assistance from neighbors after epic flooding in Colorado

    Spencer Platt/ Getty Images

    “Hold the burgers, hold the fries, make our wages supersize!”

    —New York City fast-food workers, chanting their demand for an increase in the minimum wage

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    Your Comments

    • just saying

      add “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it, period.”

      • Jonathan Melusky

        “I’ll tell you what, if there’s anyone out there that has never said something that they wish they could take back, if you’re out there, please pick up that stone and throw it so hard at my head that it kills me.”

        —Paula Deen, on the Today show