Helen Thomas, truth-teller 

The veteran: We Are Not Amused.

Liberals who presume that legendary journalist Helen Thomas is reflexively with them miss the point entirely. They ply her with flowers and gather around her and thank her for years of battering Ari, Scott, Tony, Dana and all those sinister prevaricators who went before them.

But Helen is nobody's dupe. Having been on the business end of more than one of her vitriolic dress-downs ("You think everything is a big joke!" she loves to bark at Beltway Confidential) we are here to testify.

So imagine the shock in San Francisco the other night when Thomas hauled off and told an audience that President Obama "lacks courage." To Phil Bronstein, no less! Oh, the humanity. Recounts Bronstein:

There was a gasp in the crowd when the veteran reporter, who's covered and stuck her thumb in the eye of 10 presidents from her front row White House briefing room seat, made that comment yesterday at a San Francisco Commonwealth Club Q&A.

I was the interviewer and it rocked me a little, even though I'd read that Ms. Thomas' close friend, Abigail Van Buren ("Dear Abby") had once said, "No one is to the left of Helen Thomas."

In the same conversation, Thomas called Nancy Reagan a "heroine," expressed "tender sympathy" for LBJ, and said she had great respect for Gerald Ford. She's shilling a book these days, "Listen Up, Mr. President." Thomas, a longtime reporter for UPI, is now a columnist for Hearst Newspapers. Bronstein, again:

So while he's dodging Glenn Beck broadsides and rope-a-doping formerly infatuated Democratic critics, Barack Obama needs to keep a much closer eye on the 89-year-old woman front row at his press conferences than he does on the genuflecting artist who built a giant Nobel Peace Prize sand sculpture of the President in India.




Say it with sand: Puri, India pays tribute.          (ap)
 

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Julie Mason

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