Editor's Note: The following story appeared on the CNN Political Ticker on August 4, 2009.
Obama and Thomas both celebrated birthdays Tuesday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama celebrated his 48th birthday Tuesday by... meeting with the Senate Democratic Caucus. But he also marked the occasion by accepting a happy birthday call from Russian President Dmitri Medvedev. And he stopped by the briefing room to greet veteran White House scribe Helen Thomas, also celebrating a birthday today (her 89th.) Thomas began reporting from the White House in 1960 - the year before Obama was born.
(CNN) - The Associated Press has won the political version of musical chairs, beating out Fox News, Bloomberg and National Public Radio to win the coveted front row, center seat of the White House briefing room left vacant by Helen Thomas' retirement in June, the White House Correspondents Association announced Sunday.
The change will take effect Monday, the association said.
Fox effectively came in second in the battle - the subject of weeks of speculation on such Inside the Beltway blogs as Politico. The network will move from its current second-row position into AP's former front row seat, while NPR will now move into the second row next to Bloomberg vacated by Fox.
(CNN)– While many of Helen Thomas' colleagues condemned the longtime White House reporter over her controversial comments on Israel, Thomas herself took aim at her fellow journalists in a just-published interview.
In the interview with Vice Magazine conducted in March but published Thursday, Thomas says White House reporters failed in their duty to question the Bush administration's assertions in the lead up to the Iraq War.
"I think that journalists became afraid to be called unpatriotic if they didn't support a war, even one that was obviously not true," Thomas said in the interview. "No one asked for proof of weapons of mass destruction. It was very, very clear that President Bush wanted to go to war at any cost….We went to war on lies."
The magazine said it decided to publish the comments in the wake of Thomas' resignation after she said Israel should "get the hell out of Palestine," and that the Jewish people should go home to "Poland, Germany … and America and everywhere else." The White House Correspondent's Association condemned the statements, though did not directly call for her resignation.
Thomas, a longtime critic of both the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, also told Vice her colleagues bear some of the blame for the ongoing conflicts.
"Everyone rolled over and played dead at a time when they should have been really penetrating. They were there for Watergate. But in this case they bought all the propaganda. Or, whether they bought it or not, they took it and spouted it," she said.
Veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas, 89, (pictured, center) was considered the dean of the White House press corps and held a privileged seat in the front row of the White House press briefing room. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)
Washington (CNN) – Longtime White House reporter Helen Thomas has retired effective immediately, Hearst Corporation said Monday.
The media conglomerate had employed Thomas, age 89, as a syndicated columnist for its newspaper chain.
Thomas, who was considered the dean of the White House press corps, had come under fire since late last week when a YouTube video surfaced showing her saying that Israel should “get the hell out of Palestine,” and that the Jewish people should go home to “Poland, Germany … and America and everywhere else.”
In a posting on her website last Friday, Thomas apologized for her remarks. “They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon,” she wrote.
But the apology was not enough to silence critics who began a rising chorus of calls for Thomas either to be terminated or suspended by Hearst.
Related video: Ari Fleischer slams Thomas
Thomas was also dropped by her agent Nine Speakers, Inc. Sunday, CNN has learned, and Craig Crawford, who coauthored “Listen Up, Mr. President” with Thomas, said in a blog post that he “will no longer be working with Helen on our book projects.”
Thomas has apologized for her comments that she made to Rabbilive.com about Israel.
Specifically, she was asked, “Any comments on Israel?”
“Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine,” she responded.
The interviewer then asked “Any better comments on Israel?” To which Thomas said, “Remember, these people are occupied and it’s their land. It’s not German’s. It’s not Poland’s.”
Thomas was then asked where the Jews in Israel should go and what they should do? Thomas responded, “They should go home” which the White House reporter identified as “Poland, Germany . . . and America and everywhere else.”
Thomas is considered the “dean” of the White House press corps after decades covering the presidency. The syndicated columnist for Hearst Corporation’s newspapers holds a privileged seat in the front row of the White House press briefing room where she regularly fires sharp questions on the major issues of the day at White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
In the apology posted on her website Friday, Thomas said she “deeply” regretted her comments. “They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon.”
But her apology was not enough for Davis, who served as special counsel to former President Bill Clinton.