*In a recent radio interview, former White House correspondent Helen Thomas could be heard crying after learning that President Obama condemned her remarks about Israel on the “Today” show, calling them “offensive and out of line.”
“I think he was very unfair, and I return the compliment on his remarks,” Thomas said. “Reprehensible.”
Thomas, 90, stepped down from her job as a columnist for Hearst News Service in June after a rabbi and independent filmmaker videotaped her outside the White House calling on Israelis to get “out of Palestine.” She gave up her front row seat in the White House press room, where she had aimed often pointed questions at 10 presidents, going back to Dwight D. Eisenhower. She has kept a low profile since then.
She says the comments were “exactly what I thought,” even though she realized soon afterward that it was the end of her job.
“I hit the third rail. You cannot criticize Israel in this country and survive,” Thomas told Ohio station WMRN-AM in a sometimes emotional 35-minute interview that aired Tuesday. It was recorded a week earlier by WMRN reporter Scott Spears at Thomas’ Washington, D.C., condominium.
Their discussion also touched on current politics, particularly on women. Thomas described Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as “a hawk.” “I thought women in politics would have more compassion, be more liberal,” Thomas said.
As for Sarah Palin, Thomas said she believed the former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate was ambitious enough to run for president. “That would be a tragedy, a national tragedy,” she said, describing Palin as “very conservative, reactionary, unbelievable.”
Asked about tea party-backed Republican Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell, Thomas responded with one word: “Frightening.”