Thomas in February 2009
|Born||Helen Amelia Thomas
August 4, 1920
Winchester, Kentucky, U.S.
|Died||July 20, 2013
Washington, D.C., U.S.
|Alma mater||Wayne University (B.A., 1942)|
|Occupation||Author, journalist, columnist|
|Known for||Pioneering female reporter;
first female member of
the White House press corps
|Home town||Detroit, Michigan, U.S.|
|Spouse(s)||Douglas B. Cornell
(1971â€“1982; his death)
George Thomas (nÃ© Antonious)
The presidency awed me, but presidents do not. Perhaps I have always expected too much of them, but I believe that when they reach the highest office in the land, they should live up to the greatest honor that can come to a person in American political life. Some have stood the test better than others.
If we care about the children, the grandchildren, the future generations, we need to make sure that they do not become the cannon fodder of the future.
Presidential power was overruled by the high bench in July 1974, when President Nixon was ordered to turn over some audio tapes of his White House conversations, including the 'smoking gun' tape of June 23, 1972, that revealing the Watergate cover up.
Every president thinks that all information that comes to the White House is their private preserve after they all promise an open administration on the campaign trail, but some are more secretive than others. Some want to lock down everything.
The White House used to belong to the American people. At least that's what I learned from history books and from covering every president starting with John F. Kennedy.
I got into the Kennedy White House because at the time I was president of the Women's National Press Club, and they assigned me to cover the early days of the Kennedy campaign. Jackie especially. Everyone was interested in the family.
I covered Kennedy when she was three years old and the darling daughter of President Kennedy who doted on her and whose mother did everything to protect her from the prying press.
We got the vote, which we should've been born with, in 1920. Everything we've had to struggle for – it's ridiculous.
The United States has tried for years to live down President Franklin D. Roosevelt's order during World War II to move Japanese-Americans on the West Coast to inland detention camps on grounds that they might be disloyal.
In Plains, I saw Jimmy Carter as he really is – a nice, decent man… in terms of compassionate contribution to society, he certainly has proven to be our best past president.
I'm a liberal, I was born a liberal, and I will be a liberal 'til the day I die.
When you speak of the press, of course, you have to speak of different segments of the press. Reporters, straight reporters, wire services, you stick to the facts; you don't create the story, per se. You cover what is happening.
Many voters think about the makeup of the Supreme Court when they are choosing a president. The justices deal not only with constitutional issues but also with social issues that were unknown to the founding fathers who wrote the Constitution more than 200 years ago.
I censored myself for 50 years when I was a reporter. Now I wake up and ask myself, 'Who do I hate today?'
People will never know how hard it is to get information, especially if it's locked up behind official doors where, if politicians had their way, they'd stamp 'top secret' on the color of the walls.
Vice President Dick Cheney reportedly has been disturbed over what he sees as the erosion of presidential powers since the Watergate scandal and has urged Bush to take a stronger stand against what Cheney sees as congressional intrusions into the executive branch.
The day Dick Cheney is going to run for president, I'll kill myself. All we need is one more liar.
As a reporter having covered him for eight years in the White House, I am sure the press could have done a better job if we had known the real Ronald Reagan.
I can remember the morning after President Nixon won re-election in 1972. His chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman, called a Cabinet meeting and told the members: 'You are all a bunch of burned-out volcanoes;' and asked for their resignations.
Maybe the Jefferson case will give members of Congress second thoughts the next time they get ready to legislate away the rights of ordinary Americans.
Great presidents take stands, and they fight off these people who really are so far to the right. I don't want to call them names, even though they would call me names.
I covered two presidents, LBJ and Nixon, who could no longer convince, persuade, or govern, once people had decided they had no credibility, but we seem to be more tolerant now of what I think we should not tolerate.
We have organized lobbyists in favor of Israel. You can't open your mouth. I can call the president of the United States anything in the book, but if you say one thing about Israel, and you're off limits.
I was in Independence, Missouri when Johnson signed the Medicare bill, with Truman standing there. Truman had first proposed Medicare, but couldn't get it through.
To my mind, a president should care about all people, and he didn't, which is why I will always feel Reagan lacked soul.
I had a lot of fun bantering back and forth with Kennedy. But for ease and comfort, it would be Gerald Ford. He was a down-home type. I came from the Midwest and he came from the Midwest. He was nonaggressive and kindly.
This is the worst President ever. He George W. Bush is the worst President in all of American history.
I think that presidents deserve to be questioned. Maybe irreverently, most of the time. Bring 'em down a size. You see a president, ask a question. You have one chance in the barrel. Don't blow it.
I have a background and an understanding of what's happened in the Middle East that a lot of people don't have, because there's been no interest.
Congress, the White House, and Hollywood, Wall Street, are owned by the Zionists.
All of us who covered the Reagans agreed that President Reagan was personable and charming, but I'm not so certain he was nice. It's hard for me to think of anyone as 'nice' when I hear him say 'The homeless are homeless because they want to be homeless.'
We began to see the renovation of our offices as a subtle part of the Nixon war against the press.
We don't go into journalism to be popular. It is our job to seek the truth and put constant pressure on our leaders until we get answers.
I think I'll work all my life. When you're having fun, why stop having fun?
I love my work, and I think that I was so lucky to pick a profession where it's a joy to go to work every day.
I wrote that President Bush is passing on to President-elect Obama two wars and an economic debacle. I call it a depression. And he is arming Israel against the Palestinians in every way in Gaza.
Truman fired the popular Gen. Douglas MacArthur because he disobeyed orders in the Korean War. Johnson knew that he had reached the endgame in Vietnam when Gen. William Westmoreland, the top commander in Vietnam, requested 240,000 more troops in 1968 for the prolonged war that also could not be won.
I hit the third rail. You cannot criticize Israel in this country and survive.
We in the press have a special role since there is no other institution in our society that can hold the President accountable. I do believe that our democracy can endure and prevail only if the American people are informed.
I've never covered the president in any way other than that he is ultimately responsible.
President Bush has asserted the right to wiretap and eavesdrop on any American without a warrant in the name of fighting terrorism. He has asserted presidential power beyond stated constitutional rights, and there is no Republican gutsy enough to call his hand.
I respect the office of the presidency, but I never worship at the shrines of our public servants… The Washington press corps has the privilege of asking the president of the United States what he is doing and why.
It's time for women to make their voices heard. Their silence on the subject of war and peace is deafening.
We are the only institution in our society that can question a president on a regular basis and make him accountable. Otherwise, he could be king.
I think Obama is handling his image very well, but I think he lacks boldness.
The sudden ending of a White House career all seems so unceremonious for aides who have personally sacrificed a lot – and sometimes even bent their conscience – to do the president's bidding.
It's like I say to young people who ask me about going into journalism: If you want to be loved, don't go into this business.
Everyone with a cell phone thinks they're a photographer. Everyone with a laptop thinks they're a journalist. But they have no training, and they have no idea of what we keep to in terms of standards, as in what's far out and what's reality. And they have no dedication to truth.
There are better ways we can transform this virulent hatred – by living our ideals, the Peace Corps, exchange students, teachers, exporting our music, poetry, blue jeans.
Clinton is the first female to be taken seriously for the highest office in the land. She has the credentials, the stamina and she is a good campaigner. Her detractors in both parties like to say she can't win, but they may be proven wrong.