Helen Thomas doubts Obama’s liberalism: ‘Because he was black, I thought he would automatically be’ liberal

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
Font Size:

Since embattled journalist Helen Thomas has fallen from grace, only to wind up at the Falls Church News-Press (Va.) as a columnist, she isn’t backing away from making provocative and seemingly outlandish statements.

On HLN’s Wednesday night broadcast of “The Joy Behar Show,” Thomas discussed her infamous remarks about Jews in Israel that were perceived anti-Semitic, suggesting Israelis should “get the hell out of Palestine” and “go home” to Germany and Poland. But she also commented on what she thought of the nation’s commander-in-chief, President Barack Obama.

When host Joy Behar asked Thomas if she had any regrets about the comments, Thomas denied having any and maintained her remarks were justified because the persecution had ended with the end of World War II and should not have gone to modern-day Israel.

“Why do they have to go anywhere?” Thomas said. “They aren’t being persecuted. They don’t have the right to take other people’s land, under international law. Occupied land should not be annexed.”

That publicly voiced sentiment later lost Thomas her position at Hearst newspapers as a columnist, which she blamed an “organized lobby in favor of Israel” for.

“We have organized lobbyists in favor of Israel,” Thomas said. “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.”


Thomas wasn’t remorseful about losing the Society of Professional Journalists award named after her and declined to declare former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld “war criminals” when prodded by Behar. However, she did have a curious take on Obama.

Partial transcript as follows (Video- 5:19 in):

BEHAR: Things have changed. And President Obama, do you like him? Do you think he is doing a good job? We started out the conversation before about it a little bit.

THOMAS: I think he lacks courage

BEHAR: He lacks courage?

THOMAS: And he is not a liberal. I had hoped he was. I suppose I thought he was, because he was black, I thought he would automatically be

BEHAR: Well, that was your mistake.

THOMAS: That was my mistake. I thought he would be a liberal.

BEHAR: Can’t judge a person by the color.

THOMAS: Absolutely. You are so right. But I really thought that he would have an empathy for all the blacks, what they had gone through in life.

BEHAR: Well, I think he does have empathy, but he is up against a Republican machine, and he has to get reelected. You know, I mean, he’s in a tough spot. Doesn’t he have to get re-elected? He needs the middle, doesn’t he?

THOMAS: You take a stand on something in your life. You should have principles and stick to them.