Helen Thomas claims to have reapplied for White House press credentials

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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She might be gone, but she’s not completely forgotten. And now, as a columnist for the Falls Church (Va.) News-Press, she might be making a comeback.

In an appearance at the Busboys & Poets bookstore in Washington, D.C., on Sunday afternoon, embattled former Hearst newspapers columnist Helen Thomas, once known as the dean of the White House press corps, said she misses her spot in the White House briefing room.

“Nothing can replace being there when you’re a reporter,” Thomas said. “Seeing with your own eyes — no, nothing can replace that. I was very lucky to cover history for so long.”

Thomas lost her spot in 2010 after making some ill-advised remarks some regarded as anti-Semitic. Anas “Andy” Shallal, the owner of Busboys & Poets and moderator for her appearance Sunday, followed up by asking her if she had reapplied for those credentials. According to Thomas, she said she had but hadn’t gotten an official response and assumed she had been denied.

“In a back way,” Thomas said. “I’ve been denied — I think so, I never heard.”

Thomas said she was glad to have her job as a columnist for the Falls Church News-Press even though she is concerned she might be detracting from the primary mission of the paper by “creating a lot of antagonists.”

Later in her appearance, Thomas was asked for her insight on the state of the country going forward. The columnist said she was troubled, not just about the domestic state of the nation, but by the state of the entire globe — more so than at any other time in her life.

“I think our country — world, not just the country — has never been in worse shape,” she said. “I went through the Great Depression, World War II, Vietnam, Korea, Vietnam and now Iraq and Afghanistan. What the hell is going on? Don’t we ever learn anything … There is no inspiration from the top. President Obama doesn’t have enough courage to do the right thing. And I think there is no real leadership in this country and there is no inspiration.”