Helen Wants Her Money Back

Helen Thomas came back to work yesterday. In this video documenting her return, she revealed she voted for Barack Obama because she bought his change message.

Who’d I vote for? Obama. … Because I really thought that he was a great gift to democracy, that it would show that the American people were fair and balanced and honorable and not, understood, didn’t make any judgment in terms of race, color, creed, and so forth.

But it sounds like she wants her money back, now that she sees all the Clinton retreads he has hired since he got elected.

I’m still as mean as ever. I’m already going after Barack for saying that, in fact, I think that he’s going after all the old Clinton faces. Why? Doesn’t he know anybody?


I think he’s trying to get a lot of good people around him. At the same time I don’t understand falling back on all the old faces. I mean, it seems to me if you want a new fresh start, you ought to have a fresh start.

Thus far, Obama has named two people to his White House staff–Rahm Emanuel and Robert Gibbs, and Biden has just named his Chief of Staff, Ron Klain). While Klain was Gore’s Chief of Staff, Rahm is the big Clinton insider here. You think maybe Helen’s not a fan of Rahm?

Dang. She’s even more of a blogger than we knew.

64 replies
    • Gitcheegumee says:

      I can guarantee you they wont come from Neimans and be paid for with GOP $$$ via robo -call folks FLS-DCI’s Jeff Larsen.

  1. perris says:

    I’m still as mean as ever. I’m already going after Barack for saying that, in fact, I think that he’s going after all the old Clinton faces. Why? Doesn’t he know anybody?

    I’m mean at him already too!

    1) fisa

    2) the billion dollar giveaway to the very people who stole our money in the first place

    3) liberman

    more to come I am sure

    • perris says:

      ya, clinton made some huge mistakes, one of the reasons obama is hitting the trail running is because he is hiring some peeps that already know what needs to be done

      I am certain there will be changes made once the administration has sound footing

  2. WilliamOckham says:

    I don’t quite understand what everybody is so upset about. I don’t really like Rahm Emanuel’s politics, but the idea that he represents some sort of Clinton Restoration is silly. How could Obama avoid picking a guy from his hometown who has more relevant experience than just about anybody in the Democratic party? CoS is not a policymaking job; it’s a GSD (Get Stuff Done) job. Whatever you think about Emanuel, he works hard and knows both the WH and Capitol Hill work.

    I’d be really worried if Larry Summers gets Treasury, but that hasn’t happened yet. Everybody’s getting their knickers in a twist about bogus leaks. A lot of folks (Rachel Maddow I’m looking at you) are probably too young to have seen many presidential transitions and therefore needed to be talked down from their hysteria, but Helen Thomas really ought to know better.

    • emptywheel says:

      You know, I really agree with you–that Helen said it is one of the reasons I posted this.

      I really think that Obama is first and foremost about getting stuff done (here’s Ambinder making that same point). He has appointed someone who can GSD in the House–and in DC generally–to be his COS. And he has picked someone who can GSD in the Senate to be VP. Both suggestions he’s planning on getting his way the old-fashioned way, by cajoling and persuading people, but that he fully intends to get his way.

      Summers would concern me. Gates doesn’t concern me at all–I actually think it’s a good pick. I’d hate if Maddy Albright got a job in the Administration, but sending her and Leach to the G20 is also a good pick. Holder would concern me–plus bmaz has me hoping for a Napolitano AG.

      But in general, Obama looks to be pursuing an Admnistration that, like his campaign, will make Will Rogers cry. And I can’t complain about that.

    • Neil says:

      I’m with you WO. Rahm’s a good choice for CoS.

      Why are people averse to Summers, beyond the “Is he sexist? question”. Is it his decision making style arrogance, politics?

      • brendanx says:

        Summers, like Greenspan and Rubin, was hostile to any kind of regulation of financial markets. Another issue he clashed with faculty at Harvard over were efforts to divest from Israel. Perhaps unfairly I’m assuming he supported the invasion of Iraq. Scratch that, not unfairly — neoconservatives took up the cause of his dismissal, so you can be sure it wasn’t merely about defending his right to be a chauvinist.

    • LabDancer says:

      It’s like the bulk of the left blogosphere has entered this gigantic Concern Troll phase, determined that with the election over it’s time to stop treating the establishment media herd with the distain it merits and actually believe they know what their talking and writing about in counselling junior on how to drive the family auto: “steer a little right – NO NO NO too much right – now a little left – WHOA not THAT far left – correct – CORRECT DAMMIT” – and meanwhile, junior’s still back in his room reading the driver’s manual.

      At the rate things are going, President Obama is going to turn first to Helen at the initial press conference of his administration on the Thursday morning after the inauguration, and she’s going to say: “Okay, I want to know how you can justify your keeping 150,000 troops and that many mercenaries and war profiteers in Iraq and your continuing to blow up all those brides and babies in Afghanistan. Did the Bushes get to you too?”

      And that will be a month after FoxNews determines the Obama administration has merited straight “Fs” starting with “its” conduct of the bailout and extending into “its” foreign policy: a flabby, cowardly, aimless, chicken without a head.

      And a month before the first call for impeachment.

      • Leen says:

        Helen might also ask Obama why he missed the opportunity to vote against the Kyl Lieberman amendment in the fall of 2007? Why Obama missed an opportunity that would have confirmed his anti unnecessary war stance by joining 22 other Senators (Biden, Dodd, Kerry, Kennedy, Hagel) and vote AGAINST more aggressive and unnecessary warmongering towards Iran in that legislation?

        Easy to say you are against a war when you do not have to vote.

    • Leen says:

      If Rahm Emmanuel is Obama’s eyes and ears all day and filters who does and does not have access to Obama this appointment is worrisome.

      Rahm supported and voted for the 2002 war resolution.

      Rahm repeats unsubstantiated claims about Iran.

      Rahm voted for H.R. 1400 which is full of unsubstantiated claims about Iran.

      Rahm in no way represents change or transformation. I recently heard Josh Bolton on C-Span just what the Chief of Staff does. Rahm as the gatekeeper to Obama. Not Good

      • LabDancer says:

        Actually, I don ‘t buy any of that. Bolten was “describing” his role for a president who doesn’t read, think, allow challenge, invite criticism, engage contrary points of view, handle confrontation at all well, or make decisions without his knees jerking one or the other or both feet into his mouth.

        We should be more reasonable and adult. Let’s give the kid a week more to solve the economic problem, til Xmas to getout of Iraq and to mid January to solve global warming. If he’s not done by then, it’s time to unleash the Dogs of the Blogosphere.

      • brendanx says:

        I feel the same way. My rule of thumb in judging people’s motives for the past seven years has been whether their actions advance the cause of the war or not, and I think it’s served me well.

      • WilliamOckham says:

        ‘Eyes and ears’ is the wrong metaphor. ‘Arms and legs’ would be better. The mythology of Chief of Staff as filter serves to build up the CoS ego and let policy battle losers off the hook for their failures, but it’s totally bogus. I hate to break it to you folks, but the CoS doesn’t set MidEast policy. If Obama screws it up, it’ll be his own fault.

        • brendanx says:

          I hate to break it to you folks…

          This reassurance is not at all a disappointment. Thanks.

          Now I wish someone could be be similarly reassuring about Lieberman remaining chair of Homeland Security, or about the fact that Feingold will be certainly barred from chairing Foreign Relations because he immoderately opposed the war. Until they do I will, wild-eyed, continue to detect a pattern.

          A propos of that, here is a sardonically amusing quote from an incoming Democratic Senator:

          Jeff Merkley of Oregon has expressed disappointment with Lieberman’s campaign conduct, describing it as a “knife through my heart.” But his office, too, said he wasn’t taking a position on his soon-to-be colleague.

          I conclude from this that you get your way with them by sticking a knife in their hearts.

          • Leen says:

            So they will take out their bad decision to vote for the 2002 war resolution on Feingold? Would love to see Feingold get that spot

        • LabDancer says:

          Agreed – and RE is not even going to be organizing the day for BHO or acting as his filter from the public and the press. If anyone gets those roles it will be Valerie Jarrett. RE is going to be the WHO responsible for making sure the Obama White House interfaces effectively with Congress and the Administration. Eight years of Mr Beanball has conditioned us to view every appointment through the prism of this Most Isolated and Dysfunctional White House ever.

          That said, if Obama keeps Hadley on board then I must have taken a wrong turn in getting on Planet Obama. Indeed, if Hadley isn’t thrown into a huge ongoing subpoena-empowered commission, that’s not close to the type of change I could live with. I’m a hell of a lot less disturbed with the prospect of Gates staying aboard for up to a year to help familiarize the new masters with the workings of the nation’s big muscle, because Gates is a terrific wholly-owned sub type CEO [though apparently would be more or less as effective working under Mussolini as Ghandi]. But the butler Hadley has been Jeeves to Bush’s Bertie Wooster for years, and I see that as a distinct role with entirely different implications.

          • brendanx says:

            I’m a hell of a lot less disturbed with the prospect of Gates staying aboard for up to a year to help familiarize the new masters with the workings of the nation’s big muscle, because Gates is a terrific wholly-owned sub type CEO [though apparently would be more or less as effective working under Mussolini as Ghandi].

            This is underselling Gates. My understanding was that he was the firewall against an attack on Iran.

            • foothillsmike says:

              I agree that he has opposed some of the GWB idiosy however as a strong proponent of the drone strategy in Afghanistan he is serving to increase tensions there.

        • Leen says:

          I used Josh Bolton’s line “eyes and ears”. I understand that the Chief of Staff does not determine policy. But influence? Filter? spin?

    • jdmckay says:

      re: Rahm… I don’t like his politics either, and I didn’t/don’t like his DCC power grab as a matter of philosphy nor his methods. And… he was wrong.

      However, AFAIC it’s not just Rahm, it’s totality of what’s trickled out of his office since Tuesday. None of what I’ve seen on his Treasury radar reflects anything outside Wall Street, yet the wide swath of academics who’ve been predicting economic situation that seems to be cascading daily are entirely absent.

      His (and congress’) proposals for new bailouts, fast (and very expensive) HC proposals, GM/Detroit $$ infusion… that’s all well and fine. But entire systemic economy… from production, finance, and focus is unravelling at breakneck speed and this shouldn’t really be a surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention.

      Look over headlines from yesterday’s Calculated Risk:

      (Goldman Sach chairman)Whitehead: “Worse than the Depression”

      (JPMorgan’s CEO)Dimon: Recession may be worse than Credit Crisis

      Drilling deeper, clear path to this precipice has been evident for a while. Stats like latest Credit Market Debt as % of GDP are all over the place, and have been since Paulson tapped Barney on the shoulder not so long ago. Etc. etc. etc.

      Paulson’s plans have failed, utterly. Personally, I thought his statements yesterday were pathetic… self-congratulatory success that really doesn’t exist. Beyond that, his fix involves moving piles of $$ hither and thro, though a corrupt system proven incapable of self correction much less focusing capitol where it’s really needed.

      To date, Paulson’s solutions amount to measuring an economy by trying to recalibrate the measuring device w/out any attention to the system his metrics are measuring.

      This isn’t a downturn, it’s systemic failure. A fix is not going to happen by pumping air into plumbing that’s springing leaks w/each infusion. BO’s said he wants to dump $$ into GM, spend who knows how much on his other relief programs. Ok fine.

      In short, economic fixes to date are all focused and planned w/in small context of everything that constitutes economy. More than anything, it seems to me, the notion that money is a mere symbol agreed upon as measurement of underlying value (human/material/production etc.) seems forgotten. They’re all acting as though money is the Alpha & Omega of value.

      But we’re broke. Really broke, and near going toes up. All that good stuff he wants to spend money on, it’s $$ that doesn’t exist and it’s wealth we don’t have. And given current economic structure, it’s wealth we have no reasonable expectation of generating w/out junking once and for all a whole lot of broken parts, and building replacements that work.

      I see no indication from BO this is on the horizon. Signals he’s sent suggest initiatives to plug into broken parts.

      Current economic situation, I am certain, comes as no surprise to him. I’ve read all over the place he & econ advisors saw this coming at least as early as February. Certainly, at least I “hope”, they’ve had substantive discussions on how to address it. Excellent article touching on all this on Institutional Risk Analysis

      I like BO a lot… not my first choice, but he won me over. I worked the streets for him in NM. But given dire conditions, I don’t cede to his wisdom given too many signals demanding I question it. Aside from vapid ideology, it’s that empty support for W’s crew for 8 yrs that propagated so much of current mess.

      Until now, this entire process has been shown to US public at large in the rear view mirror. Like deer in the headlights waiting for the inevitable to materialize.

      I think he needs to get out and lay out substantiative plans, and do it fast. His post election window of adoration (which I shared in) is going to shut fast given current conditions.

      EW @ 11:

      Fine, but getting what done? Bush got a lot of things done. Lots of people in Lehman, Bear Stearns etc. getting things done these recent years.

      That’s just not good enough for me… not even close. I have very high expectations for BO, and similar regard for his smarts, moral compass and all the rest. But he’s worrying me. I’m starting to question.

      I read Ambinder’s article… sounds entirely w/out expectation and apologetic to me. It’s all about BO’s political arm’s structure w/no mention of purpose, goals, or vision whatsoever. He explains and justifies past beltway associations working their way into BO’s inner circle.

      Ok, fine. So where’s the change? What in Ambinder’s article suggests anything tieing BO’s campaign image to real world results they hope to manifest?

      It’s going to be hard enough turning things around even if he hits all the right notes and executes flawlessly. So far there’s no notes, only echoes, and AFAIC they’re way off key.

      • emptywheel says:

        I can’t promise you what his policies will be–we really do need to wait, firstly for the policy-making staffers, and then for the actual policy.

        All I’m saying is that Obama is putting the structure into place which may well allow him to get his policy passed, unlikely Clinton, unlike Carter. That’s not enough, but policy correctness will never be enough.

      • LabDancer says:

        Oh well then why wait for the techicality of an inauguration to declare the Obama administration a resounding failure and a cruel betrayal of trust?

        • jdmckay says:

          Oh well then why wait for the techicality of an inauguration to declare the Obama administration a resounding failure and a cruel betrayal of trust?

          I am not saying what you imply, I hope you take me at my word. I’m feedback similar to yours in the few forums (web/NM DNC) where I have conduits to sound alarms, which I have done in recent days.

          It worries me that a well earned post election euphoria, especially after exhausting last 8 yrs, is enough for a lot of engaged BO supporters. Seems to me experience instructs otherwise: dems have different ways of fucking things up than Repubs, but certainly capable of doing so.

          What I described above… rapidly cascading economic failure, is a fact. That everything from a rapidly dwindling tax base, evaporating domestic investment, and +/- $50t of WS paper distributed around the globe being redeemed at less than $.10 on the dollar… it’s real as rocks. That Fed/Treasury has thrown

          We’re broke. The US is completely broke… worse actually, we’re upside down in a big way. We are square in the eye of an emergency. The sea is on fire, and there’s more alarms than can be counted. And it’s burning very, very fast. And there’s no help on the way.

          With all due respect, your comment (wait ’till innaugeration) is akin to accepting, as response to “sea on fire” analogy, that the fire department is out of the office today so please call back tomorrow.

          I want Obama to succeed… in the worst way, I want that. I want it for him and his family, for all he and his campaign has symbolized, for the country and for all who pounded pavement to get him elected. I really do.

          But given very, very small voice that’s mine… and especially seeing last 8 yrs how fast and thoroughly things can go bad, I’m gon’a do whatever I can to steer thing where they need to go.

          He’s sending worrisome signals, and they’re contrary to image he’s convinced me is real. If this is best he’s got, it’s not going to work… it’s not going to get done what needs to get done.

          EW @ 45

          I can’t promise you what his policies will be–we really do need to wait, firstly for the policy-making staffers, and then for the actual policy.

          First, so I’m not misunderstood, there’s few (if any) progessive bloggers I respect more than you. I can’t be more sincere then that.

          So with that said…

          1: he’s already announced some policy:

          – new $200-300b “stimulus”
          – support GM (Ford Chrysler?) w/some sort of cash infusion
          – MC tax cut etc. etc.

          This is nice stuff that we aren’t even close to being able to afford. I’ll be all for it if he gets economy on worthwhile track and we regain ability to produce substantial real value on US shores. Long ways to go there, however.

          But what most bothers me in what you’re saying: he needs staffers so they can tell him what his econ policy is going to be.

          Through looking into this guy a lot, investigating all kinds of stuff from his old lectures I was able to dig up to details/writings/speeches of his econ team… there’s all kinds of explicit reason to believe he’s been engaged in what it’s going to take economically, and engaged for a long while… at least since 2/’08. I have a well developed concept, based on all this, that he’s applied both his admirable intellect and advice from a good team to the issue of addressing just what change means, how he’s going to implement it, and what kind of vision he has for this.

          If, as you say (or at least imply), this has not been incubated for some time, then I’m even more concerned.

          He’s got a very narrow window… he just does. He’s got a public that is generally poorly informed: the specifics of went wrong, the precise nexus of fraud, how it was empowered by Bush WH (I have +230 links of incidents where Bush and/or Delay appointed some industry rep/lobbyist/lawyer to write their favored legislation, ushered it through congress, and said rep returned to reap the rewards upon passage… many, many of these facilitating conditions that have brought us here) and repub congress/K-street… the whole “shit pile” as you call it.

          Most of Joe-The-Public is oblivious to this.

          Whole lot of folks bet on Obama because of “change” and “hope” w/out a clue about the underlying conditions generating desperate situation for which they want these virtues implemented. And they’ll jump ship for some winger rag talking point selling more Reaganomics snake oil if they don’t get some change. And as I say often and loudly in this thread an elswhere, US economic failure is a cascading condition of most serious magnitudes, and it’s not gon’a sit around waiting for BO to get his shit together.

          He can’t afford to sit on the sidelines. I hope you’re wrong about maturity of his ideas & dependence of mostly WS/DC vets to develop them.

          If that is the case, I will consider myself bamboozled. Again.

          I hope that progressive community, especially hi-plane well informed and thoughtfull ones such as EW have not adopted a notion that the dems have healed themselves all of a sudden. I agree that we’ve elected more higher quality, competant people in last 2 elections. But only just getting started AFAIC. Webb voting for last FISA bill one good example.

          Senate session after 2k election fiasco began w/dems making deal to share power while giving up right to investigate that thing on floors of congress, and AFAIC it was all downhill from there… they were, in a word, spineless and abysmal.

          I’ve watched a lot of C-SPAN hearings on TARP approval and WS meltdown since. Some of congressional dems have demonstrated impressively to me, but whole lot of ‘em… whole lot of ‘em, literally do not know what a CDO is and they’re sitting on FINANCIAL COMMITTEES!!!

          I would encourage folks to keep a close eye on things, collectively jerk a short leash when needed and stay vigilant. We’ve got a long ways to go.

        • jdmckay says:

          Oh well then why wait for the techicality of an inauguration to declare the Obama administration a resounding failure and a cruel betrayal of trust?

          PW @ 59:

          Heh! Exactly.

          Naomi Kline, via THE NATION: In Praise of a Rocky Transition :

          The more details emerge, the clearer it becomes that Washington’s handling of the Wall Street bailout is not merely incompetent. It is borderline criminal.


          Of equally dubious legality are the equity deals Treasury has negotiated with many of the country’s banks. According to Congressman Barney Frank, one of the architects of the legislation that enables the deals, “Any use of these funds for any purpose other than lending–for bonuses, for severance pay, for dividends, for acquisitions of other institutions, etc.–is a violation of the act.” Yet this is exactly how the funds are being used.

          Then there is the nearly $2 trillion the Federal Reserve has handed out in emergency loans. Incredibly, the Fed will not reveal which corporations have received these loans or what it has accepted as collateral. Bloomberg News believes that this secrecy violates the law and has filed a federal suit demanding full disclosure.

          Despite all of this potential lawlessness, the Democrats are either openly defending the administration or refusing to intervene. “There is only one president at a time,” we hear from Barack Obama. That’s true. But every sweetheart deal the lame-duck Bush administration makes threatens to hobble Obama’s ability to make good on his promise of change. To cite just one example, that $140 billion in missing tax revenue is almost the same sum as Obama’s renewable energy program. Obama owes it to the people who elected him to call this what it is: an attempt to undermine the electoral process by stealth.

          Yes, there is only one president at a time, but that president needed the support of powerful Democrats, including Obama, to get the bailout passed. Now that it is clear that the Bush administration is violating the terms to which both parties agreed, the Democrats have not just the right but a grave responsibility to intervene forcefully.


          If you don’t believe me, believe her… she’s hit nail on head for a long while now. Again, things unravelling fast, consequences are dire, there’s no help on the way and most of the public has no idea what’s going on.

          Kline’s summary:

          There is no way to reconcile the public’s vote for change with the market’s foot-stomping for more of the same. Any and all moves to change course will be met with short-term market shocks. The good news is that once it is clear that the new rules will be applied across the board and with fairness, the market will stabilize and adjust. Furthermore, the timing for this turbulence has never been better. Over the past three months, we’ve been shocked so frequently that market stability would come as more of a surprise. That gives Obama a window to disregard the calls for a seamless transition and do the hard stuff first. Few will be able to blame him for a crisis that clearly predates him, or fault him for honoring the clearly expressed wishes of the electorate. The longer he waits, however, the more memories fade.

          Indeed. I think she understates things.

          Obama has said (paraphrase)…
          * in response to question of hazard being prez in these perilous times: “This is when I want to be president”, alluding to tackling big problems.
          * All the “change” stuff
          * re: TARP & Detroit, his handlers leaking on why he’s on the sidelines: “we want to own the solution, not the problem.”

          Kline’s right. Obama’s signals are very worrisome, because they contain no indication anything meaningfully corrective is on the way. His back channel push for GM bailout… fine, ok. That’s what, +/135,000 jobs… less than 1/2 what it was 2 years ago. But GM has been losing market share for 15 yrs, accellerated last 1/2 dozen or so. They spent huge $$ lobbying K-Street to block cafe standard increase… successfully. Now Obama wants to give ‘em $$ to reverse that.

          Fine, ok.

          But none of this is systemic reform, transformation… (???) or even indicative/suggestive of it. And w/out that, it’s not going to matter what happens to GM ’cause we won’t have an economy capable of supporting them.

          As I said, I walked the streets, worked the phones, ran 1/2 dozen precincts for Obama. He won me over, I’m enthusiastic and I believe in him.

          But I’m not seeing anything from them addressing our cascading economic failure… nothing. I think you all… blogosphere/Marcy et’all would do very well to put some of the same scrutiny on this thing they’ve put on Bush’s many crimes, ’cause if he doesn’t get this right this last election isn’t going to mean squat.

          If your readership doesn’t understand severity of current economic peril, then get ‘em up to speed: they need to know.

          It’s past time for Obama to step into the shoes he asked to fill, and at least give some hints. So far, seems he wants to avoid those shoes.

          I’m very concerned.

    • Phoenix Woman says:

      I don’t really get it, either — especially as Rahm is not going to be a happy camper for very long: The CoS job is a nasty one and its occupants don’t last long as a rule.

      If I didn’t like Rahm Emanuel and wanted to lure him from a very safe and very powerful congressional seat into a job that I knew would destroy him in two years or less, I’d do just what Obama did and pick him for Chief of Staff. Of course, Obama will have to put up with him leaking like a sieve for those two years, but if he makes sure that Rahm isn’t privy to anything Obama wants kept on the QT, everything should be fine.

  3. Gitcheegumee says:

    Helen Thomas is a national treasure who has been traeted nationally,as a disgrace by the Bush thugs.Having said that,I don’t want to seem like the skunk at the picnic, but Helen Thomas is of Middle Eastern descent’and, it is well documented that Emmanuel has loyal ties to Israel ,as does his father. Just sayin, cause Helen’s memories go back a lot further than most of ours ,and IF she has reservations,I dare say they are with merit.

  4. klynn says:

    Personally, I’d love to have Helen take EW by the hand and sit EW right next to her during a White House press conference.

    THAT would make my day hearing Helen and EW tag team on questions…

  5. Leen says:

    If there is a god it looks and thinks like Helen Thomas! I genuflect to Helens thinking and brutal honesty.

    She drives it home “I’m all ready going after Barack for saying that, in fact, I think he is going after all the old Clinton faces. Why? Doesn’t he know anybody?”

    Helen “newspapers are dying” for very good reasons….WMD’s in Iraq

  6. Leen says:

    Helen’s part in Stephen Colbert’s White House Correspondents dinner

    When I want to get high I listen to Colbert smashing Bush/Cheney and the Press. Helen was great in her roll as the persistent seeker of the truth and facts.


    Well, on March 21, 2006, Thomas was called upon directly by President Bush for the first time at one of his news conferences in three years. Thomas asked him about Iraq.

    HELEN THOMAS: I’d like to ask you, Mr. President, your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis, wounds of Americans and Iraqis for a lifetime. Every reason given, publicly at least, has turned out not to be true. My question is, why did you really want to go to war? From the moment you stepped into the White House, from your Cabinet—your Cabinet officers, intelligence people, and so forth—what was your real reason? You have said it wasn’t oil—quest for oil, it hasn’t been Israel, or anything else. What was it?

    PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I think your premise, in all due respect to your question and to you as a lifelong journalist, is that, you know, I didn’t want war. To assume I wanted war is just flat wrong, Helen, in all due respect—

    HELEN THOMAS: Everything—

    PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Hold on for a second, please.

    HELEN THOMAS:—everything I’ve heard—

    PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Excuse me, excuse me. No president wants war. Everything you may have heard is that, but it’s just simply not true. My attitude about the defense of this country changed on September the 11th. We—when we got attacked, I vowed then and there to use every asset at my disposal to protect the American people. Our foreign policy changed on that day, Helen. You know, we used to think we were secure because of oceans and previous diplomacy, but we realized on September the 11th, 2001, that killers could destroy innocent life. And I’m never going to forget it. And I’m never going to forget the vow I made to the American people that we will do everything in our power to protect our people.

    Part of that meant to make sure that we didn’t allow people to provide safe haven to an enemy. And that’s why I went into Iraq—hold on for a second—

    HELEN THOMAS: They didn’t do anything to you or to our country.

    PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Look—excuse me for a second, please. Excuse me for a second. They did. The Taliban provided safe haven for al-Qaeda. That’s where al-Qaeda trained—

    HELEN THOMAS: I’m talking about Iraq—


    Helen Thomas: “They didn’t do anything to your or to our country>”

  7. Rayne says:

    She’s still as feisty as ever, hope she will be able to work for the next four years. If only we could have looked ahead into the future when this interview with her was assigned…would have loved to hear what she thought of specific candidates.

    Enjoy her point that it’s about the best ideas, but it’s also going to take effective execution.

  8. Peterr says:

    I’m wondering if Helen’s beef is with Obama’s transition team head, John Podesta, going back to his days in the Clinton WH.

    No memory of anything specific comes to mind for me, but if you want to talk about Obama leaning on old Clinton folks, you can’t leave Podesta out of the discussion.

  9. BoxTurtle says:

    He’s not even in office yet and he’s already angered Helen Thomas?!? It’s going to be a LOOONG presidency for Obama.

    Boxturtle (Do not fight with someone who buys printers ink by the barrel)

  10. LabDancer says:

    Will Bush tell the other heads of the G20 the reason Obama’s not there is “he’s not ready yet”?

  11. Mindroth says:

    One of the post says in a month they would call for Obama’s Impeachment. Not that long. Already they are calling for it. Strange that Change we can believe in are Washington insiders, who are not change. However anyone who didn’t buy the hype, Will notice that to become the Dem nominee, there was a set of policy’s, to win the election there was a different set of policy’s, and now that he doesn’t need your vote anymore, a new set of policy’s are emerging. The President -elect has NEVER keep his word. There is no reason to believe him now. As he announces his intended policy’s the stock market, drops in anticipation of the economic disaster that awaits us as those policy’s are implemented. Everyone loves the idea of taxing big business, yet they failed to understand, that to increases will be passed on to the consumer in the form of higher prices, and job losses. You heard the Grand speeches, but you never listened to what wasn’t being said. Obama barely won the Pop vote yet he won. the loser isn’t McCain it is America.

  12. MrWhy says:

    I don’t think Helen has been truly critical of Obama yet. She’s saying, if the Obama administration is merely the Clinton administration resurrected, then there’s a problem.

    Naming Janet Napolitano as AG would be a change. Naming Joseph Stiglitz as Treasury Secretary would be a change. Howard Dean at Health & Human Services would be a change. All three would be a welcome change.

  13. JimWhite says:

    OT: Oooh! AP has gotten a copy of a letter from Leahy and Rockefeller (?!?) (and Whitehouse) informing the White House to maintain all records. They’re especially concerned about Cheney:

    “We have particular concerns … regarding documents in the possession of the Office of the Vice President,” the letter said. Citing ongoing litigation over the preservation of Cheney’s records, the senators wrote: “the declarations filed in that case by the Office of the Vice President raise serious concerns about its interpretations of the (Presidential Records Act).”

    Let’s hope that the full letter is available soon instead of just snippets.

  14. randiego says:

    I’m with WO, people need to chill.

    Barry’s whole campaign was his own – he could have asked for more Clinton help but my guess is that he didn’t want it unless he absolutely needed it.

    Does anybody think that’s somehow going to change now? So far he’s shown pretty good instincts, and having some Clinton hands to help in transition is a good idea. Having Rahm close by is a great idea – he knows the ins-and-outs of the Hill.

    Every step of the way Obama has shown this is his gig.

    • BlueStateRedHead says:

      Why Barry? IIRC, he abandoned Barry. And, correct me if I am wrong, it is name used by the wingnuts to disparage him.

      So unless I am missing something, you are looking for a nickname.

      There is one, but it’s been secret until now.

      At the Al Smith dinner he gave away what it is.

      • randiego says:

        Barry was the name they used in a high school yearbook, if I’m not mistaken.
        I’ve heard Obama himself use the third-person “Barry Obama”…

        He’s been very self-deprecating about his name. He made it a big part of the ‘identity’ portion of his convention speech. I doubt he’s abandoned anything – stuff like that only has power if you let it.

  15. JohnJ says:

    I don’t get it. What makes everyone think that Obama is going to be led by his staff. Any good leader surrounds himself with smart opposing viewpoints and decides his course after hearing all arguments.

    I think we are all so used to the last idiot-in-chief being led by the big dick et al else that we forget that. Obama has been impressive so far, let’s see who leads whom.

  16. Mary says:

    5/11 – I’m not sure how my GSDs feel about a comparison with Emmanuel and Biden. I think one’s more a terrier, and one is more a hound who gets to baying and can’t shut himself up.

    One good reason to get in a snit over things is the very reason that these things are hitting the press at all. People send up trial balloons all the time to gauge the reaction. The Road to Hell may be lined with good intentions, but the Superhighway is asphalted with indifference.

  17. skippy says:

    tho i too voted for obama, i’ve been saying constantly that the only thing sleazier than a washington politician is a chicago politician.

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