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Helen Thomas Should Not Have a White House Press Pass, Con’t


A news analyst at the Media Research Center sends me this, from today’s White House press briefing:

12:37 p.m. EST

Helen Thomas, Hearst Newspapers columnist: “[In your] earlier briefing, Ari, you said that the President deplored the taking of innocent lives. Does that apply to all innocent lives in the world? And I have a follow-up.”

[Ari Fleischer: "Well, Helen, I referred specifically to a horrible terrorist attack in Tel Aviv that killed scores and wounded hundreds. And the President, as he said in a statement yesterday deplores in the strongest terms the taking of those lives and the wounding of those people: innocents in Israel."]

Thomas: “The follow-up is, why does he want to drop bombs on innocent Iraqis?”

[Fleischer: "Helen, the question is how to protect Americans and our allies and friends."]

Thomas, interrupting: “They’re not attacking. Have they laid a glove on you or on the United States, the Iraqs [sic] in eleven years?”

[Fleischer: "I guess you've forgotten about the Americans who were killed in the first Gulf War as a result of Saddam Hussein's aggression then."]

Thomas: “Is this your revenge? Eleven years of revenge?”

[Fleischer: "Now, Helen, I think you know very well that the President's position is that he wants to avert war and that the President has asked the United Nations to go into Iraq to help for the purpose of averting war."]

Thomas: “Would the President attack innocent Iraqi lives?”

[Fleischer: "The President wants to make certain that he can defend our country, defend our interests, defend the region, and make certain that American lives are not lost."]

Thomas: “Does he think they are a threat to us?”

[Fleischer: "There is no question that the President thinks that Iraq is a threat to the United States."]

Thomas: “The Iraqi people?”

[Fleischer: "The Iraqi people are represented by their government, if there was regime change-"]

Thomas: “So they will be vulnerable-”

[Fleischer: "Actually, the President has made it very clear that he has no dispute with the people of Iraq. That's why the American policy remains a policy of regime change. There's no question the people of Iraq-"]

Thomas: “That’s a decision for them to make, isn’t it? It’s their country?”

[Fleischer: "Uh, Helen, if you think that the people of Iraq are in a position to dictate who their dictator is, I don't think that's been what history has shown. Ron [Fournier of AP]?”]

Thomas: “I think many countries don’t have, people don’t have the decision. Including us.”