Helen Thomas the 'Highlight' of Virginia Democratic Fundraiser

White House correspondent and Hearst columnist Helen Thomas was apparently the "highlight" of a September 30 fundraiser for Democratic Virginia State Senate candidate George Barker.

[She's really burning up the D.C.-area rubber chicken circuit of late. I noted her early September pep talk to University of Maryland Democrats here.]

Wrote contributor snolan of the liberal Virginia politics blog Raising Kaine:

Last night my good friend Kate took me to a Democratic fundraiser for George Barker who is running for State Senate in the 39th district. Becky and David Campbell hosted this event, and the highlight was a visit from Helen Thomas! Helen spoke briefly, and I think I heard her quoting Dick Goodwin (one of the best public policy writers ever), though I may have mis-heard her (the room and house were packed).

What, no quotes from Helen's girlhood friend Karl Marx?

Well before becoming an opinion columnist for Hearst, Thomas racked up a record of biased coverage of U.S. presidents. When she quit UPI in May 2000, MRC's Tim Graham noted Thomas's most notable lines about the occupants of the Oval Office she had covered:

Ronald Reagan. On December 30, 1988 Thomas recalled the Reagan era on the CBS show Nightwatch: "I think there’s a question mark on the domestic policy: I think he left an uncaring society...a government that was not as concerned."

In the July 1993 Good Housekeeping, Thomas elaborated: "All of us who covered the Reagan's 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.' To my mind, a President should care about all people, and he didn't, which is why I will always feel Reagan lacked soul."

Jimmy Carter. In the same interview, Thomas stated: "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."

The Kennedys. Thomas discussed the death of JFK Jr. on CNN’s Reliable Sources last July 18: "Everything that happened to the First Family, they added a certain glamour everybody could tie into in some way. And I think that's what happened. We think of the family. We think of all of the tragedies and the glamour and the mischief and so forth all wrapped up into one, but mostly hope."

Bill Clinton. Tom Brokaw declared, "Helen was always fair and never intimidated." But Thomas avoided asking about Juanita Broaddrick’s rape charges in a press briefing the day The Wall Street Journal broke the story on February 19, 1999. Instead she asked Clinton what was learned "from your 13 month ordeal?"

For a comprehensive listing of NewsBusters coverage of the dean of the White House press corps, check here.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.