Eighty-eight-year old print journalist, Helen Thomas, was still holding down her front-row-center perch at President Obama’s first prime-time White House press conference tonight, and she had the distinction of asking the first question.

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Helen Thomas (Photo)

In the back of Obama’s mind, or perhaps earlier in the day as he planned the conference, he must have thought about how he would handle Helen Thomas. After all, during the presidential campaign, she declared “he’s no Martin Luther King:”

He’s galvanized the youth vote of this country, but I have yet to see what he has done to take the highest office in the land. He is no Martin Luther King and his campaign, like all others, is backed by people with deep pockets.

After tax evader Timothy Geithner was confirmed as Treasury Secretary and former Senator Tom Daschle withdrew his nomination for Secretary of Health and Human Services because he also evaded paying taxes, Thomas said:

It may be a grand awakening for Obama who had a smooth transition and an exuberant, historic inaugural. But Obama has run up against his own pious rhetoric, such as his promise to make a clean break with the way Washington does business.

We know our Mr. Obama is a tad thin-skinned. Trust me, he had to give this “inaugural” meeting, as he called it, some thought.

Tonight, Ms. Thomas, who returned to White House reporting in November 2008 after a six-month illness, was ready to kick up some dust. Nevermind that this meeting between Obama and the Nation was to address the “economic crises,” Helen doesn’t let details get in the way. Here’s her question:

Mr. President, do you think that Pakistanis are maintaining the safe haven in Afghanistan for these so-called terrorist, and also do you know of any place in the Middle East that has nuclear weapons?

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Helen Thomas

First to the issue of nuclear capabilities in the Middle East. Everyone knows that Israel is the only nuclear-weaponized country in the Middle East, but of course, it cannot be admitted publicly…because other countries might want to do the same. So Helen was hoping for a bombshell (or a laid egg) from this new President but she didn’t get it. She interrupted him mid-sentence a couple of times, and while it isn’t clear what she was saying, Obama didn’t want to go there. He didn’t allow the follow-up. The entire exchange is in the video below.

About the “so-called terrorists” in Pakistan-Afghanistan. Ms. Thomas has her own unique, ever-present way of showing her rabid anti-Semitism, and Islamist appeasing ways, and has no shame for beaming aid and comfort to the “so-called terrorists,” each and every time the camera swings her way. When Tony Snow was Press Secretary for the Bush White House, she relentlessly badgered him about the Israel-Lebanon ‘Summer War,’ until he thanked her for her “Hezbollah view.” The exchange went on and on, until Snow ended it with “All right, this is hectoring now.

Helen Thomas is the left’s venerated termagant, but make no doubt about it, most in that room want her perch, and they think they have a right to it.

The first video is of Thomas asking her question of the President, and the second is of her return to the White House after her illness. Can you believe that when she was absent from the White House Press Conferences…for months, her chair was left empty!

Link: Obama thomas

Helen Thomas: Obama White House Press Conference (Video)

Helen Thomas: Obama White House Press Conference (Video)