Friday, July 03, 2009 at 07:38 AM EDT
An exchange between White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and reporter Helen Thomas, 89, who has covered every president since John F. Kennedy.
Gibbs: "â€¦ But, again, let's -- How about we do this? I promise we will interrupt the AP's tradition of asking the first question. I will let you [Chip Reid] ask me a question tomorrow as to whether you thought the questions at the town hall meeting that the President conducted in Annandale -- "
Chip Reid: "I'm perfectly happy to -- "
Helen Thomas: "That's not his point. The point is the control -- "
Thomas: "We have never had that in the White House. And we have had some, but not -- This White House."
Gibbs: "Yes, I was going to say, I'll let you amend her question."
Thomas: "I'm amazed. I'm amazed at you people who call for openness and transparency and -- "
Gibbs: "Helen, you haven't even heard the questions."
Reid: "It doesn't matter. It's the process."
Thomas: "You have left open -- "
Reid: "Even if there's a tough question, it's a question coming from somebody who was invited or was screened, or the question was screened."
Thomas: "It's shocking. It's really shocking."
Gibbs: "Chip, let's have this discussion at the conclusion of the town hall meeting. How about that?"
Gibbs: "I think -- "
Thomas: "No, no, no, we're having it now -- "
Gibbs: "Well, I'd be happy to have it now."
Thomas: "It's a pattern."
Gibbs: "Which question did you object to at the town hall meeting, Helen?"
Thomas: "It's a pattern. It isn't the question -- "
Gibbs: "What's a pattern?"
Thomas: "It's a pattern of controlling the press."
Gibbs: "How so? Is there any evidence currently going on that I'm controlling the press -- poorly, I might add."
Thomas: "Your formal engagements are pre-packaged."
Gibbs: "How so?"
Reid: "Well, and controlling the public -- "
Thomas: "How so? By calling reporters the night before to tell them they're going to be called on. That is shocking."
Gibbs: "We had this discussion ad nauseam and -- "
Thomas: "Of course you would, because you don't have any answers."
Gibbs: "Well, because I didn't know you were going to ask a
Thomas: "Well, you should have."
Reporter: Thank you for your support.
Gibbs: "That's good. Have you e-mailed your question today?"
Thomas: "I don't have to e-mail it. I can tell you right now what I want to ask."
Gibbs: "I don't doubt that at all, Helen. I don't doubt that at all."
This article originally appeared on The World According to Lawgirl.