I had the pleasure of attending the Madison Civics Club luncheon Saturday to see the influential White House press correspondent Helen Thomas speak. Members of The Badger Herald and The Daily Cardinal were invited, and we got to meet Ms. Thomas at a small reception before the luncheon began. She took some questions there, and then gave a speech and took more questions after lunch.

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Helen Thomas with Kevin B, me and The Daily Cardinal's Emma R

In case you don’t know who she is, here are two clips from a few years ago:


And here’s one from a few months ago (See 2:40 through the end.):

And here’s one from a few days ago:

I found it remarkable how alert, intelligent and perceptive she is, especially considering she is about 90 years old! She kept saying journalism is the best career because you learn every day, and she definitely exemplifies the result.

During her speech, she gave some insights I thought were particularly striking:

  • Obama should give up on bipartisanship. It’s not going to happen. He needs to fight for what he believes in and understand he will make enemies doing so.
  • Had Hillary Clinton been elected, nothing would be different. Candidates can be extremely passionate during the campaign, but once elected, they fall into a track. They become less transparent, like they have information they try to keep from you. It happens to all of them. (Ms. Thomas followed the last 10 presidents, since Kennedy.)
  • None of the presidential press secretaries over the past 50 years have been any good.

I should be able to post some photographs of us with her when I get them.

I might write about the crowd and Madison’s elite later.