Bush-Thomas: D.C.'s odd couple
By Jon Friedman of MarketWatch:
NEW YORK — Meet the new odd couple of Washington, D.C.: George W. Bush and Helen Thomas. Playing the curmudgeonly Oscar to the President's chatty Felix, Thomas unwittingly helped Bush make news Tuesday morning even before he started in on the point of the latest news conference — to defend his decision to invade Iraq for the umpteenth time.
Bush surprised the D.C. press corps simply by calling on his United Press International nemesis to ask a question during a press conference. It marked the first time in many years that Bush, who notoriously dreads being buttonholed by reporters, even acknowledged "Helen the Hun" (as the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review labeled her recently as March 18). Seeking out Thomas was a telling, well-thought-out gesture. The president obviously knew that Thomas wouldn't be inquiring about the health of the Bush twins. But instead of growling at her question, he tried hard to be Mr. Nice Guy. With mid-term elections nearing, Bush is scrambling to do something -- anything -- to show the voters and the media that he isn't an irrelevant lame duck president...
...Bush's supporters are showing the strain. Radio talk show host Laura Ingraham sounded even more shrill than usual Tuesday when she went about browbeating David Gregory on NBC's "Today" show. Gregory, the self-styled tough-guy of the White House press corps, was taking a busman's holiday in New York by sitting in for the absent Matt Lauer. Come to think of it, the Ingraham-Gregory smackdown was a lot more harsh than the Thomas-Bush one.