Helen Thomas, a pioneer for women in journalism and in irrepressible White House correspondent, has died. She was 92.
A friend, Muriel Dobbin, said Thomas died at her apartment in Washington on Saturday morning. Dobbin said Thomas had been ill for a long time, had been in and out of the hospital, and had come home Thursday.
Thomas made her name as a bulldog for United Press International and in the great wire-service rivalries of old, and later for Hearst Newspapers. She used her seat in the front row of history to grill nine presidents--often to their discomfort, and was not shy about sharing her opinions.
She began covering the White House under President John F. Kennedy, and was forced to resign in 2010 after controversial remarks about the Middle East.
She was asked by an interviewer for rabbilive.com if she had anything to say about Israel.
Thomas, who was of Lebanese descent, answered, "Get the hell out of Palestine." She also suggested the Jews should "go home, to Poland and Germany, America and everywhere else."
She later apologized for the remarks on her website.
Thomas was persistent to the point of badgering; one White House press secretary described her questioning as "torture"--and he was one of her fans.