Scott McClellan went off on Helen Thomas in the White House press room, saying she was “opposed to the broader war on terrorism.”
McCLELLAN: Well, Helen, the President recognizes that we are engaged in a global war on terrorism. And when you’re engaged in a war, it’s not always pleasant, and it’s certainly a last resort. But when you engage in a war, you take the fight to the enemy, you go on the offense. And that’s exactly what we are doing. We are fighting them there so that we don’t have to fight them here. September 11th taught us —
THOMAS It has nothing to do with — Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.
McCLELLAN: Well, you have a very different view of the war on terrorism, and I’m sure you’re opposed to the broader war on terrorism. The President recognizes this requires a comprehensive strategy, and that this is a broad war, that it is not a law enforcement matter.
Read the whole transcript here.
Terry Moran of ABC News came to her defense.
TERRY MORAN On what basis do you say Helen is opposed to the broader war on terrorism?
McCLELLAN: Well, she certainly expressed her concerns about Afghanistan and Iraq and going into those two countries. I think I can go back and pull up her comments over the course of the past couple of years.
MORAN And speak for her, which is odd.
Say what you will about Ms. Thomas — she’s been a thorn in the side of presidents and press secretaries of both parties since the 1960’s — but there’s no excuse for the White House press secretary to get personal and basically accuse her of being unpatriotic for asking tough questions. They can’t all be Jimmy/Jeff Guckert/Gannon.
It sounds like the pressure is getting to Scott.