Helen Thomas calls new Bush aide 'contemptible,' tangles with Tony Snow
Tue May 30 2006 13:34:41 ET
Helen Thomas, doyenne of the White House press corps, tangles with Tony Snow at today's briefing over President Bush's appointment of Karl Zinmeister as domestic policy adviser:
QUESTION: Why did the president pick a man who is so contemptible of the public servants in Washington to be his domestic adviser, saying, People in Washington are morally repugnant, cheating, shifty human beings. Why did he...
SNOW: Apparently an opinion that's...
QUESTION: Why would he pick such a man to be a domestic adviser?
SNOW: You meant contemptuous as opposed to contemptible I think.
QUESTION: Pure contempt.
SNOW: I'm not sure it's pure contempt. I know Karl Zinsmeister pretty well and he is somebody who expresses himself with a certain amount of piquancy. You're perhaps familiar with that, aren't you, Helen?
And so, as a consequence from time to time, he's going to say -- he'll have some sharp elbows.
QUESTION: His attitude toward public servants...
SNOW: I don't think it is his attitude toward public servants. It may have been toward the press. Just kidding.
No, look if, you look at the bulk of what Karl Zinsmeister has done at the American Enterprise and elsewhere, I think you're going to find somebody who's done some pretty meaty and interesting research on a variety of topics.
The reason he's being brought in is that he's...
QUESTION: Do you agree with his assessment?
SNOW: I'm not going to -- it is one sentence the guy wrote. And perhaps you may recall -- yes?
QUESTION: Arrogant, morally repugnant, cheating, shifty.
SNOW: That's a lot in one sentence, isn't it? He just packed it right in.