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Helen Thomas Snubbed at Bush Press Conference

Lots of people wondered where veteran reporter Helen Thomas was last night during President Bush's press conference. Here's the answer:
A long-running Washington tradition apparently ended last night when, for the first time in memory, the doyenne of the White House press corps was not called on in a presidential press conference.

Syndicated columnist Helen Thomas, who has covered every president since John F. Kennedy, was relegated to the third row in last night's East Room event and — if the memory of press corps veterans is accurate — received her first presidential snub.

One reporter who has covered the past six presidents said: "I don't remember a press conference in which [Mrs. Thomas] didn't get a question."

For many years, it was a tradition for Mrs. Thomas to ask the first question at White House news conferences and end them by saying, on behalf of the press corps, "Thank you, Mr. President." However, in recent years, her influence has waned — although she was still afforded one of the first questions and continues to enjoy a front-row seat at regular White House briefings.
Also snubbed was Mike Allen of the Washington Post.

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