Helen Thomas, Pioneering White House Correspondent, Dies

Covered presidents from Kennedy to Obama

Helen Thomas, the pioneering White House correspondent who was known for putting presidents on the hot seat and her signature signoff at press conferences, “Thank you, Mr. President,” died Saturday at the age of 92.

Thomas broke ground by becoming the first woman assigned by a news service to cover the White House full time. It was during John F. Kennedy’s administration, and she covered every president through Barack Obama. Known for her direct and pointed questions, Thomas was the “unofficial but undisputed head” of the White House press corps, even gaining the respect and affection of the presidents she covered, The New York Times wrote.

She worked for 60 years at United Press International and later, Hearst Newspapers. Her career ended on a sour note when she commented that Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine”; she retired from Hearst soon after, saying she regretted the remark.

Still, she was remembered fondly and respectfully by dignitaries, critics and fellow journalists: