John McCaslin

The Palestinians have no better ally in the White House than Helen Thomas, the Hearst White House correspondent of Lebanese descent.

In a recent column, she opined that President Bush "loves to boast that his policies are bringing democracy to the region. True, certified elections have taken place . . . in occupied Palestine. But the U.S. has become a laughingstock because it rejects the results of the democratic election in Palestine, where Hamas won."

This week, as Congress approved a near-total ban on U.S. aid to the Palestinians, Thomas questioned White House spokesman Tony Snow about the U.S. role in resolving the decades-long Arab-Israeli clash.

"Well," Snow replied, "the U.S. role is one of working with Israel and, when possible, with the Palestinians to try to generate a peace, the same it has always been, Helen - "

"Then why is it bankrupting the Palestinians?" she interrupted.

"The Palestinians are not being bankrupted, Helen. What's happening, as you know, is that there is - Hamas is a terrorist organization. We do not give money to terrorist organizations. What has happened is that this government has tried in a number of ways to make humanitarian aid available to the Palestinian people. We draw a distinction between Hamas, which is - "

"And they were democratically elected," she interjected.

"They were democratically elected, and they're still a terrorist organization," Snow persisted.

"By your designation," she said.

"Yes. Thank you very much, Helen. They are, in fact, by the designation of this government, this administration and prior administrations. So let me continue my answer."


"Tony Snow is going to be jamming," says our source, speaking of the new White House spokesman joining his rock band Beats Workin' on June 3 at the Barking Dog tavern in Bethesda.


Suffice it to say, in his bid to become Maryland's next Republican senator, Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele is reaching out to every voter.

First thing Wednesday morning, he was interviewed on Bill Bennett's conservative "Morning in America" radio show. By afternoon, he was on the Rev. Al Sharpton's liberal radio show.

"He has aggressively sought to have his message heard by as wide an audience as possible," campaign spokesman Doug Heye says. "As the (Democratic Party's) own poll has shown, that message is resonating with voters across community and party lines."


John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

Be the first to read John McCaslin's column. Sign up today and receive delivered each morning to your inbox.