Helen Thomas

At most news organizations, the White House beat is a coveted plum assignment.

But it’s a difficult, stressful, and highly competitive job. Most correspondence last only a few years at best.

One exception was UPI correspondent Helen Thomas. She covered the White House for over 50 years, and covered 10 presidents from Kennedy to Obama.

I met her in 1999 when, at the age of 79, she wrote a memoir called Front Row At The White House

So here now from 1999, Helen Thomas.

Helen Thomas died in 2013 at age 92.

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Sam Donaldson
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Barbara Bush

Sometimes when I interview celebrities, they are exactly the way I thought they would be.

And sometimes, a celebrity would surprise me a little. I was surprised a little by former First Lady Barbara Bush, wife of George H.W. Bush, our 41st president.

When I met her in 1994, when she published her Memoir, I was unprepared for how simple, straightforward, and folksy Mrs. Bush was. It was like talking to my mom or one of her friends over a cup of coffee.

It’s important to remember that Barbara Bush holds a rare distinction in American history: she is only the second woman, behind Abigail Adams, to be the wife of one president and the mother of another.

Now, one thing you will hear us refer to in this interview is a small plane crashing into the White House lawn. It happened just a couple of days before our interview, when a young man stole a light plane and crash landed on the South Lawn.

Oh, and also, you’ll hear why Barbara Bush quit smoking.

So here now, from 1994, Barbara Bush.

Barbara Bush died in April 2018. She was 92. George H.W. Bush died seven montrhs later at age 94.

Egil Krogh

Egil “Bud” Krogh

Next Monday, December 21, marks the 50th anniversary of a very strange day in White House history.

It was on December 21, 1970 that the king of rock and roll, Elvis Presley, showed up unannounced at the White House gate, asking for a personal meeting with President Richard M.Nixon.

The man who put that meeting together that day was Nixon aide Egil “Bud” Krogh. Officially, Krogh was head of the White House special investigations unit, later colloquially known as the “Plumbers” – it was the unit assembled to plug leaks of information from the Nixon White House.

In 1994, krogh wrote a book about that famous 1970 meeting. And that’s when I met him.

So here now, from 1994, Egil “Bud” Krogh.

Egil “Bud” Krogh eventually was implicated in the Watergate scandal, and served a short prisoin sentence for his role in it.

He died earlier this year, at age 80.

Sam Donaldson

If Donald Trump thinks he’s getting a rough time from the journalist who cover him at the White House, he’s never met Sam Donaldson.

From 1977 to 1989 — the Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan years — Donaldson was was Chief White House correspondent for ABC News.

During those twelve years, Donaldson proved to be a relentless, aggressive reporter, never letting the president get away with a vague, evasive, or unsatisfactory answer to a question.

Ironically, the title of Donaldson’s 1987 book was a phrase he never actually said. The book was called
“Hold On, Mr. President.”

But listen to this interview that’s more than 30 years old and see if it doesn’t have a lot of relevance to what we see going on right now today.

So here now, from 1987, Sam Donaldson.

Sam Donaldson retired from ABC News in 2009. He is 86 now. and serves on the Board of New Mexico First, a bipartisan booster organization.