Everything’s coming up roses for Helen Thomas!

And it couldn’t happen to a nicer, more deserving lady:

Helen Thomas, surrounded by a rich and fragrant reward

And here is why she got those blooms…

The campaign was the brainchild of Clarity Sanderson, a 31-year-old Democratic activist from Sandy, Utah, a suburb of Salt Lake City, who was motivated by the sharp exchange between Thomas and Bush, and by an op-ed article Thomas wrote about the exchange in the Salt Lake Tribune.

“Those two things set me off,” Sanderson said in a telephone interview Friday.

Sanderson, a work-at-home web designer and mother of two who is co-chairwoman of the Utah Democratic Progressive Caucus, said she saw a note on the website democraticunderground.com suggesting that people e-mail Thomas to thank her for asking Bush “the questions all Americans want answered about Iraq.”

“I thought, ‘Let’s take it a step farther,” she said, and sent an e-mail asking people to donate to her Pay Pal account to send roses to Thomas.

That was last Friday. By Monday she’d received more than $2,200. She ordered the roses and 100 glass vases from an online floral service in San Francisco, Organic Bouquet, and they were delivered Thursday.

Thomas, the 85-year-old veteran White House journalist whose outspoken criticism of the Bush administration has drawn much hate mail from Bush supporters in recent years, said Friday that she was overwhelmed by the avalanche of roses.

“It sure beats the brickbats,” she said, referring to hundreds of vitriolic e-mails she’s received since last week’s encounter with Bush. “Some of them attack you ad hominem and call you a traitor and ask if you’ve ever been to Iraq,” she said. “I think it’s the frustration of those who are angry with me and take it out in e-mail. I think there should be a logical debate, but maybe that’s not possible during an ongoing war.”

Thomas shared her roses with Hearst bureau chief Chuck Lewis and other colleagues and sent the bulk of them to wounded military personnel at Walter Reed Army Hospital.

Asked about Bush’s response to her pointed question about his Iraq policy, she said, “He could not answer my question. He kept referring to Afghanistan. He never articulated the reasons we’re in Iraq. I don’t think there’s any justification for an unprovoked war against somebody who did nothing against us.”

Thomas had received hundreds of supportive e-mails by Friday afternoon, bearing such messages as, “O-M_G … I LOVE THAT LADY!” “We all owe her so much more than roses,” “Her little finger has more class than George Bush does,” and “Helen Thomas kick ass!”

Sanderson said she’s never spoken with Thomas but received an e-mail from her via Hearst office manager Kristen Collie, who wrote that “Helen asked me to send you the following note:

“Blessed are the peacemakers. The bounty of beautiful roses from such wonderful people has lifted my heart and will remain in my memory for the rest of my life. Thank you for caring that others may live.”

A classy gesture, and very reminiscent of something Senator Barbara Boxer did with HER roses not long ago. Not to mention how she got them, too:

Boxer was particularly aggressive, pointing out what she said were inconsistencies in Rice’s statements about the imminent threat of nuclear weapons in Iraq.

“This is a pattern here of what I see from you,” Boxer said. “It’s very troubling. … It’s hard for me to let go of this war because people are still dying.”

She said Rice has not acknowledged those deaths, has not laid out an exit strategy for Iraq and has been unwilling to admit mistakes — including going to war over weapons of mass destruction found later not to exist.

“If you can’t admit to this mistake, I hope that you will rethink it,” Boxer said.

BTW, Condi finally acknowledged those, er, “mistakes” today. She’s still not admitting, though, that the BIG one was invading Iraq, period. Too little, too late, too bad. No roses for her!

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