A sad day indeed…
Tony Snow, the former White House press secretary and conservative pundit who bedeviled the press corps and charmed millions as a FOX News television and radio host, died Saturday after a long bout with cancer. He was 53.
A syndicated columnist, editor, TV anchor, radio show host and musician, Snow worked in nearly every medium in a career that spanned more than 30 years.
“Laura and I are deeply saddened by the death of our dear friend Tony Snow,” President Bush said in a statement. “The Snow family has lost a beloved husband and father. And America has lost a devoted public servant and a man of character.”
Snow died at 2 a.m. Saturday at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C.
Snow joined FOX in 1996 as the original anchor of “FOX News Sunday” and hosted “Weekend Live” and a radio program, “The Tony Snow Show,” before departing in 2006.
“It’s a tremendous loss for us who knew him, but it’s also a loss for the country,” Roger Ailes, chairman of FOX News, said Saturday morning about Snow, calling him a “renaissance man.”
As a TV pundit and commentator for FOX News, Snow often was critical of Bush before he became the president’s third press secretary, following Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan. He was an instant study in the job, mastering the position — and the White House press corps — with apparent ease.
“One of the reasons I took this job is not only to work with the president, but, believe it or not, to work with all of you,” Snow told reporters when he stepped into the post in 2006. “These are times that are going to be very challenging.”
He wasn’t just whistling Dixie, now was he?
During a tenure marked by friendly jousting with journalists, Snow often danced around the press corps, occasionally correcting their grammar and speech even as he responded to their questions.
“Tony did his job with more flair than almost any press secretary before him,” said William McGurn, Bush’s former chief speechwriter. “He loved the give-and-take. But that was possible only because Tony was a man of substance who had real beliefs and principles that he was more than able to defend.”
As he announced Snow as his new press secretary in May 2006, Bush praised him as “a man of courage [and] a man of integrity.” Snow presided over some of the toughest fights of Bush’s presidency, defending the administration during the Iraq war and the CIA leak investigation.
“I felt comfortable enough to interrupt him when he was BSing, and he kind of knew it, and he’d shut up and move on,” Snow said.
His tenure at the White House lasted 17 months and was interrupted by his second bout with cancer.
Snow had his colon removed and underwent six months of chemotherapy after he was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2005. In 2007 he announced his cancer had recurred and spread to his liver, and he had a cancerous growth removed from his abdominal area.
He resigned from the White House six months later, in September 2007, citing not his health but a need to earn more than the $168,000 a year he was paid in the government post. He was replaced by his deputy, Dana Perino, Bush’s current press secretary.
After taking time off to recuperate, Snow joined CNN as a political commentator early this year.
His press briefings were something I always enjoyed watching. Finally, someone who could give it back to the lame stream press and do it with good natured flair.
They say you know how good a person you are by how people remember you after you are gone. Well, Tony, you were beloved by millions of Americans, you did good.