Published April 26, 2006
WASHINGTON – Tony Snow will be named new White House press secretary on Wednesday morning, FOX News has learned. Snow is expected to be at the White House for the announcement. He has been mulling the offer for the last several days.
Long before the announcement, oddsmakers were banking on Snow, host of FOX News Talk's "The Tony Snow Show," to be tapped for the highly visible White House post.
"I expect to see him at the podium in just a few days, in the press room at the White House," Fred Barnes, editor of The Weekly Standard and a FOX News contributor, said Tuesday.
The talk radio host was given a clean bill of health by his oncologist Tuesday, following a CAT scan and other tests that were undertaken last Thursday. Sources said Snow was President Bush's first choice, but he needed the all-clear from his doctors before he takes the job. Snow is recovering from colon cancer.
"He would like to do it. If he gets an OK from his doctor, I expect it will be Tony Snow and the press will welcome him with open arms," Time magazine columnist Margaret Carlson said during the day.
"He has a great common sense, a great understanding of the issue. He is able to do it with good humor. We see him handle cancer with good humor, I think he can handle (NBC's) David Gregory with that same great humor, but also be somebody who would really communicate to the American people in a good common sense way," said Barbara Comstock, a former director of research and planning at the Republican National Committee. Gregory is known to aggressively challenge current White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan during daily press briefings.
Snow told FOX News' Bill O'Reilly last week that he was considering the job, but realized that it would come with a lot of responsibility, time away from his family, a "massive cut" in pay and other demands.
"There's no guarantee after you get out of the White House whether there's any landing place," Snow told O'Reilly.
McClellan resigned from his position last week, the latest departure in an administration shake-up that began with former Chief of Staff Andy Card resigning and Josh Bolten taking over his seat last week. U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman was nominated for Bolten's spot at the Office of Management and Budget, and more and bigger names could still come.
Bolten told staffers to let him know if they were planning on leaving the White House before the end of the year because he wanted to "re-energize the team." Shortly after that discussion and McClellan's resignation, the White House announced that longtime presidential adviser Karl Rove was also jumping ranks.
Just over a year ago, Rove was promoted to deputy chief of staff in charge of most White House policy coordination. That new portfolio came on top of his title as senior adviser and role of chief policy aide to Bush.
Rove is shifting from overseeing policy development to return to his forté as a political adviser, a switch that comes about eight months before the November midterm election. Rove's position as deputy chief of staff for policy goes to Joel Kaplan, current White House deputy budget director.
Saying he was "ready to move on" after more than two years as the president's mouthpiece, McClellan told reporters Tuesday that he didn't expect any announcements that day, but one could come none too soon for him.
“I’m doing my part to push it along,” McClellan joked to reporters, adding at a later briefing, “I’m still here for a little while.”
McClellan, who has served in the job since replacing Ari Fleischer in June 2003, plans to leave in about two weeks.
Last week, Bush said McClellan had performed a "job well done," and the two touched on their long relationship predating the presidency.
"I thought he handled his assignment with class, integrity," the president said. "It's going to be hard to replace Scott, but nevertheless he made the decision and I accepted it. One of these days, he and I are going to be rocking in chairs in Texas and talking about the good old days."
Barnes said if Snow is the next press secretary, he would be a good fit with the White House press corps.
"He's a major media figure, he's someone people know all over the country," Barnes said.
Barnes added that Snow would likely offer greater access to the president than McClellan did.
"I think what he'll bring is greater access to the president, he will be a press secretary who spends a lot of time with the president," Barnes said. “I think reporters in the press room are going to see a press secretary who fights back very toughly."
"If I were to take a job like that, no, I wouldn’t come in there and try to beat them up. But on the other hand, you have to stand your ground, you have to know what the facts are and you’ve got to know your brief," Snow said.
Snow joined FOX News in 1996, when he launched the Sunday morning talk show that airs across the network. He then moved to FOX News Talks, the radio network, to be a morning show host. He still anchors "Weekend Live with Tony Snow" and contributes as a FOX News political analyst.
Snow, a former speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush, has interviewed Bush administration figures, including Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. He has also interviewed congressional and world leaders.
In 1991, Snow took a sabbatical from his job as editorial page editor at The Washington Times to work in the White House for President George H. Bush. He first served as the deputy assistant to the president for communications and director of speechwriting, and later as deputy assistant to the president for media affairs.
Snow earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Davidson College in Davidson, N.C. He grew up in Cincinnati and currently resides in Virginia with his wife, son and two daughters.
Other prospective names to replace McClellan were former Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clark and Dan Senor, the former Coalition Provisional Authority spokesman in Iraq. Senor, now a contributor on FOX News, served the U.S. civil administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer.
FOX News' Carl Cameron and Wendell Goler contributed to this report.