Is Tony Snow White House Bound?

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," April 20, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: "Personal story" segment tonight, I'm going to make a prediction. Tony Snow will be the next presidential spokesman. Now, as always, I could be wrong.

Joining us from Washington is the man who could become the next Marlin Fitzwater, FOX News analyst Tony Snow.

TONY SNOW, FOX NEWS ANALYST: You're making predictions about me?

O'REILLY: How are you doing, Marlin, huh?

SNOW: I'm doing fine. How are you doing?

O'REILLY: Snow, look, the president's approval rating is 33 percent. If you get the job, it's going down to 15 percent. Give the guy a break, will you?

SNOW: Oh, no.

O'REILLY: This is true, right? They're looking at you to perhaps fill McClellan's job.

SNOW: They're looking at a number of people. And the great mentioner has said that I'm one of them.

O'REILLY: And you are going to get the job in my opinion. And you know how often I'm wrong.

SNOW: Well, you've got a pretty good track record.


SNOW: But you already, you know more than I do then.

O'REILLY: Do you want this job, Snow? Do you want face these pinheads, these unbelievable cretins in the White House briefing room every day? Why do you want to do that?

SNOW: Look, I got to tell you, it's very interesting. I've been trying to balance two sets of things. On the one hand, you've got White House press spokesperson as a piñata.

The other thing is sort of on the bad side of the ledger — family time. You know, my kids need to see more of me. And I need to see more of them.

You got a massive cut in pay. You have a lot of inconvenience. You don't have as much time to yourself. There's a lot of stuff going on, plus there are no guarantees after you get out of the White House whether there's any landing place. I mean, we have both seen lots of people who went off to glory in the White Houses and came out with tin cups, you know, filled with pencils.

O'REILLY: Are you talking about Ari Fleischer?

SNOW: No, I gather Ari made out kind of like a bandit. I think Ari did pretty well.

O'REILLY: But look, but here's the deal. It's about quality of life also, because it's a rigorous job. And it is a job that requires a lot of discipline in the sense that you're going to have to deal with a lot of people telling you what to do and telling you that you're a schmuck.

SNOW: Yes, well, and that's just the people you're working with.


SNOW: You got the press, too.

No, like a spokesperson's job is much different than what you and I do, because you're constrained. You've got to be talking about an official administration policy. You got to talk about an official this or that. You can't opine. You can't even make predictions unless they've already been cleared in advance. So it's a much different kind of work.

O'REILLY: Yes, it's a discipline. You can't go, what they say, off the reservation.

SNOW: Right.

O'REILLY: Because I can't imagine you, remember that great picture of Ron Ziegler getting pushed by Nixon? I know would you'd deck Nixon. And then you'd be in jail. And I'd have to come get you out. You know, it'd be terrible.

SNOW: That's true. Then you can get me out.

O'REILLY: Well, OK. Now what's the up side for the job in your mind?

SNOW: The up side is that for somebody like me who's been a pundit for many years, you sit around and you think about the way the world should be. OK, Mr. Big Shot, you got a seat at the table. Let's hear what you got when you've a problem in front of you.

You become part of something that's very rare, which is an inner White House circle, where you've got to make decisions.

Look at the world right now. You've got Iran, you've got Iraq, you've got Afghanistan, you've got a bunch of governments going left and South and Central America. You got disputes over immigration here at home. You've got the Republican party feuding with itself. You've got the Democratic party united in fighting against Republicans.

I mean, it's a very interesting time. It's not one where you, look, this isn't for the faint of heart. And this isn't for people that were trying to do things the easy way.

So there is something that has a sort of perverse attraction, which is it's a meaty, substantive job with real responsibilities. But on the other hand, again, Bill, as I ended before — things go sour, you know, just because it was meaty and substantive may not help you in the long run.

O'REILLY: Now are you going to be, if you take the job, tougher on the press corps in the sense that McClellan was pretty benign. He got teed off once in a while. But he wasn't a confrontational guy. Took a lot of guff. Do you see yourself in that mold or would you be a little more assertive?

SNOW: I think I'd invite you in to do the role.

O'REILLY: That would be good. If I were standing there next to you, and you could say, gee, I think I'll let O'Reilly handle that one. There you go.

SNOW: Now you got to realize the press secretary not only has to answer questions, but you got to be an advocate for the people asking them when it comes to, you know, getting seats on the plane and doing that. It's a very interesting hybrid job.

So you can make enemies for life. What you have to do is you have to figure out how to work with them. And you've also got to make sure that you got enough information at hand.

As you know and as viewers of this show know, if all you got is spin and no facts, you're going to make everybody crazy. So 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 do have to stand your ground. You've got to make sure that you understand what the facts are. And you've got to know your brief.

O'REILLY: Well, I know you. And you'll stand your ground. I know you will.

SNOW: Well, we'll see.

O'REILLY: OK, again, I think you're going to be the new presidential spokesman. And I'll tell you why. Bush should pick you. You would be the best man for the job for this country right now. Don't say anything, Snow. Just keep quiet.

Tony Snow would be the best man to represent the White House at this point in history. Everybody getting that, you pinheads in D.C.? Are you getting that?

And Snow didn't tell me to say that either. I give Snow a hard time all the time. The Tony Snow Radio Show, how dumb is that?

All right, make him a spokesperson. All right, Snow, we'll see you.

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