Tony Snow

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Tony Snow
Tony Snow cropped.jpg
Snow during a White House briefing in 2006.
26th White House Press Secretary
In office
May 8, 2006 – September 14, 2007
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Scott McClellan
Succeeded by Dana Perino
Personal details
Born Robert Anthony Snow
(1955-06-01)June 1, 1955
Berea, Kentucky
Died July 12, 2008(2008-07-12) (aged 53)
Washington, D.C.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Jill Ellen Walker (married 1987)
Children Kendall, Robbie, and Kristi
Alma mater Davidson College
Occupation News anchor, radio host, White House Press Secretary
Religion Roman Catholic

Robert Anthony "Tony" Snow (June 1, 1955– July 12, 2008) was an American journalist, political commentator, television news anchor, syndicated columnist, radio host, musician, and the third White House Press Secretary under President George W. Bush. Snow also worked for President George H. W. Bush as chief speechwriter and Deputy Assistant of Media Affairs. He served as White House Press Secretary from May 2006 until his resignation effective September 2007.

Between his two White House stints, Snow was a broadcaster and newspaper columnist. After years of regular guest-hosting for The Rush Limbaugh Show and providing news commentary for National Public Radio, he launched his own talk radio program, The Tony Snow Show, which went on to become nationally syndicated. He was also a regular personality on Fox News Channel since 1996, hosting Fox News Sunday and Weekend Live, and often substituting as host of The O'Reilly Factor. In April 2008, Snow briefly joined CNN as a commentator.[1] He also made several notable speeches, including keynote addresses at the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2007 and 2008.

In his journalistic and governmental capacities, Snow generally supported conservative causes.[2][3] He died of colon cancer on July 12, 2008.

Early life, family and interests

Snow was born in Berea, Kentucky, and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. His father, Jim, taught social studies, was a school guidance counselor, and an assistant principal at Princeton High School in Sharonville, Ohio (a suburb of Cincinnati) from which his son graduated. His mother was an inner-city nurse who died of colon cancer in 1973 when Snow was 17 years old. Snow developed an early interest in journalism, public policy and politics that resulted in his selection as editor of the high school newspaper.

Snow originally registered to vote as a Democrat in Ohio. After graduating from Princeton High School in 1973,[4] Snow obtained his Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Davidson College in 1977. Snow was passionate about science and taught physics to high school students. He also attended graduate programs in philosophy and economics at the University of Chicago.[5]

Snow was an avid musician. He played the trombone, flute, piccolo, saxophone and guitar,[6][7][8][9] and belonged to a cover band, Beats Workin', which featured fellow Washington-area professionals. Beats Workin' played publicly with a number of rock bands, including Snow's friends Skunk Baxter (The Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan) and Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull. He was featured on an episode of VH1 Classic's Rock 'n Roll Fantasy Camp.[10]

Early career

Tony Snow began his journalism career in 1979 as an editorial writer for The Greensboro Record in North Carolina, next working as an editorial writer at The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Virginia (1981–82), editorial page editor of The Daily Press in Newport News (1982–84), deputy editorial page editor of The Detroit News (1984–87) and editorial page editor of The Washington Times (1987–91). Also, The Detroit News published his commentary from 1993 to 2000, and he was a Counterpoint Columnist for USA Today from 1994 to 2000.

Snow also wrote a syndicated column for Creators Syndicate between 1993 and 2000. As a nationally syndicated columnist, his commentaries appeared in more than 200 newspapers nationwide. Snow won numerous awards during his print career, including citations from the Virginia Press Association, the Detroit Press Club, the Society of Professional Journalists, the American Society of Newspaper Editors, The Associated Press and Gannett.

He appeared on radio and television programs worldwide including The McLaughlin Group, The MacNeil–Lehrer NewsHour, Face the Nation, Crossfire, and Good Morning America. Until 1994, Snow was the writer, correspondent and host of the PBS news special The New Militant Center.

In 1991, Snow took a sabbatical from journalism to work in the White House for President George H. W. Bush, first as chief speechwriter (Deputy Assistant to the President for Communications and Director of Speechwriting) and later as Deputy Assistant to the President for Media Affairs (1992–1993).

From 1996 to 2003, he served as the first host of FOX News Sunday, a Sunday morning interview and roundtable program produced by Fox News, airing on affiliates of the Fox Broadcasting Company and later in the day on Fox News Channel.

Snow served as the primary guest host of Rush Limbaugh's program from the mid-1990s on. He was also a frequent commentator on National Public Radio. Snow's own Tony Snow Show on Fox News Radio premiered in late 2003. It ended when he became White House Press Secretary in April 2006.

Tony Snow pictured with President George W. Bush and outgoing Press Secretary Scott McClellan.
Tony Snow pictured with President George W. Bush and Deputy Press Secretary Dana Perino.

Return to the White House

In April 2006, Snow was named White House Press Secretary to replace Scott McClellan in the George W. Bush administration. His appointment to the position was formally announced on April 26, 2006. The position of White House Press Secretary has historically been filled by individuals from news media backgrounds.

His selection as press secretary was initially criticized because of some of his past comments about Bush.[11] Bush acknowledged Snow's prior criticisms during the announcement of his appointment, stating that Snow was "not afraid to express his own opinions".[12] Snow began his new press secretary duties on May 8, 2006. Snow decided to leave the position of press secretary after new White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten asked all staff members to either commit to staying through the end of Bush's second term or leave by Labor Day of 2007.[13] On September 13, 2007, Tony Snow gave his final press briefing, and there admitted that he would miss the duties of his position. He confessed to all in attendance, "I love these briefings".[14] Seven years earlier, in 2001, in much of the same spirit, Tony Snow expressed the following:

"The White House, with all its pressures, intrigues, triumphs, betrayals, joys and disappointments, is the most special place you ever will work. Look out the gates at the people who slow their gait as they pass, trying to get a glimpse of someone—anyone. They know what you're likely to forget. You're blessed... Leave no room for regrets, for someday, in the not-so-distant future, you will be back where you started: on the sidewalk with the other folks, gawking at that grand, glorious, mysterious place where Lincoln walks at night; and our highest hopes and dreams reside."[15]

Illness and death

In February 2005, while still at Fox News, Snow was diagnosed with colon cancer. He returned to broadcasting in April 2005 after having surgery.[16][17] On March 23, 2007, after almost a year as press secretary, Snow once again took a leave of absence to seek treatment for recurrent cancer.[18][19][20][21] Treatment for the spreading cancer in his final few months forced periodic absences from Snow's duties as press secretary, his subsequent position as a CNN commentator, and his public speaking engagements.[22][23] In the early morning of July 12, 2008, Snow died at Georgetown University Hospital as a result of colon cancer that had spread to his liver.[24] Reacting to Snow's death, President George W. Bush praised Snow's ability to bring "a certain civility to this very contentious job."[13] He was 53 years old. Snow's body was later cremated.

Career timeline





  1. "Former White House Press Secretary Tony Snow joins CNN". CNN. 2008-04-21. Retrieved 2008-07-12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "A Gentleman and Conservative Warrior," IntellectualConservative, July 12, 2008.
  3. "Tony Snow is Dead; Former Bush Press Secretary Was 53," New York Daily News, July 12, 2008.
  4. accessdate=May 26, 2015
  5. "Former White House spokesman Tony Snow dies". 12 July 2008. Retrieved May 25, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. CBS News
  7. NPR
  8. Midland Reporter Telegram
  9. Fox News
  10. Welcome to the Beats Workin' Website!
  11. "Tony Snow On President Bush: 'An Embarrassment,' 'Impotent,' 'Doesn't Seem To Mean What He Says'". Think Progress. April 25, 2006. Retrieved 2007-07-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Dodge, Catherine; Brendan Murray (April 26, 2006). "Bush Picks Fox News's Snow as White House Spokesman". Retrieved 2007-07-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. 13.0 13.1 "Former White House Spokesman Tony Snow Dies". CNN. June 12, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Baker, Peter (September 13, 2007). "Snow Relishes Final Joust With Reporters". The Washington Post.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Change of the Guard". Washington Times. January 1, 2001. Retrieved 2013-01-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Tony Snow Diagnosed With Colon Cancer". Matra Healthcare. February 15, 2005. Retrieved 2007-07-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Why Bush Chose Tony Snow as His New Spokesman". Time Magazine. 2006-04-25. Retrieved 2008-04-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Brusk, Steve (March 23, 2007). "White House spokesman Snow faces surgery". CNN. Retrieved 2007-07-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "White House spokesman's cancer returns". CNN. 2007-03-27. Retrieved 2007-07-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Loven, Jennifer. "Tests show Snow's Cancer has returned". Associated Press (via ABC News). Retrieved 2007-03-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  21. Holland, Steve (March 27, 2007). "Bush's spokesman Snow has recurrence of cancer". Reuters. Retrieved 2007-07-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. Archived from the original on April 27, 2008. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. Former Bush press secretary Snow, sick, cancels Ohio speech
  24. "Tony Snow, Former White House Press Secretary and FOX News Anchor, Dies at 50". FOX News. 2008-07-12. Retrieved 2008-07-12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Media offices
Preceded by
Fox News Sunday Anchor
April 28, 1996 – November 30, 2003
Succeeded by
Chris Wallace
Political offices
Preceded by
Scott McClellan
White House Press Secretary
Succeeded by
Dana Perino