Snow, Former Bush Spokesman, Dies at 53; Long Career in Politics, News Included Stint at the Times

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), July 13, 2008 | Go to article overview

Snow, Former Bush Spokesman, Dies at 53; Long Career in Politics, News Included Stint at the Times


Byline: Jon Ward, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Tony Snow, the former Bush White House press secretary known for his wit and agility at the podium, who inspired others by facing cancer with hope and optimism, died early Saturday at Georgetown University Hospital. He was 53.

Mr. Snow, a former editorial page editor for The Washington Times, is survived by his wife, Jill Ellen Walker, and their three children.

He was mourned and remembered Saturday by President Bush and his former colleagues at the White House, by those at Fox News, where he worked as a TV and radio show host for 10 years, and by many others from across the political spectrum.

Mr. Snow had a long career in news and politics, starting out as an editorial writer and eventually running or helping run several newspaper editorial pages, before becoming a nationally syndicated radio talk show host and Fox News star.

He also was known as a devoted husband and father. He loved music, playing flute, saxophone and guitar in a local band called Beats Workin'.

"Laura and I are deeply saddened by the death of our dear friend, Tony Snow. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Jill, and their children, Kendall, Robbie and Kristi," Mr. Bush said.

"The Snow family has lost a beloved husband and father. And America has lost a devoted public servant and a man of character," he said.

Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes called Mr. Snow's death "a tremendous loss for us who knew him, but it's also a loss for the country."

Mr. Snow announced his resignation as White House press secretary in August and was replaced by Dana Perino.

At the time, he said his health had nothing to do with his departure, even though he had lost considerable weight and his thinning hair had turned white during several months of chemotherapy and other cancer treatments.

"I ran out of money," Mr. Snow said at the time. "As far as my health, I'm doing fine. Cancer has nothing to do with this."

Mr. Snow said he wanted to make more money in part by writing books and giving speeches across the country, mostly on politics. His first book, however, would be on "how you deal with sickness."

"One of the things that I have found out is that at least getting out and talking about my own experience with cancer is it's proved to be helpful to people, and that's enormously gratifying," said Mr. Snow, who often would display a yellow "LiveStrong" bracelet from the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

From the podium, he praised medical advances and called his battle with cancer "the best thing that ever happened to me."

"I lost a mother to cancer when I was 17, same type, colon cancer. And what has happened in the field of cancer since then is a miracle," he said.

Mr. Bush said at the time that Mr. Snow would battle his cancer "and win."

Mr. Snow received his first diagnosis of stage three colon cancer, an advanced but still concentrated form, in 2005. His colon was removed and he underwent six months of chemotherapy, returning to work as a nationally syndicated radio host during the latter stages of treatment.

In May 2006, he became Mr. Bush's third press secretary, replacing Scott McClellan, even though he had been publicly critical of the president, calling Mr. Bush "something of an embarrassment" to conservatives.

He proved to be an especially able representative for Mr. Bush, a figure that seemed better suited to the new world of 24-hour television news networks' combative definition of news. Where his predecessors had been careful and calculating, Mr. Snow was eager to spar with reporters on Iraq, as violence there spiraled out of control in 2006, and on the CIA leak case and the subsequent trial of Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby Jr.

"As President Bush's press secretary, he did a remarkable thing. …

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