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Former White House Spokesman Tony Snow Dies

Katherine Peters | News & Culture Editor | Monday, July 14, 2008

Former White House Spokesman Tony Snow Dies

July 14, 2008

Former White House press secretary and conservative pundit Tony Snow died Saturday morning after a second bout with cancer. He was 53.

Snow’s career included stints as a syndicated columnist, editor, speechwriter, newsman, TV anchor, radio show host and musician, according to Fox News. His career eventually took him to the White House in 2006 as President Bush’s press secretary.

Behind the podium, he frequently took press members to task for the assumed premises in their questions while maintaining a generous spirit. He resigned in September, citing a desire to ensure his family’s financial security. Still, he called the job "the most fun I've ever had,” CNN reported.

"Tony did his job with more flair than almost any press secretary before him," said William McGurn, Bush's former chief speechwriter, in a Fox News article. "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."

On Sunday President Bush said, “"Laura and I are really saddened by his death.” Bush described Snow as "a smart and capable man," "an honest guy" with a "wonderful sense of humor,” according to Fox News.

Snow also worked for the first President George Bush, who commented Saturday, "In this case it isn't a press secretary. It isn't a speech writer. It was a dear, valued friend that went on to heaven... He won the respect of even those who violently disagree with the president's proposals and policies. For that I think he'll be remembered. He brought a certain civility to this very contentious job."

Many of the press members Snow worked with as press secretary were actually former colleagues in the media. Yesterday, many Sunday shows honored Snow at some point in their programs. Snow played a key role in Fox network’s jump into the news arena as the seven-year host of “Fox News Sunday,” the network’s first news program.

"He was a graceful spokesman with a great taste for music. He had strong political views, but he had friends across the political spectrum in this city and beyond. He went out as he lived, with great conviction and with great dignity. And his family is in our thoughts and prayers this morning,” said Tom Brocaw, moderator of NBC’s “Meet the Press, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Snow was widely held as a man who deeply cared about the issues that he dealt with in the newsroom and behind the podium. Many commentators remember him as incredibly light on his feet, heavy on the issues, and quick with his smile.

CNN noted that Snow was a frequent guest on CNN’s “Late Edition” in the early 1990s, an “unscripted environment, [in which] he was so quick, so funny, so tough in everything that he said, and informed," recalled Frank Sesno, former host of “Late Edition.  "... Tony brought this remarkable mix of brains and wit and edge and humanity to what he did."

Snow made a public announcement about his health in April 2007, CNN reported.

"I want to thank you all. It really meant the world to me,” he said. “Anybody who does not believe that thoughts and prayers make a difference, they're just wrong."