McClellan resigns; will a Fox man replace him?

Tony Snow has been auditioning for the job for years.


Tim Grieve
April 19, 2006 5:52PM (UTC)

Scott McClellan has just resigned as White House press secretary. Appearing on the South Lawn of the White House with the president, McClellan said, "I have given it my all, sir, and I have given you my all, sir, and I will continue to do so as we transition to a new press secretary."

While we're not ones for dancing on the grave, we do note with some interest word of a possible successor to McClellan: As the New York Times reports this morning, White House officials have been talking about the press secretary job with Fox News commentator and radio talk-show host Tony Snow.

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Tony Snow? That would be this man.

Sources tell the Times that White House officials have talked with Snow to gauge his interest in the job. Interested? He seems to have been auditioning for the job for years. A former speechwriter for the president's father, Snow has dispensed all sorts of pro-Bush wit and wisdom in his syndicated column and in his Fox appearances.

A few nuggets from the archives:

In an appearance on Fox earlier this year, Snow claimed that Valerie Plame wasn't a covert CIA officer at the time the Bush administration blew her cover, adding, "even her husband says she wasn't covert for six years." Plame's husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, has never said any such thing.

In a posting to his blog, Snow said that the White House ought to send flowers and chocolates to the New York Times reporters who broke the warrantless-spying story. Snow said the reporters had "saved the Bush presidency" by revealing that the president was doing such a good job of keeping tabs on al-Qaida, and he suggested that the story would work to Bush's political and polling advantage. Engaging in exactly the sort of false-choice argument he had made repeatedly, Snow wrote: "If we try to fight the war on terror with eyes shut and ears packed with wax, innocent people will die."

In a column on Iraq in December, Snow said it would be easy to call "Jack Murtha, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid or any of the other wheezy prophets of the Defeatocrat Party as oddities were it not for the fact that their position on Iraq is deeply consonant with what the Modern Democratic Party has believed for 50 years." He then said that Democrats were stupidly -- and dangerously -- rejecting the president's "infinitely variable approach to the ever-shifting situation in Iraq" with a "weird faith in plans."

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In a column following the vice president's shooting of Texas attorney Harry Whittington, Snow said reporters who pressed for answers were "fools" who had forgotten "the importance of behaving like human beings, rather than velociraptors." He added: "Most of us have tasted the milk of human kindness, and thus incline to support victims of unforeseen hardships or tragedies, and Dick Cheney clearly fell into that category. He was a man in distress."

Truth be told, we were starting to worry that we'd miss having Scott McClellan to kick around anymore. The only bad news we see now: The Times says Snow isn't the only candidate to replace him.


Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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