Tony Snow: Former White House spokesman

Tony Snow was the former broadcaster and Fox News journalist who as White House press secretary brought badly needed showmanship to the job of selling President George W. Bush.

During his 17-month tenure behind the podium he used his skills as a broadcaster to become one of President Bush's most pugnacious and effective advocates. Preening White House correspondents were treated as if they were merely callers to his talk radio show and he mercilessly challenged what he viewed as their prejudices and pet obsessions. At a time when President Bush's ratings were falling to historic lows Snow was a very public and ardent defender who helped fend off criticism.

"It was a joy to watch Tony at the podium each day," Bush said. "He brought wit, grace and a great love of country to his work. His colleagues will cherish memories of his energetic personality and relentless good humour."

A conservative columnist and television commentator before becoming a spokesman, the tall and lanky Snow joined the White House in April 2006 when he believed he had defeated a bout of colon cancer. He resigned last September when it returned, while saying he was leaving his $168,000-a-year job because he wanted to make more money to support his family.

Snow was never a close scholar of the voluminous briefing books supplied to him – his briefings were master-classes of improvisation. He used his showbiz talents to deflect journalists from getting at the full story behind many hot issues, from the Bush administration's winking at torture, to obfuscations about Iraq and roadblocks on environmental issues. After briefings were over, Snow's deputies would fan out to correct some of his statements before they made it on to the blogs and newswires.

Snow was born in Berea, Kentucky in 1955, and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, obtaining a BA in philosophy from Davidson College in North Carolina in 1977. He taught physics and geography in Kenya, and was a substitute teacher in Cincinnati, before becoming a journalist. From regional newspapers, he joined The Washington Times in the 1980s before in 1991 becoming speech writer to President George H.W. Bush, who if anything is more clumsy with the English language than his son.

The former president told Fox News on Sunday: "I'm not very anecdotal at age 84, but I am one who remembers quite well being blessed by having him. He wrote it the way he thought I'd want to say it. I'm not Glowing Rhetorical Guy, so he'd have to downgrade some of his own wonderful way with words. Barbara loved him, and so did I. You knew you were getting the truth."

Leonard Doyle

Robert Anthony Snow, journalist, broadcaster and press secretary: born Berea, Kentucky 1 June 1955; White House Press Secretary 2006-07; married Jill Walker (one son, two daughters); died Washington, DC 12 July 2008.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: 3rd Line Virtualisation, Windows & Server Engineer

£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific