Tony Snow dead from colon cancer

Tony Snow, a conservative writer and commentator who cheerfully sparred with reporters in the White House briefing room during a stint as President Bush’s press secretary, has died of colon cancer, Fox News reported Saturday. Snow was 53 years old.

Snow, who served as the first host of the television news program "Fox News Sunday" from 1996 to 2003, would later say that in the Bush administration he was enjoying "the most exciting, intellectually aerobic job I’m ever going to have."

Snow was working for Fox News Channel and Fox News Radio when he replaced Scott McClellan as press secretary in May 2006 during a White House shake-up. Unlike McClellan, who came to define caution and bland delivery from the White House podium, Snow was never shy about playing to the cameras.

With a quick-from-the-lip repartee, broadcaster’s good looks and a relentlessly bright outlook — if not always a command of the facts — he became a popular figure around the country to the delight of his White House bosses.

He served just 17 months as press secretary, a tenure interrupted by his second bout with cancer. In 2005 doctors had removed his colon and he began six months of chemotherapy. In March 2007 a cancerous growth was removed from his abdominal area and he spent five weeks recuperating before returning to the White House.

He resigned as Bush’s chief spokesman six months later, in September 2007, citing not his health but a need to earn more than the $168,000 a year he was paid in the government post. In April, he joined CNN as a commentator.

In that year and a half at the White House, Snow brought partisan zeal and the skills of a seasoned performer to the task of explaining and defending the president’s policies. During daily briefings, he challenged reporters, scolded them and questioned their motives as if he were starring in a TV show broadcast live from the West Wing.

Critics suggested that Snow was turning the traditionally informational daily briefing into a personality-driven media event short on facts and long on confrontation. He was the first press secretary, by his own accounting, to travel the country raising money for Republican candidates.

Although a star in conservative politics, as a commentator he had not always been on the president’s side. He once called Bush "something of an embarrassment" in conservative circles and criticized what he called Bush’s "lackluster" domestic policy.

Most of Snow’s career in journalism involved expressing his conservative views. After earning a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Davidson College in North Carolina in 1977 and studying economics and philosophy at the University of Chicago, he wrote editorials for The Greensboro (N.C.) Record, and The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk.

He was the editorial page editor of The Newport News (Va.) Daily Press and deputy editorial page editor of The Detroit News before moving to Washington in 1987 to become editorial page editor of The Washington Times.

Snow left journalism in 1991 to join the administration of President George H.W. Bush as director of speechwriting and deputy assistant to the president for media affairs. He then rejoined the news media to write nationally syndicated columns for The Detroit News and USA Today during much of the Clinton administration.

Robert Anthony Snow was born June 1, 1955, in Berea, Ky., and spent his childhood in the Cincinnati area. Survivors include his wife, Jill Ellen Walker, whom he married in 1987, and three children.


Associated Press writer Jennifer Loven contributed to this report.


  1. Ladywolf55

    No matter the difference of politics, I feel very sorry for Tony Snow’s family today. Having had a mother die from colon cancer, and being Tony Snow’s age, I can truly empathize with what they are going through. May he rest in peace.

  2. Steve Williams

    This is someone who knowingly and willingly participated in treason against the People and Constitution of the United States of America.

    We are suffering now and going to suffer much worse to come because of what Snow and others like him have done to the USA.

    I will cry no tears of sadness for someone who helped to destroy the United States. I feel no sense of stockholm syndrome.

  3. bryan mcclellan

    Sadly this will be headlined for the entire coming week and our military losses and dire economic straits will again get but a back page blurb.

    We all are dying, some sooner than others and I feel for the survivors, but the impending media frenzy about yet another so called media darling passing has me ready to hurl.

    What is the fascination with these airbrushed primped up mouthpieces that are trotted out to parse and misinform and hide the real truth from the public.

    This column states he cheerfully sparred with the W.H. press corp and was quoted as saying it was an exciting and intellectually aerobic job to be one of bush’s parrots.

    Aerobic is not quite the word I would use,
    as many times as I watched him run marathons of mis direction, so too I witnessed the fact that he rarely answered a direct question.How did he ever catch his breath?

    If playing fast and loose with the truth is that exciting then it’s no wonder he was always smiling.

    Or was he laughing at us, the ones he made fools of time and time again?

    History has a way of becoming less cruel at the passing of so called notables and I wonder what Mr Snow will say as he stands before judgment about the ones his life and death will continue to wrongly overshadow for the next news cycle ?

    RIP MR Snow

  4. twist

    I am really sad & sorry, not for Tony, but for all of you. It must be so hard to face each day with such a hateful, hopeless perspective.
    As for this: >>>”Bravo, Bryan McClellan, for saying what needs to be said.”<<< I guess i don’t understand why it “needs to be said”. What was accomplished by saying this, I honestly don’t get it. Would someone please take the time to explain this to me? In the the meantime, please accept my sincerest condolences …

  5. bryan mcclellan

    Dear Twist:
    Please do not believe that thinking or penning my commentary gave any succor or satisfaction, please.

    I’m unabashedly anti war.

  6. Carl Nemo

    I’ll keep the explanation simple “twist”…!

    Supposedly CHB is a news forum and not a blog. Tony Snow was not close to any of us; ie., a family member etc.

    Although I feel empathy and an equal measure of sympathy for his family members and close friends; I, and others have no mandate to feat this man on a public forum.

    We haven’t used crude or vulgar language, but simply defining how this media individual offered to perform for the “Whitehouse of lies” no different than Scott McClellan who recently disclosed as to just how low a metric which the Bush Whitehouse interfaces with the media and the public in general.

    It’s people like these working together with the powers that be; all with either a smirk or a smile on their faces, to destroy your life and our nation that causes myself and other informed citizens grave concern.

    The Snow editorial and the subsequent postings to CHB are not necessarily to be those expected at his wake.

    So get a grip on yourself and cut the boohoo nonsense about someone you didn’t know personally or evidently did little research about as to how he operated in life.

    We went through his same high theater about a month ago concerning Tim Russert. RIP both Tim and Tony…! : |

    Carl Nemo **==

  7. Doug Thompson

    Twist, I must agree with you that the bile shown in these comments is disgusting.

    Unlike those who assume that none of us here knew Tony Snow, I did. Tony was a longtime friend and while our political differences were different, we did not allow those differences to get in the way of our friendship and respect for each other.

    It is a shame that we have lost the ability to have political differences in this country. Those who share different opinions and perspective on issues are treated as enemies of the state.

    I saw the same disgusting and callous disregard for life expressed on this web site when Tim Russert died. No compassion, no decency, no regard for the feelings of friends and family.

    The privilege to post comments on this web site is hanging by a thread and the more I read the fifth expressed in comments like those posted here the more I’m inclined to take that privilege away from readers. I don’t like hate in any form, from any source and from any point of view.

  8. twist

    Thank you Doug. A voice of reason – somtimes i become very troubled by the hate & anger that seems so prevalent anymore.
    Bryan, I want to add one more thought for you; perhaps your angry words are better directed at what you are actually frustrated by; THE WAR. Not the man, a man who did not create the circumstances that brought about the war – just a thought …

  9. twist

    I appreciate the heartfelt response from Bryan, you responded simply & honestly to my question – Thank You.
    As for this …
    >>>”So get a grip on yourself and cut the boohoo nonsense about someone you didn’t know personally or evidently did little research about as to how he operated in life.”<<< I have re-read my post several times & see no “boohoo nonsense” regarding Tony Snow. In fact, I did not comment on Tony AT ALL! Also, you have no way of knowing whether I knew or was related to Tony, so please tread lightly there. I presented no facts or statements of any kind in my post, so I have no idea how you can possibly know what I know or think I know about the man. You evidently read a whole lot more in my post than I wrote. I honestly felt bad for the angst I saw in Bryan’s post AND he answered my question quite beautifully. Your anger against someone YOU did not know personally is palpable & I truly don’t understand that kind of spite. I’m sorry if I have added to your anger, my curiosity gets the better of me sometimes. Twist

  10. Carl Nemo

    Hi Doug Thompson…

    I’m getting concerned for your mental well-being Mr. Thompson.

    You post on the Muse how you’re a workaholic and need many well-deserved vacations. Whether you are doing so and taking care of your evident stress is questionable.

    A month ago you came on your site and said “I quit”…!

    About a week ago you come on your site and make an inflammatory post against the Bushista’s bordering on an open declaration of physical revolution; ie., how you can no longer sit by and let them destroy your country etc.

    Even T.J. Flapsaddle made the comment that if your comments didn’t earn you a national security letter then he couldn’t imagine what would do so?!

    I whole-heartedly agree with you that I wouldn’t tolerate vulgar, crude commentary towards death postings, but evidently you aren’t willing to link media personnel including journalists like yourself as part of our grave national situation.

    If you are looking for a bunch of toady sycophants to post content on your site that meets your scrutiny and approval then you should hang up your credentials as a journalist, self-imagined or otherwise.

    Mainly because of my concern for your health and general well-being, I recommend you get some serious counseling to find out why you can’t seem to cope with the realities of everyday living in the modern world. If you aren’t on anti-depressants then maybe you need to get a prescription for the same. I guess 80 million Americans can’t be wrong concerning such meds.

    My second unsolicited suggestion is that maybe it’s time for you to pull the plug on CHB, ReaderRant and every other web activity in which you are engaged except for your web design function and start to smell the roses and drink a cup of your favorite joe. You live in a beautiful area of Virginia in a nice community. Life is short indeed and never forget you’ll be dead forever…!

    It’s been a pleasure posting on your site and thanks for the “privilege”.

    Your friend in “thought”…!

    Carl Nemo **==