The Snowman Cometh

In a profile today of Tony Snow, Howard Kurtz scores a “brief interview” with George W. Bush, who summarizes White House press relations thusly: “‘I understand the reporters have a job to do,” the president said. “I talk to them every day. I don’t like what they write, but they don’t like what I say,’ he added, half jokingly.”

After a weekend when reporters threw stones at Snow’s rocky first gaggle, Kurtz’ column underscores the former Fox News commentator’s humanity. Among the revealing nuggets about the new First Flack:

That a brief stint in Cincinnati helped convert the college “socialist” into a compassionate conservative: “He spent time teaching in Cincinnati and also in Kenya, which he says convinced him of ‘the incredible failure of socialism.'”

That Snow has a touch of hypochondria (but then, who wouldn’t, after being diagnosed with colon cancer early last year?): “He took off several weeks during what turned out to be two operations and several rounds of chemotherapy. But even as he was healing, Snow found that ‘you get freaked out’ by the experience. Once, while working out on an elliptical machine in his garage, Snow briefly convinced himself that he must have brain cancer. It turned out to be allergies.”

Snow’s first on-camera briefing is tomorrow. Is he ready for his close-up? We’ll find out when we compare afternoon headlines with those of the last few days:

“Snow and Media Get Off to Frosty Start” (Los Angeles Times)

“Press Secretary’s First Gaggle: ‘Just a Mess'” (New York Times)

“Snow’s first gaggle a ‘mess'” (Austin-American Statesman)

“Snow ticks off White House press corps” (Cincinnatti Enquirer)

“From the New Kid, Proceedings With Caution” (Washington Post)

“New Bush spokesman Tony Snow has bumpy first day on the job” (AFP)

“New White House Spokesman has Rough Inaugural Session with Reporters”(VOA)

“Tony Snow blinks after first look at press corps” (Reuters)