WASHINGTON, D.C.—Tony Snow, the former Fox News commentator who was named White House press secretary in April of 2006, will leave the position in September. He will be replaced by his deputy, 35-year-old Dana Perino.
Snow had attracted scorn in Democratic circles two weeks ago when he signaled his intent to step down with a complaint that he was running out of money. The White House position pays $168,000. But Snow had also been battling colon cancer—Perino had filled in for him during a five-week absence when he underwent surgery to remove a growth in his abdominal area earlier this year.
“It’s been a joy to watch him spar with you,” Bush told the White House press corps when he announced Snow’s departure. “He’s smart, he’s capable, he’s witty.”
Perino will be only the second woman to be White House press secretary, following in the footsteps of Clinton spokeswoman Dee Dee Myers. She has a reputation for being thorough and responsive to reports’ questions. Her experience includes stints as a broadcast reporter in Illinois, in public affairs for technology companies, and in the Justice Department as press aide. She was also associate director of communications at the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
“There is no one better suited, in the sense she has earned the complete trust of the president, is well-known and regarded within the White House, has well-established relations with the press and has a good TV presence,” former press secretary Scott McClellan told The New York Times.
Snow is the latest in a string of high-level officials to leave the White House, following senior advisor Karl Rove and White House counselor Dan Bartlett.