THAT'S SNOW BUSINESS 


;"Bush is going to need him to find the good in the administration. Tony will talk about the bad stuff, but he'll find some good things, too." — Dottie Snow, on her stepson Tony's new job as White House press secretary; Orlando Sentinel, April 27

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;Transcript of White House press briefing, May 11, 2006:

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;;SNOW: Good afternoon, everyone. I just want to start out by updating you on some of the headway I've been making since we last got together. As you know, when I took over this podium from Scott McClellan, the president charged me with two basic tasks: a) to communicate the policies of this White House completely and accurately to the Washington press corps; and b) to find some good in the administration somewhere, anywhere.

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;The first part of my job, you get to see me do every day. The second part takes up almost all the rest of my waking hours. I'm talking a major, concentrated effort, following up the tiniest of leads and looking under every little cabbage leaf for a smidgen of news you guys might construe as "good."

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;What I've learned is that this project is going to require a two-way flow of information. So basically, if one of you hears about anything positive this administration is doing — like signing off on a spiffy new postage stamp, maybe, or that the quality of the Peeps we gave out at the Easter Egg Roll hit an all-time high — I'd urge you to please shoot me an e-mail.

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;Now I think we should open it up to questions.

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;Q: Tony, I'd like to ask you about the president's policy on Iran.

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;SNOW: Absolutely, Jim.

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;Q: The president has said that he will not tolerate Iran ramping up its nuclear capability, and that every option is on the table for curtailing that country's attempts to enrich uranium. But with so much of America's credibility — not to mention its military resources — squandered on other ongoing international ventures, what do you think the chances are that we could ever back up that boast? Would, you say, perhaps, that the prognosis is "good"?

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;SNOW: Not good, Jim.

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;Q: Thank you.

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;SNOW: I mean, I've worked long and hard looking for the good in that particular situation, and it's just not there. At one point, I thought I had found someone at the Pentagon who was willing to categorize our prospects as "right fair to middlin'." He felt encouraged by reports that Iran has no active military or working infrastructure, and wallows in a constant state of chaos we could easily exploit. But it turned out he was confusing Iran with Iraq. Next question.

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;Q: Tony, hurricane season is once again right round the corner. Meanwhile, a Senate panel has ruled that FEMA is completely ineffective and should be dismantled. With those warning signals on the front pages, how should we feel about this country's responsiveness to any coming natural disaster? Does it stop at "pretty stinky," or would you go so far as to say it is in fact "piss-poor"?

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;SNOW: Mike, let's be clear about our terms here. There's nothing in the panel's report that warrants an el-stinko outlook on the part of the American public. In fact, there are many aspects of our preparedness that put us instead at "mildly screwed." For instance, I've spoken to a number of experts, and they feel reasonably sure that any property that was utterly demolished in last summer's storms cannot be destroyed again. So if I had to give our situation a one-word description, the word I would be using is "meh." Next.

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;Q: Tony, Karl Rove was recently brought back in for another round of questioning in the Valerie Plame leak scandal. I know the president has you hunting high and low for the good in this development. So how do you respond to the comments of Beltway blogger Wonkette, who stated last week that revelations are forthcoming that are not only not "good," but range from "humiliating" to "crap-your-pants-in-disgrace"?

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;SNOW: Helen, I can only echo the comments of my predecessor: This administration will not comment on an ongoing investigation. However, I am in regular contact with the White House launderer, and he says you should give him a call. (Laughter.) Yes?

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;Q: Tony, in a recent poll, a group of historians opined that President Bush may be remembered as the worst president in history. In your estimation, is this a glass that's half-empty or half-full? I'd like a follow-up.

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;SNOW: Aaron, this administration isn't big on analogies. But we've been known to spend an hour or two gazing into the Magic 8 Ball, so I'd say your question falls under the rubric of "Signs point to yes." What's your second question?

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;Q: Can you tell me anything today that won't make me want to open a vein?

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;SNOW: Sure. I just saved a bundle on my car insurance by switching to Geico.

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; sschneider@orlandoweekly.com

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