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This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
President GEORGE W. BUSH: I'm here in the briefing room to break some news. I've asked Tony Snow to serve as my new press secretary.
MONTAGNE: With those words, President Bush, today, named his new spokesman, Tony Snow of Fox News. He'll take the place of Scott McClellan, who announced his resignation last week.
Joining me now, to talk about Tony Snow and his new job, is NPR's White House Correspondent David Greene. Good morning.
DAVID GREENE reporting:
Good morning, Renee.
MONTAGNE: President Bush had a little laugh in his voice when he said that Tony Snow was his new man, but he also called him a man of courage and integrity-two attributes he will surely need in his new job.
GREENE: That's right. The briefing room is always a tough place for press secretaries, as most former ones will tell you, and Snow will certainly have to work to establish credibility with the press corp. Mr. Bush brought him in to the briefing room to, I guess, take a look at his new digs. And, the president often likes to chide the press, whenever he gets the opportunity. He said that Snow knows a lot of the people in the room, in front of him, and that he took the job anyway.
MONTAGNE: And the president pointed out that Tony Snow has, at times, criticized him-Mr. Bush. Let's listen to a little of what he had to say.
President GEORGE W. BUSH: For those of you who've read his columns and listened to his radio show-he's sometimes disagreed with me. I asked him about those comments, and he said, you should have heard what I said about the other guy.
MONTAGNE: David, we've seen several changes at the White House in these past weeks, how important is this one?
GREENE: Well, it's important because Snow's going to be the public face of this administration. If you talk to people in the White House, and former people who worked here, they'll tell you that a staff change-it's not just a means to an end, it's an end in itself, because they want to send a signal to Americans, that the president does know that his poll numbers are low, and that he's working to freshen things up here. And Snow-Snow has been critical of the president in the past, as you said, and he's accused the president of losing, wavering on his conservatism. So, this could be a signal that the White House is reaching out to try and shore up the Republican base, at this point.
MONTAGNE: And Tony Snow reached out to reporters in his first remarks to the White House press corp., today. Here's a clip from his statement.
Mr. TONY SNOW (White House Press Secretary): One of the reasons I took the job is, not only because I believe in the president, because, believe it or not, I want to work with you. These are times that are going to be very challenging. We've got a lot of big issues ahead and we've got a lot of important things that all of us are going to be covering, together.
MONTAGNE: David, how do you think the new presidential press secretary will be received in the briefing room?
GREENE: Well, we'll have to see. He made the point, today, Snow did, that he's going to be working with us, and tried to even, kind of hint that he wants to consider himself one of us. He said, we'll be covering issues, all of us, together. He said he wants to work with the press. But, to have a cozy professional relationship with the White House press corp., there would have to be a pretty big change in how the president manages the press. If things go as they have, Snow'll be sticking to message, and that will be somewhat frustrating to reporters. Mr. Bush made the point that he's the decision-maker, and that it's Snow's job to explain those decisions to the press. So, I can't see him having some new amount of leeway, immediately. If it's any indication--as the president and Snow walked out, people shouted questions-they left without taking them. And one person said, Huh, off to a good start.
MONTAGNE: David, thanks very much.
GREENE: Thank you, Renee.
MONTAGNE: That's NPR White House Correspondent, David Greene. President Bush, today, named a new press secretary, conservative commentator Tony Snow, of Fox News.
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