Tony Snow Has Reporters Laughing in the Aisles

September 15th, 2006 12:16 PM
Tony Snow, the still fairly new White House press secretary who's been at the job for only four months, is getting more "laughs" out of the gathered reporters than his predecessor, Scott McCellan.

Snow was a veteran journalist and commentator before becoming press secretary, giving him much more experience than McClellan had before taking the job. Snow has been more adept at handling McClellan's old nemeses, Helen Thomas and David Gregory.

Reports the Washington Examiner:

Yeas & Nays reviewed the press briefing and press gaggle transcripts from Snow’s first four months on the job and compared them to those of Snow’s predecessor, Scott McClellan, during his first four months.

Under Snow, there were more than 330 percent more instances of laughter — as defined by the transcriber’s insertion of “(Laughter)” in the transcript — than under McClellan.

Have reporters fallen for the former Fox News commentator’s woo and charm? And — gasp! — could Snow actually be making the notoriously curmudgeonly task of covering the White House fun?

“It’s not that Tony’s necessarily a laugh riot,” says Ron Hutcheson, who covers the White House for McClatchy newspapers. “But he engages, and it’s a lot more fun to be in the room with somebody who’s engaging reporters.” Hutcheson says that McClellan, on the other hand, “was just cautious, cautious to a fault. He would retreat to the talking points and it was almost as if he didn’t listen to the question.”

Snow says that his humor is not intentional. “It’s just doing what I do, the way I do it,” he says. “For me, the job is a blast. I love the job and I think that’s part of it. And I enjoy the people out there. It’s not like I feel as if I’m among strangers. You’ve just got to be yourself when you’re doing a briefing.”

But is there any danger in being a bit too humorous?

“Well, I do like to have fun, but at the same time you don’t want to be doing stand-up as the spokesperson of the president and the leader of the free world,” he says.