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Tony Snow: Reporters more liberal than average Americans

They're not crusaders, the departing White House press secretary says, but their outlook makes it harder for GOP administrations to communicate.

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On his final day as assistant to the president and press secretary, Tony Snow was the guest at Friday's Monitor breakfast.

Mr. Snow and his assistant, Ed Buckley, walked the two blocks from the White House to the Sofitel Hotel ballroom where some 30 reporters had gathered.

Snow is leaving the high profile position after 16 months on the job. "I want to fight cancer and spend time with my family," he said at the breakfast.

Through the years, nine White House press secretaries have met with the breakfast group, starting with the late George Reedy, who worked for President Johnson.

That was a very different time in the media world. In a taped Oval Office conversation excerpted by USA Today, President Johnson once told Reedy that poor grooming was keeping the president from naming him to an even loftier post.

"I want to do it, but you've got to help yourself," LBJ said. "You come in with a wrinkled suit and you come in with a dirty shirt; you come in with your tie screwed up. I want you to look real nice. Get yourself a corset if you have to."

Snow, on the other hand, is the very model of an impeccably dressed, intellectually nimble presidential spokesperson, optimally prepared for the YouTube age.

There are lots of reasons for the press corps' affection for Snow. My list would include his grace in the face of adversity and his unfailing courtesy to those of us who sit in the White House briefing room's cheap seats.

Since Snow announced his departure, some critics have said there was a disconnect between the Bush administration policies he defended and the details of Snow's personal experience.

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