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Tony Snow: He chokes up talking about his colon cancer in first televised briefing. Packed house. What a difference.


Blogger Sweet reviews the first televised briefing hosted by new White House Press Secretary Tony Snow . If I may borrow a thumb from colleague Roger Ebert, I'd rate briefing one a thumbs up.

The briefing room was packed. That's reporters in most of the 48 seats arranged like in a small theater plus people jammed in the aisles.

Snow, fresh from Fox News, is extremely telegenic. In a personal aside, Snow fights back tears talking about his colon cancer. He starts to choke after being asked about a yellow bracelet he is wearing. He stops talking to try to regain his composure. I wonder if he is about to cry.

A line from a movie is floating through my mind.
``There's no crying in baseball.'' (From ``A League of Their Own'')

There's no crying in the White House.

Summary: What a difference.
Use of language: Good.
TV presence: Obvious.
Willing to spar: Yes
Able to give pushback: Yes
Over apologetic: Yes, after he presumed Senate will pass an immigration bill.
The ability to say the same thing over and over, phrased differently: Yes.
Robotic: No. Quite a contrast for the man he replaced, Scott McClellan.
Affable: Yes
Ability to try to intimidate: Yes. In a curt reply to a gadfly talk show host. McClellan would always take his questions. Even though today's question was not all that nutty, Snow's reply was a shot: mostly icy silence and a refusal to engage.

from the Snow briefing...
Q And just a second question. Why did you choose to wear the yellow bracelet today? What's the importance to you?

MR. SNOW: Well, I had cancer last year. You know, I mean, in having cancer -- you know, it's one of these things -- and, you know, thank Terry Hunt for having provided it. I lost my old one when I was in the hospital having my last cancer surgery.

It's going to sound stupid, and I'll be personal here, but -- (pause) --

Q Tony, I'm sorry.

MR. SNOW: No, no. Just having gone through this last year -- and I said this to Chris Wallace -- was the best thing that ever happened to me. (Pauses.)

It's my Ed Muskie moment. (Laughter.)

I lost a mother to cancer when I was 17, same type -- colon cancer. And what has happened in the field of cancer since then is a miracle. I actually had a chance to talk today with Lance Anderson about this. Because you know what, it's one of these things where -- whatever we may say about a health care system, the technologies that were available to me, that have me standing behind this podium today -- well the doctor who said, "You don't have to worry about getting cancer, just heartburn talking to these people" -- (laughter) -- that's a wonderful thing. And I feel every day's a blessing. (Scattered applause.)


as a baby i suffered with hirsprung desease and i would like to know how much of a risk i have of contracting colon cancer

What channel and time do we find the White House Briefing to see Tony Snow?
Lynn Sweet reply....the time is not always the same. Today, Wednesday, it is set for 11:30 a.m. Chicago time. The cable news channels may carry a portion of it live--but no guarantees. C-Span often will replay the briefing--but will not go live if the House and Senate are in session on the floor. The White House posts a transcript at

Lance Anderson...?
Lynn Sweet reply....he corrected himself later in's Armstrong

Why did you give Snow a free pass just because he shed some tears? Someone should've asked him how he thinks he would've fared if he was was one of the tens of millions of Americans without health insurance. Someone should have asked him how he feels about defending Bush's proposed healthcare "reforms" which would make it even harder on ordinary people. I have seen with my own eyes how families can be devastated by medical bills and people die because they didn't have enough money to get treated. And so, I can be glad that Snow is doing better, but he shouldn't be let off the hook.

if his mother died from it, they might have the colon-cancer gene. it's generally called Lynch Syndrome.

There is a growing number of colon cancer cases and has caused many deaths already. People who have a history of cancer is likely to have it if they do not take care of themselves. Cancer can be prevented with a healthy diet, exercise and improving one's lifestyle. Healthy food alone made of fruits, vegetables, whole grain and legumes can help aid in healthy digestion and help eliminate wastes and toxins through regular bowel movement.

Being diagnosed with cancer truly takes a toll to one's personal as well as professional life, and celebrities are no exception. This takes time away from your family and friends and the effect of chemotherapy and other screening tests can give false hopes. Cancer claims thousands of lives annually, needs to be diagnosed earlier so that patients can be presented with better ways to get cured so that they can go on living normal lives. The same goes with other kinds of cancer like that of the colon - I do hope that more studies will conducted about cancer.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on May 16, 2006 5:37 PM.

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Bush: Hey, dudesses. Coins new word in honoring Olympians. As in``dudes and dudesses.'' Sends Rove to The Hill to talk to House GOP on immigration. UPDATE: Prez visits border at Yuma, Ariz. on Thursday. is the next entry in this blog.

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