White House

White House press secretary steps down

WASHINGTON — The exodus of high-profile White House officials continued Friday with the resignation of perhaps the most visible one: Press Secretary Tony Snow.

Snow, who's battling a recurrence of cancer, said he'd step down on Sept. 14. White House officials said Deputy Press Secretary Dana Perino will take his place.

Snow said his primary reason for leaving for was financial. The father of three children, Snow said he needs to make more money than his $168,000 White House salary.

"I sadly accept his desire to leave the White House," President Bush told reporters. "It's been a joy to watch him spar with you. He's smart, he's capable, he's witty. He's able to talk about issues in a way that the American people can understand."

The president said he didn't know what Snow would do after leaving the White House but he predicted that he'd "battle cancer and win" and be a "stellar contributor to society."

His hair grayer and thinner from chemotherapy treatments, Snow thanked Bush for the chance to serve in the White House and saluted the reporters with whom he sometimes clashed.

"This job has really been a dream for me and a blast," he told Bush. "I've had an enormous amount of fun and satisfaction, and I'm proud to be working for you and will continue, after I leave working for the White House, to speak out about issues I care about."

Snow, 52, was a talk show host on Fox News Radio before he became Bush's press secretary in April 2006. He was hired to add star power to the White House press briefing room podium after Scott McClellan's tenure as press secretary.

Snow took the job after proclaiming that he'd beaten cancer. His colon was removed two years ago after it was found to be cancerous. Perino tearfully announced in March that Snow's cancer had returned and spread to his liver. Surgeons removed a cancerous growth from his lower abdomen.

With his telegenic looks and quick wit, Snow was a hit with daily press briefing viewers who enjoyed his sometimes humorous sparring with reporters. He also was a hit in Republican Party circles, becoming the first known White House press secretary to headline a political party fundraiser.

Snow is the latest White House official to quit as the Bush presidency winds down.

Friday is White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove's last day. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced his resignation earlier this week. Former White House Counselor Dan Bartlett, White House Attorney Harriet Miers, Budget Director Rob Portman, Political Director Sara Taylor, Deputy National Security Adviser J.D. Crouch and Meghan O'Sullivan, a national security adviser who worked on Iraq, also have stepped down.