The Note: Bolten and Snow


Maybe leaks are going to be more common in the Tony Snow Era.

The man has not even started officially yet as White House press secretary, and already the tightness of the Andy Card days seems to be a thing of the past.

ABC News has exclusively obtained this undated memo from Snow to his new colleagues. It is not clear when it was written, but from the content, it must have been in the last few days. It was given to ABC News by a Republican who is not pleased with Snow's hiring.

At publication time, calls to Snow, Bolten, and the White House press office were not returned.


To: Josh Bolten, Dan Bartlett and Nicolle Wallace

From: Tony Snow

Re: Our message

After observing how the Press Office has operated, first from the outside and for the last week from the inside, I wanted to share some initial thoughts about what I think needs to be done. Thank you so much for the trust you've placed in me and the risk you took by making an unconventional choice in a most conventional White House. I promise I won't screw it up.

First, I want to clear the air about something that I know has been bothering some people in the building -- and frankly has been bothering me, too. When I was at the podium with the President and Scott McClellan, I meant to recognize Scottie and say something nice about him and the big shoes I have to fill. He was standing right next to me, and I know it really rubbed people the wrong way and looked ludicrous for me to ignore him.

Like Hilary Swank after she won for "Boys Don't Cry" and failed to mention, Chad Lowe, I had intended to say something, and I just blanked. I really felt badly about it, and said so right away. I know Scott had told his friends he would be welcoming, and he has been, and I really appreciate his help with the transition. After talking to reporters and other staffers, I realize better why people like him so much. (And all those cats and dogs at home! The man's a saint!) I recognize that Scott has a hard-won, first-hand understanding of the ecology of Bushworld that I can only hope to gain by osmosis. I respect that, and I plan to stay in regular touch with Scott -- if he'll take my calls when he's off making all that speakers' bureau buckage.

Second, I've been doing my own reporting and I know there are concerns inside that I might mistake the George Bush Show for the Tony Snow Show. I am extremely conscious of this and am going to be very careful. Jim Rutenberg always knows the right word, and he wrote that I'm "something of a showman." That stung, but it was an astute insight and I get what he was saying. I assure you that I'm going to keep the spotlight where it belongs -- on the President. I'm the gigolo -- paid to meet specific needs, and then leave. Unfortunately, Halperin thinks I'm an ugly gigolo. LINK

(Funny stuff, although not as funny as Ms. Gladstone seems to have thought. But he does make some good points.)

All right, enough throat-clearing. The number one thing we need to do is RE-HUMANIZE THE PRESIDENT. All my other suggestions are just variations on that theme. People WANT to like this President, and we need to give them more chances. They love the regular guy thing that worked so well for you in the first campaign, and we need to tap back into that on a regular basis as a fundamental part of our communications strategy, not a when-can add-on.

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