Sentimental Tony Snow Defends Bush Policies

ByABC News via logo
May 17, 2006, 8:05 AM

May 17, 2006 — -- Tony Snow made his debut as the president's press secretary Tuesday amid some of the lowest presidential ratings in history.

Snow, 50, is the former host of the "Tony Snow Show" on FOX News Radio and "Weekend Live With Tony Snow" on the FOX News Channel. He has been in his new post for a week and became emotional when asked about the yellow cancer awareness bracelet he wears.

"I had cancer last year," Snow said at the briefing before pausing and choking up. "Just having gone through this last year was the best thing that ever happened to me."

"It's my Ed Muskie moment," Snow said, referring to the presidential candidate who once shed tears outside a newspaper's office in New Hampshire.

Snow said he had lost his mother to the same disease, colon cancer, when he was 17.

"I had colitis for 28 years. I always felt cancer was stalking me and, lo and behold, it got me last year," Snow said on "Good Morning America." "But love, support, faith, prayers, and incredible medical care have enabled me to be where I am today."

Snow seems grateful for the experience.

"A lot of people who have had cancer will tell you the same thing. In a lot of ways, it really is the best thing that ever happens to you," he said. "You realize every day is a blessing and imparts a kind of joy to your life you wouldn't get otherwise."

Snow, who served as the speechwriting director and assistant for media affairs in former President Bush's administration, has to grapple with a White House that is currently in disarray.

According to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, President Bush's approval rating is 33 percent -- a record low for this poll, and 66 percent disapprove of his handling of the situation in Iraq, another record. But Snow said that he thought there was "good news this president can take benefit from. For instance, take a look at the economy. That's going well. We're talking about a formation of a government in Iraq. "