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Q & A with Tony Snow on “Rollback,” SCOTUS Rumors, Darfur, Blogs, and “24”

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Some excerpts from an interview today with Tony Snow. The complete transcript –with a discussion of the circuit court nomination backlog at the White House and the bias of the Washington Post– will be up later at Radioblogger:

HH:: One of the lead bloggers of the left, Jay Rosen, up at New York University, who writes at Pressthink, has argued that this Adminsitration is intent on “rollback,” the delegitimzation of the White House press corps and main stream media generally, and part of that was to deny the spokespeople and including the number one spokesperson, in this case you, the ability to reply effectively, is that just sort of leftist overthink?

TS: I think so. Yea. It has always been the case that there are certain things that a press secretary can’t talk about such as matters of national security, and, Jay can go back and look through every White House and find that there are times when you want to swing back and even when you have great facts at hand, you can’t. There are just certain boundries that you can’t cross…

HH: Has anyone in the White House or the president received any message or word from Supreme Court personnel or any of the justices about a retirement from the Court in May, June or July?

TS: Not that I am aware of. The topic has not come up. At least it hasn’t in my conversation, in, what is today, Wednesday…

HH: Right

TS my eighth day on the job. No. I haven’t heard anything about it. Doesn’t mean that it hasn’t happened. It just means I am totally clueless on it.

HH: And would it be something you would expect to be informed about? I mean that would be a huge deal.

TS: Yes….

HH: You have heard President Clinton say that his biggest regret was doing nothing as Rawanda descended into genocide. having used that term, does the White House have an obligation to intervene if no one else will?

TS: Well, there’s been, ah, as you know, this is a point where I am not going to race ahead of Adminsitration policy, Hugh, but I think the position right now is, let’s go ahead, let’s get the African Union involved here and see what happens…

HH: Are you still reading the blogs? You did when you were on the radio.

TS: Of course.

HH: Which ones are you reading, and are you reading them everyday?

TS: I read lots of them, and I read lots of them everyday. Do you really want me to do this?

HH: Yeah. I want to know which ones you are checking up on.

TS: OK. Well let’s see. I read you. I look at Instapundit. I look at Michelle Malkin. I look at Powerline.

HH: How about the blogs of the left? What are you reading on the left?

TS: Yeah, you know, I keep an eye on a handful. I mean, the DailyKos and that kind of stuff.

HH: Now given that, on the night of the president’s address, no sooner was he done than dozens of blogs were chewing up what he had to say. How does the White House press office deal with a 24/7 cycle that is relentless, Tony Snow?

TS: We are in the process of designating people to sort of do blog work. Because…that is one of the things I am doing at the press office is to get us up on the new media, and so I still haven’t finished that task, but I am going to start designating people to keep an eye keep an eye out on certain blogs so we can figure out an effective strategy because, as you know, the great thing about a blog is that if you get some information out, the blogs are useful not only for infoprmation but also for various analyses. You get it into the bloodtream and boom, people start linking all across the universe and it is like one of those pictures of a crack in the ice, it just spiderwebs everywhere, only it does it at the speed of light…

HH: Last question, Tony Snow, if you watch “24,” what would your advice be to President Logan if you were his press secretary?

TS: (Laughter.) Buy kevlar.

HH: (Laughter) Then you do watch “24.”

TS: Oh yes….


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