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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 April 2006, 13:58 GMT 14:58 UK
Profile: Tony Snow
Tony Snow (handout picture from Fox News)
Tony Snow was a speech writer for George W Bush's father
Tony Snow, the man named as the new White House press secretary, is no stranger to life on America's airwaves.

An outspoken conservative presenter for Fox News radio and television, he is the first Washington commentator to be appointed to the White House role.

Having done a stint as chief speech writer for President George W Bush's father when he was president, Mr Snow can claim to straddle both press and politics.

He replaces Scott McClellan, who announced his resignation as part of a staff shake-up intended to revitalise the Bush administration.

Relations between the press corps and White House have become increasingly strained in recent months over issues including the Iraq war.

Observers say the White House may hope that by appointing a former journalist as its public face, it will ensure a smoother ride with the media ahead of mid-term elections in November.

Under scrutiny

The 50-year-old commentator is currently best known to Americans as host of The Tony Snow Show on Fox News's radio network.

Mr Snow was also anchor of the high-profile Fox News Sunday television programme from 1996 to 2003, during which time he interviewed top Bush administration figures and foreign leaders.

President George W Bush
Tony Snow has been critical of the president in some columns

Before that, he worked as a columnist for USA Today and editorial page editor of the Washington Times.

His record is now under scrutiny to see whether his views may conflict with those of the president.

Although he has generally been supportive of the Bush administration, Mr Snow has recently produced columns openly critical of an apparent lack of direction in its second term.

In November, he wrote that Mr Bush's "wavering conservatism has become an active concern among Republicans, who wish he would stop cowering under the bed and start fighting back".

And a column posted on his website in February described the president's domestic policy as "listless".

US newspapers suggest Mr Snow will aim to use his wide-ranging broadcast experience to take better advantage of the daily White House press briefings.

He reportedly agreed to take the press secretary role after receiving assurances he would not just be a spokesman but would also have an influence on policy debates.

Commentators observe that in the era of 24-hour news channels, the press secretary is the most visible public face of the administration apart from the president himself - and it can be a gruelling role.

Mr Snow, who is from Cincinnati, Ohio, and married with three children, was recently given the all-clear by doctors following treatment for colon cancer last year.

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