Associated Press reporter Jennifer Loven writes on White House press secretary Tony Snow "suffered a couple missteps in his first question-and-answer session with the White House press corps" this morning. While Snow has yet to take the big, public stage and hold a formal "briefing" (he announced today that will happen Tuesday), he held his first "gaggle" with White House reporters today. The gaggle is a more informal briefing session, which Snow held in his office today, than the on-camera event the rest of us are used to seeing. Here's Loven's take on Snow's first gaggle:
(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Snow danced around several queries by saying he did not know enough to answer. And although he had at times been harshly critical of President Bush as a Fox News commentator and conservative radio host, Snow clearly was being careful not to step on the wrong toes now that he speaks on behalf of Bush.Given Snow's background as a high-profile journalist and conservative commentator, is it safe to say he might be the most-scrutinized White House press secretary ever?
For instance, one reporter asked about the government's abrupt end this week to an inquiry into a warrantless eavesdropping program because the National Security Agency refused to grant Justice Department lawyers the necessary security clearance.
Snow deferred that one to deputy press secretary Dana Perino. "There's a very limited number of people who are briefed on that program," she said.
As the discussion continued, reporters complained that they couldn't hear the soft-spoken Perino. Snow took over, read a few talking points from a sheet of paper and then ended that line of questioning. "As the new kid on the block, I'm not fully briefed on the issue," he said.