White House press secretary Tony Snow yesterday said he will leave the Bush administration before the end of the president's term, joining a long — and growing — list of top officials streaming out of the White House.
Mr. Snow, 52, who has been battling colon cancer that he learned in March has returned and spread to his liver, said financial pressures will force him to move on before Jan. 20, 2009.
"I will not be able to make it to the end of this administration, just financially," Mr. Snow said yesterday. On Wednesday, he said in a radio interview that he has "already made it clear I'm not going to be able to go the distance, but that's primarily for financial reasons."
"I've told people when my money runs out, then I've got to go," he said on the Hugh Hewitt radio show, even though yesterday, he said: "This job has been such a pleasant surprise in how much I like it. I love it."
A slew of senior officials have left the White House this summer, including senior Bush adviser Karl Rove, who announced Monday that he would leave at the end of this month, and longtime aide Dan Bartlett.
In addition, White House counsel Harriet E. Miers, budget director Rob Portman, political director Sara Taylor, deputy national security adviser J.D. Crouch and Meghan O'Sullivan, another deputy national security adviser who worked on Iraq, all have left in the last few months.
When Mr. Rove announced his resignation, he said that Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolten had asked that anyone who planned to leave before the end of President Bush's second term do so as soon as possible.
When Mr. Hewitt asked Mr. Snow about that on Wednesday, the spokesman said: "I think that probably, as Josh said the other day, he thinks there are probably a couple coming up in the next month or so. I think the rule was let your intentions be known before Labor Day. But I will let others make their announcements."
Mr. Snow said that before Mr. Rove announced his resignation, he kept the decision "pretty buttoned up. Only a small number of people really knew. And so my guess is that there may be some in the mix that we don't know about. There have been plenty to have been rumored over the years, can't tell you."
But when the radio talk show host asked Mr. Snow how long he planned to stay, the affable spokesman said: "I'm not going to tell you."
At the end of the interview, Mr. Hewitt asked the spokesman if he planned to return to radio — his last job before taking the press secretary job — once his White House days are over.
"Don't know what I'll do. But you know, I mean, a lot of my life story's going to be devoted to trying to help people with cancer and other stuff," Mr. Snow said.
Mr. Snow, the father of three children, earns $168,000 as an assistant to the president, but he made far more as a syndicated talk-show host on Fox News Radio. He was named press secretary on April 26, 2006.
Mr. Snow has been undergoing chemotherapy — he had the last of eight scheduled treatments yesterday — after doctors discovered a recurrence of colon cancer. On Monday he will have a CAT scan to evaluate his progress.