- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 27, 2007

White House spokesman Tony Snow’s cancer has returned and spread to his liver, and he will soon begin treatment, most likely including chemotherapy, the White House said yesterday.

“My attitude is, is that we need to pray for him and for his family,” said President Bush, who spoke with Mr. Snow, 51, early yesterday morning.

“Obviously, a lot of folks here in the White House worry a lot about their friend, as do Laura and I. And so my message to Tony is, stay strong; a lot of people love you and care for you and will pray for you,” Mr. Bush said. “We’re hoping for all the best. I’m looking forward to the day that he comes back to the White House and briefs the press corps on the decisions that I’m making and why I’m making them.”

Both Republican and Democratic leaders in the Senate expressed support for Mr. Snow.

“I hope and I pray that Tony Snow will again be able to whip this cancer that he’s already been able to whip once,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino, Mr. Snow’s deputy and interim replacement, first told reporters the bad news during the traditional off-camera morning briefing.

“I’ve just spoken to him, but unfortunately the growth was cancerous,” Mrs. Perino said, breaking into tears when she mentioned chemotherapy.

“Sorry, it’s just really hard for us at the White House. I know that you love him too, but it was hard news for us. I didn’t cry until this moment,” Mrs. Perino said.

Mr. Snow, a husband and father of three, survived a 2005 bout with stage-three colon cancer, an advanced but still concentrated form. At the time, he was a nationally syndicated radio show host. He underwent surgery to remove his colon and then six months of chemotherapy, during which he returned to work. In May last year, he replaced Scott McClellan as White House spokesman.

On Friday, Mr. Snow told reporters that he would undergo surgery to remove an unidentified growth in his pelvic area, found late last year.

“Please do not leap to conclusions about this, because we don’t know what this is,” Mr. Snow said at the time, adding that scans and blood tests had come back negative for cancer but that he was going into surgery “out of an aggressive sense of caution.”

Mr. Snow gave an emotional message of support one day earlier to Elizabeth Edwards, wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, whose breast cancer was found last week to have spread.

The spread of colorectal cancer can be held at bay with chemotherapy, but usually is not curable, according to the National Institutes of Health Web site (www.nih.gov).

“He is in consultation with doctors on chemotherapy treatments,” Mrs. Perino said. “He is going to be going after it as hard as he can.”

“He says he’s going to beat it again,” she said.

Mr. Snow has been married to Jill Snow since 1987, and the couple live with their three children in Virginia. Mr. Snow plays saxophone, flute and guitar in a classic rock ‘n’ roll cover band called Beats Workin’. His mother died of colon cancer when he was 17.

Mrs. Perino said Mr. Snow spoke with Mr. Bush about 7 a.m., and was in good spirits when she talked with him about 9:30 a.m.

“He was trying to help me with some talking points,” Mrs. Perino said.

Mrs. Perino was scheduled to take over the White House podium for several weeks while Mr. Snow recovered, but she acknowledged that she was experiencing “a little bit of shock” at the news of the cancer diagnosis.

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