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Tony Snow Resigns as White House Spokesman
That job fell to his less-heralded deputies, including Perino, who also spent considerable time explaining away errors or missed nuances in administration policies.
Snow's exuberance also led him into grand statements that he later regretted, such as when he explained the Iraqi parliament's month-long recess by noting that it's "130 degrees in Baghdad in August" -- even though U.S. soldiers were experiencing the same heat.
"He came in at a time when the president was particularly low, and as a result, what they wanted was someone who was adept at selling," said Martha Joynt Kumar, a professor at Towson University who wrote a recent book on White House communications. But she added: "If you work as an advocate, the downside is that people don't know whether to believe the information you are giving them."
Perino stepped in for Snow for more than five weeks after he had cancer surgery earlier this year. She indicated in an interview that she does not expect to make big changes in the White House press shop, nor does she see big problems between the White House and the press corps.
"I strongly believe we have good relations with the press," she said. "There's no doubt that these are high-pressure times for a government and a White House that is at war. All of that said, I think everybody approaches the job with true professionalism. I have fun working with the reporters I deal with."
She also said she has become more comfortable with speaking candidly to the president. "He and I have a good relationship where I can give my unvarnished opinion," she said.
White House chief of staff Joshua M. Bolten said Perino was the "clear choice" for the job. "While Dana doesn't yet bring the kind of star power that Tony brought to the podium from Day One," he said, "she will develop a lot of credibility with the broader public, because she is always well informed, always straight, always understandable."
Bolten also indicated that he expects the turnover in the administration to slow down. "I wouldn't be surprised if there were still some more departures," he said. "I don't expect a great deal more."