McClellan's Twilight Days

With the President coming down to the White House briefing room to announce his choice of Tony Snow as the new press secretary, the "tic toc" (a pressroom term for chronology) on Scott McClellan’s final days as Mr. Bush’s top spokesman began.

Shortly after the President’s announcement and Fox News commentator Snow’s brief swing through the press room to shake hands with those he would soon be briefing, McClellan came down for his usual morning "gaggle" (informal briefing).

"How do you spell your name?" cracked Ken Hermann of the Austin American Statesman, who had just been elected to the Executive Board of the White House Correspondents Association. Without missing a beat, McClellan snapped "two c’s and two l’s." Hermann fired back as to whether "your first name is Brad or Mark?" — a reference to the press secretary’s two brothers (Brad is managing mother Carole Strayhorn’s independent bid for governor of Texas this fall; Mark oversees the Medicare program). McClellan remonstrated that "I don’t want to be Brad right now" — a not-so-veiled reference the fact that his brother is running a campaign against Republican Gov. and Bush friend Rick Perry.

McClellan went on to explain that incoming White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten had come up with the scenario of Snow as press secretary, that "Josh reached out to Tony" and that the commentator had subsequently met with Bolten and Presidential Counselor Dan Bartlett and then "had a good meeting with the President" last Thursday. McClellan will continue his briefings for one more week and then on Monday, May 8th, Snow will formally take over briefing reporters and other duties of the press secretary. With a week to go on the job, the 38-year-old McClellan has yet to say what his future plans are.