Tony Snow on Lou Dobbs: Blackballed No More

Congratulations are in order for Wonkette's original intern, Henry the Intern. Last weekend, he graduated from Bard College at the tender age of 20. Earlier this month, Henry was named a finalist in the New York Times's "Win a Trip with Nick Kristof" essay contest. (You can read his submission here.)

The indefatigable Henry was kind enough to do a wrap-up of White House press secretary Tony Snow's appearance on Lou Dobbs last night. You can read his review -- accompanied by video clips -- after the jump.

How did Lou Dobbs finagle an interview with Tony Snow? Did Snow have to avoid the brotherly love of Brit Hume to flex his chops? Was taking an apple from Helen Thomas not close enough to sleeping-with-the-enemy? Has Dobbs become the Tim Russert of cable news? Is Chris Matthews too spontaneous to trust? Fewer camera angles than The Situation Room?

These questions aside, Dobbs scored the first live primetime interview with the new White House press secretary. The crusader held the flack until the fourth quarter of the hour, which included far too many commercial breaks and countless teases. This was just dragged-out foreplay: Dobbs was positively giddy about the opportunity to hang -- er, corner -- any White House official.

"This administration... is so out of touch with what is happening... or so indifferent... one or the other," Dobbs cooed at 6:31, just as Elizabeth, Bob, and Brian put their straight faces on.

Finally, ten minutes later, it was time for the death match. The lower-third graphics stated the obvious: "TONY SNOW SPEAKS." Yes, every weekday from the White House, too. He's not under a gag order.

"I have been blackballed by the White House" for years, Dobbs said, as he praised Snow for his "fortitude" and "class." Snow smiled from pebble beach: "It's a delight to be here."

Dobbs tossed a softball about why we have an unprotected border. Snow responded, "The question is not why we have it, it's how we fix it." Point taken.

Dobbs asked "how soon" before our ports and our borders are secure. Again, Snow was at ease: "I don't know... I can tell you this, the action has already started. The plan [is] devoted to action." Snow even won a hand from Dobbs: "I appreciate your candor, Tony."

Dobbs fumbled his questioning, asking too much too fast. Snow began his responses with lines like, "You're giving me too much to respond to," "Whoa, whoa, wait a minute," and "Wait, wait, I just want to jump in here." The best may have been when Snow replied, "You've sort of salami-sliced the economic figures" or said, "You're a lot gloomier than I am." Swat.

Snow used Dobbs's inclination to mix issues to his advantage. Take this classic response: "The borders are porous, but I deny the insecure characterization. [There is] good economic news... When people look at their real lives [and] we all remember September 11th, how are people lacking?... They're acting as if they're living in good times because they are." Ding for the end of round one -- on to a commercial break.

Next up, public schools. Dobbs said, "We're failing a generation." Snow took the bait. "You're preaching to the converted," he said, noting that he was a teacher and his children attend public school. "I don't know how you turn public schools around," Snow continued. "The president's done his best... you don't have to tell me how school works."

At the close, Dobbs couldn't suppress a smile at Snow for "ending what has been about a four-year embargo." Can we consider it a first mission accomplished?

Left unasked: who did Tony Snow vote for... American Idol?

Lou Dobbs Tonight: Transcript of Tony Snow Interview [CNN]


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