About a month ago, following my regular Saturday stint on Fox, host Tony Snow asked me to step into his office because there was something he wanted to talk to me about.
What he wanted to talk to me about was, of course, the fact that the White House had contacted him about becoming its new spokesman.
Over the course of the next three weeks we chatted about it now and again ending with a call when I was on a shuttle bus from the Hertz lot to the terminal at the Sacramento airport.
He told me at that point that the deal was just about done; that his docs had signed off on it; that the access issues had been worked through, and only final approval was needed to pull the trigger.
The final approval Tony was waiting for, was from his wife.
There are a bewildering number of items which have to be checked off the list when you are going from being in the full flower of your professional career to becoming a day worker for the Federal government.
I have no idea how much Tony was making from his TV and radio contracts with Fox. He has also been on the speaking circuit. His radio program, in addition to being an over-the-air broadcast, also is on satellite radio so there was income from that source.
If you decide to work at a high level in the government you have to be prepared to bare your soul, your checkbook, and anything else you've got available to bare.
It is an axiom of most of us that we pretty much spend according to what we earn.
According to the Washington Post, the senior staff at the White House were knocking down $161,000 each in 2005. That might have been bumped a few percentage points at the beginning of the year, but we know that Executive Branch appointees (except for Cabinet Officers) cannot make more than Members of Congress.
And not talking about Alan Mollohan or Duke Cunningham money. I'm talking about the $165,200 base rate for non-leadership positions.
Being grownups, we had a frank discussion about the reduction in salary he would be taking and whether he thought this was important enough to put his family through all the stresses and strains.