I won't attempt to quote him, but the effect of his words were: It is important because the world needs a strong American President - whoever that President is. I think I can help rebuild George Bush's standing with the American people and that may well lead to similar improvement around the world.
"So," I said (I CAN quote myself), "you're doing this for the best possible reason: Because you're a patriot."
When his name first surfaced, the Left and their allies in the popular press snickered that Tony was being "repaid" for his unwavering support of the White House.
After someone bothered to actually read some of the things Tony has written, the Left and their allies in the popular press snickered that President Bush was hiring someone who had spoken critically about some of this policies.
In technical terms this is called - I'll go slowly for those who may have come in late - "Trying to have it both ways."
Tony Snow is the first Press Secretary to have been involved at the highest professional levels in all of the major media: Press, radio, television, and the Internet.
A reporter said to me the other day that Tony may well redefine the role and the style of a White House Press Secretary; and will probably restructure the office to more accurately reflect the needs of a 24-hour news cycle in a 24-hour world.
And I suspect Tony Snow will do it all with grace, charm, humor, and intelligence.
The White House press corps delights in its ability to spend a half hour hectoring the Press Secretary demanding to know why a semi-colon has been changed to a comma.
After a period of hazing by the White House press corps, don't be surprised if the atmosphere in the White House briefing room changes for the better.
If so, Tony Snow will be doing a great service for his country.
On a the Secret Decoder Ring page today: The link to the Injured Marine Semper Fi fund (which now stands at over $32,000); A link to the Washington Post's listing of White House staff salaries; NPR's Mara Liasson's take on Tony Snow; another in a new Mullfoto category: That'll Buff Right Out," and a Catchy Caption of the Day.