Reasons for leaving

Alberto Gonzales is only the latest of several top White House officials to jump ship.

Others among the dearly departed include Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfield; Paul Wolfowitz, president of the World Bank; Chief of Staff Andrew Card; Bush adviser Dan Bartlett; budget director Rob Portman; chief White House attorney Harriet Miers; and, of course, political strategist Karl Rove.

Rove offered the standard reason for leaving an important job at an inopportune moment: He wants to spend more time with his family. That is almost never credible. It invites speculation that the people who say they want to spend more time with their families actually have been fired already or are about to be indicted.

But one more soon-to-be White House exile offered up a different reason for leaving. Press secretary Tony Snow, who replaced Scott McClellan in April 2006, announced recently that he would leave before the end of Bush's presidency because he needs more money.

Now that's a rationale we can believe.

Snow earned $168,000 as press secretary, which isn't bad but isn't nearly as much as he made as a commentator and talk-show host for Fox News. And he shouldn't have trouble making princely sums again when he enters the private sector.

Ironically, Snow also may be hoping to spend more time with his family. Snow had surgery for colon cancer in 2005 and, in March, underwent surgery for an abdominal growth that proved to be cancerous.

Of Bush's three press secretaries so far, Snow has been the most personable and forthcoming. We wish him well.

Many of those exiting the White House in recent months give the standard reason.