White House press secretary still selling windows

Three years ago, Tony Snow made a visit to the Iowa State Fair and that’s where he met Iowa small businessman Tony Preuninger.  Tony P. runs a business called Nu Vu Windows and Siding in Grimes, Iowa, and he asked Tony Snow to record a product endorsement ad for the radio.  The ad talks about the 30-year history of the Iowa-based business, makes a brief reference to the headaches of remodeling and Tony Snow — who "voices" the whole ad — gives the 800 number twice at the end.

Here’s when I first heard the ad:  I decided to try to catch the top-of-the-hour news on WHO Radio last Thursday night at seven o’clock and the Tony Snow ad played after the newscast. I turned the motor off, got out of the car, and as I was walking across the parking lot toward the movie theater, my brain sort of kicked me and I realized "Hey, that was the Tony Snow I just heard on the radio."  I was even more sure when I started up my car just over two hours later and, you guessed it, the same ad was played.

On Monday morning (that would be today), I called the 800 number given in the ad, and Tony at Nu Vu related the story of how he had met Tony Snow three years ago (through a small Christian radio station) and Nu Vu had been running the Tony Snow ad on the radio ever since.  I asked Tony P. if anyone had asked him to pull the ad when Tony Snow became the president’s spokesman.  "No," he said.  "Am I not supposed to run it?"

No one had called before to ask about the ad.  "We’re a very small company…I don’t want to get anybody in trouble," Tony P. said.  (BTW:  don’t go thinking this is a cash cow for Tony Snow.  He was not being paid every time the ad played.)

I next chatted with a couple of WHO Radio managers.  One said he’d heard the ad on the air himself, had wondered about it, and had asked the sales staff about the ad but had been assured it should continue to run.  The other said he was unaware of this particular ad as he is in charge of ads on seven stations, but he had heard of no edicts that Tony Snow should not be on the air selling a product.

I also telephoned and emailed the White House press office this morning.  At 7:35 p.m. central, a White House spokesman (no, not Tony Snow) called to say Mr. Snow would ask that the spot stop running.  (I was here in the newsroom listening to the gubernatorial debate at the time of this call.)

So, if you’re a celebrity or a customer of Nu Vu Windows and Siding in Grimes, Iowa, looking to make a product endorsement ad, they’re got an opening.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


  1. I woke up with the horrible news about the passing of Tony Snow. I loved watching Tony Snow respond to the press with a cool head, and always under control, while under political pressure. I am just in shock that we have lost another prominent political figure, besides the hundreds or thousands that die on a yearly basis due to disease. Cancer, heart disease, diabetes, what is going in this world ? Is mother nature fighting back ?