Washington White House press secretary Tony Snow said Friday he'll leave before the end of the Bush presidency because he needs to make more money.
"I'm going to stay as long as I can," he said without elaborating on a departure date.
Snow's comment caught White House colleagues by surprise, and they said they could not hazard a guess about when he might leave.
The 52-year-old Snow, the father of three children, earns $168,000 as an assistant to the president but made considerably more as a conservative pundit and syndicated talk-show host on Fox News Radio. He was named press secretary on April 26, 2006.
White House press secretaries in recent administrations have found the speechmaking circuit to be lucrative once they've stepped down.
The White House has been shaken by the resignations of some of President Bush's closest aides. Political strategist Karl Rove announced Monday that he would leave at the end of the month. Snow was sought by Republican audiences before the elections last year, and in a break with tradition he made a number of fundraising speeches for GOP candidates.
Bush's term ends Jan. 20, 2009.
"I will not be able to make it to the end of this administration, just financially," Snow said. "This job has been such a pleasant surprise in how much I like it. I love it."
Snow has been undergoing chemotherapy after doctors discovered a recurrence of colon cancer in March. He said the last of eight scheduled chemotherapy treatments would be Friday.