Former ABC World News anchor Bob Woodruff got a standing ovation Wednesday night, and the ailing Tony Snow a presidential show of support. Woodruff was helping hand out the David Bloom award at the Radio & Television Correspondents Association dinner in Washington, where Snow had also been scheduled to be in attendance.
Woodruff was the 2006 recipient of the award, named after the NBC correspondent who died while covering Iraq. Woodruff could not be at last year's cerremony because he was recovering from his own severe wounds suffered while covering the war.
This year's award went to Fox journalists Olaf Wiig and Steve Centanni, who were kidnapped in Palestine but eventually released after the intervention of the government and the efforts of Fox News execs.
Centanni thanked the President for the administration's efforts and Fox News Chairman Roger Ayles and others at the network for their aid. He also thanked the journalistic community as a whole for downplaying the story when that was necessary, then spotlighting it when that was what was needed.
President Bush, who broke up the crowd with a series of self-deprecating jokes got serious long enough to salute Woodruff."We admire him all the more for what you have overcome, and what you are still overcoming." He also saluted Bloom as a "fine guy."
Woodruff said of his friend: "In April 2003, David Bloom went toward the light and kept on going. I went toward the light and for some reason, came back."
For his part, Woodruff said had he been at the dinner to receive his award in 2006, he would have raised a toast, and so wanted to raise one now: "To life, to this country and to this President."
White House Press Secretary Tony Snow had been scheduled to be on the dais with the President, but had to have surgery for what turned out to be a cancerous spot on his liver. "When Tony called and told me the outcome of the surgery," said the President, "my heart just sank. But I know Tony's a fighter and we'er all looking forward to the day he can come back to the White House."
He also sent out his prayers to Snow, Elizabeth Edwards, who is also battling cancer, and to the troops.
According to a White House correspondent in attendance, Snow contacted reporters Wednesday to make sure they were reporting that he had a cancerous spot on, not in, the liver as some initial reports had said.
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