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  • Top Bush Aide Comes Clean

    From the Associated Press:

    By Mike Allen,


    (May 27) -- Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan writes in a surprisingly scathing memoir to be published next week that President Bush “veered terribly off course,” was not “open and forthright on Iraq,” and took a “permanent campaign approach” to governing at the expense of candor and competence.



    Among the most explosive revelations in the 341-page book, titled “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception” (Public Affairs, $27.95):

    • McClellan charges that Bush relied on “propaganda” to sell the war.

    • He says the White House press corps was too easy on the administration during the run-up to the war.

    • He admits that some of his own assertions from the briefing room podium turned out to be “badly misguided.”

    • The longtime Bush loyalist also suggests that two top aides held a secret West Wing meeting to get their story straight about the CIA leak case at a time when federal prosecutors were after them — and McClellan was continuing to defend them despite mounting evidence they had not given him all the facts.

    • McClellan asserts that the aides — Karl Rove, the president’s senior adviser, and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the vice president’s chief of staff — “had at best misled” him about their role in the disclosure of former CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity.

    A few reporters were offered advance copies of the book, with the restriction that their stories not appear until Sunday, the day before the official publication date. Politico declined and purchased “What Happened” at a Washington bookstore.

    The eagerly awaited book, while recounting many fond memories of Bush and describing him as “authentic” and “sincere,” is harsher than reporters and White House officials had expected.



    McClellan was one of the president’s earliest and most loyal political aides, and most of his friends had expected him to take a few swipes at his former colleague in order to sell books but also to paint a largely affectionate portrait.

    Instead, McClellan’s tone is often harsh. He writes, for example, that after Hurricane Katrina, the White House “spent most of the first week in a state of denial,” and he blames Rove for suggesting the photo of the president comfortably observing the disaster during an Air Force One flyover. McClellan says he and counselor to the president Dan Bartlett had opposed the idea and thought it had been scrapped.

    “One of the worst disasters in our nation’s history became one of the biggest disasters in Bush’s presidency. Katrina and the botched federal response to it would largely come to define Bush’s second term,” he writes. “And the perception of this catastrophe was made worse by previous decisions President Bush had made, including, first and foremost, the failure to be open and forthright on Iraq and rushing to war with inadequate planning and preparation for its aftermath.”

    McClellan, who turned 40 in February, was press secretary from July 2003 to April 2006. An Austin native from a political family, he began working as a gubernatorial spokesman for then-Gov. Bush in early 1999, was traveling press secretary for the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign and was chief deputy to Press Secretary Ari Fleischer at the beginning of Bush’s first term.

    “I still like and admire President Bush,” McClellan writes. “But he and his advisers confused the propaganda campaign with the high level of candor and honesty so fundamentally needed to build and then sustain public support during a time of war. … In this regard, he was terribly ill-served by his top advisers, especially those involved directly in national security.”

    In a small sign of how thoroughly McClellan has adopted the outsider’s role, he refers at times to his former boss as “Bush,” when he is universally referred to by insiders as “the president.”

    McClellan lost some of his former friends in the administration last November when his publisher released an excerpt from the book that appeared to accuse Bush of participating in the cover-up of the Plame leak. The book, however, makes clear that McClellan believes Bush was also a victim of misinformation.

    The book begins with McClellan’s statement to the press that he had talked with Rove and Libby and that they had assured him they “were not involved in … the leaking of classified information.”

    At Libby’s trial, testimony showed the two had talked with reporters about the officer, however elliptically.

    “I had allowed myself to be deceived into unknowingly passing along a falsehood,” McClellan writes. “It would ultimately prove fatal to my ability to serve the president effectively. I didn’t learn that what I’d said was untrue until the media began to figure it out almost two years later.

    “Neither, I believe, did President Bush. He, too, had been deceived and therefore became unwittingly involved in deceiving me. But the top White House officials who knew the truth — including Rove, Libby and possibly Vice President Cheney — allowed me, even encouraged me, to repeat a lie.”

    McClellan also suggests that Libby and Rove secretly colluded to get their stories straight at a time when federal investigators were hot on the Plame case.

    “There is only one moment during the leak episode that I am reluctant to discuss,” he writes. “It was in 2005, during a time when attention was focusing on Rove and Libby, and it sticks vividly in my mind. … Following [a meeting in Chief of Staff Andy Card’s office], … Scooter Libby was walking to the entryway as he prepared to depart when Karl turned to get his attention. ‘You have time to visit?’ Karl asked. ‘Yeah,’ replied Libby.

    “I have no idea what they discussed, but it seemed suspicious for these two, whom I had never noticed spending any one-on-one time together, to go behind closed doors and visit privately. … At least one of them, Rove, it was publicly known at the time, had at best misled me by not sharing relevant information, and credible rumors were spreading that the other, Libby, had done at least as much. …

    “The confidential meeting also occurred at a moment when I was being battered by the press for publicly vouching for the two by claiming they were not involved in leaking Plame’s identity, when recently revealed information was now indicating otherwise. … I don’t know what they discussed, but what would any knowledgeable person reasonably and logically conclude was the topic? Like the whole truth of people’s involvement, we will likely never know with any degree of confidence.”

    McClellan repeatedly embraces the rhetoric of Bush's liberal critics and even charges: “If anything, the national press corps was probably too deferential to the White House and to the administration in regard to the most important decision facing the nation during my years in Washington, the choice over whether to go to war in Iraq.

    “The collapse of the administration’s rationales for war, which became apparent months after our invasion, should never have come as such a surprise. … In this case, the ‘liberal media’ didn’t live up to its reputation. If it had, the country would have been better served.”

    Decrying the Bush administration’s “excessive embrace of the permanent campaign approach to governance,” McClellan recommends that future presidents appoint a “deputy chief of staff for governing” who “would be responsible for making sure the president is continually and consistently committed to a high level of openness and forthrightness and transcending partisanship to achieve unity.

    “I frequently stumbled along the way,” McClellan acknowledges in the book’s preface. “My own story, however, is of small importance in the broad historical picture. More significant is the larger story in which I played a minor role: the story of how the presidency of George W. Bush veered terribly off course.”

    Even some of the chapter titles are brutal: “The Permanent Campaign,” “Deniability,” “Triumph and Illusion,” “Revelation and Humiliation” and “Out of Touch.”

    “I think the concern about liberal bias helps to explain the tendency of the Bush team to build walls against the media,” McClellan writes in a chapter in which he says he dealt “happily enough” with liberal reporters. “Unfortunately, the press secretary at times found himself outside those walls as well.”

    The book’s center has eight slick pages with 19 photos, eight of them depicting McClellan with the president. Those making cameos include Cheney, Rove, Bartlett, Mark Knoller of CBS News, former Assistant Press Secretary Reed Dickens and, aboard Air Force One, former press office official Peter Watkins and former White House stenographer Greg North.

    In the acknowledgments, McClellan thanks each member of his former staff by name.

    Among other notable passages:

    • Steve Hadley, then the deputy national security adviser, said about the erroneous assertion about Saddam Hussein seeking uranium, included in the State of the Union address of 2003: “Signing off on these facts is my responsibility. … And in this case, I blew it. I think the only solution is for me to resign.” The offer “was rejected almost out of hand by others present,” McClellan writes.

    • Bush was “clearly irritated, … steamed,” when McClellan informed him that chief economic adviser Larry Lindsey had told The Wall Street Journal that a possible war in Iraq could cost from $100 billion to $200 billion: “‘It’s unacceptable,’ Bush continued, his voice rising. ‘He shouldn’t be talking about that.’”

    • “As press secretary, I spent countless hours defending the administration from the podium in the White House briefing room. Although the things I said then were sincere, I have since come to realize that some of them were badly misguided.”

    • “History appears poised to confirm what most Americans today have decided: that the decision to invade Iraq was a serious strategic blunder. No one, including me, can know with absolute certainty how the war will be viewed decades from now when we can more fully understand its impact. What I do know is that war should only be waged when necessary, and the Iraq war was not necessary.”

    • McClellan describes his preparation for briefing reporters during the Plame frenzy: “I could feel the adrenaline flowing as I gave the go-ahead for Josh Deckard, one of my hard-working, underpaid press office staff, … to give the two-minute warning so the networks could prepare to switch to live coverage the moment I stepped into the briefing room.”

    • “‘Matrix’ was the code name the Secret Service used for the White House press secretary."

    McClellan is on the lecture circuit and remains in the Washington area with his wife, Jill.
    If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. - John 8:36

  • #2
    The guy was the press secretary. His job was to talk to the media. He was never part of the decision-making process.

    Comment


    • #3
      Yea

      He was always an IDIOT, now wants to make money, because he stunk as press secretary.

      Comment


      • #4
        I think this is only the tip of the iceberg that will come out on Bush in history. His decisions have crippled our country, and I am a republican. Just as Jimmy Carter hurt the Democratic Party for years, Bush’s legacy will hinder future elections. I also think much of Obama’s support is coming directly from the Republican Party. Just look at the farm bill he just vetoed. I was watching him explain his decision on fox news and he claimed that he wanted to open free trade to Columbia to cut their prices on our farm equipment we sell to them so that they will open markets for our farmers. He pointed out how his plan would save the average Columbian 1500 dollars on a tractor, and that would cause economic prosperity through out our land because then companies like case and caterpillar would hire workers at home to build those tractors we sell to Columbia. I am sorry but he is not thinking right at all because NAFTA has really took a huge role in undermining our once great economy. I know Bush did not pass NAFTA, but he should be able to understand what a failure it was. Something is impairing an otherwise very smart man from making decent decisions to run our country.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by danield View Post
          I think this is only the tip of the iceberg that will come out on Bush in history. His decisions have crippled our country, and I am a republican. Just as Jimmy Carter hurt the Democratic Party for years, Bush’s legacy will hinder future elections. I also think much of Obama’s support is coming directly from the Republican Party. Just look at the farm bill he just vetoed. I was watching him explain his decision on fox news and he claimed that he wanted to open free trade to Columbia to cut their prices on our farm equipment we sell to them so that they will open markets for our farmers. He pointed out how his plan would save the average Columbian 1500 dollars on a tractor, and that would cause economic prosperity through out our land because then companies like case and caterpillar would hire workers at home to build those tractors we sell to Columbia. I am sorry but he is not thinking right at all because NAFTA has really took a huge role in undermining our once great economy. I know Bush did not pass NAFTA, but he should be able to understand what a failure it was. Something is impairing an otherwise very smart man from making decent decisions to run our country.
          The bill that would have set up free trade with Colombia had to do with our products in their country. Colombia already is able to sell most of their products here without a tax.
          Matt 9:13
          13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
          NASU

          Comment


          • #6
            The segment that aired was broadcasted this past Saturday. In it, Bush tried to tie two pieces of legislation together. The first being the bill that expanded NAFTA powers in Columbia that was tied up in committee. The second was the bill he just vetoed, the farm bill. It was his way of saying that our farmers do not need any help and his solution to our economic problems originated from not having free market trade in Columbia. Our farmers are our back bone of this country and it is extremely hard to make a living raising crops. I for one can not think of any business that would be better suited for government assistance than that group of people. They feed us all, and I for one would love to see them taken care of. I think that farm bill has been in place since WW II. I could be wrong on the time frame but it has been in place for a very long time.

            God Bless

            Comment


            • #7
              The farm bill, IMO, helps more of the corporate farmers than it does the family farmer.
              Matt 9:13
              13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
              NASU

              Comment


              • #8
                Brother Mark, I agree with you that many of today’s farmers are large corporate farmers. But our economy has shifted most every business to the large corporate model to take advantage of economies of scale. The day of the small business has ended and has been replaced by Wall Street. Some businesses are on different corporate levels, but as a rule of thumb, bigger is better. Capital is a huge investment, and sales are streamlined towards a penny cheaper if you can produce 1,000,000 units!

                I do disagree with you about changing government assistance to our farmers because they are the very ones who feed us. It isn’t Wal-Mart but the farmers who sells to us. We have started importing other countries produce, but I think that is wrong. We should at least be dedicated to our own farmers who have to fight the climate, pests, banks, economic conditions, and inheritance taxes! I would love to see the small family farmer have an opportunity to break into the market again, but that is defiantly a thing of the past as things are today.

                God Bless.

                Comment


                • #9
                  From NRO

                  Too High a Price [Mark R. Levin]

                  If McClellan believed that we went to war on false premises, or that it was a terrible mistake, the fact that he continued to serve the president at the highest levels and defended the president and the war effort is, I certainly believe, worthy of contempt. He could have resigned quietly or with a splash contemporaneous to the events he damns, or at least within a few months of them. Be he didn't. In fact, he was part of the effort he now condemns, defending and attaching his credibility to most of them. If he had resigned in a timely manner, the objections of his critics would have to be made on different grounds. But whatever his critics objections had he resigned on or around the time of the events, his conduct now leads many reasonable people to conclude that both the book and its timing were driven by other than principle. He will have numerous opportunities to explain himself during his publicity tour. I can't think of a satisfactory explanation, but we shall all see. I'm all for profit, but not when the price is betrayal — which is what I and several others smell here.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The company that owns the publishing company is itself owned by George Soros. You know, the guy who donated so much money to see Bush defeated in 2004 and is a champion of left-wing causes.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Fenris View Post
                      From NRO

                      Too High a Price [Mark R. Levin]

                      If McClellan believed that we went to war on false premises, or that it was a terrible mistake, the fact that he continued to serve the president at the highest levels and defended the president and the war effort is, I certainly believe, worthy of contempt. He could have resigned quietly or with a splash contemporaneous to the events he damns, or at least within a few months of them. Be he didn't. In fact, he was part of the effort he now condemns, defending and attaching his credibility to most of them. If he had resigned in a timely manner, the objections of his critics would have to be made on different grounds. But whatever his critics objections had he resigned on or around the time of the events, his conduct now leads many reasonable people to conclude that both the book and its timing were driven by other than principle. He will have numerous opportunities to explain himself during his publicity tour. I can't think of a satisfactory explanation, but we shall all see. I'm all for profit, but not when the price is betrayal — which is what I and several others smell here.
                      I love that little screaming man.

                      Who was the other guy from the administration that was immediately discredited after making similar claims?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        BUSHIE'S CRUEL CUTS

                        By JAY NORDLINGER


                        May 29, 2008 -- SCOTT McClellan's "What Happened" may be the most aston ishing book ever written about a president by a onetime staffer. The former press secretary gives it to George W. Bush with both barrels. Indeed, he echoes the president's very worst critics.

                        And I'll have you know that McClellan is an exceptionally nice guy - at least in my experience.


                        There has been much speculation about his motives and mindset. Some say that, fired, he is exacting his revenge. Others ask, "If he was so opposed to what the president was doing, why didn't he resign on principle?"


                        In any case, McClellan is entitled to his own opinion, and his own testimony. The important question to ask is: Is his book true?
                        Consider some of the details that have already been widely discussed - starting with the press.


                        McClellan says that the Fourth Estate was far too easy on Bush, failing to hold him to account in the runup to the Iraq war. Yet anyone can have an opinion on the press, whether he serves in the White House or not. Some of us say: Bush has suffered from many things, but not from an overly complacent press corps.


                        On some issues, of course, McClellan has clear standing - as when he says that Bush doesn't like to hear opposing views, preferring to go quickly with his "gut."


                        Fair enough - McClellan was there. But others who've been there give much different testimony. They report that Bush relishes debate, wanting to hear a subject thoroughly hashed out before reaching a decision. On stem-cell research, some say, he practically pestered strangers on the street for their opinion.


                        McClellan, along with many others, says Bush is "too stubborn to change and grow." Could be. It could also be that he is principled and firm - not going whichever way the wind blows or the polls blow. And it would be hard to accuse him of safeguarding his popularity!


                        Moreover, the president has shown flexibility in Iraq, tactically. A wise friend of mine says, "They say we've had five years of failure there. I say, we've had five years of learning." Coping with al Qaeda and associated beasts is no picnic.


                        McClellan's most damning charge is that Bush and his team launched the Iraq war recklessly and needlessly. He says that war "should only be waged when necessary, and the Iraq war was not necessary."


                        Is that an absolute certainty? In the months preceding the war, Bush said repeatedly, "There are risks of action, and risks of inaction." He had to weigh those risks. The buck stopped with him. And, in the end, he chose the risks of action.


                        It's easy to say now that Saddam Hussein would have been no problem - that he could 've been contained, or tamed. But this is almost always the case with preemption: Once the threat has been eliminated, people claim, "Wasn't needed." And they're hard to contradict.


                        Earlier this year, I interviewed former Secretary of State George Shultz (who is no apologist for the Bush administration). I asked, "Should we who supported the war now be embarrassed about it?" He gave a vehement no.
                        All the intelligence indicated that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, Shultz noted. The invasion proved this intelligence wrong - but also proved that Saddam had programs on the shelf, ready to go, once UN inspection collapsed (as it was bound to do). Furthermore, Saddam had terrorist camps operating under his gaze.


                        If Bush hadn't acted, said Shultz, "Saddam would have been a big problem." And we all would have written stories asking, "Why couldn't anyone connect the dots?"


                        The final chapter about George W. Bush is far from written. The best pro-Bush book I know? Norman Podhoretz's "World War IV." And Scott McClellan is having his remarkable say now.


                        But "history," of course - that formidable lady - will make the final call. Don't fall over dead if there are monuments to Bush in a freer, happier Middle East.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Fenris View Post
                          The company that owns the publishing company is itself owned by George Soros. You know, the guy who donated so much money to see Bush defeated in 2004 and is a champion of left-wing causes.
                          That's an interesting note.
                          Hmm, Soros connected to this, enough said.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/05/...f=rss_politics

                            CNN reports from insiders who say... McClellan didn't really have access to know whether what he claims is true or not.
                            One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One God and Father over us all.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by danield View Post
                              I think this is only the tip of the iceberg that will come out on Bush in history. His decisions have crippled our country, and I am a republican. Just as Jimmy Carter hurt the Democratic Party for years, Bush’s legacy will hinder future elections. I also think much of Obama’s support is coming directly from the Republican Party. Just look at the farm bill he just vetoed. I was watching him explain his decision on fox news and he claimed that he wanted to open free trade to Columbia to cut their prices on our farm equipment we sell to them so that they will open markets for our farmers. He pointed out how his plan would save the average Columbian 1500 dollars on a tractor, and that would cause economic prosperity through out our land because then companies like case and caterpillar would hire workers at home to build those tractors we sell to Columbia. I am sorry but he is not thinking right at all because NAFTA has really took a huge role in undermining our once great economy. I know Bush did not pass NAFTA, but he should be able to understand what a failure it was. Something is impairing an otherwise very smart man from making decent decisions to run our country.

                              I'm afraid you have it backwards. What this would have done is to permit us to sell to them - our products - without added costs. We would actually be protecting American jobs in doing this. It would be a very good thing for our nation as well as Columbia. As things are now, it would have benefited us more than it would have Columbia.

                              Interesting how nancy Pelosi and other dems are against it though. But then that is more of how they care for the little guy. Acommon and oft-quoted lie that many buy into - including republicans.

                              Comment

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