May 28th, 2008
03:15 PM ET
6 years ago

Blitzer: Most explosive charges I can remember

CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer
CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer

WASHINGTON (CNN) – I don’t remember a time when a White House press secretary has written a book and made such explosive charges about a sitting president. That is exactly what Scott McClellan has done in his new book: “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception.”

Yes, there have been White House insiders who have written books critical of their respective bosses. I remember George Stephanopolous and Robert Reich writing books that came down hard on Bill Clinton and his administration.

But McClellan goes way beyond any of that. He says the war in Iraq was a blunder. He writes that war “should only be waged when necessary, and the Iraq war was not necessary.” Does that mean that the 4,000-plus American troops killed in Iraq and the hundreds of billions of dollars spent were for naught?

He says President Bush and his senior 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.”

And he goes further in charging that President Bush has “always been an instinctive leader more than an intellectual leader” and did not “delve deeply into all the possible policy options.”

McClellan’s aides, including his former boss, Communications Director Dan Bartlett, insist this is not the Scott McClellan they knew and worked with for some ten years. They say he never complained about any of this during his years in the White House.

McClellan is about to start a series of television interviews, including one with me in The Situation Room. He will have a chance to make his case.

I suspect the political fallout from his charges will have ramifications out on the presidential campaign trail, given John McCain’s strong support for the war.


Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (263 Responses)
  1. Ben

    If its not true...Im sure he knows that he is liable to be sued!!! So so him if its not true..otherwise everything is considered to be TRUE!

    May 28, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  2. EDW

    His words are brash, but oh so true. We were bamboozled into this war. Those who voted for Bush, are you going to vote for McSame??? Are you going to allow America to stay in this hell???

    May 28, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  3. Tammy - KCMO

    IMPEACHMENT of the Bush administration sounds good to me! I can't believe it took this long from someone to see the light.

    May 28, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  4. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    CNN YOU ARE BLOWING IT AGIAN. WHO CARES ABOUT HILLARY THIS STORY IS BIGGER THAN WATER-GATE DO YOUR JOB!

    PLEASE CNN: STAY ON THE REAL STORY WE RELY ON YOU FOR INFORMATION: 4000 DEAD AND FOR WHAT! WHAT DID WE ACCOMPLISH GOING INTO IRAQ!

    THIS IS THE WORST CRIME EVER MADE BY AN AMERICAN PRESIDENT. COME ON CNN THINK, YOU HAVE TO THINK! DO WHATS RIGHT FOR ALL AMERICANS, DIG DEEP THIS IS THE STORY THE WORLD NEEDS TO KNOW!

    The media is the real story. . They let us down with Bush and Iraq! They really let THE AMERICAN PEOPLE down.

    Over 4000 dead, what do you say to those families? BUSH, MCCAIN and CLINTON, need to apologize to all AMERICANS for sending them to there death's! Bush should be removed from office ASAP. Congress should start the Iraqi WAR hearings immediately find the truth please behind this WAR! Remove Bush from office, this will show all of America, the government still works for the good of the people. George Bush has destroyed the creditability of the presidency; even 4000 times worse then Bill Clinton and Monica scandal. If we ever need to go to war again how can we trust congress and the White House to do the right thing?

    The only way congress can restore there creditability; as a functioning body of this government, is to hold formal investigations in this horrible American tragedy the Iraq War. I feel so bad for those families that give there loved ones to this American tragedy, THE IRAQ WAR!

    Obama 08
    For the good of America

    May 28, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  5. Yobee

    McClellan wasn't the candle left under a bushell he now wants to paint his tenure as White House liar.

    He helped sell the Iraq lie to the American public and no matter how much he twists and turns, he's painted with the same blood of over 4,000 dead soldiers as his former boss.

    May 28, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  6. Debbie,NJ

    Maybe he's having nightmares about the 4000+ American soldiers killed over propaganda. Maybe the Bush administration will come up on charges. I don't know how they sleep at night.

    May 28, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  7. Michael

    Wolf buddy, if you would have been doing your job 5 years ago none of this would be surprising. Shame on you and the rest of the corporate media.

    May 28, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  8. NO-BAMA

    McCLELLAND IS TRYING TO SELL A BOOK, WOLF....

    ....AND YOU'RE JUST HELPING HIM.

    May 28, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  9. Kenneth M

    Does that mean that the 4,000-plus American troops killed in Iraq and the hundreds of billions of dollars spent were for naught?
    I AM AFRAID THAT IS WHAT HE IS SAYING.

    May 28, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  10. Alex

    Because he knows that we only have five more months of these idiots still in the White House. He felt it was time to go ahead and come forth with the truth.

    Hopefully once these guys are out, and it won't be to much longer, they'll all be put up on charges for war crimes and what not.

    How do you like that Bush Sr? Your son is going to jail for what he's done.

    The American people won't stand for this or another four more years that McCain would bring.

    Democrats all the way!!! YES WE CAN!!!!!

    May 28, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  11. Ben

    So John McCain also knew about what the White House did..how can we pick to be the next President..No Way!

    May 28, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  12. spencer

    The Bush Administration is just mad at him for telling the truth... I think Bush and all the Bushbots need to take a lie detector.. Then we will really see who is telling the truth...

    May 28, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  13. fred2..since another stole my name

    We the people told you that years ago Wolf...when are you going to start listening to us about Obama!! He is worse than Bush could ever hope to be!!

    OBAMA DOESN'T KNOW CRAP!!!!!

    May 28, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  14. Ben - Portland

    What's amazing to me is that 1) we're acting surprised by the allegations he's making and that 2) the Bush administration thought that everybody would keep quiet. Perhaps Mr. McClellan thinks it's more important for the truth to come out than to "honor the trust" of a president who clearly does not honor the trust of the American people.

    May 28, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  15. Berat, Park Ridge, IL

    "I suspect the political fallout from his charges will have ramifications out on the presidential campaign trail," said CNN reporter Wolf Blitzer, obviously unaware that nobody except junkies like him and me really give a darn what Scott McClellan says - or, perhaps more importantly, who he is.

    May 28, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  16. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Wow, since Bush is leaving office and his ratings are so low, people aren't afraid to speak the truth. Good for Mr. McClellan, we all knew we were fed propaganda.

    May 28, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  17. Uncle Sam

    Although members of the same political party, Pres. Bush and Sen. McCain are two very different people. The truth is that Sen. McCain opposed the president's execution of the Iraq War from the start, advocating a strategy that risked his presidential chances but proven right. In fact, had Sen. McCain's proposal been adopted earlier, in all likelihood, the loss of life and treasure would have been considerably less.

    Americans for McCain '08

    May 28, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  18. MC, Maryland

    He writes that war “should only be waged when necessary, and the Iraq war was not necessary.” Does that mean that the 4,000-plus American troops killed in Iraq and the hundreds of billions of dollars spent were for naught?

    Yes Wolf, that is exactly what he is saying and that is what we ALL know. It makes me shake with anger when I think of all of the men and women who have died because of this. I don't only blame George Bush but EVERYONE in that administration who allowed this to happen. Colin Powell was the only one who left early....and in retrospect, he didn't do enough to stop this war. God help us all.

    May 28, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  19. Tim

    You can bet it will. This is an outrage!!! How can the Prsident explain to the families that 4,000 plus dead and thousands wounded for nothing??? There needs to be aninvestigation and if it is determined that infor was withheld from the American people, charges should be levied!!!

    May 28, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  20. Rene D, Bel Air, MD

    So, this is not the overwhelmed wimp of a go-fer that Bartlett remembers. Once out of a cult, many former members finally see there are other perspectives. McClellan isn't the first, now, is he? Maybe the first they didn't see as a potential threat, like Clarke, and have to bomb to smithereens to get rid of.

    Everything I have heard rings true, more probable than just plausible. Here is a guy, McClellan, who, once shown the circumstances and evidence in which he was a willing (mostly innocent?) participant at chicanery, wants to get it off his chest, in time to help prevent another four years of this disastrous mess we're in. Good for you, Scott, and good for us all.

    May 28, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  21. Venus

    YES WE CAN! This is the gift to help Obama!!!

    Perfect timing too! Go Bam!

    And if you think this is explosive – what does that say about McSame?

    This is going to take McSame down!!! This is not going to help him at all! I love it!

    May 28, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  22. Will-South Dakota

    All about the OIL plain and simple all about the OIL. Why do you think Cheney had secret meetings with the big oil companies, this was all planned out but they didn't plan on the will of the Iraqi people and them having a say in the Bush/Cheney and now the McCain war. Talk about deception and hood winking the American People.

    May 28, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  23. Evan Dowling

    John McCain is a sick man...his love of war is reckless & dangerous. He plans to occupy Iraq for 100 years, regardless of world opinion from the United Nations and the Iraqi parliament.

    May 28, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  24. NO BUSH NEEDS TO EXPLAIN!

    AND IT'S TRUE

    May 28, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  25. Spectacles

    Where have you all been. Most of us have known the truth about the Iraq war blunder for years.
    McCain is so totally out of touch.

    May 28, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
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