May 28th, 2008
03:15 PM ET
7 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. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    DON'T BACK OFF MCCLELLAN, STAND YOUR GROUND AND YOUR GROUND IS SOLID. BUSH'S GROUND WAS SHAKY PRIOR TO YOUR BOOK. LET THE TRUTH BE TOLD.

    May 28, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  2. TONY

    Wolf Blitzer, like Tucker Carlson, Tim Russert, Chris Wallace, Evan Thomas, Limbaugh, Scarborough, O'Reilly, Crystal, Krauthammer, Buchanan, and so many others are full of it. They are jokers and clowns.

    The ONLY difference between them and any of us are that they are fortunate enough to have their own shows or columns to shoot their mouths off and force their opinions on others.

    Do as I do, TURN THEM OFF! If BUSH were to stand on the roof of the White House and say that everything he has said were a lie from day one, youi would have these fools running around screaming that he doesn't know what he's saying, don't believe him, etc.

    McClellan has ripped Bush and his whole feak show administration a new one, only problem is McClellan is just as guilty as they are. THe man has no morals, no conscience, no intgrity and his book is not about telling the truth, not about coming clean. IT's all about pluggin his book and trying to make as much money as possible. That's it.

    The one thing republicans understand most. THE ALMIGHTY DOLLAR! McClellan will be remembers for knowing and keeping silent. He is less than a man. He is a liar, a coward and a traitor.

    May 28, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  3. Sharon Minnesota

    Wolf is getting older and maybe his memory has faded a bit. I find it hard to believe that in his long career of reporting this is the "most" explosive issue he has ever heard. My guess is it's related to the ONN propaganda machine and a way to inflame the electorate into going along with the Obama Network brainwashing that's been going on for several months now.

    This guy, McClellan, is a politician who is looking for a new job and could use some extra money by writing an expose' on the Bush's. Some of his recollections will contain a grain of truth of which he has undoubtedly embellished with glee. It's going to be a big money maker and possibly get him a job with the democrats. Be careful of what you believe in this politically charged atmosphere we are living in.

    May 28, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  4. Craig A. Carroll Hastings, MN

    Come now Wolf. You act surprised. The media "supported" the propaganda and you were one of them. Are you just now catching up to what tons of us already knew. If you are then shame on you. As to Bush and his cronies. Well,just what do/did you expect? Tell me though. Are you going to swallow the same fantasies from Obama, Clinton, or McCain?

    May 28, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  5. JT Johnson

    Do you think McClellan kept a diary so that he could SELL his thoughts and betray all the people who trusted him to work with integrity? This was written solely for dollars and not for patriotism. I suspect many of his writings were his surmising and not factual at all.

    May 28, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  6. Karen

    Come on Wolf.
    Americans already know we were lied to about this war. it was already brought out months a go that we shouldn't be there. The 4,000+ soldiers were sent to their deaths by the Administrators of their country. Because of some ego-maniacal idiot and his equally ego-maniacal idiotic cabinet.
    As far as I'm concerned, when all is said and done, all of them should be brought up on criminal charges and a public trial should take place. I applaud McClellan for having the cojones to write about it. Although the way these people work he could very well be in danger.

    Karen
    Annapoli,MD

    May 28, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  7. Obama Nation

    Wolf,

    This is nothing new. Looks like people just dont want to know the truth or just ignore the truth.

    I was watching this documentary Uncovered: The War on Iraq last night in netflix. I bet you should watch it too.

    These politicians are just white colored criminals. Though they come from great institutions like Princeton, Yale, what not.

    US is full of crap like this. If somebody comes out and tells the same thing that we know everyone will get surprised for no reason.

    May 28, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  8. Earl Dallas, Yexas

    For those that have been told that there is no chance to obtain their hopes or dreams and that it was useless to try look towards Hillary Clinton as a symbolic figure of hope and strength – the only experienced candidate that has solid solutions to our everyday problems.

    I attended a rally by both candidates last week – Obama definitely is a speaker, orator and can move a crowd – but once you get home from the rally you wonder what DID he say – only thing I can come up with is he is going to change politics in Washington DC – yet accepts the endorsements from them.

    Clinton (although the media is trying to make Obama the next President rather than letting the voters have their own say) was warm, sincere, experienced with her answers to questions and genuinely wants to help us help ourselves – she enjoyed being there with us – Obama appeared that this was a situation that he had to be there but really was looking towards the general election – so just give me my votes and I will move on – similiar to what happened in New Orleans after HE received the black communites votes – was too busy to attend a reconstruction rally later on – Hillary Clinton attended even though she had not received the votes.

    I just recently found out that Obama voted for the liquified natural gas pipeline of Bush-Cheney Energy plan where Clinton opposed it – guess he doesn't have to live here with it.

    May 28, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  9. Nathan,

    Everything this guy says is true. What he didn't say is how he was the one who got up in front of the American people and lied everyday for that bunch of lying criminals. The Bush administration is the worst thing to ever happen to this country. The only difference between them and organizations like The Mafia, Murder Inc. etc: is that they were sanctioned by the the stupid American public who were so afraid of Arabs, gay people, minorities, and anyone else the Bush Junta could paint as anti-American that they put these morons in office not just once but twice. Look at us now. Trillions more in debt, gas prices above $4.00 a gallon and climbing, a dollar that ain't worth the paper its printed on. We're seen as torturers, invaders, and hypocrits and thats just by our allies. We can't help our own people from drowing in a hurricane yet the criminal in the White House is always on time for a photo op with the the sports team who just won a championship. We have a drunk Vice President who can shoot someone in the face hunting and not get questioned. You have that maggot of a man Karl Rove who was put on this earth to show thats bugs do walk on 2 legs also running around on every talk show like he's some kind of a political God because he was able to scare the crap out of people who were looking to be scared and got his criminal boss reelected. It's all true. You couldn't make this stuff up. The birth of this nation should start all over again in January the day after this bunch is sent packing hopefully to Leavenworth or any other federal facility that holds the worst criminals in the history of this country. We've been able to survive WW1, WW2, the nuclear age, communist Russia, the great depression. Surviving this bunch of amoeba brains will take everything this country has.

    May 28, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  10. KE

    I have seen all things that are done under the sun. There is nothing new under the sun, King Solomon said.

    May 28, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  11. Doug, New Jersey

    Gee after 8 years of this I think we should put a typical run of the mill Daily type Chicago liberal Democrat in office. NOT, I'll vote for the moderate instead of the extremist, however I expect the extremist pro Wright CNN crowd here to do the opposite. Get ready to cry about another stolen election lib-bots.

    May 28, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  12. Karl L. Thompson

    Scott McClellen is telling the truth. All the Republican advocates you have on CNN are the real liers!!!!! You should be ashamed to only represent one side.

    May 28, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  13. Cynthia

    The sad part about it Wolf is in most cases it is true. What would McClellan stand to gain – some will say money but in most cases this has been eating at him for a while. Seeing it on the news about the number of soliders dead, seeing stories of the families left behind, and the amount of money being spent over there.

    May 28, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  14. Bookrebate

    McClellan should not receive a penny for writing the book, HE OWED THIS TO US ALL. The gvernment, on the other hand, should send a rebate check to all citizens to buy the book. THIS IS THE ONLY FAIR WAY.

    May 28, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  15. NickNas

    LOLOL Your Kidding Right??? C'Mon Wolf??

    Are we all supposed to pretend we didn't know ALL of this BEFORE BUSH Attacked Iraq??

    I would bet that 80% of the entire WORLD Knew and now we are supposed to pretend this is breaking NEWS??

    Breaking NEWS would be ALL of them being brought up on CHARGES!! Wake me when THAT Happens ok??

    May 28, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  16. Shannon Shiflett

    Don't pretend to be so shocked, Wolf - this is simply a whistleblower telling the truth, which most thoughtful people already knew about this administration. Once upon a time, it was the media who brought down a corrupt president (Nixon), but now that the media is corporate-owned, they don't investigate and allowed this administration to get away with lying about war, lying about torture, ruining our economy, trampling on our constitution, etc., etc. This country will get only what it deserves. These things have real consequences. Good luck to us all.

    May 28, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  17. TexasLady41

    I agree with Dan Barlett, this is very sad. I think everyone needs to take a deep breath and sit back and see this book for what it is. A man trying to make a buck on the back of his country and friends. If he thinks that the press and the left wing "looney tunes" are going to embrace him for spilling this garbage in this book, he will be very disappointed. I feel sorry for him and his family that he reduced himself to this level for money. I am afraid I can't put much stock into these "tell all" books. We all know they are pressured to say outrageous things by the publishers in order to sell books. And for you lefties, I will be saying the same thing when Rev. Wright and anyone else writes about Barack Obama.

    May 28, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  18. Linda Esen

    OK America ; first step to admit is : YES 4000 PEOPLE HAVE DIED as a result of a MISTAKE , BLUNDER...whatever. It does not mean that their lives werre priceless but I get really annouyed when people try to sugar coat things...it is what it is... My Cousin is over there and I pray everyday for her safe return home but faced with the fact taht she might be killed over there.

    May 28, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  19. rick

    If this guy was a honorable person he would have resigned if he truly was against the bush white house. How could you live with yourself if you gave a conference everyday and he knew as he says it was all lies!

    May 28, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  20. M.E.M Kansas city

    TO THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW .

    May 28, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  21. Tim

    Bush and McCain are in the same boat. We need a change.

    Obama 08/12

    May 28, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  22. Terrence (Winston Salem, NC)

    I hope this sticks to the media and McCain. It's time to make the media play fair for once.

    PS: "Fred2" DOESN"T KNOW CRAP

    May 28, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  23. TN Susan

    Finally someone inside telling the truth. We have already realized most of this info on our own, he is only filling in the blanks. Of course his gang will defend him and themselves. None of them want to go to prison or go down in history as the most dangerous administration in history, but they are way to late to stop that now. They should have worried about the laws they broke while they were breaking them, instead of trying to cover up everything all along. The truth will prevail! The King is dead, finally!!!

    May 28, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  24. Perla

    "Does that mean that the 4,000-plus American troops killed in Iraq and the hundreds of billions of dollars spent were for naught?" Of course it was for naught, as far as the country's real vital interests are concerned. In fact, as Obama has correctly stated, we are now less safe than before Shock and Awe. But it was NOT for naught for Halliburton, arms manufacturers, mercenary outfits, and Big, Big Oil. McClellan isn't saying anything that wasn't PERFECTLY OBVIOUS from the get-go.

    May 28, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  25. Proud American

    Republicans your chickens are coming home to roost.

    May 28, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
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