May 28th, 2008
11:29 AM ET
10 years ago

Fleischer calls for explanation from McClellan

 Ari Fliesher said something doesn't make sense about McClellan's new book.

Ari Fliesher said something doesn't make sense about McClellan's new book.

(CNN) - Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan’s predecessor, Ari Fleischer, said in a Wednesday statement that “There is something about [McClellan’s new] book that just doesn’t make any sense.”

Fleischer said McClellan had been an “always reliable, solid deputy” during his own White House tenure – but “not once did Scott approach me – privately or publicly – to discuss any misgivings he had about the war in Iraq or the manner in which the White House made the case for war.

“Scott himself repeatedly made the case for the war from the podium and even after he left the White House… If Scott had such deep misgivings, he should not have accepted the press secretary position as a matter of principle.”

Fleischer also said the book had changed dramatically from the way it had first been described to him, and that many of the passages did not sound like his former colleague, hinting that perhaps an editor had been responsible for the shift in tone.

“Nevertheless, it is Scott’s book and I want to hear his explanation for why he has had such a dramatic change in his point of view,” said Fleischer, who added that he continued to wish McClellan well on a personal level.

Filed under: President Bush
soundoff (187 Responses)
  1. Jean

    For the record, Hillary doesn't care what the DNC says, she justs wants to buy more time so she can ruin the Democratic National Convention.

    Personally, I think it's sad because she is representing women and making us look bad. She will never give up because she was supposed to be the president. Never mind that Barack won, that's just a pesky detail.

    Sorry Hill, you will never be my choice. I wouldn't want you for dogcatcher. LOL, remember how she was so coy when people asked her if she had thought about the presidency. Well now we know, she had thought about it. Boy had she thought about it., now she is making us sick with all the whining.

    May 28, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  2. Nia

    Stop asking for foot notes and just read the book

    May 28, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  3. BP from ME

    Fear is what has stopped him from coming out before now..Why would the American public take any note to it while Bush was and is grinding the ax of fear...I think it is absolutely wonderful that this man (probably in fear of what may happen to him) wrote the truth..I am sure all of the untruths that have been fed to the American Public would not fit into one book..I see the press is trying to undermind and call the guy a liar..That is a shame..My old saying goes ...The Truth is ugly...But it is the truth.. And just one more note...I believe he is not the only one that wants to come out with the truth however fear or their own agenda stops them...

    May 28, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  4. Jeff

    The only thing I'm confused about is why President Bush is still in office and why he was never IMPEACHED! It's not as if #1) we don't' all know by now that the Bush administration has been lying about everything all along, and #2) that there haven't already been a strong of people from the Bush admin. to come out saying the same thing. Virtually everyone that has left this administration has come out saying that they are all a bunch of liars that are destroying the country and deceiving the public. There have been at least 4 former administration official to all say this, so why is this a surprise? BTW McCain = 4 more years of Bush!!

    May 28, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  5. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah


    The media 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 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  6. boo radley

    The story seems pretty straight forward – McClellan's conscience wouldn't leave him alone and he had to confess. There have been others that are lower profile and will be more going forward. The question is, will the country just shrug off Bush's catastrophic Administration or will we have accountability?

    May 28, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  7. Kelby

    Has anyone noticed how the white house has been going thru press secretaries like tampons? I swear it looked like they couldn't hold on to one of those guys for longer than a quarter.

    Ari said “There is something about [McClellan’s new] book that just doesn’t make any sense.”
    I guess when you have been spewing crap out of your mouth and living in the dense fog of ignorance, fear and lies that is the Bush administration when you finally hear a colleague tell the truth about your environment you think something is wrong.


    May 28, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  8. therealist

    $10 million in book sells sales seems like a pretty good reason to me...

    May 28, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  9. Tom in CA

    When it comes to "... the Bush administration...being mired in propaganda and political spin and at times playing loose with the truth..." that's a no brainer. Anyone with critical thinking can see.

    The question is – Can the American people see that a McCain administration will do the same when it comes to economic policy, to the war in Iraq, to the war in Afghanistan, etc., etc., etc.?

    Least we don't forget that McCain = Bush's 3rd term!!!

    May 28, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |

    Get real!!! Ari is the original spin doctor. Comparing Ari to Scott – Ari always looked like he was aware that he wasn't telling the truth, while Scott always appeared uncomfortable with not telling the truth. All this whitehouse back in forth. I love it! They didn't see this one coming! It's hysterical! Humpty Dumpty is falling from the wall and it will be a great fall. LOL

    May 28, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  11. Donna

    Fleishcher!!!! We DEMAND an explanation from you!!!

    May 28, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  12. Annette

    Ari, I don't understand you. Do you really think he would go against the good ole boys while working for the administration. No. The American people deserve an explanation about each and every disturbing point made in his book?

    May 28, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  13. Realistic

    The Bush White House is a toilet. Far from restoring honor and dignity to the White House, the Bush Administration has tarnished it worse than any President, including Nixon.

    If you are going to work in a toilet, Ari, don't complain about the smell.

    May 28, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  14. sky

    One mans enlightment, maybe a chance to set the record straight. A chance to redeem oneself.....I admire this guy.....for whatever reason.....he made good.

    May 28, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  15. Jiles Samson

    History will show Bush to be one of the best presidents in history. When Iraq is stable and an ally (5 to 10 more years), when North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat to the region, when Iran backs down and stops trying to get nuclear weapons, when Israel and all its neighbors are at peace, when there is a Palestinian state living in peace next to Israel, when Al Qaeda is wiped out, it will all be traced back to bold steps Bush made and his foresight and willingness to lead, even during unpopular times will be hailed.

    However, if Obama is elected, forget it all, because he will be another Carter and will be weak and the U.S. will be attacked again. Even liberal Hillary will be much better than Obama. She knows the world is a dangerous place. I mean her husband at least bombed an aspirin factory in the Sudan when he was in trouble for having sex with a 19 year old intern in the oval office.

    The whole LYING thing is such as farce. Do we have to go back and replay all the comments that Clinton and Kerry and Clinton and Gore and other DEMOCRATS said in 97, 98, 99 about how dangerous Hussein was and how we needed to hold him to the U.N. mandates and that we may need to go in and take him out? This was based on intelligence from a CLINTON CIA agency, lead by a Clinton appointee that Bush kept in office (he should have put his own guy in there).

    How stupid you all in forgetting history and making up your own events to suit your blind rage.

    May 28, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  16. Marie-Lynn

    well said

    May 28, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  17. Graniteman

    Amen, Avi. People will say anything to get more book royalties. Why did McClelland remain so long as press secretary if he had such moral reservations about what he was saying to the press. This is simply an effort to further cripple a lame duck president.

    May 28, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  18. Ben

    If you want to continue this neocon regime you should vote for McCain. You are the actual "appeasers" to this horrible government.

    May 28, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  19. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    The simple answer to Ari from Scott would be "you all walked the same street and told the same lies, so don't act so surprised."

    May 28, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  20. Janice, Aberdeen, SD

    Nobody seems to need an explanation except the White House.

    Everyone else is clear on the subject.

    What seems strange to me is why Congress still fails to act on clearly what should be impeachable offenses. To LIE to take this country into WAR? That should be the most clear and short impeachment process that could ever be, and actually worth Congress doing something about it.

    May 28, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  21. JT Johnson

    It's all about MONEY for McClellan's pocket. He knows all the Obamaniacs will buy one for $30 each - doesn't matter if there's any truth to it or not.

    May 28, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  22. Jim

    I sure hope CNN is happy, Mccain will be our next presinent because all of cnn has become pimps for obama and have bashed Hillary. After 50 years as a DEM i will not vote if obama is crown king, not because he is black, but because you don't beat upon a woman.

    May 28, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  23. Susan from Oregon

    Wasn't Fleisher the guy who kept telling us not to criticize the Administration in the early days after 9/11, after all, we needed to "watch what we say" for national security purposes. What a dope.

    May 28, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  24. 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 has proven correct. In fact, had Sen. McCain's proposal been adopted earlier, in all likelihood the loss of life and treasure would have been greatly reduced.

    Americans for McCain '08

    May 28, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  25. Nate

    Notice there are no direct denials in Bartlett and Fleischer's responses so far, just focus on tearing down McClellan. Still waiting for the issues of the Iraq run-up to be addresed.

    May 28, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
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