Bush takes swing at former press secretary
January 28th, 2011
12:43 PM ET
4 years ago

Bush takes swing at former press secretary

Washington (CNN) – Former President George W. Bush is landing a stinging jab at his former longtime aide and press secretary, Scott McClellan, saying the man who served as the public face of his administration for three years was irrelevant.

In an interview with CSPAN scheduled to air this weekend, Bush says he deliberately didn't include McClellan – who held the high profile post longer than anyone else during the administration – in his memoir, "Decision Points."

"He was not a part of a major decision. This is a book about decisions," Bush told CSPAN. "This isn't a book about, you know, personalities or gossip or settling scores."

"I didn't think he was relevant," added Bush.

McClellan had been by Bush's side since his days as Texas governor and, in his role as press secretary from 2003-2006, spent the bulk of his time vigorously defending the decision to wage war in Iraq.

But two years after departing the White House, McClellan authored his own memoir, "What Happened," that constituted a scathing criticism of how the Bush administration was run.

In one of its most critical passages, McClellan stops just short of suggesting the administration deliberately deceived the American public in the run up to the invasion of Iraq, writing, "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."


Filed under: President Bush
soundoff (127 Responses)
  1. Consider This...

    Bush can't take the truth and brands anyone "irrelevant" who tells the truth about his sorry administration.

    January 28, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  2. The unsub

    The Truth is a rock.

    January 28, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  3. Steve

    Thanks for the tease, CNN... Was hoping for a literal punch to the face. Wouldn't put it past the caveman...

    January 28, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  4. Ross

    The administration DID deliberately deceive the American public in the run up to the invasion of Iraq. It apparently wasn't very hard.

    January 28, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  5. kds562

    See the movie The Green Zone, the deception is sicking. Only Palin and Bachmann don't know about it.

    January 28, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  6. Sanandra

    McCllelan had the fortitude to finally stand up & be honest about what was going on. Let's face it– George W. didn't have a clue what was going on with the Iraq & Afghanistan situation . He was a puppet so enamored with the glory of being President that he failed to see how he was being used by Cheney & Rumsfeld & even Daddy George Sr. The people of this country were sucked into a vendatta for George Sr. and a power & money trip for Cheney & Rumsfeld. In the course of it, we destroyed this country's reputation & standing with just about every other relevant country in the world, and more importantly, we ran the national debt to numbers previously unknown & destroyed our own economy.

    January 28, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  7. Hangar 13

    Here's an ideal opportunity for all 500 CNN fans to vent their Bush Derangement Syndrome, never mind that none of McClellan's allegations could be corroborated as anything more than his own take as a disgruntled political hack. But let's don't forget that the main purpose of Ticker is to disparage Sarah Palin! This site and the pretend news network that spawned it have become as much of a fringe joke as MSNBC.

    January 28, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  8. ed

    Yeah!!! Mr. President Bush that was a great response. McClellan was the biggest idiot I have ever heard. The guy was irrelevant and did not know squat. It was the media making something out of nothing...

    January 28, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  9. Peggy - TX

    “[H]is 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."
    McClellan simply confirmed what people who followed the new closely already knew, that VP Cheney, President Bush and their cronies were absolutely corrupted by the power of the white house and greed. They fabricated the WMD story for nefarious purposes and deliberate and conclusively lied to the American people. As a result hundreds of thousands of people died, were maimed, or lost their way of life.
    This is no small thing, this is pure evil.
    This is why, it is of critical importance that all patriotic Americans that care about their children’s future MUST STOP THE GOP as they were the fools that put these evil men in power, the same party that today currently mimics the highly effective propaganda techniques employed by another evil man, Hitler.

    January 28, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  10. Dave, Central Illinois

    I bet you Libs who are supporting McClellan also support Dick Morris, right? I mean Dick Morris did the same thing to Clinton that McClellan did to Bush. Or is this just another typical Lib double standard?

    January 28, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  11. Dean

    I'm thankful everyday that Gore and Kerry were not elected president. Bush may not have been the best, but I shudder to think what would have happened if either of those clowns had been in office.

    I'm also thankful that Obama will be a one-timer.

    January 28, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  12. Bob in PA

    A press secretary is a PR Clown for gods sake. They are not relevant to policy decisions.
    Can you imagine Obama taking Robert Gibbs opinion?
    Just another non item of interest all dolled up to suggest "Bush lied" oh my!.

    January 28, 2011 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  13. Hmmm

    History will bear out Obama as worst president in history, making Jimmy Carter very happy, and Bush as one of the better presidents. At least Bush stuck to his guns from beginning to end. Obama is already trying to put on a false face as a moderate, because he has to. He can no longer get away with forcing bills down our throats.

    January 28, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  14. David

    That moron w should be in jail for his crimes against humanity. He has no shame. Let him make Laura's life miserable for the rest.

    January 28, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  15. Darth Cheney

    For some strange reason, I keep thinking W will someday grow up and become a real man. Needless to say, I haven't had this thought confirmed yet...

    January 28, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  16. drp

    I see George W. as irrelevant when it comes to US Presidents. His legacies are lying to the US people about Iraq and bringing down the US economy.

    January 28, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  17. Duane - St.Pete FL

    I miss George W. Bush.....he was the right Prez to have when 9/11 happened and he was much more quailfied to lead than the current Prez. I enjoyed his book and know history will view him in a positive light. He is a great American.

    January 28, 2011 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  18. matt

    That's messed up CNN. I'm no fan of GW Bush but you're clearly misleading people. GW Bush said that McClellan was irrelevant to his book because his book was about decisions they had made during his presidency... and there's no way a press secretary is making any important decisions. Also, it was also clear from Bush's full quote that he was trying to take the high ground by not mentioning McClellan in his book... he obviously doesn't like what McClellan did and if he mentioned him he'd probably end up maligning him.

    January 28, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  19. msk

    Young democracy countries like South Korea and Taiwan all have sent their ex-presidents to jail. And, while most people think Bush did terrible things to the country, our justice system can't do a thing to him. Talk about being a beacon of democracy in the world! I'd say U.S. is a case study for democratitis - aging, dysfunctional democracy.

    January 28, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  20. T'sah from Virginia

    I guess BUSH'S Book Sales are DOWN!!!

    January 28, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  21. lawbear

    No, Dumbya, Scott wasn't irrelevant, you were.

    January 28, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  22. PR

    Bush and Cheny should be tried for war crimes. The Iraq war was made up of lies and deception. Both deserve to go to prison for life.

    January 28, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  23. bobcat1a

    Being called irrelevant by the most incompetent president since James Buchanan is high praise.

    January 28, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  24. Larry

    Talk about irrelevant! I wonder if Cheney made Bush call him Mr. Real President.

    January 28, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  25. GI Joe

    My Pet Goat means more to this country than W. He ruined us - with Shooter pulling the strings.

    January 28, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
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