May 28th, 2008
03:30 PM ET
14 years ago

Bartlett rips McClellan, calls allegation 'total crap'

ALT TEXT

McClellan and Bartlett worked closely together in the White House. (Getty Images)

Watch Dan Bartlett respond to McClellan at 4 p.m. ET on The Situation Room

(CNN) - Former White House counselor Dan Bartlett lashed out at Scott McClellan in a telephone interview Wednesday, saying the allegations that the media was soft on the White House are "total crap," adding that advisers of President Bush are "bewildered and puzzled" by the allegations in McClellan's new book.

"It's almost like we're witnessing an out-of-body experience," Bartlett said of McClellan. "We're hearing from a completely different person we didn't have any insight into."

Bartlett added that intimates of the President feel McClellan has violated his trust. "Part of the role of being a trusted adviser is to honor that trust," said Bartlett. "It's not your place now to go out" and criticize the President like this.

"What did he really believe when he was serving as press secretary?" Bartlett asked.

While he said McClellan himself has to "answer as to motive" for writing the book now, Bartlett said, "I do question his judgment."

Bartlett said the bewilderment stems from "Scott's decision to publicly air these deep misgivings he's never shared privately or publicly" with fellow Bush insiders. "To do it now, through a book, is a mistake," he added.

Bartlett asserted that McClellan did not play a major role in key events, noting that the former aide was serving as deputy press secretary for domestic issues during the run-up to the war in Iraq, raising questions about how McClellan could claim the President used "propaganda" to sell the war.

"I don't think he was in a position to know this," Bartlett said flatly. He said it's "troubling" that McClellan is now "gives credibility to every left-wing attack" on anecdotes that are "either thinly-sourced or not witnessed by him" in the White House.

Bartlett bluntly said it was "total crap" for McClellan to suggest the media was too easy on the Bush administration in the run-up to the Iraq war.

"The problem is the intelligence was wrong," said Bartlett. "But this debate has been conflated into either we lied or on your side the tough questions were not asked. I think the truth is the intelligence was wrong."

On the Hurricane Katrina allegations, Bartlett refused to confirm or deny McClellan's claim that he and Bartlett believed the President should not have flown over New Orleans but were overruled by Karl Rove. "I'm not going to rehash internal deliberations," he said. "We've all acknowledged the whole Katrina experience could have been handled better."


Filed under: President Bush
soundoff (416 Responses)
  1. HillarySkank on myspace

    Total Crap? That about sums up the past 8 years.

    May 28, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  2. Glenn

    Sounds like Bartlett is coverng his you know what along with most of the others. What hyprocrisy!

    May 28, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  3. Realistic

    "intimates of the President feel McClellan has violated a trust."

    It is not violation of trust, it is something called "honesty", something that this possibly worst administration in the history of our nation has been completely unfamiliar with at every point.

    Enjoy the $4.00+ per gallon gasoline, say hi to the 4,000 dead sons and daughters, and thanks for voting for Junior.

    May 28, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  4. Mark

    So I suppose the President and his flunkies think this guy should just shut up and like it???

    Bartlett added that intimates of the President feel McClellan has violated a trust. "Part of the role of being a trust adviser is to honor that trust," said Bartlett. "It's not your place now to go out" and criticize the President like this....

    When is it time to criticize the President?...

    I think the guy is great and spilling the beans finally from an insider is going to prove alot of things about this administration...

    That we already knew, but now have proof of..

    May 28, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  5. Michelle

    no suprise here folks...

    The republicans have ZERO integrity. Throw the liars out in November.

    Thanks for everything Scott.

    May 28, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  6. Joey

    Bartlet is mad because the cat got their tongue. Its okay guys, the American people knew it all along. Its sad that this adminstration has taken advantage of the public's trust.

    May 28, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  7. LB, Franklin Lakes, NJ

    All these things that McClellan is saying has been common knowledge for some time and the White House is still trying to spin it into something it's not.

    May 28, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  8. Rebecca

    Who violated whose trust first? If Bush and his aides lied to McClellan in order to lie to the American public then McClellan has every right to lash back. It's called MORALS and INTEGRITY, things the Bush administrations doesn't have any comprehension of.

    May 28, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  9. AMW

    They will try to discount him and discredit him. The American people are not stupid.

    May 28, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  10. No McSame

    Oh yeah just because he said it is crap we are supposed to believe him. Yeah right. No more coolaid for us thank you. More to come folks.

    May 28, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  11. DJ, LA, CA

    Bartlett – what are trying to say? That Scot McClellan is lying, disgruntled and made those claims to settle some sort of revenge against Bush?

    What about other that have made similar claims that once served in the Bush cabinet or consulted with him? All they all liars as well?

    May 28, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  12. PCL

    Scott McClellan has all but admitted that he acted dishonorably in speaking lies for Bush. The reason he did so is probably simple. Peer pressure and the need to keep his job.

    May 28, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  13. AZM

    This is funny...
    Like a warm up for the Rezco book that will be released from prison...
    or the Wright book soon to follow the very interesting one by William Ayers... Too many dirt bags in politics...

    May 28, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  14. Dylan

    This is typical of the Bush White House...

    Once you get called out by a former insider for your war crimes, it's time to DISCREDIT DISCREDIT DISCREDIT. Just another "disgruntled" employee... how many times have we seen this now?

    This people have blood on their hands and belong in prison. We CANNOT let McBush continue to most disastrous administration in our great nation's history.

    May 28, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  15. Hillary Math

    We should listen to him! If anybody knows about "total crap" it's this bunch of liers in this adminstration.

    May 28, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  16. Ify from NY

    What else is new. They are bound to refute the content of the book. But it doesn't make it a liar because we knew so from the beginning. It's just that someone decided to confirm what we already know.

    May 28, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  17. bridgette

    The fact that they are in such disbelieve tells you that he is not lying. Because a lie can easily be corrected with proof that a person is lying. They have not said he was lying what they are in disbelieve about is the fact that he was so open and candid in his book.

    May 28, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  18. Tim

    Wow!! Just watch McSame treat Bush like a leper now. But it won't work, becasue thie policies are the same. McSame is toast.

    Obama 08/12

    May 28, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  19. Sensible Cape Coral FL

    At last! The truth will always win out – and it shall set you free.

    May 28, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  20. Don for Obama

    Can Bartlett address the issues and not attack the person.

    Fallacy ad hominem

    May 28, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  21. Venus

    Ha,ha,ha,ha,aaaaaaaaa!

    You gotta this!

    Of course no one will give McClellan any credit! The truths hurt!

    This is also great – it kicks Hillary out of the news!

    Go Obama!

    May 28, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  22. RickytheGriff

    Yeah, great. And now Hillary's supporters want to vote for John McCain because she's not going to get the nod.

    Fantastic... we can have four more years of this filth!

    May 28, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  23. Bob Stephens

    All the White House Rats will start spouting their rhetoric now that someone has come out with the truth about Bush and his Lies....

    May 28, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  24. Generation X

    Thanks Dan Bartlett, we still don't believe YOU! To all the WHITE HOUSE STAFFERS- President Bush and Dick Cheney will be prosecuted for what he has done to the legislative branch!

    May 28, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  25. Patriot

    Bushworld seems to value fierce loyalty.

    Sounds just like the Clintons.

    White House staffers don't work for an individual, they work for the American people.

    May 28, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
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