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

Bartlett rips McClellan, calls allegation 'total crap'


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. zsrenfro

    hhhmmmmm I heard this before from this administration..... Must not be a real patriot......

    May 28, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  2. James, SC

    That's right; attack the messenger and not the message. Why? You all know he is telling the truth!

    May 28, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  3. j williamson

    Call it "crap" if you will, but a good many of us out here believed it all along. It's just too bad Scott didn't speak out sooner than he did.

    May 28, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  4. Steve

    Rush Limbaugh was especially pathetic today. Trying to paint McClellan as a money grubbing 'liberal' who is out to get Bush for firing him.

    May 28, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    The empty rebuttals and the tenor of the remarks only fortify McClennan's account!

    Give the Bush White House lots of rope – it does a good job hanging itself every time it tries to explain why it's fiddling around in Iraq (exacting a terrible toll on the soldiers and the taxpayer) rather than tergeting Al Quada in Afghanistan.

    Kudos to McLennan for shedding light on the Bush administration's conduct!


    May 28, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  6. Environment

    He's just trying to make a buck. BUT...we all know that when this administration is done, we will see a lot of shady crap come out that has been happening in this presidency and I'm sure this book is prob close to the truth.

    the ones that should feel bad are you out there that have voted for this administration 2 straight terms! Shame on you.......Seriously.....shame on you.

    May 28, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  7. wes

    So which is it, is McClellan lying now or was he lying as secretary. He seems to be admitting he was lying when he was press secretary. If that's the case he should have no credibility now. But you guys are propping an admitted liar up to be a hero. So what most of you on this post are saying is you believe a liar when it suits your politics. But Hillary can claim she was shot at by snipers and "she was just tired." I applaud your discerning intelligence.

    May 28, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  8. Blue California

    We all know the Bush administration was lying to us through the straw in that cowboys mouth. But no kudos to McClellan who's only now speaking the truth we already we know, just so he can sell a book. McClellan's integrity, morals, and ideals clearly didn't matter much to him when he was being paid by the White House to lie. You're no martyr McClellan. It appears that lies or the truth will satisfy you at any current moment in time, depending on which one writes the biggest check. I hope you are charged along with the rest of the Bush administration.

    May 28, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  9. Mark in Omaha

    The "spin" continues. History will show this administration to the most corrupt in our nations history. Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld and Rove are war criminals.

    May 28, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  10. WeKnewthat

    I guess Dan Bartlett is going to lie to keep the trust the president has in him. That's not a bad idea, but the sad thing is most of the public know the administration lied to go to war and has lied on a lot of things. Even McCain recently said, his energy policy will not send our troops to go to war in Iraq for oil.

    May 28, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  11. Environment

    I would love to talk to my old friends that supported him thick and thin a few years back....I wonder if they have held their tongue since or are they still stupid.

    May 28, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  12. Not sleeping at the switch

    This is ALL making the DNC VERY Jittery. Now that more of this TRUTH is going to be comming out they have to address it and the Calls for the Bush Impeachment.

    WHy do you think Hillary has been able to go on for so long??? GREAT Distraction eh???

    Grow some Nads DNC Don't be afraid of BUSH!!!!

    May 28, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  13. Joey

    McClellan is simply confirming what most of the American people who have been awake the last several years already know. This administration is the worst in American history. America is ready for a real change. Obama comes to mind.

    May 28, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  14. Jerry

    Look how the Republican been treating American people like crap and I believe what McClellan saying about the Bush admistration if Clinton supporter are truely demoncratics they need to vote Obama do American need another Bush-McCain in office no, Hillary is a cold harded person

    May 28, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  15. Jeanette, MI

    So we do have something in common with the Iraqis–a liar for a leader.

    Dishonorable men should never lead honorable soldiers. The Commander in Chief is a rat–bring those men and women home now, you coward.

    May 28, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  16. Debbie,NJ

    An American in Canada for David. Hillary's experience in the WH makes Bush look like a comic except for the 4000+ soldiers. Then again she voted for the war too so that blood is on her hands also.

    May 28, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  17. nom deplume

    Well, at least McClellan is getting his 15 minutes of fame.

    Seriously, if he did not say something salacious that couldn't be verified, would it sell?

    You all castigate and distrust Washington, yet when you hear something you want to hear, it becomes the clarion call of truth.

    This election has brought the idiocy of americans into full focus. This american is exercising his right to sell the country short.

    May 28, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  18. Danielle-Virginia

    And yet there are people out there who want to continue four more years of this this lying, corrupt, inept administration by voting for McCain if their favorite in the primary doesn't win. It boggles the mind.

    May 28, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  19. Larry

    Always amazing, yet consistent. Anyone who worked in this administration who later criticizes it, is then labelled as aliar/disgruntled, etc. According to them, this group has been near-perfect in everything they have done. Now – That is a load of crap!

    May 28, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  20. Rob

    The "protectors" of the myth have already started. As has been obvious from the beginning–any negative information about W and his "gang" is met with attacks on the messenger–not refutation of the substance of the message. Given the President's numbers, it appears the public has tired of their lies and fabrications.

    May 28, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  21. Dr. Truth, Boston

    Maybe its just his point of view.

    May 28, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  22. Ramdeo Ruplal

    crap calling crap, crap. lol what a bunch of jokers. they make the joker in batman look like a genius.

    May 28, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  23. Carl Los Angeles

    Oh... now he comes out to defend America so he can make a buck or two. Where were his morals back then? He's a PG just like the rest of the Bush team. Bleed America for everything we are worth THEN call Bush a liar (for $29.99 for the hardback) This country will stand proud once again BUT we must remeber the PIGS like this fake wanna be hack writer and the PIG so-called president he worked for. You're sorry... your fake president is sorry and that greeeeeeedy wanna be candidate Hillary is sorry. I can't wait till her book on Bill comes out where she blames Bill for not winning.

    May 28, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  24. Scout, IN

    Well fasten your seat belts because we're going to have more of the same with McCain. He's a ratlett in training, with his best buddy Bush.

    May 28, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  25. bill

    Every time somebody leaves this administration and then speaks out against it they are made to look like disgruntled employees spouting nothing but lies. Can't somebody be disgruntled and still telling the truth?

    May 28, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
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