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. Anonymous

    It's delicious to see the Bush team crying foul. The entire approach of this administration is similar to a child who was never taught about boundaries and always given everything they want.

    All McClellan did was simply point out that at least one person in the White House was perceiving the same reality as the rest of the country.

    The most ticklish part is how they are more bothered by one of their own breaking ranks than they are by the actual information he conveyed.

    Can't wait until we have adults back in the White House.

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

    Almost the entire world outside of the U.S. knew Bush and his cronies were lying and oil was driving factor for the invasion. Even in Britain the vast majority of the public went against Bush's poodle Tony Blair right from the beginning as they could see the truth as well. unfortunately in the U.S. anyone who dares criticize the administration on issues like this are immediately branded unpatriotic which keeps any dissention very low indeed. Perhaps U.S. citizens will now temper their patriotism to a sensible degree and when they hear words like surrender from war mongers they will see through the smoke and mirrors and make proper and sensible evaluations.

    May 28, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  3. stan

    another 6 months and this administration will be history cant wait for Obama to start running things the right way

    May 28, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  4. james

    You old lefties got your cake from a turncoat. You ought to admire the article. It's democrat HIT on Republicans. You darn fools!

    May 28, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  5. Bartlett

    Bartlett is a crap he is trying to defend a failed and admistration that was built on Karl Rove Lies and bushes ignorave. He is also part of the problem so Bartlett needs to hide some where.

    May 28, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |


    May 28, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  7. bhj2008

    It's troubling.
    We all would admire his honesty and honour if Scott said these
    things THEN.
    If that had had happened, then Scotty will be an hero and we would not have 4000+ dead.

    Scott is telling us OLD news! He's showing us his lack of resolve to tell the truth rather than accepting to falsify it.

    Irrespective of the book, Scott is a participant on the propagandistic-paranoia.

    Being a "defense witness" Scott has closed a deal with his contemporary masters by writing a book believing that his name is cleared. Unfortunately his name remain suspicious,
    his character stained, and his honesty,honor lost for ever.

    Scott what is done is too late!
    Rather than being poor, saving 4000+ lives ( that would have been PRICELESS), and honorable
    you have selected to become an author for moneys, to
    tell us that you have failed miserably in your humanity, honesty, love for the truth, your country!

    As the French says .......
    Plue tard mon Ami, plus tart!
    ( Too late my friend, too late!)

    Good riddance!

    May 28, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  8. Elem

    This puts McClellan in the same league with Colin Powell. Both put the administration's spin on their every action while in positions of public trust and then try to spin it in a more personally favorable way after leaving those positions. These two can never be trusted again.

    May 28, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  9. Janna, NM

    Bush is a chicken hawk who hid in his father's pocket during the war, and now he wants McSame to carry out his stupid policies. Wake up people, we only have one country. Vote for Barack, let's take our country back, let's do the honorable thing.

    We're not afraid of Iraq or Iran–bring the soldiers home.

    May 28, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  10. Thankful in Austin

    Scott does have a soul.
    I started to think that it was removed when he went to Washington.
    Come back to Austin and we'll set on my porch and talk about the worst President ever.
    AusTex John

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

    Isn't anyone else upset that Mr. McClellan waited to write a book and not come out with this information previously. Obviously he is only out to make money because if he had any respect for the men and women who have died or maimed physically and mentally in Iraq since he knew this information he should have come forward earlier.

    I find it morally irreprehensible of him to come out with this now. The courageous thing would have been to stand up for our country earlier. In a way this book is "a bunch of crap" only because of Mr. McClellan's gutless inactions years ago.

    He should be ashamed of himself.

    May 28, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  12. Martin Corbin

    Let me see if I have this straight. Bartlett says "part of the role of being a trust adviser is to honor that trust" and asks "What did he really believe when he was serving as press secretary?"

    At the same time, he says 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.'

    As usual with the Bush administration, the guy is talking in circles. They love to attack people's credibility without ever actually making any real charges.

    They remind me so much of pre-WWII Nazi's it isn't even funny.

    May 28, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  13. Chas in Iowa

    The only reason they are bewildered is the trust he has broken?
    He finally sees through the motives of selling out the American citizen with the propoganda issued by our current administration.
    The GOP is upset because the liars have broken ranks,....what a laugh.
    The corrupt garbage will be taken out with the trash in November.

    Iowa / Chas

    May 28, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  14. Glenn D'Abreo

    Watch the zanies on the far left enjoy this Scott McClellan thing pan out. This is a dream come true. Now a White House insider has come out and told the truth about how Bush Lied. Bush haters everywhere rejoice. Your time has come. But, if you knew that Bush lied all the time, why does it light your fire to have confirmation from Scotty?
    To me, he is another disgruntled employee. Any time someone gets fired, they are bound to have a negative opinion of a former boss. I have been fired at least once and you have to hear what a jerk my boss was while I worked for him.
    Besides which, Scotty could hardly wait till next year to publish his book, after Bush is out of office. Who would buy it then?
    Take it with a pinch of salt...say I.

    May 28, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  15. Chris

    i love how they say he broke some sort of trust they had in him. Uh what about the trust of the american people had in this administration...don't tell us about trust, mr. bartlett. this administration knows nothing about being trustworthy.

    May 28, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  16. MattH

    Bush lied to the American people?
    I'm shocked! [sarcasm]

    May 28, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  17. Philadelphian Trapped in Texas

    Most Americans think Scott McClellan is telling the truth today. We no longer believe George Bush and therefore take McClellan's word as "proof". But telling the truth today cannot absolve McClellan of yesterday's lies, and why should we now listen to a known liar?

    Why did this guy serve the Bush Administration for as long as he did, knowing what he knew but also feeling what he now says he felt? Under such circumstances the only honorable tack would have been to resign sooner "for personal reasons", and to publish the book next year if at all.

    Personally, I'm inclined to believe it. But then, I had already decided I would be voting for a Democrat in November. Still, it irks me that a rat like Scott McClellan will profit from this. I for one refuse to buy his book. When will we discredit not merely Bush, Cheney and Rove, but also the thousands of others who, whether out of evil-mindedness or ignorance, sucked along with them?

    May 28, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  18. Ralph

    "I'm shocked. Why didn't you tell me this before?" Is it me, or does every Bush croney have the same taking points on this – shock, it's like he's not really him, why didn't he say something earlier? If I didn't aready believe his claims, I might think the man was crazy – but he's not.

    May 28, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  19. jobby

    Buch , Mccain and Hillary are not different. That is the same kind of politic they want to bring back in Washington.
    Say no to Buch 3th (Maccain)
    Say no to HIllary, she voted for war and never really apolozised for that
    Say no to liars, no, no ,no ,no, no.nada

    May 28, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  20. Ralph

    Watch out Mr. McClellan – The Bush Political War Machine is now going to come after you and grind you to dust. This is exactly what the Bush Admin has always done – beat down anyone disagrees.

    May 28, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  21. Scott Morrison

    It's weird, I always had a little sympathy for Scott. Never knew why as all press Secretary drive me crazy. Now I know why I didn't 'Dislike' him as much as some of the others.

    Every time someone leaves the administration and speaks out against Bush, all the admin insiders group together and always say' He should have spoke up at the time'. However, we know that anyone who speaks up gets fired. He knew what was going on but couldn't prove anything, so he went along and let them feed him information and kept his job.

    May 28, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  22. Colie Brice

    The TRUTH hurts, better late than never Scott. Thank you for eventually remembering what serving this country really means.

    Now take a long hot shower and SCRUB!

    May 28, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  23. John N

    This administration is a total disaster, that much is widely known and accepted. What is puzzling is why do people like Scott McClellan, Ricardo Sanchez, or Colin Powell only decided to talk now?

    Their dissenting voices would have better served the country while they were still holding their position in the administration or, in the case of Sanchez, their military command.

    Oh, yeah, they're selling books.

    May 28, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  24. DSRobins

    One loves watching Bush's bootlicking cronies attacking Scott McClellan for his new book critical of Bush. It's finally time someone had the honesty and integrity to describe the criminal administration of GWBush as it really is. Hopefully, books like this will one day lead to Bush and Cheney being indicted for war crimes, arrested and sent to The Hague before the International War Crimes Tribunal.

    May 28, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  25. john

    The total crap resides in the White House usually called Mr. President
    Goerge Walker Bush

    May 28, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
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