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. Bartlett

    Wolf you need to ask Bartlett the tought quesiton is Scott McClellan lying? No one in this admistration is saying he is lying that tells as that Mr. Scott McClellan a brave man to come out clean.

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

    Sue,Texas May 28th, 2008 1:39 pm ET

    Scott, be glad you worked for Bush—Seems like everyone that knew trash on Bill C is now no longer with us

    HA HA HA



    May 28, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  3. Ross in MD

    I'm shocked – AT THIS GREAT DEAL!

    After being paid $160,000 of YOUR money to lie to your face, McClellan suddenly tells the truth for a bargain price of $30! Buy now, and get bonus LIES from the Bush Administration – FOR FREE!

    May 28, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  4. John Proche, Virginia

    Having been connected to publishing, I doubt if Scott McClellen's original book outline sold. "Beef it up!" is what some publisher probably told him. So he went back to the drawing board and with heavy heart threw his ex-colleagues overboard in order to cash in. Of course, one must wonder why this man of such great conscience waited for a big check before becoming so truthful all of a sudden. His conscience is a very convenient thing, isn't it?

    May 28, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  5. Carl Los Angeles

    LOUIS: Look up the word! A patriot would have stood tall and made a claim THEN (before the con job)! People like you beg to be robbed again by the PIGS in DC! Never mind impeaching Bush and Cheney... wait till they're out of office so they can't hide behind the Presidential right9s) then charge them and have them hauld off to jail... on the way they can pick up rice, Powel and everyone else that sent our nobel soldiers to die just so they can line their pockets. Hell has a special place for PIGS like that. Scott A patriot? Teach that one to your kids and you will be adding to the problem.

    May 28, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  6. AQ

    This is not the first time that a formal Bush aide came out and tells it like it is inside the White House. This country deserves Bush for voting for him in 2004. We got what we wanted...many didn't complain about him until economy got real bad. What about when he was killing thousands of Iraqis? Why didn't we ever complain about that? 3 thousand died on 911 and we feel terrible but several hundreds of thousands have died and will die of hunger and diseases due to Bush and his fabricated war in Iraq. How come no one feels bad about that? Are they not human beings? This is how twisted America is today. The greatest nation have fallen so low in our judgement and leadership. I am ashamed of our leaders.

    May 28, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  7. nannie bouroughs, Kenosha, WI

    Dan Bartlett, being part of the problem, should know what "total crap" is all about: when you look up "total crap" in the dictionary you see a picture of Dan Bartlett...

    May 28, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  8. Fav

    Umm "total crap"

    That's your opinion vs the 71% of Americans that think Bush is nothing but a load of crap

    Shut your trap Bartlett!!

    May 28, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  9. Smart TEXAN

    PLEASE SOMEONE ADOPT BUSH. WE DONT WANT HIM BACK IN TEXAS. GOOD THING GEORGE W WAS A TOTAL DISASTER BECAUSE IF HE WASN'T JEB WOULD BE RUNNING NOW. OBAMA BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 28, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  10. "The Great Elephant Is Wounded"-Kareem From Hampton, Va

    My name says it all....

    This is only the beginning....

    May 28, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  11. lovable liberal

    If Dan Bartlett can say "total crap", can I spell out BS?

    As for the Duhbya dead-enders who think McSame will be different, be honest and admit that you want four more years.

    Scotty's no peach, but I doubt that his book will make more money than 35 years of Republican welfare (some lucrative position in a lobbying firm).

    May 28, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  12. Ratgurl

    Let's see... believe McClellan, who no longer works for Bush, or believe Bartlett, who still wipes Bush's behind? I'm going with McClellan. Can't wait to read the book!

    May 28, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  13. J. Sully, New York

    This book came out at the right time. Go DEMS GO OBAMA!!

    Why shouldn't McClellan, who I believe is telling the truth, criticize Bush. Everybody else is!!!! What a waste of eight years. Wasted lives, wasted time, wasted money. Again GO DEMS GO OBAMA.

    May 28, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  14. Kevin

    What crap? The american people figured this out years ago. Now those pesky unshredded/ incinerated snippets of truth are starting to leak out, it's only a matter of time before something REALLY bad comes out about Bush and his chronies.

    May 28, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  15. KBest

    Don't worry, Dan Bartlett. You will soon write your own memoir in the same line with Scott, after your blind loyalty is unveiled. Hang in there; you only have some months left, boy servant.

    Scott: You're such a courageous guy. Kudos.

    May 28, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  16. Jose'

    Wow! You dems make me ROFLMFAO!!

    When McClellan was speaker, he was a dirty filthy rotten liar in your eyes, now he is a beacon of truth and all that is honest!

    What a bunch of tools.

    No wonder you are all voting for Obama!

    May 28, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  17. Len

    The attack dogs are out !This is how the Bush administration does business with those whom dare to express another point of view!Break them down and belittle them until their views mean nothing.I can just hear Darth Vader Cheny in the back room giving orders as to how to address the public!

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

    From the intel that has been uncovered McClellan is telling the truth and anybody who comes to the defense of Pres. Bush is a total loser 10x over, everyone knows we had no business waging war against iraq. The bottom line is you wanted their oil and went to war with them and what was accomplished? the country is in chaos and you still have no oil not to mention no WMD's....who's the real loser in all of this? you get 1 guess and the other 2 don't count.

    May 28, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  19. Larry in TN

    This response is provided by a lame-duck, Republican, administration trying to cover it's tracks after a disasterous administrative streak which has pushed the U.S. into ruin!

    May 28, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  20. DJ

    Violating trust? Does this imply that someone is telling the truth about somethings that were SUPPOSED to kept within the group of culprits?

    Just wondering about the wording?

    May 28, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  21. Tee

    President Bush's administration is full of crap.
    The truth hurts.

    May 28, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  22. RMW

    Oh, I see. Now McClellan is lying, but he was a fountain of pure truth while he was White House press secretary.

    May 28, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |


    May 28, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  24. tony

    It's interesting to see how a Democrat makes excuses and say it's a mis-statement but when a Republican says it –it's such crap–
    THe whole process is crap-
    Obama can't win-Hilary could but won't get the chance-
    Mccain is another 4 years of Bush-That's BS too !!
    It's all about labels-
    If you want more programs you will vote democratic–It will cost more-That's a Fact- Higher taxes
    If you think about it-The Democrats have kept many minorities on programs and then threaten that the Republicans will take them away and it guarantees a voting block for them-
    Why get a job when the Gov't can take care of me !!!

    May 28, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  25. Carl Los Angeles

    PEACE BE WITH YOU... KUDOS! KUDOS to Peace Be With You! Yes, true words. You donkeys voted for a mule and DA DA you got a mule. Now you are complaining about Bush. Take him and love him... love that this country is a few months away from a depression.... soldiers are dead... your jobs are gone, your homes worth nothing you rights are all but gone! But you have your sports and guns and Scott's great new book. How dare you have ANYTHING to say if you voted for Bush... HOW DARE YOU!

    May 28, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
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