May 28th, 2008
03:15 PM ET
15 years ago

Blitzer: Most explosive charges I can remember

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer"]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - I don’t remember a time when a White House press secretary has written a book and made such explosive charges about a sitting president. That is exactly what Scott McClellan has done in his new book: “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception.”

Yes, there have been White House insiders who have written books critical of their respective bosses. I remember George Stephanopolous and Robert Reich writing books that came down hard on Bill Clinton and his administration.

But McClellan goes way beyond any of that. He says the war in Iraq was a blunder. He writes that war “should only be waged when necessary, and the Iraq war was not necessary.” Does that mean that the 4,000-plus American troops killed in Iraq and the hundreds of billions of dollars spent were for naught?

He says President Bush and his senior 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.”

And he goes further in charging that President Bush has “always been an instinctive leader more than an intellectual leader” and did not “delve deeply into all the possible policy options.”

McClellan’s aides, including his former boss, Communications Director Dan Bartlett, insist this is not the Scott McClellan they knew and worked with for some ten years. They say he never complained about any of this during his years in the White House.

McClellan is about to start a series of television interviews, including one with me in The Situation Room. He will have a chance to make his case.

I suspect the political fallout from his charges will have ramifications out on the presidential campaign trail, given John McCain’s strong support for the war.

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (263 Responses)
  1. steve

    It is News agencies like CNN that sold the war to the American people. Wolf and his comrades never did any investigative reporting and continue to biased talk shows in the name of News.
    CNN sucks

    May 28, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  2. Ron

    Caulk this one up to intimidation. A lot of busniess still use it today

    May 28, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  3. Iraqi spokesman

    Hey, failed to mention the 100,000 Iraqi's killed!!!!!!!!!

    May 28, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  4. Ty

    When he left the administration, he was praised. Now he tells the truth and is 'disgruntled'. LOL.

    May 28, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  5. susa

    Well until we see the lawsuits for liable then its probably true... but of course the Republicans and the white house are going to try and paint McClellan as a liar......
    Frankly he just put in print what a lot of us have suspected or known in part all along.

    May 28, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  6. Laura - Long Island, NY

    We should not be surprised by his book. He's merely stating what we have known deep in our hearts all along. About time someone said it publicly!

    May 28, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  7. Andrew

    President Bush and friends could never have gone to war without the blessings of CNN. Ted Turner and his whole crew should be called to explain their role in the war. The many hundreds of thousands of lives that they distroyed.
    4000 dead soldiers and maybe 200,000 dead Iraqis. The wanton destruction of homes and infrastructure and labeling of anyone who stands up for their rights as insurgents.
    How many American soldiers are injured? Let us know CNN. You are a pack of greedy opportunists.
    With a strong leaning towards racism.
    Time will tell

    May 28, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  8. bill in pa

    Yeah and if Blitzer and the rest of the so called pundits were actually doing their jobs they might have asked a question or two instead of being Bush's cheerleader. Hindsight is 20/20 Wolfie boy. You're just as complicit as this administration. You clowns were tripping over yourselves to get 'embedded' with a combat unit. The news media is nothing more than a lapdog for whoever is in power anymore. Where is Walter Cronkite when you need him?

    May 28, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  9. Christopher Hill

    Hey Wolf,
    Its good to see you write something other then pro Hillary Clinton editorials. I was beginning to wonder if you were on her pay roll!

    May 28, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  10. liberal no good californian

    Um, duh Wolf, the war wasn't worth it!! Thanks for asking your tough questions in the lead up to the war, I'm glad the american public had all the information they needed from our bold and inquisitive press.

    May 28, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  11. R.O.B.

    Yeah, expose the whole Bush Administration for all the laws they broke and rules they manipulated. I would hope that once their reign is over all of them need to be prosecuted to fullest extent of the law. Bush needs to be tried for war crimes, get convicted then extradited to a solitary confinement prison somewhere on an island in the middle of the Pacific.

    May 28, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  12. TiredOfListeningToThis Crap

    Look...I am getting tired of hearing the same story OVER AND OVER.

    For once I am taking the side of Congressmen Wexler of Florida. Let's put this McCellan guy under oath.

    If what he alleges is true, impeach everyone...BUT...if he (McCellan) changes his tune when under oath...THE SUBJECT IS CLOSED.

    Let us all as a nation face the facts...we are in Iraq and Afganistan. Regardless of how we got there, (Bad intelligence, Neo-Cons, Oil company greed, or Sadaam WMD), we are THERE.

    Lets finish what we started in both countries. If, god forbid, it looks like we can't finish the job, then lets pull out the troops and Annihilate both countries...lets drop the nukes and make it so that no one can inhabit either country for 10,000 years.

    The message must be sent that you cannot win a war against the United a nation we will do what is in our best interest...and we don't care what the rest of the world thinks.

    Our new foreign policy:


    In that order.

    Lets focus on what is really balancing the budget.

    May 28, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  13. Rick- Your town

    I see a government that sits at the top in stony silence. They don't want America to see their devilish scheming. I have known this all along. Not much gets past a wary veteran. While the world's focus is on the slow motion – trade center like – crash and burn of America, (Thanks to this administration), Germany is quietly bringing up the rear. Don't say I didn't warn you.

    While its completely proper to rail about our losses at the hands of ineptitude, UNDERSTAND that every public servant who runs for high office has a SELF SERVING PERSONAL AGENDA and don't you let ANYONE tell you different. This includes BUSH, OBAMA,THE CLINTONS (You don't just get ONE) and MCCAIN. Hillary is so desperate for the shot, she will stoop to ANYTHING, just watch. Every time I hear Bill Clinton on the campaign trail I get nose bleeds. THEY HAD THEIR SHOT!

    Seems like everyone is holding their candidate out at arms length and holding their noses. LIES LIES LIES! Americans of all stripes, AND our troops DESERVE SO MUCH MORE. We need fresh blood in this country, not a policy of more of the same. I say EMPTY the halls of Congress! America can't get anything done!

    May 28, 2008 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
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