May 29th, 2008
02:30 PM ET
14 years ago

Blitzer: Why did McClellan revive the cocaine controversy?


WASHINGTON (CNN) - There are many stunning allegations in Scott McClellan’s new book on his years in the White House. But his decision to bring up President George W. Bush’s alleged cocaine use as a young man was perhaps most surprising. Why revive an allegation that has long been dormant?

McClellan recalls a phone conversation he overheard Bush having when he was still Governor of Texas and running for president some eight years ago.

“The media won’t let go of these ridiculous cocaine rumors,” he quotes Bush as having said in that conversation with a political supporter. “You know, the truth is I honestly don’t remember whether I tried it or not. We had some pretty wild parties back in the day, and I just don’t remember.”

McClellan says the comments “struck me” and “stayed with me to this day – not for what it revealed or concealed about the young George W. Bush, but for what it said about Bush as an older man and political leader, especially as revealed through my later experiences working for him.”

McClellan adds: “I remember thinking to myself, How can that be? How can someone simply not remember whether or not they used an illegal substance like cocaine? It didn’t make a lot of sense.”

When I interview the former White House press secretary Friday in The Situation Room, I will ask him why he decided to revive this issue now.

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (189 Responses)
  1. Pistoff

    liar .... again.

    May 29, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  2. Kathy

    Hey Paul - read you post above, and it works just as well if I insert Obama's name for Bush.

    SEE what I mean....

    "It goes to Obama's character, Wolf. You see how easy Obama manipulates the 'truth' into whatever he wants it to be. It's too bad people like Wolf were too busy paving the way (to the white house) to see through this man's bull."

    I couldn't have said it better!

    May 29, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  3. Julie

    Wolf, ask Mr. McClellan... how much was he paid off for his comments ??

    May 29, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  4. Ridgeway

    Obama to Iraq? A visit to the "Old Country" eh?

    May 29, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  5. Franky

    You know what Wolf?? At least our faith guides us..........I think that's important.

    May 29, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  6. deb in az

    this is a lot of hype to sell his sure that some of it is true, but not sorry that he is such a rat though......he reminds me of a whinning of those that always tattles.......i guess everyone has to write a book..........

    May 29, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  7. bringin the pain

    Fidel Castro came out today in support for Barack Hussein Obama

    May 29, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  8. Mitchell

    C'mon Blitz, asking about that is just shock-tactic reporting. I think he states in the excerpt you quoted in this article why he brought it up. I don't think he was trying to force it back into the spotlight or anything. He was just saying it made him question what kind of person wouldn't remember that? what kind of leader?
    The question should be, if he thought that while Bush was still governer, why did he work for him at the White House?

    May 29, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  9. Investigator

    Teacher –

    You're beyond crazy. Hillary knows full well she made a huge, strategic mistake in underestimating Senator Obama. Yes, that's right, read these words carefully: she won't be the nominee because SHE MADE SEVERAL IMPORTANT STRATEGIC ERRORS. It has nothing to do with her being a WOMAN or Senator Obama being AFRICAN-AMERICAN, as you so 'astutely' observe in your post.
    Now, she has to get dirty to compensate for the huge blindspot in her strategy (and Ego) to win the nomination. First, she brought up Rev. Wright. Now, it looks like Mr. Blitzer is going to try and help her make a case that Obama was a coke head.
    As democrats we need to study our history. Our last 2 successful candidates won on the common theme of hope & responsibility. Funny, you know, that's exactly what Senator Obama is running on and he's most likely going to win – no matter what Hillary's crony Wolf Blitzer decides to do.

    May 29, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  10. Carlos X.

    Here's what I would ask McLellan: 1. why is this book timed to coincide with the beginning of the general election campaign? Why doesn't that raise a presumption of electioneering and spin, much akin to the "PR" you became familiar with in your "spokesman" post? 2. Democrats now are saying you were a tool and Republicans are saying you are a traitor. Which one are you and why doesn't that disqualify you and discredit you from participating in any national debate? 3. How many friends do you still have left and how many do you think you will be able to buy with your 30 pieces of silver?

    May 29, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  11. Edith Arkansas

    I am glad that Scott Mclleland decided to write that book. I have not read the book but what have been reported that happen is in line with my thinking and belief. It appears that Bush has long thrown the rules away for doing things by his own bulling way. This point has been discussed among citizens who feel the same way. For those who ask why Scott Waited until now to make his reports known. One has to understand if you are among people who you understand how they think under the circumstances will not reveal your feelings on what you are observing, his life could be in danger. Remember he must take precaution going against the President of the U.S. He did right to quietly write what he knew and did not agree with the President of running the peoples house. It is to many back stabbers out everywhere. I don't understand the rational on people wanting Scott to step out and tell his story, he would have been ripped apart from all side of Republicans. There are perhaps other ways he could have went but he chose to tell all in a book. Now that he has congress should lanch an investigation and put him under oath. Many share and believe Scotts point of view. Go Scott I am hungry for someone to tell it like it is even in a book. THE PEOPLES HOUSE NEEDS REVIVING.

    May 29, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  12. John Black

    I feel that McClelland wanted to spill the beans before being indict-ed befor this scandulous bush regime goes down.When the war had gotten started ;bush said"hussein threatened our nation".People;hus-sein didn't threaten our nation.hussein threatened george bush's daddy.the night that he sent them in if you recallbush said on national TV"Igot to go get him before he gets my other words;our troops are over there getting shot-up,blown-apart by these sorry sui-cidal iraqi bombers ,because of george bush & he & his daddy's chil-dish gun-slinging,oil-drilling,family-feud with bush's daddy is not worth taking a gun shot ,a bomb blast ,getting beheaded ,or dismembered for. his greed just isn't worth all of that./JOHNBLACKMONROE,N.C.

    May 29, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  13. Independent

    Old News-Scott McClellan is trying to cash in an make a buck while the has been has time. He claims he was disappoint at his work place HELLO that's life. If he really wants to see disappointment it is time for him to put his big boy pants on and go into the real world.

    May 29, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  14. PF Harlock

    So-caller Neutral, it's "Obama" (with an "a"), "White House" is two words, and Nancy Pelosi has done nothing more than state she will abide by the rules agreed upon by everyone (including the Clinton Campaign) and support the candidate who wins by those rules.

    Hillary Clinton's desire to change those rules at the end of the game is highly dishonorable. Is it usual for you to sign contracts then violate them? We'll, that's exactly what Hillary Clinton is attempting to do.

    Thankfully she's not going to be successful, other than the success she's had in destroying her reputation with millions of Americans.

    May 29, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
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