May 29th, 2008
02:30 PM ET
13 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. Bitter - New Orleans, LA

    Why? Because he didn't actually write the book. Soros's cronies wrote and published it. Surprised? I'm not.

    May 29, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  2. Alex

    In all cases, "I don't remember if I did it" = "I did it".

    May 29, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  3. jason

    i think he's bringing up how it was treated as such a non-issue. pretty clear who the media wanted in office at the time. If any current candidate had a history of drug use, they would have been eliminated in January, the press would have made so much noise.

    why did the media want a bush in office? i was in Kosova at the time, and the moment I heard a bush was running, i dreaded going to Iraq – because I knew that's where all bush's are headed (such short memories you all must have...)

    For people who's job it is to gather information, you certianly have problems with the obvious glaring predictable nature of the bush's. If another bush runs, we'll be going to Iran. Something dumb will happen, the media will applaude the next dumbest descicion in history, and we'll be in Iran screwing everything up again.

    May 29, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  4. Judy

    MCD-don't be so sure about that. Some people would prefer to have a leader who didn't brag about his drug use when he was "finding himself". Although, I guess it really does make him one of the boys to many people. But wait, didn't we already have a Pres we'd like to have a beer with (or in this case, get high with)?

    May 29, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  5. Yawdie


    Obama graduated with a J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard in 1991

    May 29, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  6. R.I.F.

    CNN is pretty transparent. Wolf, he brought up everything Bush didn't want him to. Funny you mentioned this one. Me things me smells something fishy and it's coming from you Wolf.

    May 29, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  7. Nando, Florida

    who cares Bush is done.

    May 29, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  8. not nice

    When George W ran against Ann Richards for Givernor of Texas many party movies surfaced were he was under the influence or "coke out” after that never again showed.

    Why is anyone surprised at the facts about W?

    May 29, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  9. Barrie O. Ward The Canadian Geezer

    I believe that Mr. McClellan’s new book serves a public good in that it may signal the many rascals who infest the political arena and have a detrimental effect on public policy that they should mind their P's & Q's and find other occupations. Politics is a noble undertaking when done by people of character and honesty but it falls into disrepute when brazen opportunists and zealots with high greed factors weasel into positions of influence within our governments.

    May 29, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  10. non republican

    Crack, cocain, it doesn't matter a lousy job is a lousy job.

    May 29, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  11. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Bush's cocaine dealer exposed him prior to his election but it was quickly shut down just like his DWI's were squashed. America, we got what we deserved as a president in Bush and gave him the power that cleansed him with blood.

    May 29, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  12. Hilary no place ....

    Bring it on /Way to go this is great what we already knew or suspected and even more if it sells your book and brings in some more $$$$$$$ hey more power to you / the ones complaining just wish they had their hand under the cash register instead of you cling cling.
    They don't stop when its a Democrat perhaps it will give Foxes S.H. something to talk about WOW he will need a stone to hide behind.

    Thanks McClellan Cling Cling

    May 29, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  13. MTW

    Obviously this book is McClellan's retirement check.

    I always thought he was a gutless wonder. He 's proven it.

    May 29, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  14. CNN Sucks!

    They are all snakes! Who cares why he release it now?

    May 29, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  15. smart

    Thank you Beltway Insider! Everyone else seems to be doing the reading but not the comprehension.

    May 29, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  16. Bill Cooper

    Because the cocaine use left Bush's brain "fried" which might explain his bad decisions latter. I just wonder if Scott McClellan can sleep knowing he is partly responsible for the deaths of all those American soldiers.

    May 29, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  17. Belle

    I say open it up, so we can look at Obama's past drug use, as well.

    May 29, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  18. Donna

    O pleaseeee Bush did it... He was a spoiled rich kid ... And he went to NEW ORLEANS often he said.... Lord knows what else he tried when he visited good ole New Orleans .... . It is famous for more things than food ..

    May 29, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  19. JM

    clearly scotty has never been to a decent party 🙂

    May 29, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  20. Jed in Texas

    Just wait till he gets to McSames age. Whats the matter Wolf, you need a beer and a crying towel?

    May 29, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  21. joy

    well no wonder he was always pmsing at those press conferences! the dude REALLY hated his job! unlike folks like us who may hate are their jobs, he could right a book and make millions. go figure!

    May 29, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  22. Joe Schmoe

    Wolf, you are sooooo incredibly clever! Oh yes, all us idjits can't see that you're setting up a dialog on cocaine in order to be able beat the dead horse about Obama allegedly doing cocaine.

    Why did McClellan revive the cocaine controversy? Why are you, you frickin hypocrite?

    May 29, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  23. Seth

    Why is he "reviving" anything? Um... cause he is writing a book about events in the past. Talking about any past event is technically "reviving" it.

    it was one of the hundred or so topics he talk about in the book.

    why are you talking about it, Wolf? why are you "reviving" it?

    stupid question.

    May 29, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  24. Scott Martin

    As much as this does sound ridiculous that he cant remember if he used cocaine or not (that means he did)
    This was brought up to sell books, he has ruined himself with a cheap book deal to make a bit of cash. and they will not give you cash unless you can think up some trash the more trash the more cash.
    George has weathered bigger storms that this and this will only ruin the rep of Scott McClellan.
    He is going to the same heap as Monica Lewinsky

    May 29, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  25. Carl

    The public should know what kind of President and administration they elected. Scott McClellan has a right to speak out and not be labeled disgruntled. I value the truth, and we have been sheltered from the truth about this Presidency for too long.

    May 29, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
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