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

Blitzer: Why did McClellan revive the cocaine controversy?

ALT TEXT

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. DEMOCRATS UNITE

    I do agree with the point about the media didn't do enough to pressure the Bush administration in regards to the truth, but maybe Scott she have found a way to leak some of his beliefs to the press and encourage them to bring certain facts out. I forgot he was a loyalist ,who at the time conscience was not bothering him. YOU bet if Obama gets elected he would be scrutinized like no president before or since. I thank him just the same for coming forward with the truth. He only confirmed with a lot of americans believed in the first place, but coming from one of their own makes it more potent !!! Every one is saying why did Scott not express his thoughts to his superiors or to Bush Come on people every one knows GWB listens to no one but GWB,which is why he is considered the worst president ever !!!!!!!

    May 29, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  2. supporter

    How could anyone that has admitted to the use of drugs serve the American people as a President? Shame on Bush the Democrats tried to tell the people in 2000 but Bush was to popular for the educated and the young elite, lets hope this doesn't happen again !!!!

    May 29, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  3. sophia nyc

    I must be old fashioned, and as much as I loathe the adminstration of the past 7+ years, there should be loyalty to the people who trusted you with their secrets.

    May 29, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  4. Glenn

    Didn't Bill say"but I didn't inhale."

    May 29, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  5. R.I.F.

    Andrew May 29th, 2008 5:14 pm ET
    "He left out that part in his book that Obama sold the stuff to George. "
    _________________

    Yeah, and I'm sure that's what you think all black men do. Can you even spell Harvard? Or kmow he was President of Harvard's Law Review? Can someone please remove this loser from this blog.

    May 29, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  6. DEMOCRATS UNITE

    I do agree with the point about the media didn't do enough to pressure the Bush administration in regards to the truth, but maybe Scott should have found a way to leak some of his beliefs to the press and encourage them to bring certain facts out. I forgot he was a loyalist ,who at the time conscience was not bothering him. YOU bet if Obama gets elected he would be scrutinized like no president before or since. I thank him just the same for coming forward with the truth. He only confirmed with a lot of americans believed in the first place, but coming from one of their own makes it more potent !!! Every one is saying why did Scott not express his thoughts to his superiors or to Bush Come on people every one knows GWB listens to no one but GWB,which is why he is considered the worst president ever !!!!!!!

    May 29, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  7. Dr. Charlie, University of Texas

    The cocaine use is not restricted to a party. His point is to show that Bush cannot even remember what should be a distinct memory or he is just denying it.

    May 29, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  8. Lou

    Wolf,
    His point is not the cocaine use, it is the self-deception of Mr Bush which has extended well beyond his alleged cocaine use.

    May 29, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  9. Boered1

    the question is NOT why did this get brought up in his book. That is fairly obvious if you actually read his book. The question is Wlf why are YOU making such a big deal out of this? there are many more SIGNIFICANT issues brought up in the book you could ask him about.

    Could it be that this will give you another method of pushing Clinton's campaign by bringing "out for discussion past drug use by candidates". In other words continue your campaigning for hillary, using Obama's honesty about himself against himself, and once more showing the nation why you should not be allowed to speak on ANY topic without a disclaimer that you support Hillaqry Diane Rodham-clinton and will give her any free advertisment you can.

    May 29, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  10. James, SC

    No biggy, but if you are to be open, then why not expose all?

    May 29, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  11. Tea Party

    Integrity is everything. If Scott McClellan honestly had any beef whatsoever with his boss, he should have simply resigned and walked away.

    While in the military, I had the occasional boss with whom I had disagreements or even had a downright lack of personal respect (respected the rank, but not the person, AKA "to the rank"). However, in the military you don't choose your boss. But working as part of a presidential administration, you CAN choose your boss. If McClellan had fundamental disagreements with his boss, he could have simply walked away. But instead, McClellan showed his lack of integrity in sticking around for the "perks" that come with the job, choosing instead to sell out his beliefs. Sorry, Scott, regardless of how I feel about the current administration, I hold you in even lower regard.

    May 29, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  12. La Raza

    McClellan is admired for his bravery, because despite the consequences, he told it anyway He is a true patriot.

    I find it quite telling how the republicans immediately try to discredit him. That is one angry party right now with attacks to his mental state and character. We simply don't buy it. Bush hasn't commented yet, because they haven't written a speech for him to regurgitate and spin. Remember, damage control takes time and planning.

    May 29, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  13. Terrance Miller in Atlanta

    No you GOP's won't get off easy this time. I am here to rub it in. After you guys impeached a man for cheating on his wife. We get gay senators in airport bathrooms looking for sex.We have senators soliciting sex from the DC madam. Oh and Sex with pages? Presidents lying to go to war. The GOP 's List is LOOOOONNG. I can't wait till the indictments come out in JAN. OH ITS GOIN TO BE A BLAST!!

    May 29, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  14. Earl Ray

    $$$$ "Money" $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    May 29, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  15. Norma. Franklin

    Why shouldn't this be brought up about Bush, You guys never let the Clintons forget what they did in the past. Most of us had heard about Bush and his addiction before he was elected but there is a lot of naive people out there that can only see what they want to and those same people want a loser like Obama in the big house.

    May 29, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  16. Armando

    The truth hurts, Democrate or Republicans. It is amazing, the reactions from the White House and former members of the Bush staff are only protecting their paychecks. Let's wait and see how long it will be before they write a book. SOUR GRAPES!

    May 29, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  17. Terrance Miller in Atlanta

    THE CHICKENS HAVE COME HOME TO ROOST!!
    THE CHICKENS HAVE COME HOME TO ROOOST!!

    THERE has to be about 2000 of them!!

    May 29, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  18. Kathy

    You Obama fanatics are sure sensitive on the topic of cocaine use!

    Barack is a self-confessed drug user. There's nothing "alleged" about the FACTS.

    I think Rachel makes an excellent point.

    And Obama is no better than Bush in this regard.

    May 29, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  19. BUSHEXPOSED

    The truth about illegal immigration and crime: immigrants, whether legal or illegal, are substantially less likely to commit crimes or to be incarcerated than U.S. citizens

    Anti-immigration forces and reporters like Lou Dobbs and Rush Limbo have been hammering into our heads the dangerous link between illegal immigration and increases in violent crime. Their only problem: the facts don't support their alarmist contentions.

    May 29, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  20. Tony B

    This man should be COMMENDED for his truthfulness and bravery for stepping up and speaking out against the grain. He is obviously needed to clear his conscience of all the years of evil, deception and lies that would haunt any good man to their deaths. This story should be applauded and will hopefully lead to more truths...possibly the admission to the Bush Administrations involvement in 911. It's only a matter of time.

    May 29, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  21. KBest

    Nice try Wolf. Read your viewers comments. We all know you. In your desperation to sink Obama, you're going to bring up past 'Cocaine Use' as an issue. Unfortunately, the more you discuss it, the more you undo a sitting President. Watch it, white boy.

    Too bad, nobody believes your honesty anymore.

    May 29, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  22. Louis

    An individual's previous abuse of cocaine and alcohol is relevant because they both can cause brain damage.

    May 29, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  23. William Caine

    Obama, at least, is able to remember which drugs he used; Bush's brain is so far gone he can't tell what he did.

    May 29, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  24. Crush Rush

    I want to know what they did to the Manchurian Candidate while he was a prisoner of war.The cong gave drugs to prisoners to get answers.

    May 29, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  25. Don't worry about McClellan . . .

    He's no Judas - he only did it for the money! But don't worry, he'll be OK, because I already smell Axelrod (Obama's "brain') around the corner, getting ready to position McClellan as his next puppet!

    May 29, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
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