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. White & Old Midwest Female

    And what if she does? Too little too late. She lost a LOT of states by a LOT previous to this.

    It's kinda like a basketball game. If one team plays really well consistently all the way thru the game and starts the last quarter with a huge lead, and even maintains that lead, it doesn't matter what fantastic plays the losing team pulls off in the last quarter. If they only lose by just one point, they still lose.

    Clinton is a loser. Get it? If not, you will soon...very soon 🙂

    May 29, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  2. Paul

    It goes to Bush's character, Wolf. You see how easy Bush manipulates the "truth" into whatever he wants it to be. It's too bad people like Wolf were too busy paving the way to war in Iraq to see through this man's bull.

    May 29, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  3. DAN

    It's amazing how Bush reminds me of Obama. They are both great pretenders. They will both be corrupt when it comes to counting votes. They will manipulate and dishonestly try anything to obtain power. They both totally depend on their advisers to make their decisions. Bush called you unpatriotic if you oppose him and Obama calls you a racist if you vote for Hillary. They both make gaffes about geography history and especially foreign affairs. They both have the media in their pockets. Where were the hard questions and investigations about the war. Where are the hard questions to Obama about his corrupt dealings and aquaintances. How much more incompetance can the country carry. It's time, for a third and new party.

    May 29, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  4. Jessica in IL

    On Anderson Cooper 360 last night, they said McClellan uses the cocaine issue as an example of W's self deception, saying that W said he honestly couldn't remember if he used cocaine at any time. McClellan said that it was hard for him to believe that someone could use hard drugs and not remember doing so.

    Oh, wait; I just summed up this whole post. Hm. Why is this "news"?

    May 29, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  5. Tom,des moines

    The true is Hussein Obama was a cocaine user for a very time.

    Vote Hillary or McCain only folk! no Obama period.

    May 29, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  6. Tom,des moines

    McCain the america hero vs Obama the america zero. McCain win hand down.

    Go McCain!

    May 29, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  7. David Goldman for OBAMA



    May 29, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  8. pam Eugene OR

    I did not vote for him and never would. That said how cares what he did 40 years ago. Get a life Wolf!

    May 29, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  9. vahe

    well we all know Bushes Staff or his close political friends are really shady. Bush is the worst persident of my time and MCshame is really proud to stand besides Bush with smile. McBush will loose and i cant waith to see the crying face of McBush. Democrats 08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 29, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  10. Timing

    This would have been a better book, if the timing was better. He is bring up things we already know.

    Obama 08

    May 29, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  11. Ab-Corpus Christi-TX

    Unfortnately, the president Bush has no brain.He can NOT think straight!

    May 29, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  12. Suzie

    Would he really get any publicity if all he said was sugar and spice comments instead he filled his book with scandalous garbage to get more media attention and an extra buck in his pocket.

    May 29, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  13. raf

    It would've been better not to broadcast this coming question, because that just gives him time to prepare a response. He is still a spokesman at heart, you know.

    May 29, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  14. Griff

    Off your Blog/Subject.... China!!!! China should have never changed their River Flow!!! Yanze? I said it at the time. nine plus year's ago...
    Balance is Power... What they did was Fatal.. Now their Country is Unbalanced.....

    May 29, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  15. Mike,Iowa

    Maybe he got tired of carrying the burden of knowing how Screwed up our president and our politics are as if no one knew already anyway. Seems like the only time politicians care what people say as if its in a book so say Write on and if its just a gimmick to make money big deal he would be the frist person to make money of exploiting people. Then again why are so many books written and so many documentaries made about politicians and no one ever seems to want to ask about them as if they are all just fake by people wanting to make money. I dont think so there are people alot smarter then our government gives us credit for. IRAQ FOR SALE, THE LAST WHITE HOPE, FERENHIET 9/11... check them out sometime and maybe you will see we need to be questioning our government and demanding real answers!

    May 29, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  16. keith Franklin, Tn

    I liked what Karl Rove had to say about McClellan. "If he had "MORAL" issues, he should have spoken up" SURRRREE!!!! Right Karl, all of you "moral" Cabinet members and Advisors on Bush's staff.

    Fact is, I enjoy seeing someone in that Admin have a conscience. You sure won'tfind Rove, Rumsfeld, Cheney, or Bush on the "moral" list.

    Why doesn't Rove come clean? You know why... he would spend years in the slammer. Oh wait, the Dems are waiting for Bush to leave office so he won't pardon the scum.

    May 29, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  17. RJ, CA

    READ CNN'S LEAD ARTICLE TODAY: About how Obama played "hardball" (DIRTY!) in his first Chicago Senate campaign. A real eye-opener about "Mr Clean"!
    • Used Chicago rules to invalidate voting petition signatures of 3 challengers
    • Challenged every single one on “technicalities”
    • If names were printed instead of signed in cursive writing, they were declared invalid.
    • If signatures were good but the person gathering the signatures wasn't properly registered, those petitions also were thrown out
    • "It's not the tactics of 'let's all people come together and put your best ideas forward and the best ideas win,” as he now likes to claim
    • "That's the spin; that's in the Kool-Aid.”
    • In the end, he made sure voters had just one choice: HIM

    May 29, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  18. Ryan

    McCellan is an opportunist. It probably took him 6 months to write this book and get it published, yet he didn't bring this to the attention of the media until now, when his book is coming out? Seems like he just wants a lot of publicity so he can make money off of people that dislike Bush enough to read his (likely) garbage.

    May 29, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  19. Ab-TX

    Just remember that all the politicians are liars!!
    Just choose the least, that's Obama !!!!
    Bye Bush.... and here comes OBAMA!!!!

    May 29, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  20. Larry

    I am a Dem and don't care about his cocaine use as long as the Repubs don't question what Obama did in his youth, OK?

    I actually think Cheney is stoned right now.............. lol.

    May 29, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  21. Extinct

    The real concern is that these types of twisted true stories have become so common place that they have to mentally and psychologically affect what is considered the base level of common sense that all of us possess.

    May 29, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  22. A Viewer


    Your goals are clear:

    1-You are already trying to attack Obama.

    2-You are diverting the attention away from the really important part of the book: the Bush administration, with the MEDIA'S HELP, sold an absurd war to the American people.

    On all these charges, maybe you are much more guilty than Obama would ever be, Wolf...

    Any nightmares?...

    May 29, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  23. J.W. of Mississippi

    Wolf, maybe if you & your media buddies had looked into it when it first came up, we wouldn't have an idiot and a war criminal in the White House.
    Mr. Blitzer you are a JOKE. How in the hell did you convince anyone that you are a real Journalist. You should be working for one of the tabloids.

    May 29, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  24. AJP Richardson, TX

    I bet my bottom dollar george did a few snorts.

    May 29, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  25. R M Gopal

    It's always worth a chuckle to see earnest souls straining to be more Catholic than the Pope. Even the White House, at least in its official reactions, has not called Mr. McClellen a liar. That has not dissuaded the faithful, amply represented on this forum, from trying to rid the POTUS of this meddlesome ex-friend. The posts are early for folks to have actually read the book [I haven't] but that's a minor detail for the true believers eager to pronounce the msessnger of these sad tidings "liar," "dishonest," "Judas," "scum" and so it goes ...

    May 29, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
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