May 30th, 2008
04:18 PM ET
12 years ago

McClellan: 'I'd be glad' to testify about Bush White House

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="CNN's Wolf Blitzer interviewed McClellan Friday."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said Friday he would be willing to comply with a rumored congressional subpoena to discuss the administration’s handling of pre-war intelligence, telling CNN’s Wolf Blitzer he’d be “glad to share my views” if asked to testify.

Facing a firestorm over his book, McClellan also confirmed reports that he had apologized to Richard Clarke for questioning his honesty after the former counterterrorism official published his own book critical of the White House.

“That was part of our talking points at the time. I didn’t even read the book,” McClellan admitted Friday. “…And I think you’re seeing the same thing happening now at this White House, that information – or rather, that people are saying things about my motivations and about me in terms of this book, and they haven’t even had a chance to read the book, or haven’t taken the opportunity to read the book.

“I think that anyone who is objective who reads the book will see that it was a very tough process to come to these conclusions. It wasn’t easy to write these things.”

Former colleagues and top Republicans have been blasting McClellan since his book was released earlier this week. On Friday, Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole – who said he had not read the new book – called McClellan a “miserable creature” in a scathing e-mail that quickly became public.

McClellan told CNN he did not believe he needed to apologize for misleading the public as he now concedes he did. “I have come to terms with it, and realized that some of what I said was badly misguided,” he said Friday. “There's things we did right, and there's things we did wrong. The things that we did wrong overshadowed so much of what we did right. … and I think the American people see through what I have been saying the last few days, that I do regret that I didn't realize some of the things then that I do now.”

(UPDATED 5:50 p.m.)
Watch McClellan defend his tell-all book.

He also said he did not believe he needed to apologize to President Bush, and did not think the president would be reading his book, or talking with him about what he had written. “I don't expect that, at least not any time soon,” he said.

“I don't need to ask for any forgiveness from him because my comments are sincere and honest … it was tough getting to the conclusions I drew, but they were absolutely the truth from my perspective.”

Filed under: President Bush
soundoff (395 Responses)
  1. Army Wife

    thank you scott,

    Bush and Hillary Clinton have blood on their hands...........

    May 30, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  2. CB

    And he should testify – now that is something I'd sit with a bowl of popcorn to watch!

    May 30, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  3. Brian Knoxville, TN

    I'd love to spin my comment into something that says the obvious: Hillary Clinton is the best candidate to go up against John McCain!

    But I watched too many of your press conferences when you were Press Sect for Bush and I saw this interview that you had with Wolf and, Scott, all I have to say:

    Dude, you're pathetic.

    "Look at me now. Look at how sincere and contrite I am."

    You're a failure as (in no particular order): a man, a patriotic American, an employee, a partisan of the truth... you get the point.

    Why have you connected telling the truth (years after when telling the truth would have mattered) to selling "the book"? How many times did you say "the book" in your interview with Wolf today, anyway?

    Disloyalty to Bush is fine in my book, but way too late. And no one likes greedy opportunists who have found a way to turn their time deceiving the American people into cash.

    Go find a hole where you can spend eternity feeling shame for what you knew you were doing to our system of government for so many years.

    May 30, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  4. John

    Good. And the Right Wing will continue to fire salvos at him – the more negatives they throw at him, the more you truth you know he is saying. If he was making this up, they would dismiss him as a lunatic. Instead, they say stuff like "if he had a problem with it, he should have quit."

    If I remember correctly, HE DID RESIGN.

    May 30, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  5. Glenn

    Bush and the Republican hate machine may be sorry for what they wish for. You have Karl Rove and Limp Bushbaugh, those two psuedo patriotic police, wailing their venom, joined by the old GOP guard. They can't even get McBush to wear the American flag lapel pin. Everyone knows that really shows how they feel about America and not how they live and act about their feelings for America.

    May 30, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  6. Mark

    Bush should be hung in the town square for this war.

    May 30, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  7. Laurie

    Scott McCellan will only confirm what Americans have known for a long time-that we didn't need to go to war. I would like to take it a step further by saying that we don't have any business being in Iraq any longer. If we needed an excuse at the time to depart, we could have used the "execution of Saddam Hussein" as the reason for ending the war. Terror exists on all levels, but we can't go into every country and "bully our way to the illusion of freedom." The White House may be sad that Mr, McCellan told what he felt was the truth, but Americans have been sadder realizing what the consequences of the War on Terrorism has been in lost lives on both sides (civilian and otherwise) , damage to the environment, and monetary losses to our economy. I applaud Mr. McCellan for stepping forth and telling the truth. He did not come forth at a strategic point in the election. Thank you, Scott,

    May 30, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  8. Superdelegate Bob

    Of course Bush won't read the book; he still hasn't finished 'My Pet Goat.'

    May 30, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  9. s

    Yo, Scott!!!

    May 30, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  10. Crush Rush

    Just a shame he doent have enough on them to have them all locked up.

    May 30, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  11. Kelby

    All of this should have happened years ago. I hope Bush faces punishment for the last eight years

    May 30, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  12. RONNIE

    Mr. Big dies at the end of Sex And The City movie!

    May 30, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  13. A. Cameron

    How do we handle back stabbers like McClellean in the service?
    You don't want to know.

    May 30, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  14. Andrew

    I've never seen anyone more eager to schlep a book than this shmuck.

    He must really need the money.

    May 30, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  15. DrMan

    I hope the Libs go ahead with this. The first time it's proved that something McClellan said was a lie, let's see how quick the Libs abandon him. Let's not focus on high gas or food prices, let's dig up garbage from years ago that McClellan decided wasn't worth talking about untill Soros got a hold of him and offered him big bucks to "remember" stuff about his time in the White House. Yes, thank god we've got the libs in charge of the House and Senate. They've got their priorities straight. Pathetic, just pathetic.

    May 30, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  16. frank Honolulu HI

    Yes! It's about time. Bob Dole is exactly what everyone is addressing "cronieism". Bob Dole is the "miserable creature" as his republican party is going down. They're so out of it they've killed 4,000 young men for oil.
    They're wringing they're hands because of oil profits over dead kids and native people. Because they're religion is different they have more incentive to invade. Bob Dole and the administration are bad people who kill for profit.

    May 30, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  17. Conservative Buyer- CA

    Enough said!

    Let's get the impeachment going already now.

    May 30, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  18. The Deeper Thinker

    So what happens now America? Are some of you still hands up for McCain or should I say George Bush III!! If McCain supports Bush supports Bush supports McCain then that means that thy're two of the same. Is that what we are looking for. Don't you people see that it's the political con that the Rep. pulled that has us at war now, paying high price for gas and has screwed up the economy. No more Bush means no McCain.

    May 30, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  19. Hillary in 08

    Wake Up White People, before it's too late!!!
    Hip hop music blasting from the oval office, Shooting dice on the South lawn and Fire breathing racist preachers scattered about. That's the leadership I want!

    Go Hillary!

    May 30, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  20. bec

    nobody cares about this loser, cnn. old news. stop reporting on it.

    May 30, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  21. KMAN

    And a collective GULP was heard from the political wh*res who occupy and serve this White House! It does my heart good now to see a man that I at one time reviled for his verbally supportive role of the Bush administration's crimes … now come clean and redeem himself ... thank you Scott!

    May 30, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  22. Kevin - Indiana

    Everyone makes mistakes, but it takes a bigger person to see them. You're a good man, McClellan.

    May 30, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  23. James, SC


    Please do it. They will not call you because they know you are telling the truth.

    May 30, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  24. Gaylon Barrow


    May 30, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  25. karen

    here is man w/ a clear conscience while not in the inner circle he was the one who had to face the media day after day and spin all them lies that the white house and mary matalin, karen huhges and all them liars were spinning. in that "white house" machine the man is no judasgoat. blind loyalty has not sent him over the cliff. he must now be able to sleep at night.

    May 30, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
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