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. Jerr the Bear

    McClellan needs to apologize all right, for impersonating a man.

    May 30, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  2. John

    saying that the Dems are wasting time and money investigating this and that it is pathetic is SHOCKING.

    I mean... it was the Republicans that spent millions of taxpayer dollars investigating Bill Clinton's affair with Monica, right?

    So... spending money finding out if we were lied to about a war that has cost this country billions and thousands of lives is a waste... but investigating a sex act is a good way to spend money!!!!?!??! Fiscal conservatism at its best, baby!

    May 30, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  3. toasty_donuts

    Thank you Scott!!

    America has needed a brave and soul-searching insider to admit what most of us have known or suspected for years.

    People who dish heat to McClellan while ignoring the Bush Admin's criminality are blind or mentally MIA.

    May 30, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  4. Roger Jones

    Bob Dole called McClellan out. I doubt McClellan is man enough for the challenge. Even in his 80's and with a bum arm, Dole would mop the floor with this little man called McClellan.

    May 30, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  5. allie

    I believe that he is looking for attention and money. Why come out with all this now?

    May 30, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  6. Dr. Robotnik

    Funny how all the media and bloggers that now "believe him completely" were all but shouting "LIAR" at him when he was at the podium for the White House.

    If he is sincere in his "truth telling" then why did he wait for a payoff to tell it?

    The truth is he was fired because he did a poor job as a press secretary. Republicans said it then and they're saying it now. We're the only ones with a consistant argument here.

    May 30, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  7. Cathy

    As a democrat, I never thought Bush should have been president. But one thing I would like to see is proof of what he is saying. And that he is going to donate proceeds of this book to people that served in the war. Then we will know that he did it for the right reason.

    May 30, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  8. sdn

    Isn't it sad America how people are crucified by our political leaders for speaking the truth. Then in the forum of piblic opinion they are laid out to pasture. How saddening. I believe he is telling the truth, no one would risk their life, freedom nor career for a simple book deal, especially when they were still being favored in the Republican Family. If he isn't telling the truth why would the WH speaker talk about emplying immunity if he is called to testify.

    May 30, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  9. Hillary 2012

    I can't wait to see this....

    Congressman: "So, Mr. are here to testify about the run-up to the Iraq War?"

    Scott: "Yes, Sir."

    Congressman: "Your first-hand information about the pre-war intel and the lies propagated during the run-up will expose this Administration?"

    Scott: "Yes, Sir!"

    Congressman: "You were privy to the discussions, propaganda, and conspiracy as it pertains to the weeks and months leading up to the that correct?"

    Scott: "Yes, Sir!!!!"

    Congressman: "Yet, you didn't begin working for the President until July 2003.. more than a year AFTER the war began...isn't that correct Mr. McClellan?"

    Scott: ""

    May 30, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  10. Jayson

    It is amazing how quickly people start "spilling the beans" when there book is for sale. This guy has no better then those he is supposedly outting

    May 30, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  11. Bubba was President

    McClellan was skewed by Anderson Cooper....

    He asked Scotty: "Did you lie for two years as press spokesman for the President, or are you lying now?"
    "And if you say you're telling the truth now, that means you were lying to our faces for two years. Why should we believe a liar?"

    Go Anderson.

    Obama 08

    May 30, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  12. Jayson

    Joshua College,
    If anything this administration has done was impeachable the Democratic party would already be pursuing that avenue. The fact of the matter is that all they have done is things that Democrats don't particularly like and you can't be impeached for not bowing down to the Democrats.....

    May 30, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  13. powerhouse

    Finally the truth comes out...or is it?

    Scott M.,
    I hope you know what you got yourself into and I hope your words are not as propaganda as we already know it. It's disturbing to hear how much we put our trust in our government only to hear the untold secrets now being addressed. Yes, democracy at its best!

    Maybe that's why other countries depises us because our government are a bunch of hypocrites!

    May 30, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  14. Mooser

    Mr McClellan, like K-K-Katie Couric, is willing to confess and take responsibility, cause he, like her, does not seem to be aware of what he is taking responsibility for. If he (I don't know about her) had been smart enough, he either would have run screaming from the White House as soon as he knew, or kept his mouth shut and lawyered up. I'm sure by now he is talking to legal counsel. I can just hear him: "You mean they hung Germans for stuff like this after WW2?"
    So take all you can get from him. when he realises what the stakes are, he's gonna shut like a clam, and nothing except a subpoena will open it again

    May 30, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  15. Brian Knoxville, TN


    You've given McClellan enough publicity for his book.


    May 30, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  16. Patricia in Las Vegas

    Frodo was wrong .... Bush has the ring. And Hillary is coveting it... 'my pressssssssscious ......'

    May 30, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  17. Johnny Hatten

    Yes, it hurts to have someone come out and tell the truth sometimes. It's amazing to me to watch those enraged about McClellan's book. Why? This is America...we have nothing to hide right?
    I would offer McClellan a job in a second. He's just an honest guy with a conscience. That's someone I could certainly use at my workplace!

    May 30, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  18. Jim

    You have dreams of impeachment. The Dems won all of Congress last time and they have done nothing. You Bush haters are laughable. It was not long ago you thought McClellan was full of it ...yet now you believe convenient. No one will go to jail out of any of this. Time to wake up.

    May 30, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  19. edfeeeney

    Who would he testify against? You can't get any one of these criminals to even acknowledge a subpeona.

    May 30, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  20. joe

    Did we realy need McClellan to tell us about Bush? Haven't we known this all along? We have let Bush lie to us for 7 years now we are going to let a nobody " Obama " do the same thing. We will give the world another good laugh at our expence. Wake up America we need Hillary.
    Go Hillary!

    May 30, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  21. Mark

    At least someone inside the Bush administration is feeling remorse and willing to shred off own moral burdens. Can any one tell how many people Hitlar killed in WWII?

    May 30, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  22. joe

    Sorry for the spelling I did not reread what I wrote before posting.

    May 30, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  23. Frederica

    I believe all these religious priests/so-called pastors, are coming
    out of the woodwork for a CONTRIBUTION TO THEIR CHURCH,

    May 30, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  24. kaydee

    Bob Dole (and some media tallking heads) wants to know why McClellan didn't "speak up" if he disagreed with Bush/Rove while he was in the White House? Are you kidding me?! Disagreeing with these guys was not allowed, people! And how much influence would a spokesperson have? No one in power cared about his opinion. How disingenuous can ya get. It's the usual indignant, self-righteous pile-on from the GOP.

    May 30, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  25. Charlotte

    Kennedy and Kerry should both be pledged to Hillary, she carried their state yet they support Obama? What about the will of the voters in their state? More hate from an Obama mentor? How much more will people tolerate? Obama is exactly like his mentors, yet must pretend otherwise. He will continue to draw criticisim for his beliefs. I'm not buying anymore lies from this man. Of course I never bought into his lies in the first place. We can only pray the superdelegates realize the damage his church will cause in the General Election. I will write in Hillary Clinton on my ballot in November. We can not have a racist for President or a racist first lady, not this day and time.. Obama continues to divide this country along racial lines. He has set racial relations back a hundred years.

    May 30, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
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