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. peace

    I think it's about time to bring this bush administration to justice for their act. I will say enough is enough with this administration. they have done enough damage not only to their country (USA) but also to the rest of the world. Now we get to know more (from an insider) about what we knew before that this war was a propaganda. Thanks to Scott. The going says "it's better late than never" and what goes around comes around.

    May 30, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  2. Shawn, Takoma Park, MD

    This is the most disastrous, corrupt and immoral administration in US history!


    May 30, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  3. Tom

    What a dirt ball – Every administration has stories to tell. Just imagine if each press secretary wrote a tell all book about their days in the White House. Amazing what McCellan is doing for money and the timing of the release is just to sell more books.

    May 30, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  4. Frank (Ohio)

    I know executive privalige can prevent people from testifying when they dont want to testify (Rove). But can executive privalige prevent a willing witness to NOT testify?

    May 30, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. Terri an Independent in FL

    I am simply astonished that not one report is being made about the LACK of outrage from the Republicans that this White House has now been caught in it's lies and propoganda and sent over 4000 U.S. men and women to their graves as well as thousands of Iraqis and service people of other nations.

    I am astonished that the Republicans are mad about someone actually demonstrating to them what a true patriot is, namely someone who puts himself in such a terrible situation to point out what some of the most powerful people in the world did to this country!

    How outrageous is it that the Republicans are expressing NO DISMAY at the loss of SO MANY LIVES! What is wrong with these people!! This isn't some flippin football game, these are our lives!

    Toss them all out! Left, right, anyone who has forgotten that they are SERVANTS OF THE PEOPLE needs to GO! And the media, and pundits who cheer this disaster on need to get the boot as well!

    May 30, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  6. Marie-Lynn


    May 30, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  7. nic, bellingham wa

    Testify? This guy should be subject to prosecution himself. Anyone with a brain bigger than a mosquito's knows he spent years telling deliberate lies on behalf of the President. He is no hero now, simply for revealing something everyone already knew...

    May 30, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  8. linda

    Hooray for Scott McCellan. Maybe at long last we will get to the bottom of this disgraceful administration.

    May 30, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  9. peter griffin

    congratulation brave man. this administration is so bad they took a country in a endless war that cost over 600 billion. a lie war.

    May 30, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  10. Dave

    The perspective of someone with an axe to grind possibly?

    May 30, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  11. Scott

    I think that this should be fully investigated and those found to have defrauded the American people should be brought to justice even if it leads to the highest office held.

    May 30, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  12. Texas Proud

    Good. Someone willing to step up and take a punch in the name of Truth, Justice, and the American Way of Life.

    May 30, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  13. Dylan


    Get Scott McClellan to testify.
    Get Richard Clarke to testify.
    Get Paul O'Neill to testify....



    May 30, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  14. Chris, Middletown, CT

    I would be happy to have this guy arrested – if any of what he is saying is true....arrest Bush now.....along with him...he's also responsible – (let's see if that doesn't change his fairy tail)

    May 30, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  15. HTA, Chicago, IL

    I think it used to be, and correct me if I'm wrong here, that if you disagreed strongly enough with an administration under which you served and were close lipped. I'm not sure what has changed. Perhaps it was a terribly failed President that has pushed people over the edge. No matter what the case, I'm not sure if the term, "miserable creature", applies here.

    May 30, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  16. joe smith

    he just might say, we coddle certain mid-east governments, or he may choose to be koi, and choose his words wisely, as not to emblazen the left wing reporters who are just waiting for major slip-up; mccain couldn't handle the negative fallout..

    May 30, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  17. Mike in Calgary

    McLellan gave Bush his trust and the Bush team lied to him and pulled the rug out from under McLellan. It's refresshing to see some honesty in Washington. Kudos to McLellan for putting America first!


    May 30, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  18. Debby

    He should had come out with all this before and he is as guilty as the others...just another person playing the fame game and NO Scott i wont buy your book..I will donate money to the Vets...maybe u should think bout it too

    May 30, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  19. Zoltan

    Time to start the impeachment proceedings for Bush and Cheney. President Pelosi 2008!

    May 30, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  20. gary

    Its about time someone pulls the rug out from underneath the bush white house

    May 30, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  21. Rena

    McClellan –

    Stand strong and be encouraged. Truth always causes the devil to raise up its ugly head. Washington is full of them especially in the Republician house. Nothing surprises me with these people. They are all a bunch of murders how can they exile one man for the samethings they are practicing; but hey this is America. We think we can do anything we want and rule anybody house we choose too. We need to stay out of other people business and stop trying to steal land, oil, and earthly possessions from everybody. We stole the very land we call America so nothing surprises me with this country anymore.

    May God bless you and one day they all will have to answer to a God who is just and blameless when He judge and speak. Yes, when God make his judgement against America GREAT will be her FALL.

    I want be surprised if this is not posted, because you all don't like truth you just like trash.

    May 30, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  22. H.R.

    How dare he betray the President and his administration. Why won't everyone just let Bush quash all dissent and turn us into an army of obedient drones? Why won't McClellan give him unwavering admiration like the rest of us good Americans?

    Thank god, only a few more months until we get a competent Democrat in office.

    May 30, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  23. Donna43

    This is a very brave man... A hero to come out against an administration that forgot they worked for the American People.
    Most of the Republicans used the White House, Senate and House as they would some college frathouse and some used their postions to increase their wealth . Others used it to settle old scores, abroad and at home Some republicans told the world that we would lead the world to democracy , peace and equality for all people no matter their religion, sex , race or station in life...
    Then the republicans brought fear to America and never let it wain they knew a nation in fear will do whatever they wanted and what they wanted was war in Iraq but we had Afghanistan, but they shifted focus from the real criminal of all americans to a man who ruled a country full of oil, a man who some of these same republicans had been best friends with not so long ago who we were training and supplying with arms to fight in other wars..
    Now here we sit, possibly about to hear from the inside .. And finally hear an answer or two to the many questions millions of Americans have been wanting hear, answers to why , who, when .
    But the other side is gathering slowly trying to discredit the only man who was brave enough to speak up ....
    He is a hero ... if Americans just looked back at the last 8 years of this presidency ... and the past decade of republican control ...
    Where are we ? Are you proud of what we are doing ? Will you tell your children you were part of the solution ... or the problem ? Will you act or quietly sit and hope and pray that another acts.......?

    May 30, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  24. Ron

    Fascinating to see the administration apologists scramble to shoot the messenger instead of responding to any of his claims. Typical, yet still sad after seven long years.

    May 30, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  25. Phil in KC

    I am disappointed in Sen. Dole's base remarks. While I never agreed with him politically, I always considered him to be an honorable man who had served his country well. Now I see he is not of the caliber I once thought him to be.

    May 30, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
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