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. Reid Pelosi

    You Black Liberation party supporter! I hope your book flops, you liar (either then or now – both??).

    May 30, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  2. Laidetea

    Make sure you have people you can trust around you. McClellan. You are on the list.

    May 30, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |

    1. Should Obama have left the church because Rev. Wright was the pastor?
    2. Should we all leave America because Bush is the president?

    Hint: You must answer NO to both questions or YES to both questions.

    Please Post This CNN!!!

    May 30, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  4. douglasdao

    McClellan is a plausible witness. Everyone knew he was lying when he was the White House Spokesperson, everyone knew it was his JOB to lie. Now that he is a private citizen he can speak the truth. His testimony will be very valuable and interesting.

    May 30, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  5. James, NY

    McClellan is the lowest type of vermin on the planet. Glad he's going to the Obama camp--hopefully he'll turn on Obama.

    May 30, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  6. D Frank

    Dole is obviously peeved at McClellan. I have no problem with anyone coming out with the truth as long it is the truth.

    As the saying goes "The truth will set you free" . If there were lies and cover ups in the Bush administration and if it comes out so be it.

    The President was not elected or hired by "the people" to prosecute his own illegal agenda. The People of America are the ones who are in charge not the President because he works for us. It is at the will of the people that President Bush was given the mandate to govern honestly. That is the contract and if in future, information is uncovered which proves any wrong doing, then there should be consequences. History will in the end, be the judge of this administration.

    Isn't it about time that Americans really carefully analyse the candidates that they are considering? It just seems as if we are all being manipulated by advertisements where the substance of each candidate is only glossed over.

    Bush was an inexperienced candidate in 2000 and we elected him over Gore because Gore seemed to be less popular, boring, stiff but had great ides. He wasn't the guy that you could sit down and share a beer so to speak. It just seems to me that America is again making the same mistake in Obama. The difference is that when Bush took over, the economy was in great shape and we were not at war and he had a great start.

    Now America is hell bent on voting in another novice because he says the right things and he sounds great on stage and he is the popular choice but not the best experienced choice. Just think if Gore had won would America be in this mess?? You know what the answer is.

    If America picks Obama because he is the popular "in thing" with no basis other than that he wants change (change to what – please explain) , is that the wise choice at this time??? Do you think we should take that chance again? He has already made serious gaffs and right now America has to make good choices not take chances.

    May 30, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  7. Eric

    Tell the truth shame the devil. Bush is the Devil.

    May 30, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  8. 4000+ lives later

    The truth is the lies did not begin with the Bush administration. Seems Republicans have been hoodwinking us for some years.

    Truth '08

    May 30, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  9. McClellan is Fake

    Do not believe this McClellan guy? He is simply trying to make a name for himself. We have heard this story before, and frankly, who cares? No one is going to do a thing about George W. Bush, and he will NEVER get impeached.

    The only way we can ever hurt Bush is to get bigger people to hurt him for us. How do we do that? Easy! Let's stop shopping at certain stores or spending money with certain businesses (i.e. Wal-Mart, Exxon, Kroger). We can choose any stores, just make sure that they are ones in which people heavily invest. The stockholders and owners will then demand that action be taken against Bush. I'm talking about a six month hardcore boycott. Trust me, it will work.

    May 30, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  10. America

    To all of the Hillary supporters out there I just wanted to say that I understand where you're coming from and your point of views. However, it is a fact that Obama is the most likely candidate to be able to bring down the walls of deception that permeate the sacred bubble that is Washington DC. Too long has Washington been bought off by coorporations and foreign governments, while the the majority of the American public stood by and with a smile on their face, ignorantly accepted it at face value. The Bush administration is obviously the most corrupt and most fascist, of any previous regimes, by a land slide. Having said that, if all of the Clintonites have ever read Bill Clinton's auto-biography, you would know that he himself wrote about how he couldn't believe the HUGE difference with what the public was told by the government and the truth about what was actually happening. This was extremely dissapointing to hear from Bill. That's all fancy Mr. Clinton but it doesn't explain the fact that you stood by and watched it happen on a regular basis and did nothing? And then he write's a book about it to profit even more from his presidency? And then he has the nerve to try to get back into the white house? WAKE UP CLINTONITES!!! Your precious king and queen could care less about what the heck happens to you and more about their own power, legacy, and pocket book. It is true that compared to Bush the Clinton's are mother Theresa, however, that doesnt excuse the fact that they are just as corrupt as the majority of Washington. Why do you think that the Clinton's and the ELELPHANT are working hand in hand? Do you think it's a coincidence? WRONG! It's the institution defending itself first and foremost before defending the honor, integrity, and people of America. It's pretty pathetic that the only time the Clinton's and the right have ever worked together on anything is to try to destroy Obama, purely for the sake of keeping a strangle hold on the power, family & business influences, and deep rooted corruption in which they all share a hand behind closed doors in Washington. PRAISE goes to Scott for his incredible ability to put his own life in danger for the sake of truth and justice for all man. Way to go Scott, the left welcomes you with open arms for your ability to show such courage and strength in such an impossible situation. Thank you Scott and everyone like you who value human life and what is right over money, power, and personal agendas. Now let us unite together as one and put the elephant where it belongs once and for all!!!

    OBAMA 2008!!!

    May 30, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  11. Debby

    His Perspective? This means he exagerated. He's doomed if he testifies. Bye Bye McClellan.

    May 30, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  12. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Bush will be heading for his secret ranch in Paraguay (no extradition) before the end of the year.

    May 30, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  13. K

    Buddy, any way you try to spin it, you ARE a miserable creature...everyone knows the intelligence was not as good as it could have been, why are you people acting so surprised now? But the intelligence was the same viewed by Rebuplicans and Democrats alike, not to mention other countries, who all came to same conclusion...regardless of how the Democrats try to absolve themselves of their guilt. Hope Obama paid him a pretty penny...

    May 30, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  14. gifted

    What's the big deal about McC? I totally comprehended the Iraq War situation before Bush shocked and awed a nation that didn't even have fighter jets to defend itself. I could have written the book on 3/03.

    Bush is a lying monster and should not only be impeached, he should stand trial at a global court for war crimes.

    May 30, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  15. one nation under god!!!!

    Since the liberal wing of the dem party are a bunch of rats and traitors youll fit right in.they are already swooning over you.

    May 30, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  16. Democrat Still Thinking

    I am a Democrat, but this guy is a disgrace. I think Sen. Dole said it all. If you were not MEN enough to stand up for what you believe is right, selling it in a book is just a CHEAP shot. Shameful.

    May 30, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  17. nobama



    May 30, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  18. Rob

    wow–a Republican thats willing to tell the truth.. How novel. Maybe it means Bush will finally be impeached

    May 30, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  19. LOGIC 101 for Dummies

    Directions: Answer either NO or YES to both questions.

    1. Should Obama have left his church because Rev. Wright was the pastor?
    2. Should we all leave America because George W. Bush is the president?

    If you fail this test, you are an idiot and should have your voting rights taken away.

    May 30, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  20. Pvt. Jamison, Iraq

    If you were in the military, would you want McClellan covering your back?

    May 30, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  21. Anthony


    Congress should bring bush up on war crimes and impeach him!!
    He is the worst president in modern history and has misled the American people and betrayed their trust countless times. He has done tremendous harm to our economy and our perception around the world. Worst of all his disrespect and repeated violations of our constitution need to be addressed.

    May 30, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  22. Allan

    I'm sure the Catholic League will also rush to condemn the priest, Monsignor Jim Lisante, who mockingly led the NY Republican Party last night in a prayer that asks God to change Obama's mind and volunteers to replace Rev. Jeremiah Wright as Obama's pastor.

    "One more thing, Lord. Please tell Senator Obama that maybe change is a good thing and maybe he should think about changing his favorite preacher," he said, to applause.

    After all, using a prayer to attack your political opponents is an abomination to all good Catholics, right?

    May 30, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  23. Terry

    This is America and they do have the right to speak out even if it is 2 years afterward. At least he is speaking out.

    Maybe instead of shooting the messenger(s), we should listen to what they have to say and raise holy hell about what is going on inside that administration.

    May 30, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  24. S. Wright

    You might want to rethink about testifying before Congress, Mr. McClellan. After the first question regarding proof of some of your accusations about meetings that you were not a part of, I'm afraid that either your book sales will plummet, or you may be rung up as yet another left wing conspiracy theorist.

    Personally, I hope you do testify simply for those questions of proof alone.

    May 30, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  25. Codiwan

    He'd be "happy to talk if (he) is asked to testify."


    SOMEONE ASK HIM!!!!!!! Let's get a long overdue impeachment going.

    May 30, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
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