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= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/30/art.mac.cnn.jpg 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. ginger

    Just one questions: When did he realize he was misleading the public?

    I am just your average American and even I knew this war was wrong.

    May 30, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  2. I have a goldfish

    We, as Republicans, need to distance ourselves from this greedy liar and this whole story. It's because of people working under President Bush in his administration that we are unpopular. Everyone is quick to be upset with the President and fail to realize it's the insubordinates around him. They are the reason we haven't fully succeeded in Iraq. They are the reason we Republicans are looked down upon sometimes. President Bush is a good and decent man. I would vote for him again and again if I could. We just need to keep a closer eye on some of the people around him. McClellan and those like him are the scum of society. You just don't stab people in the back to make a dollar. He can have his 15 minutes of fame. He will be forgotten in a month.

    May 30, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  3. RGJ

    Think work out in God Time. You can hid wrong in the closet, but it will come back to bit you. I am proud of Mr. McClellan what he did. I believe he can sleep better at night. Being a child of God I can forgive him. We all did thing wrong, but we tell ourself enough is enough.

    Thank you Mr. McClellan.

    May 30, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  4. RGJ

    Things work out in God Time. You can hid wrong in the closet, but it will come back to bit you. I am proud of Mr. McClellan what he did. I believe he can sleep better at night. Being a child of God I can forgive him. We all did thing wrong, but we tell ourself enough is enough.

    Thank you Mr. McClellan.

    May 30, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  5. Dr. Sam

    Mr. McClellan is a true American hero for having the courage to speak out–with insider knowledge–against an obviously vindictive Bush White House that by the way he knows so well. The response of the Bush White House is predictable and not at all surprising. What is surprising is that some members of the media continue to be used by the Bush White House to spread their propaganda of lies on a broad range of national security issues, but also against any one who would dare to challenge its modus operandi. Thus, such media types are the ones aggressively questioning McClelland's motive and subjecting him to hostile cross-examination, using in fact the inflammatory accusations of the likes of Dole, Karl Rove, Perino and co. No wonder people like Rove have found lucrative employment within the corporate media although everyone should be quite familiar with their dark side and the damage their approach to politics has done to America at home and abroad. This is one of the reasons we urgently need change in Washington!

    May 30, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  6. John, OH

    McClellan, you have no need to worry. Your only mistake was not saying this sooner. Bob Dole, if you're going to call others miserable creatures, that means that you don't mind being called a miserable creature yourself.

    May 30, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  7. Christine Robins

    " I think the american people see that I do regret that... "

    Dear Ms. Sinderbrand-

    I'm shocked that you refuse to capitalize "American"! Are you not an American-loving American? You probably don't even wear an Americal Flag pin at all times! I bet you even wear the scarves that terrorists-lovers like Rachel Ray are flaunting!

    I apologize if it is really Mr. McClellan who refuses to capitalize "American". I notice HE doesn't wear an American Flag pin at all times. Maybe he's got one of those scarves on under his coat, too!

    A Flag-Wearing, Unscarved Patriot, and Proud of It!

    May 30, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  8. james attanase

    Be in peace with your soul and you will really be free.
    Mr. McClellan is just trying to tell us what he thinks will make him at peace with himself.The truth is that we have been misguided into waging war with Irak.He might not be the only one, for sure and I 'm sure that Colin Powel also will come forward very soon and all those that have played the speaker role in some instance will confess the mess.
    The truth will hurt but won't burst our eyes:the bush administration have to come forward and apologize to the american people that they have failed.Even the crisis that we are facing right now is the iceberg of their failure.
    Finally, i support McClellan and would like to tell all those that expand their imagination in calling names reflexive names such as Judas that they are not better worth than him.It takes more than manliness to come forward and tell the truth after one has realized his mistake.

    So who is the real coward now?The one who's still in the house and continue to powder the public opinion with chicaneries or the one who will testify very soon?
    Well the truth is that people do not want to hear the truth:
    The bush administration has failed.

    May 30, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  9. Cindy

    McClellan is acting "born again..." He's had a confrontation with his conscience of what's right and what's wrong.

    I wonder if the Clinton's can ever do the same? There is so much wrong with her campaign. Yet sadly, she blames Obama for it. And the DNC. I really do think she's turning toward the dark side. She's even quoting Rove's statistics now. How's that for good judgement?

    May 30, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  10. Jim

    Nothing in his book is new. Much ado about nothing. It's the publisher that made the book harsher than it was because it had no chance of selling. Once again, liberals having a hard time with reality.

    May 30, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  11. Marshall

    I said I won't write again. Well, I am back. After doing some research, I hope Hillary takes this as far as she can. When she finally loses, I hope the rest of you loser write her name in the ballot. The more votes you fools give Hillary the easier you make it for McCain to win. The longer this goes the better it gets for the Democrats to lose the majority they won in the house and senate. I am calling it today May 30th at 3:58 PM CST, There will be another Republican President in January, this time with a Republican majority in congress. We will owe that to Hillary and her childish supporter and Barak and his childish supporter. So keep playing the name calling game and take the fight for your candidate to the streets. Maybe and nice Clinton lead Riot will help your case. Thanks you again for handing the control of the country back to the Republicans.

    Are you going to post this?

    May 30, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  12. Julie

    McClellan is a parasite, who was not qualified for this presigious position he had, and the trust that was required. He was given alot of privileges by the President, and to completely turn on the President like this, is criminal. What happened to confidentiality agreements for high level positions like this? He's pathetic person, who may be in the basking in the limelight now, but will be a very lonely person when all of the hype is over.

    As Pat Buchanan said, he gives meaning to the words " you'll never work in this town again".

    I hope this is true. This makes me even more supportive of President Bush, who has kept us safe since 9/11.

    May 30, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  13. NickNas

    SECRET SERVICE NEEDS TO SURROUND HIM NOW!!!!

    This guy is the first to testify UNDER OATH from the Bush Crew. Bush has done everything in his bag of tricks to prevent ANYONE from doing ANYTHING under oath or on the record.

    Bush is not stupid....( well yes he is but) He KNOWS as soon as ANYONE talks under Oath he is D-O-N-E

    That is when all the walls will cave in..all the Rats will turn on eachother and POOF He is IMPEACHED!!!

    Again. PROTECT THIS GUY before he has an " Accident"

    May 30, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  14. DC in California

    Good for him. Someone should tell the truth. Those bible-thumping "values" politicians in the GOP are the biggest liars around.

    With Hillary Clinton coming close behind.

    May 30, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  15. mcbek UK

    toooooo late, billions of dollars and thousands of life wasted in Iraq. why didn't he come out 5 years ago?

    May 30, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  16. JLV

    Look folks, Obama's not necessarily a bad guy – he's just not the right guy for the job we need to get done TODAY. And as for November: It's not so much that he can't win, it's simply that he just won't. He has consistently choked in securing the Democratic nomination which should in and of itself be lighting up the WARNING lights at the DNC.

    Playing the "Race Card" has consistently worked in his favor – but it's pee'd off a lot of people – and this is just during the PRIMARIES. Imagine how the following groups of people will feel during the General Election (Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike):

    – Asian
    – Jewish
    – Latinos
    – White
    – Oh, and yes, the Black vote as well...

    Everyone has been so quick to count Clinton out of the race, that no one has quite realized that the Big War in November will be won decisively by McSame, if we have Obama (WITHOUT HILLARY) on the ballot in November.

    Hopefull, the DNC will realize that in its meeting when they "decide" what to do about the 2.3 million votes cast in FL and MI. And accordingly, the superdelegates will finally get their heads out of the sand and support the candidate that will secure the CHANGE we need in November:

    Vote Hillary for President! Because God only knows that the only way Obama will win if is Hillary is on as V.P!!

    Either move will unify the party that Obama has single-handedly divided.

    May 30, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  17. Mike Vaughn from Pittsburgh

    Uhmmm If Clinton can Be impeached for messing around on his wife.......Why with all Bush has done!!!!!!! He is not even being investigated for Impeachment????? He Lied to the People, cost thousand of American lives and disrupted millions of families with his lies..........and Then he has the audactiy to implement Executive Priviliage on any Question put to him??????? What is wrong with this Picture?????

    May 30, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  18. supporter

    I hope that he does testify and the President is backed in the corner to tell the truth and let history show that the people ( as well as me ) was for the war cause of all the false statements that was brain washed in to the American people.
    McCain will have to come out against Bush sooner or later and he must know it by now, and when he does the Clinton supporters will feel better about voting for him in the fall rather then the Kennedy Demo's.

    May 30, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  19. Dana

    What's taking you guys so long to update these posts?

    May 30, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  20. John from Va.

    Maybe if Scott McClellan testifies before Congress... Then the BUSH Administration will Send some of the "Other PRIVILIGED People" ( EXECUTIVE PRIVILIGE that is ) to Testify also, so they can REFUTE his version of Events... Personaly (Not Having YET Read The Book ) I Would Tend to BELIEVE Him... Judging by the Reaction Of the BUSH Talking Heads Trying to Discredit Scott...

    SOMEONE PLEASE TELL US THE TRUTH ABOUT THE LAST & 7 1/2 YEARS

    May 30, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  21. David, Santa Rosa, CA

    Could this be the end of the road for the Bush administration? Will this be the beginning of the thread that unravels the whole thing and sends these men and women (Bush, Cheny, Rove, Rumsfeld, Miers, Gonzales) to jail?

    Scott had better get himself some secret service folks FAST! The guy has a pair, I gotta give him that. I also gotta thank him for letting us all know we are not totally crazy, this GW & Cronies are bad, bad, bad (and now rich, rich, rich).

    Does anyone else find it ironic that gas prices soar right after the govt. gave us a stimulas package? I mean, it went from the Fed reserve, almost directly into the bank account of the oil industry. Is nobody curious about that? GW & Cheny have raped us royaly and they see that there is only a few months left to squeeze us dry of our last few dollars and what remains of our soul.

    May 30, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  22. Jon in Atlanta

    Way to go man. Don't let them strong arm you into silence. Its obvious with the uproar that you touched home.

    Thank you for your honesty.

    @Wexler....keep it up.

    May 30, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  23. Mike Vaughn from Pittsburgh

    Uhmmm If Clinton can Be impeached for messing around on his wife…….Why with all Bush has done!!!!!!! He is not even being investigated for Impeachment????? He Lied to the People, cost thousand of American lives and disrupted millions of families with his lies…causinig a nonsense war…….and Then he has the audactiy to implement Executive Priviliage on any Question put to him??????? What is wrong with this Picture?????.....Also Please explain.........how is it we can find Saddam who wealth was estimated at 20billion and had numerous look alikes.........but Bin Laden who wealth is 300 million ..........CANNOT BE FOUND NOR DOES HIS NAME EVER COME ACROSS BUSH LIPS!!!!!!

    May 30, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  24. RB

    I've heard all the noise about this guy's character, BUT not a word about whether or not what he's saying is TRUE. That can only be for one of two reasons: 1) it is true; or 2) he has even more dirt to turn.

    May 30, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  25. jill from canada

    i've never been happier to live in canada.

    🙂

    May 30, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
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