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. Peggy - Texas

    McClellan has severely damaged President Bush. Although we already knew most of what he wrote, he now provides a credible source and details of what happened that will become an important part of the historical record of the worst President in History. This code of the Republicans to blindly follow their leadership, gives their leadership power, but it is a well know axiom that power unchecked power always leads to abuse, something our founding fathers understood well. That is why the fundamental right of freedom of speech was created. The fact that he is being targeted by a smear campaign and his career is damaged because he is now a “turncoat republican” makes him somewhat of a heroic. McClellan is serving the higher purpose of loyalty to the United States. If he makes money from telling the truth- all the better as others will be encouraged to tell the truth on such matters and those in public office need to be reminded that they are in a position of public service.

    May 30, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  2. Dee Okla.

    Now what!!!!

    He's not running, he is will to stand up and testify and that's more than I can say for all those who have attack him as a person but not have not attack his words

    May 30, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  3. John, New York

    Finally...a member of the Bush team that has integrity enough to tell the truth, to be forthcoming about the truth, and be willing to swear that what he is saying is, in fact, the truth. These are all characteristics that the rest of the administration seems to fail to understand that most Americans recognize as the basics for personal integrity.

    May 30, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  4. john williams san diego, ca.

    he is so simple minded that he can't comprehend all the rebuttal witnesses that will prove that he is simple minded.

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

    I don't believe McClellan regrets a single thing he did, because it all helped him make money.

    May 30, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  6. Mark G., St. Paul, MN

    Scott McClelland has sustained many vicious attacks in the past few days, most of which seem to be centered around his breach of loyalty. The outrage over this issue pre-supposes that prizing loyalty above all else is a virtue. Do you know who else valued loyalty above all, punishing betrayal swiftly and brutally? Adolph Hitler. Granted, Mr. McClelland doesn’t have to worry about being shot against a wall (probably). So placing a high value on loyalty is of questionable merit to say the least. Valuing patriotism above all, another thing this White House likes to trumpet, is also not without its moral strings attached. Andy Rooney once observed that probably the most patriotic people he met in his life were the Nazis. That kind of takes the shine off patriotism too. Wow, two comparisons between German National Socialism and the Neo-Cons in one paragraph – that’s pretty harsh and unfair . . . or maybe not, if they had more time you never know.

    May 30, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  7. Ken B

    Can anyone really say that they didn't see this coming...I wouldn't have fingered McClellan but oh this was definitely inevitable.

    May 30, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  8. xmanuf

    Well Mr. McClellan is saying what Americans already knew and believed that this war was a big mistake and Bush is the WORST president America has every seen. Voting for John McCain is continuing this war and back to the dark ages for women when he elects Supreme Court judges. McClellan I believe could not sleep at night knowing how many youngs lives have been lost in a senseless war that should have never been waged. They had a documentary on HBO entitled "Baghdad." I wish the Baghdad was on the big screen instead of Sex in the City. It was very sad to see so many soldiers being flown to a hospital in Baghdad where the Army doctors and nurses waited for the horror they were about to see as they landed the choppers of human beings blown in half and their flesh hanging off their bones. Some were already dead on arrival and others dying on the operating table. Some of the soldiers had one of their legs completely blown off he hung on over night but died in the morning, he was 21 years old he just had a birthday. The Chaplan gave the soldiers their last rites and he said, "how many more do we have to lose and he stopped counting the dead" This war is so senseless." So, whichever way the Democratic nomination goes, people would be crazy to vote for McCain.

    Democrats need to unite and vote for our nominee whichever one it is. I intended to, I don't care if he is biracial or a woman!!! You better vote based on how it will affect your lives, your children and your grandchildrens lives, yours homes and your pocketbooks. IT IS ABOUT TIME WE START SPENDING MONEY ON AMERICA AND NOT EVERYBODY ELSE!!! WE NEED TO TAKE CARE OF THE OVER 50,000 SOLDIERS WHO ARE COMING HOME HANDICAP AND BLIND.

    May 30, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  9. Ratgurl

    Excellent! Can't wait to watch the proceedings.... it'll be like PORN!

    May 30, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  10. Chad, Wisco

    I agree that this man should challenge things he doesnt believe to be correct, but there is something about this that just smells of money and greed.

    May 30, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  11. Jeff

    Wow! Pretty brave Mr. McClellan. "Bad Luck" has befallen many who have become too vocal in their criticisms of the Bush administration (Wellstone, JFK Jr., etc.)

    May 30, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |


    May 30, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  13. Tom, St. Paul

    I'm willing to give McClellan the benefit of the doubt: That he decided what he was doing was wrong and the people he was working for were wrong, and that it's important to him to now tell the truth. Better late than never.

    For Dole to excoriate him for not being loyal is really telling. Does Dole actually put loyalty to the party ahead of loyalty to America and to Americans? If Dole believes McClellan is lying, Dole needs to call him a liar and tell us why he believes him to be one. Otherwise, Dole is just demonstrating his own character flaw.

    May 30, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  14. Bubba

    just a run-of-the-mill, garden variety, nuthin' special punk.

    May 30, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  15. Tammy - KCMO

    Don't count on the Bush administration letting him testify. Coverup is Bush's middle name.

    May 30, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  16. Yes to McClellan

    Good Man!!!

    May 30, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  17. Cathy in MD

    I think it’s a good thing that McClellan is speaking up. Better late than never. I see it as a public service. So, what’s got Bob Dole so extremely upset? Would he rather see all that foul-smelling stuff kept under wraps? I wonder why. Who is he protecting? That’s another book.

    May 30, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  18. G. Penley

    Sure, McClellan can now concede that he "misled the public," and that he himself was "badly misguided." He concedes these points after the book is published, of course. He's no better than those Hollywood brats who write bad things about their famous parents just to cash in; in fact; he's far worse than the Hollywood folks. They're not dangerous; people like McClellan are.

    May 30, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  19. Darth Vadik, CA

    Oh Simple Scotty has grow a pair.
    Good, good.

    May 30, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  20. mary, Dallas, Tx

    This just proves that McCain misspoke statement about us going to war over oil probably was true.

    May 30, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  21. Vicki

    Good. Having a truth teller testify will be a refreshing change from the whole bunch of Bush liars who won't testify and would not tell the truth if they did. Our country deserves better than the administration and the low integrity and honesty they show day in and day out. Lies flow so freely from Bush and Cheney it makes our nation a pitiful example.

    May 30, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  22. It's The Ronald

    I think the real reason McClellan wrote this book was simply to clear his conscience. Since impeachment doesn’t appear likely, lawyers here and internationally must examine what recourse can be taken against Bush and Cheney, who have severely damaged our country and placed international relations in jeopardy. They need to pay a price.

    May 30, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  23. Kenneth M


    May 30, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  24. Miche

    That will be great...
    Impeachment is coming

    May 30, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  25. wolfsbane

    McClellan should have spoken out when it would have made a difference, far too much cowardice in the washington, from officials and the press, but it is time to expose the corruption. McClellan should testify. Charges should be filed. People should be fired, and convicted. FCC licenses should be revoked.

    CNN, cover the Military Analyst Scandal! Fess up to your own corruption.

    May 30, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16