Bush takes swing at former press secretary
January 28th, 2011
12:43 PM ET
12 years ago

Bush takes swing at former press secretary

Washington (CNN) - Former President George W. Bush is landing a stinging jab at his former longtime aide and press secretary, Scott McClellan, saying the man who served as the public face of his administration for three years was irrelevant.

In an interview with CSPAN scheduled to air this weekend, Bush says he deliberately didn't include McClellan – who held the high profile post longer than anyone else during the administration – in his memoir, "Decision Points."

"He was not a part of a major decision. This is a book about decisions," Bush told CSPAN. "This isn't a book about, you know, personalities or gossip or settling scores."

"I didn't think he was relevant," added Bush.

McClellan had been by Bush's side since his days as Texas governor and, in his role as press secretary from 2003-2006, spent the bulk of his time vigorously defending the decision to wage war in Iraq.

But two years after departing the White House, McClellan authored his own memoir, "What Happened," that constituted a scathing criticism of how the Bush administration was run.

In one of its most critical passages, McClellan stops just short of suggesting the administration deliberately deceived the American public in the run up to the invasion of Iraq, writing, "his advisers confused the propaganda campaign with the high level of candor and honesty so fundamentally needed to build and then sustain public support during a time of war."

Filed under: President Bush
soundoff (127 Responses)
  1. Bubba

    How DARE McClellan tell America the TRUTH? Why, it's treason! Bush jr was the Worst President Ever.

    January 28, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    McClellan wrote firsthand about what most Americans know of the inept debacle known as the "Bush experiment," which led to the republican culture of corruption.

    January 28, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  3. Jrdz

    He should go back to his library and read my pet goat and the history of salt since they are the only books he has read while in office.

    January 28, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    No matter how right wingnuts try to rewrite history, Bush will be the worst president ever, based on the damage he did to our great country.

    January 28, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  5. PalmReader

    What's done is done, but, pray God, that Bush would just retire to Crawford and keep away from the public altogether. His every appearance just adds salt to the wounds he deliberately - and without remorse - inflicted upon us for eight long years. Even Clinton and Carter knew better than to publicly keep pumping themselves up immediately after they left office.

    January 28, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  6. moderateray

    Bush calls McClellan irrelevant. Wow, is there a better example of "Pot – Kettle?"

    January 28, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  7. Chas in Iowa

    It just didn't fit in with Bush's version of history. When you are rewriting history you have to be selective so as not to create conflicts with the truth that can be easily verfified.

    January 28, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  8. malabar

    I never voted for Bush, as governor nor president, but i do find it laughable that people who do not like him require so little to go off on the guy. u wud thnk that no dem voted for the war. and intellectually superior dems surely cud not have been fooled by W. kul how he and Palin are complete dunces, except when they are evil geniuses.

    January 28, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  9. ART

    Unfortunately I'd like to say that Bush was irrelevant but I cannot because he was the cause of so much that happened to this country during his inept Presidency that he will always be relevant as the Person who screwed up America

    January 28, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  10. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    You can't justify killing millions of innocent people for the life of one man, that's totally insane and that isn't something we as Americans are about.

    January 28, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  11. Sgt Schultz

    Neo-Con's so this is what the 10th Bush cabinet member to turn against him. So all of these people that worked for Bush are all part of the liberal media conspiracy to silence the right-wing? Please enough of the Bush apologists. How more blatant does this need to be for you guys to get it? Don't tell me your excuse that they just want to make $ writing books.

    January 28, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  12. diridi

    I am not interested to see these two idiots any more...CNN if you have any brain do not show these idiots that spoiled the nation like a hell and crazy....i am sick of this...

    January 28, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  13. Rick McDaniel

    He is, at least, honest about the importance of that position. If they were truthful, I suspect every President, would say the same.

    January 28, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  14. dr. thaddeus smith

    Have a pretzel, big boy.

    January 28, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  15. George

    I note that President Bush stated that McClellan, by his role, wasn't relevant to the book. Isn't the book reportedly about Bush's decisions? McClellan made no decisions whatsoever, no say on policy, he was Press Secretary. The Press Secretary anounces WH positions and takes questions on policy as he is instructed to do. This article makes a nothing issue into some sort of attack. Foolishness. From the moment he left office GW Bush has refused to be critical of the White House, or anyone to my knowledge. This is bad journalism.

    January 28, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  16. Peace

    Oh my...whaetver will little boy GW do when the truth comes spilling out? Poor GW, he must feel so sad....NOT! He doesn't have one little speck of compassion for anyone except his pocketbook and Cheney.
    More people need to be speaking out about the Bush/Cheney atrocities!

    January 28, 2011 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  17. SurRy

    I have heard it said that Georgie is just like his mother – a petty bitter and nasty old girl.

    January 28, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  18. CathyinAZ

    Not surprising the former President would take that position – McClellan only stated a loud what MOST of us already knew – CORUPT CORUPT CORUPT !!!!

    January 28, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  19. Sees All Evil

    @All above if you have'nt seen Michael Moores Fahrenheit 9/11 you need to. very informative really shows bushwhaker in full bloom ineptitude. Another must see is Sicko another Micheal Moore film about universal healthcare.

    January 28, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  20. John V.

    No, Bubba. The absolute Worst President Ever, shall always be Jimmy. Bush could never in your wildest dreams have ever come even close.

    January 28, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  21. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Michelle Bachmann Smokes Crack

    Got something to hide Georgey or are you scared old Scotty boy will spill the beans on all the illegal activity within your administration.

    January 28, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  22. whoa!

    Deliberately deceiving the American into a war is called: "TREASON"

    What part of that are so few people getting?

    He/Cheney should be put on trial for both treason and crimes against humanity. All the evidence and credible witnesses, particularly McClallan, are alive and well. Except the ex-CIA operative that was recently murdered. Did he know the truth about 9/11 as well. Think about it people.. if there was no 9/11 Bush/Cheney could never have scared/lied us into the Iraq war. Yes, Kate Smith(God Bless American) fascism and treachery happen in the great country in the world too. Money and Power trump all, even for "good" christians"

    Everyone Please get a clue!

    January 28, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  23. Protect and Defend Freedom of Speech in the USA

    A Press Secretary is irrelevant? Of course! Nothing but a talking head. Gibbs is irrelevant too! They swap in and out like tires. Who cares about them.... nobody!

    January 28, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  24. Peggy Ann

    What other response would one expect from a President who can't even put together a sentence that makes sense. Besides that he is a typical Republican. They can never tell the truth or take responsibilty. People are upset with the our country is in a mess. Let us all remember this all started with the Republican's God, Ronald Reagan. Remember his trickle down economics. How did that work for you. An George W. going to an unnecessary war with Irag. That cost America a bundle. Oh but is is so easy for the Republicans to blame President Obama for the mess, who is attemting to get us back on the road that we fell off. If only the Republicans would be cooperative instead of saying NO to everything.

    January 28, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  25. DOC

    If anyone is irrelevant, it is George W. Bush, he should be forced to pay for all expenses related to the Iraq war. Any fool would have known there were no WOMD since Israel would have blown Iraq off the face of the earth if they thought Saddam had weapons that could threaten Israel. Did no one notice how there was not a single word out of Tel Aviv before the American invasion??? That is because they knew Bush was wrong!!!!!

    January 28, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
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