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. Margie

    Wonder why....I know it is because Scott TOLD THE TRUTH ABOUT THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION. And of course the lil' cowboy couldn't stand people knowing how dispicible the people in his administration were and how they ruined this great country of ours.

    January 28, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  2. ATL Guy

    Ouch.....that must hurt. But I believe Bush is realizing to late that he was manipulated into the Iraqi war by the Cheney gang. He also didn't realize the basis for our current debt crisis started with Cheney's "Deficits don't matter" statement. When you cut taxes and don't offset spending, you're basically cutting out revenue with no balancing of that revenue loss. The reason the deficit for this year jumped to over $2 trillion is because of the slew of tax cuts approved during the lame duck sessions. Tax cuts, just like deficits, have consequences.

    January 28, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  3. Flipper

    McClellan's book was widely panned b/c it didn't include any new information; it was the same-old left-wing, venom-filled propaganda that we have heard over & over again. Libs here don't know anything about McClellan; they only defend him b/c he said something negative about Bush. How sad. I remember when liberals were open-minded and not filled with hate. Those days are over.

    January 28, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  4. Theo

    I believe that Bush could not tolerate dissent within his administartion, was the worst president in my almost 50 years of voting, and that Iraq was something he was going to do NO MATTER WHAT the reality was. But, I don't understand how McClellan could be a part of the ineptness and deception for years and only come out with his truth after leaving. It seems like they all do it and makes their claims questionable.

    January 28, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  5. dave

    so then Bush appointed a lying, untruthful, deceitful, irrelevant man to be the MAIN communicator for his White House Administration? Nice move, Georgie...if he is and was, he fit in very well with the rest of you lying hypocrites from you on down to Cheney and Rummy.

    January 28, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  6. ej

    I would have left him out too.

    January 28, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  7. rosaadriana

    The reason McMlellan was irrelevant was that the Bush administration was in fact deceiving the public. If you are putting out a lie there is no reason to tell the messenger the truth.

    January 28, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  8. Pat F

    Why would you listen to the monkey (McClellan) yap about the Organ Grinder (Bush)?

    Who cares what the mouthpiece thinks about policy? Bush was right to exclude McClellan – he's a nobody.

    January 28, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  9. M.K. Kilgore

    Same old Republican b/s, use folks to tell your lies for you, then drop them like a used rubber. The dumbassed folks that voted for Bush are to blame for all the dead and injured from Iraq and Afghanistan. The Supreme court that gave Bush the whitehouse should have to go to Afghanistan and help end it by fighting along side the patriotic American troops there. I hope all the folks that voted for Bush the second time have nightmares for the rest of their lives.

    January 28, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  10. Peggy - TX

    "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."

    McClellan simply confirmed what people who followed the new closely already knew, that VP Cheney, President Bush and their cronies were absolutely corrupted by the power of the white house and greed. They fabricated the WMD story for various purposes and deliberate and conclusively lied to the American people. As a result hundreds of thousands of people died, were maimed, or lost their way of life.

    This is no small thing, this is pure evil.

    This is why, it is of critical importance that all patriodic Americans that care about their childrens future MUST STOPP the GOP as they were the fools that put these evil men in power, the same party that today currently mimics the highly effectlive proganda techniques employed by another evill man, Hitler.

    January 28, 2011 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  11. Sam

    I think CNN has made way too big a deal out of this. Bush said that McClellan was not included in major decisions because he was "irrelevant". I fail to see what necessity there is for including the press secretary in the decisionmaking process of policy. The press secretary's job is simply to "spin" whatever policy decision is made. I disagree with Bush and think he's unquestionably the worst president in this country's history but CNN has really blown his comments way out of proportion here.

    January 28, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  12. M.K. Kilgore

    Bush is the most corrupt and dangerous person[thing?] to ever hold public office. I wonder what his I/Q was when he got appointed to the whitehouse by the Republican Supreme Court?

    January 28, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  13. Reader

    Let's see whose book gets better reviews–McClellan or Bush. Hmm...looks like McClellan lost on that one. And I'm betting the other reviewers here haven't read either book. In any case, both books will allow historians another view on history.

    January 28, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  14. Unit34AHunt

    So the former President is a dirtbag. No surprise there.

    January 28, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  15. mrpilot21

    Now we are entertained by the "Obama Experiment," certainly an administration second only to Bush's (as failure is concerned). But have no fear, President Obama has a minimum of two more years... he has ample time to surpass GW! We have seen the fall of the Republican culture of corruption replaced by the democrats, who are as equally corrupt. It's all politics. I find it highly amusing. NOTE: and the problems are only exacerbated by the Tea Party...

    January 28, 2011 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  16. Terry

    Give the man a break. He did what his corporate masters wanted him to do so in that regard is was a smashing success. The rich got richer and the rest got what was left.

    January 28, 2011 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  17. Rick

    Funny how people assume McClellan is telling the truth. I'm sure he wouldn't fabricate or exaggerate to sell books.

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

    i hardly consider what Bush said as "going off" or "taking a swing" at McClellan. I think Bush was an awful president that did damage that may take a generation to undo, but he's been a decent guy towards people who have said harsh things about his administration. There was nothing disrepesctful about what he said.

    January 28, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  19. Kris

    Oh my! Dubba calling someone Irrelevant is quite strange and ironic. Its like when Rove calles someone "Corrupt" on FOX news!

    January 28, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  20. jheron

    Wire, I think you meant where it peaked. The party had corruption before Bush made it to the throne.

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

    Must see movies Fahrenheit 9/11 and Sicko both quite informative and quite interesting. one about w.s total ineptitude in the of terrorist attacks that occurred on 9/11 and sicko an inside view of universal healthcare in other countries. shows us what we're missing, and asks the question why cant we have it?

    January 28, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  22. jeannettelj

    Actually, Bush, you are the irrelevant one!!

    January 28, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  23. jim

    Tell us George, what were you talking about back in 2004?? Please explain?? .....

    George W. Bush's stance on housing during the 2004 Republican Convention Acceptance Speech

    This speech was delivered at the 2004 Republican National Convention on September 2, 2004 when George W. Bush officially accepted the Republican nomination to run for President. This is a quote from that speech .....

    "Another priority for a new term is to build an ownership society, because ownership brings security, and dignity, and independence. Thanks to our policies, homeownership in America is at an all-time high. Tonight we set a new goal: seven million more affordable homes in the next 10 years so more American families will be able to open the door and say welcome to my home."

    So again, please explain George, why did your policies put so many people into homes they could not afford???

    You said it – not me.

    January 28, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  24. kstephe

    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.

    Lord help you LOL!

    January 28, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  25. James, Brooklyn

    Typical republican line. If you don't do what I say and cover my back you are irrelevant.

    Why is this village idiot in the news? Did any one with an IQ over 3 even buy this crap book?

    January 28, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
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