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. steve, nc

    The fact the McClellan's book did nothing nor was he interviewed by many individuals after the release of his book clearly showed his lack of credibility. Good books and good authors get attention and when the former press secy. (Ari Fleischer) contacted McClellan and confronted him on his comments McClellan backed down and down he went.

    January 28, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  2. tchoate

    Sounds like McCellan had an ego. Sounds like he should have been kept out of the loop on important matters. Once again just a way to BASH one of our best Presidents in recent years.

    January 28, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  3. mcore

    No one is more irrelevant right now than George W. Bush. If he's only keep his mumbling, bumbling opinions to himself, maybe we could put the horrors of his failed administration behind us.

    January 28, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  4. Joshua Ludd

    "Irrelevant"... that is exactly how Bush and his administration described EVERYONE that eventually stopped toeing the line for them and finally told the truth. Funny how they kept so very many people around who supposedly weren't good at their jobs and were kept out of the loop because of it.

    January 28, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  5. jim

    I'm certain Bush didn't say McClellan was irrelevant. Bush couldn't say " irrelevant" even if he knew what it means.

    January 28, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  6. Paul

    don't worry, scott. it's better to be called irrelevant than a liar and a war criminal. i wouldn't let this scum bags words bother me if i were you.

    January 28, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  7. Sue Harris

    Actually, both men were irrelevant.

    January 28, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  8. Realist

    It will be amusing to read the fallout when all the Obama hires run out to publish their books. You folks that love seeing a President roasted – hang on.

    I expect the onslaught will begin as the 2012 election ramps up – a lot of today's loyalists will see how McClellan cashed checks and will expect the same. But there will be so many – best to be first.

    January 28, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  9. greyhackles

    "How Can We Miss You If You Won't Stay Gone"

    January 28, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  10. TonyB

    Poor Scott always looked like he was about to be ripped apart by a pack of wolves as he stood at teh podium – having to defend the actions of the Bush Administration to reporters who weren't buying it – you could see the fear in his eyes – I almost felt sorry for the guy.....

    January 28, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  11. vance lebeouf jr

    I will say it again Bush & Cheney should have to answer for their crimes against the Iraqi people, and to all our military personal that was force to take part in this OIL WAR. BS walks but money talks. That is what this war was about. OIL

    January 28, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  12. Bill

    Gotta agree w Bubba, worst President ever. How long do we have to wait until Bush is held responsible for what he did in Iraq?

    January 28, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  13. rob

    McClellan wrote the book in a way that the liberal media would like so he would SELL MORE BOOKS. As Mr. Mooney writes in this article:

    "In one of its most critical passages, McClellan stops just short of suggesting the administration deliberately deceived the American public "

    "STOPS JUST SHORT" is the most important peice of NON-STORY in McClellan's book but, the liberal media ate this up and he sold more book than if he wrote a non critical story. Bush is right, he was not involved in any policy decisions so he is irrelevant to the book.

    McClellan made his money on the book knowing how it would be treated, so no he can assume his rightfull place as an irrelevant foot note of history.

    January 28, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  14. Palin: Like Coulter ... Minus the Manparts

    Of course, the former Bushies annihilate anyone who dares to speak the truth. King George's and Dick the Cheney's hacks are still all over the networks trying to rehabilitate his abysmal record and image. I guess when you're an abject failure and your daddy couldn't rescue from your own political demise this last time, you have to discredit any source of fact that proves the obvious.

    To quote Georgie's own mommy about another disaster other than her own son: "He was over-privilged anyway. I think this is working out very well for him."

    January 28, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  15. Jilli

    McClellan was the only honest one in that administration.

    Bush is only relevant for the disaster he left this country in at the time of his departure. Good riddance mr. bush, you're definitely not missed.

    January 28, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  16. SightSeer

    This country should have taken to the streets when Bush and his cronies in Florida and the Supreme Court stole the election, just like in Egypt today and other countries since. But American citizens were too fat and comfortable, with a sense of impotency thrown in, to risk rocking the boat in the streets.

    January 28, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  17. Gary, Hunt Valley, Md.

    Wow, what a shock from the President who chose a racist insult from a rap star as his worst moment in office. Never mind all the dead soldiers and their families, never mind those poor bastards leaping from the WTC towers, never mind the moment he learned we were under attack on 9/11, never mind the floating bodies in New Orleans. What a careless moron this man was, and is, in countless ways. No George, you are NOT missed. not for one single day. Please go dig out some brush and shut up forever.

    January 28, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  18. Michael

    It is simply incredible that Bush was never tried for the treason that he and Dick Cheney perpetrated on this nation.

    January 28, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  19. Ben Ben

    Bush needs to be in jail

    January 28, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  20. ACW

    yeah, thank God we finally have a great leader in office.

    January 28, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  21. Bill Garmer

    Maybe Bush is just trying to get back at McClellan for what McClelllan's grandfather did to Bush. McClellan's grandfather ,Page Keaton, was the Dean of the University of Texas Law School when young George applied for admission there. Young George was denied admission based on his less then stellar academic performance. He has probably been nursing that wound for a long time.

    January 28, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  22. Gary L Davis

    well the truth comes out , and someone doesn't like it . well the complete republican party is just as quilty as Bush Cheney & Karl Rove, whom by the way is the instrement of the efort to start a war . that was illegal imoral and several people should be jailed for it . including the sec. of defence at the time.. and we all know who he is LOL he had a dictator style of rule . much like his boy friend Dick Cheney . some day the truth will be told . and the republicans will have to eat and be held responcible for the lies . how ever right now the republicans are going to have to take control of the Tea Party Members that were elected and distance themselves from the Palin Bachmann virus . that insights hate threats , and gets people killed in Arizona, the time has come to begin the new day . and the president gave a wonderful opening fopr the republicans to come onboard . and help repair our great nation . but they have a different agenda in mind ..stay the course of going after Mr. Obama and do what ever it takes to destroy everything he has worked for , toward saving our country . and that is sad . each time one of the republicans open their mouth and spew what Palin has capitolized on . it just puts them in the same pile of crap she is in . now the smell is so strong it is difficult to seperate republicans from anyone thinking Palin would be a presidental contender . now thats scarry . but it could happen . we are a long way from 2012 . and with the presidents new momentum moving America out of the Bush Cheney Rove ,DEBACLE . America has an opertunity to unite in helping the President recover our great nation.
    I support his ideas . becuase they are geared for us not the CEO's of big business . they had 8 years to destroy us , now it will take far more than 4 to fix it . and Obama will be re-elected for another 4 , and the republicans know it and hate it
    we had 8 years of the dark side of the force . and now we are settling into 8 years of the good side of the force

    January 28, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  23. NoBSPlease

    I sure hope there's more to the interview than "I didn't think he was relavant". The CNN Link that I clicked on to read was "Ticker: Bush goes off on ex-aide". Was expecting fireworks. The title of this article is "Bush takes swing at former press secretary". Maybe name calling? Note to Author: Hey Alexander Mooney, you're making your employer proud. You're all a bunch of Bush bashing nut jobs. How about an occasional visit to reality. How pathetic. Seriously!

    January 28, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  24. RuskinRules

    Well, let's see...it comes down to either believing Bush and Cheney's version of the truth - or 99.9 % of the rest of the world.

    At least McClellan had a conscience, and something Bush and Cheney will never have.

    January 28, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  25. Robin Bray

    Off course the administration lied to the public. At least to the public who thought with their own minds. Bush, like Cheney, is still trying to rewrite history and no one is buying it.

    January 28, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
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