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. keeth in cali

    Is he trying to convince us or himself? It's sheer incompetence to not include your press secretary in your important decisions that s/he has to then go defend to the press.

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

    Bush was irrelevant. Is irrelevant, Is a criminal and a nitwit who tried his very best to destroy this nation to make it fit his idea of what was right and what was wrong.

    January 28, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  3. Thatguy371

    I'd believe McClellan over Dubya any day of the week. Just because McClellan (supposedly) wasn't involved in the decision making processes, doesn't mean he didn't know what was going on. Dubya could not have been any worse of a president, and hopefully he and his boss Cheney will eventually have to answer for all the lies and laws broken.

    January 28, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  4. TripleA

    What a degrading tragedy the presidency of this man was for our nation. Every time he does something it’s like watching Uncle Sam eat his own vomit.

    January 28, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  5. YBP

    You know you're irrelevant when a complete idiot considers you irrelevant. Now shall we discuss incompetent? How about the execution of war criminals?

    January 28, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  6. Brian in NC

    There's a shock! Labeling McClellan irrelevant.....because he spilled the beans and shed light on how Bush the nut job and his gang deceived the American public. Typical.....if it doesn't fit with your plan....pretend it doesn't exist... the absolute worst president this country has ever had.....good riddens!

    January 28, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  7. BD70

    Nothing like invalidating your WH Press Secretary. No worries...like someone else said...We already knew what McClellan wrote. Bush can deny all he wants...fact is most Americans to Bush were irrelevant.

    January 28, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  8. Yogi

    Jrdz – hilarious! Zinga!

    January 28, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  9. sonny chapman

    People standing up and going against the party line is very foreign in "Bush World".

    January 28, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  10. Keith

    I love watching Republicans. They're like a bunch of sharks swimming in a tank together. If they don't have something else to prey upon, they start preying upon each other. Sometimes they even do it when they do having something else to prey upon.

    I'm not sure what the big deal with Bush and his "decision points" is supposed to be. Cheney and Rummy told him what to do, and he did it. Not much of a "decision point" on his behalf. There are even a few passages in his book where Bush says basically that without realizing he's saying it. He'll say things similar to "I was thinking one way but then Cheney told me something and I realized I had to change my mind."

    The Force is strong with the weak minded, and Cheney was a strong Sith Lord. That about sums up the Cheney-Bush Presidency.

    January 28, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  11. Franz Geffers

    I would not waste my money on Bushes memoir ... it would be more worthwhile trying learn about the thousands of civilians who died needlessly due to bombing, trigger happy helicopter pilots, torturers and drugged up soldiers.

    Bush's memoir is as relevant as the papers I throw in my fireplace.


    January 28, 2011 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  12. Sanity

    Wow, look at how the liberals use hate speach and personal attacks on every CNN forum. This type of behavior by the left is what caused the shooting in Tucson. You guys should really bring it down a notch before you inspire another lunatic!

    January 28, 2011 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  13. CW3 Snookie

    "Chimpy boosh"....what a loser!

    January 28, 2011 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  14. pflatman

    Ah, the Republicans have such short memories, except McClellan. Obama is not that great as CIC, but Dubbers and his crew epitomized arrogance, greed and stupidity. Agreed, worst president, ever.

    January 28, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  15. PrideOfBoston

    Sorry, Bubba. The distinction of worst POTUS ever belongs to Barry Obama (i.e. the man who has been running this country into the ground for the past 2+ years), and he acheived the title in record time. Heck it took the prior title holder, Jimmy Carter, three-years to earn the distinction.

    GWB certainly wasn't a great POTUS, but he was certainly far, far better than the aforementioned.

    January 28, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    you people are idiots !!! you think now is better we are safer!!!!!! you are crazy morons!!!!!!!!!

    January 28, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  17. Gil

    This is the type of person, this morn bush, choose as his press secretary. Does it tell you something about his intelligence or lack there of? I'm talking about bush! I haven't read the book, but I hope it gets to the root of bush's stupidity as President. Knowing his father I think it just is a family trait!

    January 28, 2011 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  18. gldnlvr

    We all knew the Bush admin was lying to the American people. So it's not suprising that he would call anyone who exposed him "irrelavent". Thank goodness we now have a President that is intelligent, has integrity, dignified, highly educated and empathetic.

    January 28, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  19. Jay

    Bush you were an absolutely terrible President. Your two wars and lack of regulation have left this country in much worse shape than when you took over from Clinton. Except for the rich that got richer, the majority of Americans and the world would have been better off had Gore been the President and had not the Republican Supreme Court of The United States handed you the election. You did not win the popular vote, therefore, you did not win and you should not have been handed the election.

    It is tragic that you will not be held accountable for the millions of Iraqi lives that were destroyed by the illegitimate invasion based on the false search for WMDs.

    Please go away. Most intelligent people of this country and world DON"T like you. Now you're trying to promote/make money with your book. I think it's the equivalent of toilet paper. Just go away you piece of garbage.

    January 28, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  20. Jay

    McClellan wasn't "relevant" to Bush. No one but Bush is "relevant" to Bush. That's why he could sleep soundly at night while thousands and thousands of people died so he could fulfill his man-child dream of being a "war presnit".

    ...and to all of you that can't figure out where this irrational h*atred of Obama comes from, remember that Bush (widely regarded as the worst president in modern history) still had a positive approval rating among Republicans when he left office. Ask yourself if we really want to go back to that.

    January 28, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  21. GonzoinHouston

    In the long run, McClellan should be grateful to not be included in W's book. If he was not part of any major decision then he was not part of any of the major mistakes.

    "Miss me yet?" – HELL NO!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 28, 2011 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  22. GaryB

    If Bush had included McClellan in the decision making process, perhaps he would have made better decisions for the country, rather than making decisions that tended to benefit the trust fund minority at the expense of the rest of us.

    January 28, 2011 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  23. Ken in NC

    I find it silly that a former President can think that his Press Secretary, a man that was the public face of his administration for three years was irrelevant. He should have given more thought before giving that type of response but then I guess it also shows the type of "Decider" he was. I'm of the opinion his Press Secretary is more credible than he ever was.

    January 28, 2011 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  24. Looking at one side of the aisle is not productive

    That's not a jab... the Press Secretary would only advise the President on how to announce/defend his decisions. He wouldn't be advising the President on the decisions themselves. Therefore, he's not relevant to a book about decisions.

    January 28, 2011 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  25. Henry

    Is it a surprise?
    A typical republican respond: avoid the truth, attack the messenger, even if it means betraying their own countryman/woman (think traitor)
    How many people (even their own rank republican) suffered worse fate when they dare to speak out the TRUTH?

    January 28, 2011 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
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