Streams

Former Bush Loyalist Tell-All

Monday, June 02, 2008

Scott McClellan, former White House press secretary, gives a behind-the-scenes account of what’s gone wrong in the Bush administration, and responds to criticisms from his former colleagues. His controversial new memoir is What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception..

Event: Scott McClellan will be in conversation with Dan Rather
Wednesday, June 4 at 8 pm
92nd Street Y
Lexington Avenue at 92nd Street
For more information and to purchase tickets, go here.

Guests:

Scott McClellan

Comments [35]

yuck

Terry Gross today great job w McClellan, obvious what she did this wknd: listen

Jun. 02 2008 08:27 PM
Chris O from New York City

Phil,
I have no idea what you are talking about - really, I do not know what you are referring to when you say it is my though[t?]s that are scary. I have no problem absorbing the WMD situation. In fact, the WMDs were always a joke to me, I never felt threatened by Saddam, so-called WMDs or not. I also marched multiple times against the war BEFORE it happened.

Phil, you can call McClellan a non-factor but if I (and Leonard and Russert and Bush) want to talk about him, I will and you can not crush this conversation with your dis-interest.

Jun. 02 2008 02:41 PM
Phil from NYC

Chris O,

McClellan's a non-factor. Talking about him is fruitless. What's scary are thoughs of people like Chris O who is completely tied to the rock ... or should I say, Iraq. It seems as though you're really struggling with absorbing the FACT the there WERE and ARE NO WMD's in Iraq and we should NOT have gone to war w/ Iraq. Beyond the weapons inspectors, we had a No-Fly Zone in place w/ boots on the ground for several YEARS (10ish). Moreover, you cannot produce WMD's without there being a very detectable by-product which would be seen through satellite let alone money trails. ALL of the aforementioned in Military Engagement 101. These 3 factors alone should have forced at least conversation. Come on man! This is moot. You should be pissed your tax $ were and r being grossly misspent and the credibility of your nation is compromised to an extent we never seen before. I'm sure 1 of you're questions now is, "then what should we have done then?". Answer: Black Ops. With much of the world sympathizing with us we had accesses we compltely don NOT have now to directly infiltrate the groups RESPONSIBLE for 9/11. However, due to this administrations need for immodesty and absence of basic smarts, it wasn't possible. We're chest thumpin' cowboys and have to show the world how tough we are. Indsutrial Military Complex, here we are. Mission Accomplished, indeed. pathetic.

Jun. 02 2008 02:16 PM
hk

well you commenters really came through w some great questions anyway even if none were asked.

Jun. 02 2008 01:28 PM
Laura from UWS

Please suggestion Scott McClellan read up about the media. His assertions about politican leanings aren't accurate:

http://mediamatters.org/columns/200805280002?f=h_column

Jun. 02 2008 12:41 PM
eva

The only person I remember from before the run-up to the war who really asked questions and was honestly skeptical...
Leonard Lopate.
I'm completely serious. I had to turn off Brian Lehrer on many occasions during that time. He really became, not a cheerleader, but as I recall, he quashed the skepticism of a lot of his own listeners when they called in.
But I could be misremembering Brian's tone, or the consistency of it.
What I do recall was being shocked by Lopate's seemingly sole voice of skepticism. It enhanced my respect for him. Those were difficult days to speak out, and he did.

Jun. 02 2008 12:39 PM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

He seems to be confirming the administration's argument that he wasn't "in the loop" by basically saying he wasn't responsible and that he just accepted whatever he was told. I'm not sure if that helps or hurts his case. On the one hand, it might show some level of honesty to admit what he didn't know about rather than just make up his involvement, or on the other hand, it could show personal cowardice to take responsibility for his involvement.

Jun. 02 2008 12:36 PM
Marco from Manhattan

This book has no footnotes and is poorly documented. Typical of the loose thinking (if you can call it thinking) of this administration.

Jun. 02 2008 12:36 PM
Gene

Does he feel Bush/Cheney's actions are impeachable offenses? Does he feel they should be impeached?

Speaking of the media push to war--what does he know of the Administration's ties to Fox?

Jun. 02 2008 12:35 PM
norman from nyc

Who were the best reporters?

Jun. 02 2008 12:35 PM
Jenna from Ridgewood

Please ASK him about about Oil!!!

Jun. 02 2008 12:35 PM
Rodger Larson from nyc

Please ask McClellan what he believes were the actual reasons Bush insisted on going to war with Iraq.

Jun. 02 2008 12:34 PM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

Well, I just mean that it seems like he has picked up on a familiar narrative accepted by liberals and completely rejected by conservatives. At this time, it seems like it'd be something more generally well-received by the general public.

I'm not saying I DON'T believe him, but what I am saying is that he's chosen a time when confirming this narrative is "easy". Although the fact that he has been lambasted (predictably) by virtually everyone who used to be his friends, is certainly a powerful disincentive to doing this for purely material gains.

Jun. 02 2008 12:30 PM
Mark Gavagan from Mendham, NJ

I'm sure the mothers, fathers, siblings and children of dead and wounded American soldiers serving in Iraq don't take much solice in the revalations in former White House press secretary Scott McClellan's book.

It seems to me that he owes a very sincere apology to everyone in this country.

Jun. 02 2008 12:29 PM
hjs from 11211

hey, didn't you know all politicians lie

Jun. 02 2008 12:29 PM
Laura from UWS

Please thank Scott McClellan for speaking out now. I understand how the transition can be slow and difficult--there is so little chance for reflection and deliberation when one is inside a high-pressure bubble.

Please also urge Mr. McClellan to get to know people on the Left better because I get the impression that with more personal interaction with the Left he will realize that the polarization is more strongly generated from the Right. For example, starting with the Reagan Administration there was an organized campaign to demonize the Left, get journalists fired and replaced.

Finally, Jeff Gannon/Guckert....who was he with in The White House overnight? I am not interested in Mr. McClellan's private life so much as I see it as being in the public interest why Gannon/Guckert got 'a free pass' even though he was a 'plant' and a 'shill' of sorts.

Wishing Mr. McClellan a better second half of his life.

P.S. Please donate as much of the book's profits to veterans and their families as you possibly can. Thanks.

Jun. 02 2008 12:28 PM
James from New York

On the question of whether George Bush is deceitful on his possible cocaine use by claiming "not to remember" - isn't it true that he was an admitted alcoholic for much of his adult life until about age 40? Isn't it one of the hallmarks of alcohol abuse that memory is often blurred, especially if years have elapsed? I don't wish to be defending Bush on this or any other matter, though to be fair, given his admitted history of alcohol abuse, it doesn't seem utterly implausible that he may not actually or clearly recall everything that he may have done during his presumably many drinking binges.

Jun. 02 2008 12:25 PM
Chris O from New York City

To those who say it is all about the money, that may reflect your values (and projecting) more than McClellan's. I could be wrong but I am under the impression that with his fame and resume, Scott was basically set for life with cushy employment. While he can certainly make money off a book, that is hardly the ticket to fortunes. So I don't accept that this is all about the money since I think he could have had an easier and still very prosperous life without this book.

Jun. 02 2008 12:24 PM
Lloyd from Manhattan

What about the phony "reporters" that were planted in the WH press room to ask softball questions -- people like Jeff Gannon?? Was McClellan in charge of recruiting them?

Jun. 02 2008 12:24 PM
John from Bklyn

The point is, what does it matter now? Bush is history and we're left with the mess. I have had enough of these creep liars. He's SELLING A BOOK. Capice?
Enjoy the rest of the segment.

Jun. 02 2008 12:23 PM
hjs from 11211

the guy was doing his job. i don't like everything my company does, i'm not quiting.

Jun. 02 2008 12:22 PM
Chris O from New York City

#11 - You have to be the judge of what you believe to be the truth or not but here is an attempt at an answer from one angle.

One obvious difference is that his job as Press Secretary was to defend and promote the White House no matter what. You know everything he says is through that prism and that admitted bias. Now he has no boss, no such job description, no such compulsion. So his reason to lie is gone.

Jun. 02 2008 12:22 PM
Barry from Ocean, NJ

PLEASE!! Ask him what he believes why the UN inspectors were totally ignored. They were the only credable sources that had already examined the most likely sites to find WMDs.

Jun. 02 2008 12:21 PM
uu

what percentage of your book's profits will go to the families of soldiers you helped so successfully send to Iraq?

Jun. 02 2008 12:21 PM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey


I thought he was a slug when he was Press Secretary and was a terrible, completely unconvincing liar as well (unlike say Tony Snow who could sell a fridge to an eskimo). The question is: Why should I believe this man now just because he happens to be promoting a set of facts I'd rather believe?

Jun. 02 2008 12:18 PM
Chris O from New York City

I don't want him to go away. I am interested in what he has to say, but not so interested in some of the commenters here - but even then, I will not tell them to go away.

Jun. 02 2008 12:17 PM
John from Bklyn

You "allowed yourself to be deceived"!? Ha!
You're about five years too late, chump. Can you just go away?

Jun. 02 2008 12:15 PM
Chris O from New York City

I will just point out to all of those who are very angry at McClellan for saying this stuff now when you were saying it 4 and 5 years ago: Do you really think his resignation would have meant or done anything? Especially since a lot of this was unknown, if the Iraq conguest was handled effectively, like perhaps a good liberal imperialist would pull off, then very few would be complaining. No, he'd resign and a new puppet would be put in place (that is all the Press Secretary is, after all).

So the point is that McClellan is more like the typical American in terms of willingness to go to war when pushed by our leaders but then looking at the disastrous aftermath, which from a practical point of view needed not be disastrous, says, "How did this happen?"

Jun. 02 2008 12:14 PM
norman from nyc

Laura Bush, the librarian, said her favorite book was "The Grand Inquisidor" from Dostoyovsky's The Brother Karamazov.

That was one of the most famous arguments against the death penalty.

Does Laura Bush oppose the death penalty?

Jun. 02 2008 12:14 PM
hjs from 11211

the job of press secretary is to stonewall, lie to the nation for the administration.

bush doesn't remember using coke because he used so much.

Jun. 02 2008 12:14 PM
Rick from Brooklyn

Scott- So many politicians from both sides of the aisle have expressed their disgust in your recent "tell all".

What do you stand to gain from this experience and from this book? What does the future hold for you?

Jun. 02 2008 12:11 PM
Gene

Does Mr. McClellan expect to be subpoenaed in the Plame case? Has he had discussions with anyone?

Can he go into detail on his reactions during the Libby trial? Should he have testified?

Jun. 02 2008 12:10 PM
Chris O from New York City

How come as Press Secretary, Scott seemed like a Stonewall, and about as smart as one, too? Now I hear him and he is very smart, very responsive, answers all the questions directly and with elucidation and seeming integrity.

Is it just my politics, which is very anti-Bush and anti-Republican (but also skeptical towards Dems, too, but a little less so)?

Jun. 02 2008 12:10 PM
jjl

what could "protesters" -- and journalists, for that matter -- done, to get through to you when it counted?

Jun. 02 2008 12:09 PM
smidley

Dude, remember those protests in 2003 through 2006? Your book -- that's ALL we were tryin' ta WARN you -- that's it, nothing else, but BEFORE you did it!

So your book is like, "what would the last guy in the world to read the 2003 newspaper think?"

Jun. 02 2008 11:03 AM

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