POLITICS

Scott McLellan, Former Press Secretary, Attacks Bush's White House

06/04/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Politico and Washington Post have excerpts from former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan's scathing book on the Bush Administration.

Bush is depicted as an out-of-touch leader, operating in a political bubble, who has stubbornly refused to admit mistakes. McClellan defends the president's intellect -- "Bush is plenty smart enough to be president," he writes -- but casts him as unwilling or unable to be reflective about his job.

"A more self-confident executive would be willing to acknowledge failure, to trust people's ability to forgive those who seek redemption for mistakes and show a readiness to change," he writes.

In another section, McClellan describes Bush as able to convince himself of his own spin and relates a phone call he overheard Bush having during the 2000 campaign, in which he said he could not remember whether he had used cocaine. "I remember thinking to myself, 'How can that be?' " he writes.

The former aide describes Bush as a willing participant in treating his presidency as a permanent political campaign, run in large part by his top political adviser, Rove.

"The president had promised himself that he would accomplish what his father had failed to do by winning a second term in office," he writes. "And that meant operating continually in campaign mode: never explaining, never apologizing, never retreating. Unfortunately, that strategy also had less justifiable repercussions: never reflecting, never reconsidering, never compromising. Especially not where Iraq was concerned."

• McClellan charges that Bush relied on "propaganda" to sell the war.

• He says the White House press corps was too easy on the administration during the run-up to the war.

• He admits that some of his own assertions from the briefing room podium turned out to be "badly misguided."

• The longtime Bush loyalist also suggests that two top aides held a secret West Wing meeting to get their story straight about the CIA leak case at a time when federal prosecutors were after them -- and McClellan was continuing to defend them despite mounting evidence they had not given him all the facts.

The Wall Street Journal also has a series of excerpts:

As press secretary, I spent countless hours defending the administration from the podium in the White House briefing room. Although the things I said then were sincere, I have since come to realize that some of them were badly misguided. In these pages, I've tried to come to grips with some of the truths that life inside the White House bubble obscured.

My friends and former colleagues who lived and worked or are still working inside that bubble may not be happy with the perspective I present here. Many of them, I'm sure, remain convinced that the Bush administration has been fundamentally correct in its most controversial policy judgments, and that the dis-esteem in which most Americans currently hold it is undeserved.

Only time will tell. But I've become genuinely convinced otherwise.

The book has already hit number 1 on Amazon.

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