Thursday, August 24, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Scott McClellan


White House Press Secretary to President George W Bush.
Scott McClellan
I do not believe that the President was in any way directly involved in the leaking of her identity, but that was a very disillusioning moment for me when I found out when it initially hit the press, and I was in North Carolina, if I remember correctly, and a reporter shouted out to the President, "Is it true that you authorized the secret leaking of this classified information?" We walked onto Air Force One, and the Presidents asks, "What was the reporter asking?", and I said, "He asserted that you were the one who authorized Scooty Libby leaking this information," and he said, "Yeah, I did."
McClellan quotes
Jeff Gannon: In your denunciations of the Abu Ghraib photos, you've used words like "sickening," "disgusting" and "reprehensible." Will you have any adjectives left to adequately describe the pictures from Saddam's rape rooms and torture chambers? And will Americans ever see those images?
Scott McClellan: I'm glad you brought that up, Jeff, because the President talks about that often.
McClellan
My impression is... that this is, what I would call from the Watergate days, a modified, limited hangout, and I say that because, not because he was malevolent in his desire to put it out there, but press secretaries know very little in the big picture of what's happening at the White House. They're pretty much told what the policymakers and what the other political people in the White House would want them to know so they don't compromise themselves and they can try to be as honest as possible when they're out there briefing the press. So that's why I think it's pretty limited, but yet fascinating for what it is, and he certainly does nail a few things down. ... I think I've read all the memoirs of everybody who's served at the White House at one time or another, going all the way back as early as I could find them, and this is a very unusual one. My situation was of course testimony. I was under oath; there was an intense investigation going on. This is really not in the same context. I can't really think of anything quite similar. I was thinking of press secretaries. The only one who's become anywhere similar was Ford's press secretary, who resigned over the pardon in his disquiet with the pardon, Jerald terHorst, where he said that he was unhappy with what was going on. Ron Nessen, too, was to a degree fairly frank, but he'd left office. When I look back at all press secretaries, this is probably about the only time I can think of a press secretary coming forward while the President was still there, and laying out some of the ugly truth.




McClellan Scott quotes
Q: But if you stand out strongly trying to let the Arab world know that this is wrong and then you have the proverbial spokesperson for the conservative party saying this, doesn't that send a mixed message?
Scott McClellan: The President's views have been very -- have been made very clear. Go ahead.
McClellan Scott
In this case, the 'liberal media' didn't live up to its reputation. If it had, the country would have been better served.
Scott McClellan quotes
I think I previously indicated that he attended three Hanukkah receptions at the White House. It is actually only two Hanukkah receptions that he attended. [...] I don't get into discussing staff-level meetings.
Scott McClellan
Isn't it my right to talk and say what I want to?
McClellan Scott quotes
Jeff Gannon: Since there have been so many questions about what the President was doing over 30 years ago, what is it that he did after his honorable discharge from the National Guard? Did he make speeches alongside Jane Fonda, denouncing America's racist war in Vietnam? Did he testify before Congress that American troops committed war crimes in Vietnam? And did he throw somebody else's medals at the White House to protest a war America was still fighting? What was he doing after he was honorably discharged?
Scott McClellan: We've already commented on some of his views relating back to that period the other day.
McClellan
Here's the thing about Scott McClellan. His performance on the podium suggested he was totally incompetent. He was really badly suited to that job. He hated the public attention and being in front of the cameras. But behind the scenes, well, I've known Scott since 1999, 2000. He actually was inside the circle of trust. That's why his comments are so damning and so critical here, because he did have walk-in access -- something that Tony Snow never did; and Dana Perino would be hard-pressed to have the same kind of relationship.
McClellan Scott
I don't want to get too fulsome on you. I don't think you're going to be dining out on the book for the rest of your life, but I think this is a primary document of American history. I'm very impressed with it and I think at some point people will be teaching history classes based on it. ... This may be the most revealing look at any sitting President since John Dean was sworn in by the Erwin Committee in 1973.
Scott McClellan
No, you don't want the American people to hear what the facts are, Helen, and I'm going to tell them the facts.




Scott McClellan quotes
If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration.
Scott McClellan
...I could not say honestly today that this administration does not believe in torture, does not engage in torture.
McClellan quotes
As a Texas loyalist who followed Bush to Washington with great hope and personal affection and as a proud member of his administration, I was all too ready to give him and his highly experienced foreign policy advisers the benefit of the doubt on Iraq. Unfortunately, subsequent events have showed that our willingness to trust the judgment of Bush and his team was misplaced.
McClellan Scott
The President is a very straightforward and plainspoken person, and I'm someone who believes in dealing in a very straightforward way with you all, as well, and that's what I've worked to do.
McClellan Scott quotes
I had allowed myself to be deceived into unknowingly passing along a falsehood. It would ultimately prove fatal to my ability to serve the President effectively. I didn't learn that what I'd said was untrue until the media began to figure it out almost two years later. ... Neither, I believe, did President Bush. he too had been deceived, and therefore became unwittingly involved in deceiving me. But the top White House officials who know the truth -- including Rove, Libby, and possibly Vice President Cheney -- allowed me, even encouraged me, to repeat a lie.
Scott McClellan
Well, I indicated yesterday that I think there were some -- a few staff-level meetings. But, no, I'm making sure that I have a thorough report back to you on that. And I'll get that to you, hopefully very soon.
Scott McClellan quotes
As I have heard Bush say, only a wartime president is likely to achieve greatness, in part because the epochal upheavals of war provide the opportunity for transformative change of the kind Bush hoped to achieve. In Iraq, Bush saw his opportunity to create a legacy of greatness.
Scott McClellan
Jeff Gannon: Last Friday, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report that shows that Ambassador Joe Wilson lied when he said his wife didn't put him up for the mission to Niger. The British inquiry into their own prewar intelligence yesterday concluded that the President's 16 words were "well-founded." Doesn't Joe Wilson owe the President and America an apology for his deception and his own intelligence failure?
Scott McClellan: Well, one, let me point out that I think those reports speak for themselves on that issue. And I think if you have questions about that, you can direct that to Mr. Wilson.
McClellan Scott
I heard Bush say, "You know, the truth is I honestly don't remember whether I tried it or not. We had some pretty wild parties back in the day, and I just don't remember." I remember thinking to myself, How can that be? How can someone simply not remember whether or not they used an illegal substance like cocaine? It didn't make a lot of sense.


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