Thursday, May 29, 2008

Transcript: Scott McClellan Interview on Today Show

Read the complete transcript of Scott McClellan's interview Thursday on the Today Show as he discusses his bombshell book:

VIEIRA: But you had to know this was going to create a firestorm.

Mr. McCLELLAN: Well, I think I expected some of the reaction that was going to come out. You know, the White House would prefer that I not talk openly about my experiences. But I think there's a larger purpose to this book and that is the message I just talked about. It's really about looking at this permanent campaign culture in Washington, DC, and talking about how can we move beyond it? When I went to work for President Bush back in 1999, then Governor Bush, I had all this great hope that we were going to come to Washington and change it. He talked about being a uniter, not a divider. This was a president that had a--had a record as governor of Texas of being a bipartisan leader, of someone who brought people together to get things done, an approval rating well into the 70s. And then we got to Washington and I think we got caught up in playing the Washington game the way it's played today. And I think a lot of Americans like me would like to see us move beyond that bitter partiness--partisanship that exists today.

VIEIRA: So he let you down then, this man that you believed in?

Mr. McCLELLAN: Well, you know, I think I'm disappointed that things didn't turn out the way that we all hoped they would turn out. We all had high hopes coming in. And I think this is sharing my personal experience of going through that, coming into Washington, DC, as deputy press secretary, then becoming the White House spokesman, the White House press secretary. And by the last 10 months or so of my time at the White House, I grew--I grew increasingly disillusioned by things, when the first revelation came out that what I had been told by Karl Rove and Scooter Libby, that they were in no way involved in the leaking of Valerie Plame's identity, which we now know is not true, when I--and despite the fact that I went to the podium and said these people assured me they were not involved, you know, I started--I started to become a little more disillusioned about things.

Disinformation Campaign to Coverup Hillary's Lesbianism

This article in Today's NY Daily News is very curious. It has been long rumored that Hillary Clinton is a lesbian. And her rumored love interest--Huma Abedin. So it is somewhat mysterious when a NY politician, who is a Clinton supporter, claims to be in love with the presidential candidate's "body woman." We know for a fact that Bill and Hillary have a cynical power arrangement that does not extend to romance. They are never intimate in public. And Bill's tirades can be explained to sexual frustration. He has obviously been put on a leash to prevent a scandal from breaking out and destroying his and her chance to get back to the White House:

Rep. Anthony Weiner, a likely 2009 mayoral candidate, is pouring his heart into Hillary Clinton's White House bid - literally.

Weiner, whose district includes parts of Queens and Brooklyn, finally 'fessed that he is romancing Clinton's glamorous "body woman," Huma Abedin.

Asked by The Associated Press about all the time he's spending on the road campaigning for Clinton, the 43-year-old bachelor said, "It's largely because I'm dating Huma."

The whispers have been around for months, but until yesterday Weiner ducked questions about Abedin, saying his personal life was off limits.

Though she posed recently for a glamorous photo spread in Vogue, Abedin, 32, is famously press-shy.

Oh, by the way, Weiner is Jewish and Abedin comes from a Muslim background:
Abedin was born in Michigan to a Pakistani mother and an Indian father and was raised in Saudi Arabia.

She landed an internship in the First Lady's office in 1996 and quickly become her indispensable right hand.

These days, she rarely leaves the senator's side - and Weiner rarely leaves hers.

As to the hectic pace of a presidential campaign, he conceded, "It's not a great environment to forge a relationship."

In the comments to the Daily News article readers made reference to Hillary and Abedin relationship and this being an attempt to cover up that fact.

McClellan on Today Show: Bush "Manipulated" Public Opinion

McClellan gives a sincere and heartfelt description of why he wrote the book on the Today Show this morning. Read the complete transcript of McClellans interview:

The former Bush administration pitchman making explosive election-year charges about how the White House handled the Valerie Plame case and built the case for invading Iraq said Thursday that he went to Washington to change it and became “disillusioned” when he realized he was just a pawn in the never-ending political game.

“The larger message has been sort of lost in the mix. ... The White House would prefer I not speak out openly and honestly about my experiences, but I believe there is a larger purpose,” Scott McClellan, the chief spokesman for the White House from 2003 to 2006, told TODAY co-host Meredith Vieira exclusively during his first interview since excerpts of his new memoir hit the Internet on Tuesday.

“I had all this great hope that we were going to come to Washington and change it. ... Then we got to Washington, and I think we got caught up in playing the Washington game the way it is being played today,” said McClellan, who made only passing references to Bush himself.

[...]McClellan said that it wasn't until he realized that he may have been led to deliver false information to the media about two senior administration officials’ roles in outing Valerie Plame as a CIA operative that he knew he would someday have to tell his story.

“My hope is that by writing this book and sharing openly and honestly what I learned is that in some small way it might help us move beyond the partisan warfare of the past 15 years. There’s a larger purpose to this book. It’s about looking at the permanent campaign culture in Washington, D.C., and how we can move beyond it,” he said.

As Bush's press secretary, McClellan defended the war to the media. But in his book he accused the White House of shading the truth and conducting a political propaganda campaign in making the case to go to war in Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein.

“I gave them the benefit of the doubt just like a lot of Americans,” McClellan said. “Looking back and reflecting on it now, I don’t think I should have.”

[...]McClellan writes that the Bush White House decided “to turn away from candor and honesty when those qualities were most needed” during the period when sentiment was being marshaled to invade Iraq and depose Saddam Hussein.

McClellan said that the White House never shifted from campaign mode to governing mode, an approach that “almost guaranteed that the use of force would become the only feasible option. … In the permanent campaign era, it was all about manipulating sources of public opinion to the president’s advantage.”

The mainstream media also came under fire from McClellan, who charged that reporters accepted what they were told and didn’t ask the hard questions that might have exposed the bad intelligence used to justify the invasion of Iraq.

McClellan: Bush WH "Shaded the Truth" in Going to War with Iraq

The press has chosen to focus on the motivation of Scott McClellan for writing his book so negative of the Bush White House. What they should be considering is whether engaged in impeachable offenses for starting a war that had no legitimacy:

Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan, whose new memoir has sparked controversy about the Bush administration's plans before the Iraq war, said Thursday he is "disappointed that things didn't turn out the way we had hoped they would turn out" at the beginning of the administration.

McClellan, whose memoir claims the administration manipulated facts to "sell" the Iraq war, told NBC's Today Show that he became "increasingly disillusioned with things" during his time in the White House.

"My hope is that by writing this book and sharing openly and honestly what I lived and what I learned during my time at the White House that in some small way it might help us move beyond the destructive partisan warfare of the last 15 years," he said of the memoir, excerpts of which were first disclosed earlier this week.

Let's hear from those who should be defending McClellan:
McClellan's sharp critique drew the wrath of administration officials, past and present, on Wednesday.

"This is a wholesale jumping-ship, using the language of the other side in a very harsh, accusatory manner," said Ari Fleischer, who preceded McClellan as press secretary.

"It is sad," said current press secretary Dana Perino, who was hired by McClellan. "This is not the Scott we knew."

"I'm just flabbergasted," says Trent Duffy, a deputy press secretary to McClellan. "Scott never hinted, whispered, breathed any shred of this when we worked together 2½ years."

Perino said President Bush does not plan to comment, saying he "has more pressing matters than to spend time commenting on books by former staffers." But she said he was "puzzled, and he doesn't recognize this as the Scott McClellan that he hired and confided in and worked with for so many years."

As an original member of Bush's political entourage from Texas, McClellan, 40, wasn't expected to follow in the line of presidential loyalists-turned-critics who date back at least to Franklin Roosevelt's administration. Nor was he considered likely to accuse colleagues of confusing "the political propaganda campaign with the realities of the war-making campaign."

McClellan, who declined to comment Wednesday, also is scheduled to appear National Public Radio's Morning Edition and liberal commentator Keith Olbermann's Countdown show on MSNBC this week, to be followed by a book tour starting Wednesday in New York.

Perhaps McClellan's most important claims have to do with the decision he says "pushed Bush's presidency off course" — the decision to invade Iraq.

In his book, McClellan says the administration did not employ "out-and-out deception" but engaged in "shading the truth." That included efforts to make evidence that Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction and Iraq's connections to terrorism "just a little more certain, a little less questionable, than they were."

Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., a White House aide during the Clinton administration and a critic of the Iraq war, said that if McClellan's book is accurate, "the price to America for this presidency is beyond what we actually have calculated."

Leon Panetta, a White House chief of staff to Clinton, joined Bush aides in wondering why McClellan had not expressed his views earlier.