Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan spoke of having a “higher loyalty” to the truth than to President Bush in his first interview about his controversial tell-all book.
“I have a higher loyalty than my loyalty, necessarily, to my past work,” McClellan said on NBC’s Today Show Thursday morning. “That’s a loyalty to the truth, and a loyalty to the values I was raised on.”
McClellan’s blockbuster book “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception” came as a shock to the White House who long considered McClellan a loyal friend. McClellan originally went to work for Bush when Bush was Texas Governor in 1999 and later became his White House press secretary.
In the book, McClellan accuses the President of using “propaganda” to convince Americans to support the war in Iraq and that “in an effort to convince the world Saddam Hussein had weapons of destruction…the administration used innuendo and implication and the intentional ignoring of intelligence to the contrary.”
He elaborated in his NBC sit-down. “I say in the book this is not a deliberate or conscious effort to do so. What happened was that we got caught up in the excesses of the permanent campaign culture in Washington D.C.,” McClelland said. “What it means is that everything is centered on trying to shape and manipulate the narrative to one’s advantage.”
“You get caught up in trying to sell this war to the American people,” he said.
White House officials have expressed disdain with McClellan’s decision to pen a tell-all. Former White House senior adviser Karl Rove said McClellan sounds like a “left-wing blogger.”
When asked about the book Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters “It was not the United States of America alone that believed that he had weapons of mass destruction that he was hiding," Rice said. "The story is there for everyone to see, you can't now transplant yourself into the present and say we should have know what we in fact did not know in 2001 and 2002. The record on weapons of mass destruction was one that appeared to be very clear."
McClellan said in his NBC interview he felt Rice was often “too accommodating” to the President.
McClellan is scheduled to promote his book on MSNBC’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” Thursday evening and for MSNBC’s “Meet the Press” with Tim Russert on Sunday morning.
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