In a memoir scheduled to be published next week, former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan charges that President Bush was not “open and forthright on Iraq” and that the Bush administration engaged in a “propaganda campaign” to sell the Iraq war.
McClellan’s surprising revelations mark a drastic shift from his past rhetoric regarding the war. During his time as press secretary, McClellan repeatedly defended the conduct of the war, justified the case that was made to launch it and defended Bush’s handling of the war, once even referring to him as a “straight shooter” on Iraq:
– “There was a lot of debate going on about the pre-war intelligence that was used in the lead up to the decision to go into Iraq and remove a brutal tyrant from his position of power. There were irresponsible and unfounded accusations being made against the administration, suggesting that we had manipulated or misused that intelligence. That was flat-out false.” [4/07/06]
– “I’ve known this President a long time, and this President is someone I think the American people recognize as a straight shooter, someone who, when he says something, means it, and does exactly what he says he’s going to do…when it comes to Iraq, in terms of the intelligence the President is someone that laid all that information out before the American people.” [7/01/04]
– “[W]e’ve been very straightforward about where we are in terms of the theater in Iraq.” [8/20/03]
– QUESTION: [D]oes [Bush] feel he misled the American people? McCLELLAN: No. [7/16/03]
It’s a shame it took McClellan so long to acknowledge that his boss and his colleagues were misleading the country into what he called in his memoir “a serious strategic blunder.”
When asked to explain McClellan’s shift, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said, “at some point, maybe the lies just got to be too heavy for him to carry.”