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Bush Is ‘Puzzled’ By McClellan’s Book, Didn’t Think It Would Be So ‘Harsh’

By Amanda Terkel  

"Bush Is ‘Puzzled’ By McClellan’s Book, Didn’t Think It Would Be So ‘Harsh’"

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Earlier today, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino put out a statement bashing former press secretary Scott McClellan’s new book critical of the administration. She called McClellan “disgruntled” and said that President Bush was unlikely to comment on the criticisms:

Scott, we now know, is disgruntled about his experience at the White House. For those of us who fully supported him, before, during and after he was press secretary, we are puzzled. It is sad — this is not the Scott we knew.

The book, as reported by the press, has been described to the president. I do not expect a comment from him on it — he has more pressing matters than to spend time commenting on books by former staffers.

Evidently, Bush has less to do than Perino thought. CNN’s Ed Henry reports that aboard Air Force One today, Perino gave the “most detailed” response from Bush yet on McClellan’s book. According to Henry, Bush had seen a copy of the book in November, but hoped that it wouldn’t be so harsh once it was published:

HENRY: On the way to Utah, from here in Colorado, aboard Air Force One, Dana Perino told reporters that the President first read an excerpt of this book back in November at Camp David. At that time they were led to believe it was overwritten a bit and maybe it would not essentially be that harsh. She talked to the President yesterday obviously on Air Force One after it was becoming clear the book was going to be very harsh. She said the President’s reaction was, quote, “He was puzzled.”

He didn’t recognize the same Scott McClellan that he hired and worked with for so many years. She added he was disappointed and called it a sad situation.

Watch it:

According to Henry, Perino added that McClellan was “rewriting history” on the Iraq war.

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