The Washington Times - November 20, 2007, 06:44PM
Scott McClellanPresident Bush SEE RELATED:


\ Mr. McClellan’s publisher, Public Affairs Books, took the unique step of releasing just three paragraphs —121 words in all — from “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and What’s Wrong with Washington.”\

\ The book is not due to be released until April.\

\ But Mr. McClellan’s explosive, if somewhat vague, charge is sure to spark lots of interest and conversation over the coming months. \

\ The excerpt never specifically says what the “false information” was, though it’s clear from the context that Mr. McClellan is referring to the many assertions he made that no one in the Bush administration had leaked CIA agent Valerie Plame’s name to columnist Robert Novak.\

\ “I stood at the White house briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby,” Mr. McClellan writes.\

\ “There was one problem. It was not true,” he writes.\

\ Mr. McClellan says in the quest to “restore credibility [Mr. Bush] lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq,” the president and four of his top aides let the press secretary run with a lie.\

\ “I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice President, the President’s chief of staff, and the President himself,” Mr. McClellan writes.\

\ Mr. McClellan is the second former Bush administration official to publicly criticize Mr. Bush this year. In the spring, former Bush campaign strategist Matthew Dowd said he had lost faith in Mr. Bush because of the Iraq war and because of his hard-nosed style of politics.\

\ But Mr. McClellan was closer to Mr. Bush than Mr. Dowd, having worked for the president since the 2000 election. When Mr. McClellan resigned, Mr. Bush said that “one of these days he and I are going to be rocking on chairs in Texas, talking about the good old days.”\

\ One former colleague of Mr. McClellan’s said he was “very surprised” at the charges, and the timing of the excerpt release.\

\ “I don’t know why they came out now when the book is scheduled to be released in April. Perhaps he was jealous of Rove being a journalist and wanted to steal some of the spotlight,” the former White House official said, referring to Mr. Rove’s recently inked deal to write a regular column for Newsweek.\

\ In a recent interview, Mr. McClellan said he was busy working on the final portions of the book, and offered a dim prediction for Mr. Bush’s last year in office. Mr. McClellan said that Mr. Bush would have to stay focused on Iraq and the economy, hoping that neither situation collapses.\

\ “It’s such a bitter environment in Washington right now that it’s going to be tough for the president to get much accomplished beyond that,” Mr. McClellan said. “There’s so much bad blood in the water.”\

\ — Jon Ward, White House correspondent, The Washington Times