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And Republicans on the committee were brutal.

Scott McClellan alone will have to wrestle with whether it was worth selling out the president and his friends for a few pieces of silver,” said Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, the committee’s ranking Republican.

Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican, said Mr. McClellan’s claim to be trying to improve the system rang hollow since he waited more than a year after he left the White House, and until nearly the end of the Bush administration, before publishing.

“I think even you would admit that you could have affected the outcome of this administration had you, say, published this book a year earlier,” Mr. Issa said.

Rep. Ric Keller, Florida Republican, questioned why, in a book about broken politics, Mr. McClellan included speculation about whether Mr. Bush used cocaine three decades ago.

“Do you recall if you’ve ever used illegal drugs?” Mr. Keller asked.

“Yes, and I haven’t,” McClellan replied.