Ex-White House spokesperson drops bombshells about Iraq, Katrina
Scott McClellan, the Texas native who served as White House press secretary from July 2003 to April 2006, has a new book out that's shocked many with its harsh criticism of an administration he loyally served.
What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception charges that the president relied on "propaganda" to win support for the war on Iraq. McClellan also has some strong words for the administration's response to Hurricane Katrina, Politico.com reports:
He writes, for example, that after Hurricane Katrina, the White House "spent most of the first week in a state of denial," and he blames Rove for suggesting the photo of the president comfortably observing the disaster during an Air Force One flyover. McClellan says he and counselor to the president Dan Bartlett had opposed the idea and thought it had been scrapped.
But he writes that he later was told that "Karl was convinced we needed to do it -- and the president agreed."
"One of the worst disasters in our nation's history became one of the biggest disasters in Bush's presidency. Katrina and the botched federal response to it would largely come to define Bush's second term," he writes. "And the perception of this catastrophe was made worse by previous decisions President Bush had made, including, first and foremost, the failure to be open and forthright on Iraq and rushing to war with inadequate planning and preparation for its aftermath."
Scion of a prominent Austin political family, McClellan began working as a spokesperson for then-Gov. Bush in 1999 and went on to serve as traveling press secretary for the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2000. He writes that he still does "like and admire" Bush, who he says was "terribly ill-served" by his top advisors. He also offers some criticism of the national press corps, calling it "too deferential to the White House."
Sue is the editorial director of Facing South and the Institute for Southern Studies.