Some former colleagues of White House press secretary Scott McClellan greeted his tell-all memoir today with a mixture of sadness and betrayal.
In his book, "What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception,'' McClellan says that President Bush manipulated public opinion through a "political propaganda campaign'' to justify going to war in Iraq.
"To give credibility to such an outrageous accusation that mostly was coming from the left wing of the Democratic Party is really disappointing," former White House counselor Dan Bartlett said on CNN today.
He said McClellan was not privy to many important discussions about the war.
"All I will say is that there is an enormous amount of disappointment among those who are closest to Scott," Bartlett said. "This is not the Scott we knew. Maybe that is our fault, maybe this is a new Scott. It's almost like an out-of-body experience, quite frankly."
McClellan's predecessor as White House press secretary, Ari Fleischer, chimed in on Fox News Channel: “There's just something about it that doesn’t make any sense, and I say that because Scott never once approached me publicly, privately, to express any misgivings.”
“I would think if he harbored such deep feelings about things he wouldn't have and shouldn't have accepted the press secretary job in the first place.”
"He was the press secretary at a time when the war in Iraq started to go very badly, he had issues inside with staffers who deceived him,” Fleischer continued. "There are some legit issues that Scott raises, but the point he makes about the President and the war in Iraq, that's the part I just don’t understand.”
Fleischer said parts of the book don't sound like McClellan.
“It’s got his name on it and Scott knows that and he said the chips will fall wherever they may, that's what he told me yesterday, but on principle and on policy this doesn’t make any sense to me because if it did, I think Scott would have expressed it privately and repeatedly.”
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.