An aide’s book of little consequence to Bush
The president's former press secretary has written a scathing memoir.
When Scott McClellan was nudged from his job as press secretary, his boss waxed sentimental about a day when the two men would sit on a porch in Texas and reminisce about their time in the White House.
McClellan's memoir -- in which he criticizes President Bush and how the administration waged a propaganda campaign and manipulated an obliging media to win the case for an unnecessary war -- makes that scenario unlikely. But other than destroying a once-close relationship with his mentor, the book's revelations don't seem to have changed views about the already unpopular Bush.
There are some interesting details, among them Bush's flat-out affirmation that he himself had approved leaking of secret intelligence information to help I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's chief aide, who had been charged with perjury in a case involving the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame. Though the president has that authority, McClellan was astonished by Bush's cavalier attitude on so grave a matter.
The White House's team predictably slapped back, saying McClellan was out of the inner circle on the run-up to the war, that he could have raised objections when he disagreed with policy, that he was disloyal.
Evidently, McClellan feels loyalty should work both ways. Part of his motivation for the book stemmed from being left to twist slowly in the media storm after it was learned he had falsely asserted that neither Karl Rove nor Libby had had anything to do with Plame's outing.
For a man who is said to inspire loyalty, Bush has seen a string of former officials and aides issue memoirs to justify or explain their roles in the administration, including two cabinet members, a CIA director, an attorney general and a military commander -- a boon for publishing houses, a bane for a presidency.
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