May 30th, 2008
04:58 PM ET

If you suddenly discovered the truth, would you wonder where it'd been?

Barclay Palmer
AC360° Senior Producer

Scott McClellan says it took time for his "partisan blinders" to come down. Ok...but why? Is this White House really as unreflective as critics have claimed?

I know... it can take us all a while to see the other guy's perspective, or the "truth," as McClellan put it. But if the White House has been so caught up in "permanent campaign" mode that it missed "the value of truth and honesty," as McClellan said, well... those are pretty big elephants in the room to miss… are they not?

What's your view?

Anderson interviews McClellan for tonight’s show. We hope you’ll join us at 10p ET.

Filed under: Barclay Palmer • Raw Politics • Scott McClellan
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    It's interesting to me when Dana Perino says McClellan wasn't priveledged to some of the things he talks about. Dana Perino is not in a position to dispute McClellan's claims, she can only speak for herself and speak as a puppet for Bush. She's just doing a lot of stupid double talk which nobody understands.

    June 2, 2008 at 1:07 pm |
  2. Rob

    Why is no one talking about the fact that Clinton has easily won more delegates in the primary states, 300 MORE, while Obama has won more in the caucus states, 420 MORE, which more than explains his current pledged delegate advantage. Indeed, Idaho and Hawaii alone give hime more than the current 120 delegate lead he has today (May 31).

    the democrats should think about electability from this viewpoint – who can win primaries, not who can win caucusses.

    The caucusses favored Obama's core groups (wealthy and students), and made it harder for the working poor to participate.

    I am really perplexxed this has not entered the discussion and argument made to the superdelegates, and should scare the democratic party that they are on the verge of choosing a candidate that is getting beaten badly in primary contests.

    June 1, 2008 at 11:00 pm |
  3. Pat Goin

    I have voted democrat my entire life in every election. Regardless of what happens, I cannot vote for Obama under any circumstance because of his Islamic connections with his family and because of his church beliefs; even though he did quit his church, he was there for 20 years and that tells me he shared in their views. I am generally open-minded and accepting, but after hearing any of those racist comments in ANY church, I would not go back to that church. Obama having stayed there shows he did share their views or was there strictly for political gain, either are immoral and shows bad judgement for a presidential nominee. I have learned about his Chicago ties and dealings. However, my own personal morals would not allow me to vote for Obama under any circumstance, regardless of the outcome; even if it means the Republicans win. I can go so far as saying I will vote for McCain just to help make sure Obama does not win.

    June 1, 2008 at 11:23 am |
  4. Peter Lake worth 33463 FL

    There has been a shortage of TRUTH in leaders of civilization for centuries:

    Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil cincerning thee (The Father). [KINGS 22:23.]

    The People Columbus named Indians; are aware of the forked tongue of American politicians.

    Isaiah also warned of mans leaders:

    O! My people those who lead thee(The Father) cause thee to ERR, and destroy the way of thy paths. [ISAIAH 3:12.]

    Hasn't been much change in this area for over 4000 Gregorian years.

    Peter aka Breez991

    May 31, 2008 at 2:00 pm |
  5. Goldie Goldberg

    Well hold on to your hat! Looks like the Busheis are going to engage in another round of "KILL THE MESSENGER", as they have done with so many others, (Scott Ritter, Richard Clark, Ambasidor Wilson). I wonder what the opposition research is cooking up for Scott McClellan. I would not be surprised if we will find out in the next few days that this guy beats his dog, rapes his cat and worst of all refuses to wear an American flag lapel pin!

    This stuff reads like a Marx Brothers movie. Unfortunately, so many have died in this war, and so much of our treasure has been expended that the humor is very dark indeed.

    Referring to George Bush's most recent comments about his need to forgive McClellan; the president has some nerve! Better to ask will the people of America forgive George W. Bush.

    Goldie in New York

    May 31, 2008 at 3:49 am |
  6. Maxx

    I find it amazing that in your interviews you are denying the interviewee tha basic human right of being able to have a conscious or being able to change his/her mind.

    I believe that your ability to manipulate media – even though you are the news information channel I watch 80% of the time – but I do not hold the same beliefs I held 25 years ago – I do not believe in the media and reporting the way I did 20 years ago – I do not believe on what comes out of the White House since Watergate.

    Information is the prime directive these days and those that can manipulate it and create a sensation are those that are rewarded.

    So what if Scott McCleelan came out and exposed intormation that most of us knew already – do you really think the Amercian Base is that stupid? We might rely on you for information but we disseminate it and process it at a different level in this age of information overload – we are not the media lackeys you think we are.

    Get back to asking questions about issues and not about the "cult of personality" –


    May 31, 2008 at 2:36 am |
  7. Andrea -Michigan

    Anderson: Thank you for allowing Scott McClellan platform opportunity to tell his story. However, I have a few questions to pose to YOU:

    Whose bubble have you and your colleagues been living in? At the time I heard no dissenting questions raised when President Bush mounted what I saw as deliberate and horrific campaign to transfer attention away from Afghanistan to make Saddam Hussein scapegoat for 911. Everyone stayed really quiet. Now I am going to ask you the tough questions:

    In subsequent years I listened in earnest for nary a peep of scrupled questioning by the American press. Where was their collective conscience AND conscientiousness? Is it not the role of the press to ask the really important questions to get at the truth? Until relatively recently why did the press just go along with Bush’s war?

    It took how many years – five? – for the comments of Helen Thomas to be publicized ... that she was the only member of the press with courage enough to pose seriously reflective questions to the President – because – as she said – the press was afraid for their jobs! To the contrary, at least McClellan came to terms by stepping down in 2006!”

    I hope your audience sees through what appears to be attempts to ‘tar and feather’ Scott McClelland who is one of minute few in recent years to refreshingly bring forth honesty and forthrightness to expose not only the President's but his own shortcomings.

    I think you owe truthfulness to McClellan and the American public via thorough expose of the media's own shortcomings through your colleagues quiet accomplice of Bush's Iraq war.

    “I covered two presidents, LBJ and Nixon, who could no longer convince, persuade, or govern, once people had decided they had no credibility, but we seem to be more tolerant now of what I think we should not tolerate.” -Helen Thomas

    “We in the press have a special role since there is no other institution in our society that can hold the President accountable. I do believe that our democracy can endure and prevail only if the American people are informed.” -Helen Thomas

    Perhaps to his glee McClelllan is being brutalized by the media. Obviously both have lacked timely courage, but let’s give McClellan credit deserved for at least having the valor to step down and to ‘fess up’!

    Where have Woodward & Bernstein been?

    May 31, 2008 at 12:52 am |
  8. George Marcello

    Has CNN suddenly forgoten
    When is CNN going to get reflective and see their role in leading up to the war, by not speaking up as true reporters
    Would it be too difficult for CNN to try and do this
    How many real hard questions did CNN drill during the pre war era
    Was the entire staff under some kind of Bush Opiate
    Well Scott woke up and smelled the roses, while you guys are still opiated and in denial
    The first step in making sure this will not happen again, is for each of us to take our individual ownership. The only people that spoke up either lost their jobs or were blackballed,
    Did we forget so soon, play some your tapes leading up to the war and maybe CNN can get out denial and move forward and start reporting the real truth

    May 30, 2008 at 11:38 pm |
  9. Bren from Atlanta

    I would like accountability from the head of the CIA and other intelligence agencies over the last three administrations that said the WMD's were there! Clinton and Obama and McCain all voted for the war too. EVERYONE went on the word of the advisors, not just Bush. Let's hold the advisors accountable for the intel.

    May 30, 2008 at 11:12 pm |
  10. R. D. Liebst

    In a sense I can relate to Scott’s claim that it took some time to actually accept that something was wrong.
    After watching the “speech on the Rubble” I thought “we have the right President at the right time!”.
    Went Afghanistan seem to go well I thought even better of the administration.
    I was supportive of the invasion though it was the beginning of my doubts, something just not right. But I thought that Bush is the President and subject to information I was not. Finally I to settle my doubt did some research. It was than that I started to find out disturbing information that lead me to concluded that the real intent was not about the war on Terror. By the 2004 election I knew that what we were being told was not factual and accurate. And whom was controlling the administration, the Neoconservatives.

    May 30, 2008 at 11:09 pm |
  11. Sylvia Garcia

    The truth is that he (Scott) is hoping to capitalize on his timing of the release of this book. He is self serving and greedy.....

    May 30, 2008 at 10:31 pm |
  12. Annie Kate


    I think we always hope that the people around us are truthful and we don't really see that they are not until they trip up badly and the dishonesty smacks us in the face. When the people are people we like and admire seeing the lack of truth is probably harder. I admire Scott for facing the truth finally and telling it; like Weinstein said on 360 last night there is no statue of limitations on telling the truth.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    May 30, 2008 at 9:41 pm |
  13. Barb

    If McClellan had been honest sooner, could he have helped save lives in Iraq.The fact that he went along for the hype, is no excuse for not trying to stop the public from knowing the truth sooner. I think it's about money and he waited until he could get top dollar.

    May 30, 2008 at 8:56 pm |
  14. bernice

    y'all have to remember ol' George only got in because of Papa Bush. Everyone knew he wasn't the sharpest tool out there.

    May 30, 2008 at 8:52 pm |
  15. Frank

    It is pretty easy to get swept up in the hype. Especially when everyone around you is part of it. If you never talk to outsiders or nobody ever presents you with a different viewpoint, you can get far off course before you realize what is happening. It is part of our social instinct and many regimes bank on it to make people do things they would never otherwise contemplate.

    I am sure it can happen to everyone, but not everyone is willing to admit they are so easily swayed. Apart from making a lot of enemies, it paints a weak picture of oneself that nobody finds particularly attractive. It takes guts to face reality and admit you were wrong. And the more of a cheerleader you were, the harder it is.

    May 30, 2008 at 8:40 pm |
  16. molly

    I equate this question to an instance with my daughter. One morning, I was looking for my most prized lip gloss. In my rush to find it and get out the door, I accused my daughter of taking it and misplacing it... she has done similar things before. I left and when I got to work I through on my jacket that had been in my car overnight. There, in the pocket, was my lip gloss. I felt terrible. When I got home to face my daughter I felt embarrassed and I apologized to her. I didn't hide the truth, or try to sweep it under the rug. I came right out and told her I was wrong, and I told her how sorry I was.

    Why couldn't this administration do this, just once.If they had come out and said how sorry they are that they got it wrong, McClellan wouldn't have been able to write a book like this. Bush's insatiable need to be seen as infallible is what will ultimately be what destroys his legacy, not the decision he made based on faulty intelligence.

    May 30, 2008 at 8:38 pm |
  17. Larry

    There has never been a WH, senate or congress that has a monopoly on the truth. It is naive to believe otherwise. McClellan is either stupid, or he doesn't know much about politics; perhaps both.

    May 30, 2008 at 7:56 pm |
  18. Brian

    The issue is not whether the administration lied to the American people or not. The only people who disagee that Bush lied to, deceived, and manipulated the public are the ones whose preconceived ideas of the president would never change, even if he admitted he lied. Since polls showed that approximayely 70% of Americans believed that Saddam was linked to the events of 9/11, it shows that people will believe anything.
    Before the war, Bush linked Saddam and Osama Bin Laden. This despite the fact that Saddam was a Sunni and Osama is a Shiite and despised each other. This despite the fact that intelligence and CIA professionals publicly stated it was extremely unlikely the two would work together. After the war was started and Bush had his way, he admitted that there was no link between Iraq and 9/11. People will believe what they want to believe, no matter what the truth actually is. McClellan is finally saying what anyone with an objective point of view already knew; the administration was invloved in mass propaganda and deception.

    May 30, 2008 at 7:34 pm |
  19. Lisa

    Let me leave it at this - on another site I frequent, one poster considers McClellan a weasel for ratting out the White House. The individual believes McClellan is lying and is greedy. They also went on to post comments supposedly made by Bob Dole referencing McClellan in an unflattering light.

    To answer your question, yes, there are still people in the US who feel the truth is better left unsaid, and that anyone who dares to attempt to discredit Bush is the one who is lying and deceitful.

    May 30, 2008 at 6:56 pm |
  20. Jan from Wood Dale IL

    The non-partisan Center for Public Integrity has found at least 935 falsehoods told by the President and his aides in the runup to war. What they have found is available on-line.

    May 30, 2008 at 6:34 pm |
  21. Bill

    Realistically, it doesn't seem to be about discovering the truth and being honest about that perception but about respecting the truth and being able to defend it without abusing control and authority. We, as a society, need more civic education. Let's look at micro practices beneath an umbrella of macro philosophies.

    May 30, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  22. Billl

    If truth and honesty were not only to be found but then honored and respected, it would be a miracle. On the other hand, if even a small shread of truth and honesty were found to minutely thrive in American politics, the American political establishment would probably be dumbfounded and try to squash it as soon as detected. Does this sound familiar?

    May 30, 2008 at 5:47 pm |
  23. Arachnae, Sterling VA

    Barclay, there are people today who will swear Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11. They not only believe it, they believe they heard this directly from George Bush, who was notably consistent in NOT saying this, however often he implied it by putting '9/11' and 'Saddam Hussein' in the same sentence. Ask people how many of the 9/11 hijackers were Iraqis and you'll get some startling answers. *

    There are people who believe that not only were there WMDs in Iraq, but that our troops found and disposed of them, making us 'safer'.

    So it's not hard to imagine that someone living and working in the center of the lie vortex, as it were, would have a hard time getting to objective truth in these matters.

    *real answer – none

    May 30, 2008 at 5:33 pm |

    It's pretty obvious that the Bush team does take crticism well, if at all. Probably not even within its own inner circle. They are closing ranks now and circling the wagons, and McClellan is going to be eternally on the outside. If you think a White House press secretary should not make misleading statements, then what would you have them do? They work for the President, and are not going to say anything that might hurt him. That would be professional suicide. Even now, its not likely that he will be completely forthcoming if to do so would implicate his former boss and his henchmen. The amount of vitriol coming his way makes me think he is telling the truth and they fear he might have more to say.

    May 30, 2008 at 5:30 pm |
  25. Stacy

    Is this White House really as unreflective as critics have claimed?

    In a word? Yes. From the get-go Bush surrounded himself with yes men because he didn't want to hear any differing views. It's always been his way or the highway. Anyone who speaks out against the administration gets smeared, as McClellan is learning/will learn. Personally I don't think Bush, Cheney, and some others at the top really care about truth and honestly. They have an ends justify the means mentality and truth and honesty are just obstacles.

    As for McClellan, though I can't trust him, I do feel that he's probably telling the truth about not immediately really seeing the situation for what it was. He's actually not alone in this. Over the past few years we've seen not only numerous republicans just ship, but many of the pundits as well. I've found it fascinating to follow Andrew Sullivan as he went from Bush supporter to sounding like a liberal.

    My question has always been, why, as someone who has a regular job and is not involved in politics in any capacity more than a hobby, have I been able to see so clearly from the beginning that this administration was no good, when it's taken many professionals in the field years to figure it out? The only thing I can come up with is that since I do have that normal job and normal life, I'm a couple steps away from everything that's going on and it allows me to see things more clearly. I believe our politicians and media really do live in a bubble. They're too close to what they do, their lives are too fast-paced, and they don't step back enough to reflect. And this has produced disastrous results.

    I'm looking forward to the McClellan interview.

    May 30, 2008 at 5:26 pm |
  26. Illinois

    If you're a politician it's a given you have to lie and cheat, but there should be limits to this behavior. McClellan deliberately lied and manipulated the general public even when he knew that what he was saying about the war was pure lies......and that is not something that can or should be overlooked. Being "sorry" about it afterwards does not count. He knew full well what he was doing, yet went ahead and did it anyway.....all the while portraying himself as pious, trustworthy, and ethical. Maybe this is why McClellan and Obama would work well together.

    The blinders came off a long time ago....and he went along for the ride anyway.

    May 30, 2008 at 5:25 pm |

    Did anyone hear or see the Email sent to scott McClellan by Bob Doll?? What in the world was that? Bob Doll! I think someone should check his ( CIALLUS ) intake. Clearly way over the top!.

    May 30, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  28. Rachelle

    Of corse it didn't take him years to discover the corrupt administration, he's known about this far longer than the American people did and they were not front and center as McClellan was. He just waited for the oppertunity to cash in on it without concicence to himself. I think he is being some what truthful in the accounts but the notion that he had no clue as to what was going on is ridiculous. I think he is a selfish coward for not coming forth when it would have made the difference in several thousand lives. I think his actions sacrificed the lives of our fellow Americans for selfish personal gain.

    May 30, 2008 at 5:11 pm |
  29. Cindy

    The only thing that took McClellan so long to do was find a publisher that would pay him the most for his book. There never were blinders on his eyes. He knew the whole time what they were doing was wrong yet stayed on. The only thing that was in his eyes and still is are dollar signs!

    Looking forward to Anderson's interview with him tonight.


    May 30, 2008 at 5:07 pm |
  30. Lilibeth

    Barclay, not only would I wonder where the truth had been, I would also wonder what other untruths are there.

    May 30, 2008 at 5:03 pm |

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