Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts. These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
White House in damage control after memoir -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

ELEANOR HALL: The White House is mounting a massive damage control campaign to deal with an attack
from a former member of its inner circle.

The President's former press secretary, Scott McClellan, has written a book that is highly critical
of the President.

And as correspondent Kim Landers reports, it's sending shock waves through Washington.

KIM LANDERS: Scott McClellan spent years in the West Wing, privy to the inner workings of the White
House and rising to become the President's chief media spokesman.

Two years after he was pushed out of that post, he's written a tell-all memoir, expressing anger
and disappointment about the President and his policies.

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: Well I hope people get a chance to take a look at it. I think it's got an
important larger message and I wanted to let it speak for itself today and I look forward to doing
some interviews tomorrow.

KIM LANDERS: Scott McClellan isn't explaining today why he's had such a dramatic change of heart
after years of defending George W. Bush.

In his book he says the President wanted to topple Saddam Hussein, quote, "primarily for the
ambitious purpose of transforming the Middle East".

But he says George W. Bush knew the American public wouldn't agree to send troops into harm's way
for that, so the administration chose a different path, quote, "shading the truth, downplaying the
major reason for going to war", and pumping up the case for war with, quote, "innuendo and
implication" while "quietly ignoring or disregarding" evidence against it.

His former colleagues are flummoxed by his criticism and they've hit the radio and television news
circuit to make their disapproval known.

Dan Bartlett is a former senior aide to the President who's known Scott McClellan for a decade.

DAN BARTLETT: Whether it's betrayal or is he lying, from the perch that I sat, in the meetings I
witnessed, is that I think I have a much different portrayal of this President than Scott does. And
I can't explain to you why he has today decided to come out with all of these views that he
apparently held throughout the entire time he served in the White House, yet said nothing to

KIM LANDERS: Ari Fleischer was the President's first press secretary and says he's most surprised
by the allegation that the Bush administration used "propaganda" to sell the Iraq war.

ARI FLEISCHER: Even after Scott left the White House he went on TV shows and defended President
Bush and the war, so I don't know what changed so dramatically for Scott in the last few months,
several months, that led him to write a book that was so different from everything I saw about
Scott personally and privately. Something changed and there are parts of this book that just don't
sound like Scott.

KIM LANDERS: Ari Fleischer appears to be the only former White House staffer who's had contact with
Scott McClellan recently. They spoke on the phone yesterday.

ARI FLEISCHER: Scott told me that this book really did change and he said this book ended up a lot
different from the way it got started. He told me he didn't know if he could write a book like this
a year ago.

KIM LANDERS: Scott McClellan writes that he fell far short of living up to the kind of public
servant he wanted to be, but he also calls the media, quote, "complicit enablers" in the White
House campaign to shape and manipulate public opinion in the march to the Iraq war.

The three main network TV news anchors were making a rare joint appearance today to promote a
cancer fundraiser when they were asked to respond.

Charlie Gibson from the American ABC flatly disagreed with his accusation about the media and the
Iraq war.

CHARLIE GIBSON: No I think that the media did a pretty good job of focusing and asking the
questions. We were not given access to get into the country and I think it's convenient now to
blame the media, but I don't.

However Katie Couric from CBS is critical of the profession.

KATIE COURIC: I think it's one of the most embarrassing chapters in American journalism and I think
there was a pressure from corporations who own where we work and from the Government itself to
really squash any kind of dissent.

KIM LANDERS: The White House says this insider turned author is simply rewriting history.

This is Kim Landers in Washington for The World Today.