Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan has a new book coming out Monday, titled What Happened.
Though McClellan apparently says that he likes and admires Bush, he also calls him “an instinctive leader more than an intellectual leader. He is not one to delve into all the possible policy options… before making a choice.” And McClellan concludes that the Iraq War was “not necessary.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has one of the longer stories on McClellan’s revelations. It includes a passage in which McClellan seems to say plainly that Bush took cocaine as a young man:
The book recounts an evening in a hotel suite “somewhere in the Midwest.” Bush was on the phone with a supporter and motioned for McClellan to have a seat.
“‘The media won’t let go of these ridiculous cocaine rumors,’ I heard Bush say. ‘You know, the truth is I honestly don’t remember whether I tried it or not. We had some pretty wild parties back in the day, and I just don’t remember.'”
“I remember thinking to myself, How can that be?” McClellan wrote. “How can someone simply not remember whether or not they used an illegal substance like cocaine? It didn’t make a lot of sense.”
Bush, according to McClellan, “isn’t the kind of person to flat-out lie.”
“So I think he meant what he said in that conversation about cocaine. It’s the first time when I felt I was witnessing Bush convincing himself to believe something that probably was not true, and that, deep down, he knew was not true,” McClellan wrote. “And his reason for doing so is fairly obvious — political convenience.”
Perhaps that’s no great surprise, but considering that Bush has always danced around allegations of past drug use, it’s rather stunning to see McClellan casually note now that his denial “probably was not true.”
The website Wonkette has the best (and snarkiest) headline on the book so far: “Bush Propagandist Complains of Bush Propaganda.”