McClellan: I Became What I Wanted to Change

ABC News has posted the transcript of White House Correspondent Martha Raddatz’s interview with former White House Press Secretary and George Bush aide Scott McClellan about his book, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and What’s Wrong with Washington, (PublicAffairs, May 2008) which has attracted a firestorm of protests from his fellows in the Bush Administration. (I’ve deleted out the “ums” and “uhs.”

I do have great affection for him. I think he’s authentic and sincere, in his beliefs. But I think that, instead of changing Washington, as he promised to do, remember, he came to Washington on a promise of bipartisanship, and honesty, and integrity, he too readily embraced the way Washington, the way the Washington game is played today. He got caught up in this permanent campaign mentality, and I think that was what caused him problems later on, in terms of, uh, a lack of a high level of openness, and forthrightness, at some defining moments. and, and all of us, to some extent, got caught up in that, people on both sides of the aisle…There are a lot of good and decent people, like the President, who come to Washington for the right reasons. But they get caught up in this atmosphere, which is very poisonous.

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