The Corner

Bartlett on McClellan on Today

Former White House official Dan Bartlett was interviewed directly after McClellan on the Today show.  Although Bartlett has dismissed McClellan’s book as “total crap,” he essentially conceded McClellan’s point that McClellan was misled about the Valerie Plame Wilson affair.  When asked to discuss his objections to McClellan’s book, Bartlett said, “The particular issue of the leak scandal — that, I have to say, has to be set aside.”  Bartlett said both he and McClellan, and everyone else on the White House staff, had been ordered not to talk to each other about the issue, and “that made for a very difficult period.”

Bartlett’s bigger point was that McClellan’s anger about the Plame affair “does not give Scott license” to talk about other issues, like the run-up to the war in Iraq.  McClellan’s accusations that the White house “shaded the truth” or set up a “propaganda machine” to sell the war, are “patently false,” Bartlett said. “He was not in those meetings,” Bartlett said.  “He did not hear those deliberations.”  In response, McClellan said that he was in a number of high-level meetings in the period just before the war, when he was filling in for then-Press Secretary Ari Fleischer.

Byron York is a former White House correspondent for National Review.

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