Bush Under Fire From Former Aide

McClellan also took issue with the book by former Bush White House counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke, "Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror," saying on March 22, 2004, "Why, all of a sudden, if he had all these grave concerns, did he not raise these sooner?"

McClellan Wednesday would not comment on the book, preferring for it to "speak for itself" for the day. He told reporters that he would begin to give formal interviews beginning Thursday.

"I'm going to be doing my interviews tomorrow and so I hope people will get a chance - I think there have been a lot of comments and people haven't had a chance to really look at the book and it's got an important message that I think people need to take a look at. Today I want to let it kind of speak for itself, let people get a chance to look at it and then tomorrow I look forward to going on the air and talking about it," he said outside his Arlington, Va. home.

Tori Clarke, former Pentagon spokesperson in the Bush administration and now an ABC News consultant, said if McClellan was uncomfortable with what he was being told he should have acted.

"If he had problems with the administration he should have expressed them at the time. It was his job to raise questions internally and if he felt he wasn't getting the truth, if he wasn't satisfied with their responses, he should not have continued to take a paycheck. He should have left then," said Clarke.

Bush on the Couch

McClellan's depiction of Bush is a man driven by political considerations, even when it came to something as momentous as the war in Iraq.

"To this day, the president seems unbothered by the disconnect between the chief rationale for war and the driving motivation behind it, and unconcerned about how the case was packaged," he writes.

McClellan states that Bush was unable to admit the mistakes of the war for fear that it would prove politically damaging and make him appear weak.

"A more self-confident executive would be willing to acknowledge failure, to trust people's ability to forgive those who seek redemption for mistakes and show a readiness to change," he writes.

"Still another motive for Bush to avoid acknowledging mistakes was his determination to win the political game at virtually any cost. Bush was not about to give the Washington media anything critics could use to damage him and his reelection effort."

Cocaine Use Rumors

McClellan also tackles media reports that Bush had used cocaine in his past — an issue that swirled during the 2000 presidential campaign.

In 1999, at a hotel suite "somewhere in the Midwest," McClellan recalls hearing Bush's end of a phone conversation as the candidate dealt with the rumors about his drug use.

Writes McClellan: "'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? How can someone simply not remember whether or not they used an illegal substance like cocaine? It didn't make a lot of sense."

And yet, McClellan concludes, "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. And his reason for doing so is fairly obvious — political convenience…"

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