Bush Faithful Shun 'W.' Opening

The most prophetic throwaway line in Oliver Stone's film portrayal of George W. Bush -- the director's favorite -- is uttered at a Texas barbecue during his early run for Congress.

"You're a devil," says Laura Bush, played by Elizabeth Banks, after a flirtatious first meeting with the hard-drinking playboy. "A devil in a white hat."

That paradox -- the 43rd president of the United States as the man who canonized the pre-emptive strike in two wars with the certitude of the moral right -- provides high drama for those who believe Bush is a good, but dangerous man.

In "W.," which opens in theaters today, Stone presents a psychological look at a man -- often empathetic and at times buffoonish -- who rose from privileged Yale frat boy to evangelical convert to the leader of the free world.

As Republican presidential nominee John McCain holds Bush as a political pariah -- "If you want to run against Bush, you should have done it four years ago" -- even the Bush faithful want no part of reliving the drama.

ABCNews.com contacted about 25 Republicans and former Bush administration staffers and found only one -- former Press Secretary Scott McClellan -- who would preview the film and comment on its accuracy. And even he was sqeamish.

"It's hard to sit back and take a look from another perspective," he told ABCNews.com. "It's a tough step to take to come to grips with the fact that things didn't turn out the way we envisioned, and the presidency veered off course. It's tough to accept that when you were part of them."

Several of the people contacted by ABCNews.com said they weren't surprised by McClellan's willingness to talk. Among Bush administration staffers, a group known for holding strong loyalty to the president, McClellan is widely seen as a betrayer for writing a scathing tell-all book about his time under Bush.

"How shocking," said Trent Duffy, McClellan's assistant from 2003 to 2006.

Bush Staffers Refuse to See 'W.'

"I have no plans to see it," said Mark McKinnon, who advised Bush's two presidential campaigns. "And I really don't even want to do anything that brings any more publicity to the movie."

"I just don't know why anyone would really want to see this," he told ABCNews.com. "Supporters won't like the caricature. So, they won't go. Opponents of the president's may go, but I doubt in large numbers. They don't really want a replay of the last eight years. They want to move on."

Paul Wolfowitz, former deputy secretary of defense and the major architect of the Iraq War, told ABCNews.com, "Sorry, no thanks."

A secretary in the office of Wolfowitz, who was portrayed by Dennis Boutsikaris as the Machiavellian mastermind who beat the war drum, told ABCNews.com, "Don't hold your breath."

Ari Fleischer, McClellan's predecessor, and former Attorney General John Ashcroft, both of whom left the administration in 2003, declined to screen the film.

Walking Into Theater 'Felt Awkward'

"Just walking into the theater felt a little awkward," said McClellan, whose memoir, "What Happened," exposed what he called the "shading of the truth" in the selling of the Iraq War.

"W." was rushed to release just three weeks before the presidential election, timing that Stone cryptically says is insignificant.

"I did three movies about Vietnam and that didn't do much good," Stone told the press this week.

Duffy agrees that the film will have little effect on the outcome of the election.

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