McClellan: I Became What I Wanted to Change

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Well, I, I think I fell short at times, on some of those. Uh, and, and I talk about that very openly in the book.Um, I- and, when I went back and reflected on that time period, you had to have some time out of the White House to be able to really step back and reflect on it, and get to the truth. It, it wasn't an easy thing to do. I was constantly questioning myself, as I was writing this book.

In order to understand the truth, so that you can make sense of it and come to grips with it, and then, hopefully, talk about some of the lessons to learn from it, and I also...

MARTHA RADDATZ: Who were you talking about, with, with your wife, your editor, your- who, who did you have conversations with about, to, to find what you said is the truth?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Well, it was mainly a process for me, um, in terms of going through that. This is a book that, that I spent a lot of time on, and put a lot of careful thought into. And I think when people read the book, uh, they will see it for what it is, and they'll be able to make their own judgement. There was a lot, uh, initial reaction from people that were making judgements about me, making judgements about my motivations.Uh, making judgements about the con- the content, in a book that they hadn't even read yet. And I think when people have started to read the book, then they're starting to see the larger message in the book. I take the defining moments and periods that I talk about, to make a larger point, which is that this destructive environment in Washington needs to change. That's something that has never changed for me. Um, I went to work- the very first conversation I had with the President, before he hired me, in the governor's office, in Texas, uh, I brought up the fact that he was such a strong bipartisan leader, and how that attracted me to him, and how hopeful I was about the, about, uh, bringing that same kind of mentality to Washington, maybe some day.

MARTHA RADDATZ: But the- what is it you, you, you talk about, is, is finding this out when you started writing the book, about, Maybe I wasn't always, um, forthright, maybe I was misguided, I realize the President was misguided or veering off course at times... But in 1999, you talk about overhearing a conversation with him, where he was saying he couldn't remember whether he used cocaine or not.

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Right.

MARTHA RADDATZ: You said, "This is 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 it was not true. And his reason for doing so is fairly obvious- political convenience. Sometimes, he convinces himself to believe what suits his needs at the moment. Being evasive is not the same as lying, in Bush's mind." It is the same- is, is it not the same in your mind?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: I think, I think that there are a lot of politicians that do think the same way, uh, as the President, in that conversation that I overheard, and that I talk about. It, it's part of the, the nature of national politics, and it's very understandable, when it comes to...

MARTHA RADDATZ: But, my point is, you knew then...

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Well...

MARTHA RADDATZ: ...What, what kind of man we brought, in, in terms of...

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