McClellan: I Became What I Wanted to Change

Former Bush aide Scott McClellan sits down with ABC's Martha Raddatz.

May 29, 2008 — -- The following is a transcript of ABC News White House Correspondent Martha Raddatz's interview with former White House Press Secretary and George Bush aide Scott McClellan about his explosive book, "What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and What's Wrong with Washington."

Watch part of Martha Raddatz's interview with Scott McClellan tonight on World News at 6:30pmET.

MARTHA RADDATZ: Scott, I, I want to start with these descriptions, for you to describe, first of all, the President. I know you still say you have affection for him, but- you think he's a charming guy, a charismatic man. But some of the things you said in there are brutal, about how he makes decisions, about what he said, during the build-up to the war, during the war. How would you describe him?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Well, and in the book, uh, one of the things I try to do is look at the key characters, and of course, uh, the most prominent character is the President himself. Uh, I also, in the book, uh, look at myself, and put myself under the microscope, first. And I fell short in many ways, during my time as White House Press Secretary. But in terms of the President, uh, I, I do, I do have great affection for him. I think he's authentic and sincere, in his beliefs. Um, but I think that, uh, instead of changing Washington, as he promised to do, uh, remember, he came to Washington on a promise of bipartisanship, and honesty, and integrity, uh, 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, um, in terms of, uh, a lack of a high level of openness, and forthrightness, at some defining moments. Um, and, and all of us, to some extent, uh, got caught up in that, people on both sides of the aisle...There are a lot of good and decent people, uh, like the President, who come to Washington for the right reasons. Uh, but they get caught up in this atmosphere, which is very poisonous.

MARTHA RADDATZ: Scott, you use every word short of calling the President and his chief advisors, liars. You say they spin, they exaggerate, self-deceit, self-deceit. You're talking about the President of the United States. That's what you think of the President of the United States.

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Well, uh, all people- all, I think all human begins, uh, have good attributes, and they also have their flaws. And, when you're looking back and trying to give readers a sense of who the key players were, I think you want to take them inside the White House, and talk about both their good attributes, but also, their very human flaws, and why that contributed to things going off-course, like they did. Uh, this was a presidency that veered badly off-course. It was, uh, something that all of us would prefer didn't have happened if it wouldn't, didn't happen. Uh, but it did, and I try to take a very close look at that, from my perspective. Uh, this whole book was really a soul-searching and truth-seeking process for me. Uh, these weren't easy words to write, uh, but I felt they were important, so that other people can have an understanding of what happened, and learn from it,so that we can improve things in the f- in the future.

MARTHA RADDATZ: Describe to me, then, the President, in terms of telling the truth to the public.

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Well, I, I think that the, the President, again, I, there's, there's a- going back to, uh, the way a lot of politicians get caught up in this whole environment in D.C., where it's a, a battle over power and influence, and, and always campaigning with the next election in mind, instead of getting more focused on deliberation and compromise. And so I, I don't think that what happened, uh, was deliberate or intentional, or conscious, on his part, or on a lot of other people's parts, on both sides of the aisles. Uh, I think it's just going to take...

MARTHA RADDATZ: Can you describe to me...

SCOTT McCLELLAN: ...It's just --

MARTHA RADDATZ: Describe to me what you think of the President, 'cause you're spinning right now.

SCOTT McCLELLAN: I know, I, I, um...

MARTHA RADDATZ: Describe to me what you think of the President.

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Again, I have a lot of personal affection for him, but I think...


SCOTT McCLELLAN: ...I think in his, in terms of some of his policy, he was, uh, misguided. Uh, in terms of...

MARTHA RADDATZ: In terms of...?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: ...His policies were misplaced.

MARTHA RADDATZ: In, in terms of veering off-course. In, in your mind, is the President a liar?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: No. Um, I think...

MARTHA RADDATZ: What, what's the difference between lying, and not telling the truth?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Well, that's one of the point- that's one of the points...

MARTHA RADDATZ: To exaggerating, or spinning?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: ...That's one of the, that's one of the points I make. Um, and I, I think that, you know, Washington tries to look at things in black and white terms.The truth is often more nuanced than that, and just what goes into great care and detail, looking to understand that truth. And I think that the President is someone who, uh, just got caught up in, in, uh, the way the game is played in Washington. That it's not, it's not that he's deliberately going out to try to mislead anybody, or anything of that nature, it's just the way that, you know, that the permanent...

MARTHA RADDATZ: You don't think that he was... but that's exactly what you say in the book.

SCOTT McCLELLAN: ...What the permanent campaign...

MARTHA RADDATZ: That he's trying to mislead.

SCOTT McCLELLAN: The permanent campaign is inherently deceptive. Most of it's in- incidental, or harmless, in, in other ways. Uh, but when you bring that mentality into the war-making process, then it becomes very troubling, and that's what happened with this White House. Uh, instead of looking at the hard truths, and explaining those to the American people, about what to expect with war, we got caught up in this whole mentality of selling the war to the American people. Um, and yes, in itself, uh, it becomes a game played on spin, a game played on obfu- obfuscation, and secrecy, uh, was another thing, that, you know, we built walls between the White House, and the press, too often, I think. Um, in this day and age, when you have such a transparent society, openness and forthrightness are essential, and particularly when you're in the build-up to a war.

MARTHA RADDATZ: What's the, what's the difference between obfuscation, spinning, exaggerating, and lying? I think we all go round and round and we don't want to call a lie and lie. And you said yourself in the book that the President sometimes would say things that weren't quite true. And that he wouldn't think they were a lie?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Using words like lie, deliberate, misleading, and things like that, it's emotionally charged and it misses from the larger point. Now it's problematic in it's own right if it's not deliberate or intentional. But when you get into words like that they too often poison the atmosphere in Washington, and I think you have to look at it from a, take a step back from it and look at it from a more reasoned approach.

MARTHA RADDATZ: -- And saying he's "exaggerated," and "veered off course" is more reasoned and doesn't poison the atmosphere.

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Well I think that you have to be open and honest in order to learn from your mistakes and be able to correct them in the future to understand what would happen to take things off course. And if we don't address these issues openly and honestly then we don't learn. And that's what I've been trying to focus on in this book.

MARTHA RADDATZ: But you said it was an honor and a privilege to work for the President when you left the White House. I remember seeing you walk away. And this is a dramatic change. I've sat on that front row day after day in your last few months, your last year. I heard you talk about the war. I heard you defend the President through countless, countless crises. What happened? What changed?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: I'm done with my job. It was my job to be the advocate and spokesman for the President of the United States.

MARTHA RADDATZ: But you were saying at the time --

SCOTT McCLELLAN: I was sincere about what I was saying at the time but like everyone, I got caught up in this whole Washington atmosphere too.

MARTHA RADDATZ: But did you not think about it, when you came out from the briefing room, did you think 'I'm telling the truth?' Or, 'this is my job?' How did you approach it?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Well part of the function of the spokesman is as a refection of the person he serves and the institution he serves to a large extent.

MARTHA RADDATZ: Don't you serve the public?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Yes, absolutely. You serve the public but you also serve the president of the United States. And you can meet both obligations. You don't have to meet either or obligation and I fell short in terms of myself, fulfilling my duties as a public servant in many ways at different times throughout the administration but at the time, I was so caught up -- you're so caught up in the White House bubble.

It's hard for people to understand. I think you and I can understand it because we lived it and you continue to live it and it's day in and day out. And when you get inside that bubble, you have great affection for the person you're serving, you have all these high hopes that you're coming to Washington and he's sincere about bringing this bipartisan spirit and that we're going to change things. And then over time you realize that what you pledged to change, you became.

In the last ten months, I would say, at my time at the White House is when I really started to become disillusioned. The first instance, I guess it was shortly before you came to the White House, the first instance of my disillusionment was the revelation that I had been knowingly misled by two senior members of the President's staff. Two colleagues of mine. Two people that I had gone to and said, 'Were you in any way involved in the leaking of Valerie Plame's identity?' and was told unequivocably 'No." And then I find out, just before it was in the press, that what I had said to the public was false, even though I thought it was true at the time. It really undermined me.

The second instance was when, in April 2006, shortly before I left, when the President confirmed to me in person after one of your colleagues, Jim, had shouted a question at him, about whether or not he had authorized the disclosure of part of the National Intelligence Estimate, secret, uh, National Security, classified National Security information, something we had descried time and time again at the White House to protect against the leaking of national security information. And here I find out the President had done it himself. That was very disillusioning for me.

MARTHA RADDATZ: What, when you talk about those instances, you, you are also most critical about the war in Iraq. And you say, you discovered ten months before you left, because you were deliberately misled, that that's what upset you. But the war? Day after day after day, we didn't find weapons of mass destruction, they had talked about a grave and gathering danger.


MARTHA RADDATZ: ...At the White House. Why, why didn't you feel that...

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Which, which I go into large detail about.

MARTHA RADDATZ: ...Why didn't you feel you were misleading the public?Why didn't that go off in your head, some of it?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Well, first of all, at the time, we need to separate- I was Deputy Press Secretary, in the build-up to the war, not the Secretary.

MARTHA RADDATZ: I understand that.

SCOTT McCLELLAN: So I wasn't involved in the overall strategy for the selling of the war, uh, to the American people.

MARTHA RADDATZ: But you heard it just like we did.

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Right. But I did fill in at times. Yes, and I, and, and I gave the benefit of the doubt to the President, and to his foreign policy team. This was a post-9/11 mind set we were in at the time. This was a foreign policy team that had won widespread accolade for what they had done in the immediate aftermath in 9/11, deservedly so, uh, very much so. Uh, but, at the time, when I was there, I, and I had concerns, like a lot of people, that we're rushing into this. But, uh, that wasn't my focus area, and I gave it the benefit of the doubt because I have great affection for the President, I trusted in his judgement. And in that instance, I think that my trust was misplaced. Um, there are many things that he has done right, but that which we did wrong has overshadowed, uh, that which we have done well. And it starts with Iraq. And the more fundamental issue that I talk about, that you, you and I were just talking about, was not embracing really a high level of openness and forthrightness about the realities of the war-making decisions, and about the hard truths that we need to understand before going into war.

MARTHA RADDATZ: So, so, a little bit more on your thought process. First of all, when you were in that briefing room. And, and let's stay on the war for a minute.


MARTHA RADDATZ: And, and you go in every day, and you say, you know, David's going to ask this, or Terry's going to ask this, or Martha's going to ask that, and how are we going to answer? Is it just a message?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: I'm sorry, when I, when I go in...?

MARTHA RADDATZ: Yes, when you're briefing...


MARTHA RADDATZ: ...And you go out there, and talking about the war, and you say, He's going to ask this, probably, she's going to ask this, probably...


MARTHA RADDATZ: ...And let's just stay on message. It's all about message.

SCOTT McCLELLAN: It's more about what the- it is part of the way the White House operated. When I was coming in to be Press Secretary, it was in July of 2003. Uh, just a few months after the initial invasion. And, you know, there was starting to be a realization the WMD might not, the weapons of mass destruction might not be found after all, or at least not at the stockpiles. Um, so I was coming in at a contentious time, during the controversy of the sixteen words. And, it was also just ahead of an election year. Uh, so Washington was moving into it, uh, to, into, its, uh, election year mode. Um, and I knew that the White House- I, I, I dedicated a whole chapter to becoming White House Press Secretary, where I struggled myself, whether or not this was the right position, to accept this position, because of the way the White House operated, knowing that I wasn't going to be able to probably change much.

Even on retrospect, I look back and think, now that I've learned from my experience, I would've wanted to change more. Uh, but when I was coming in, I was thirty-five years young, and I knew that no one at the White House wanted to change things just ahead of the election year. And I came in, said, you know, I was going to do this the way it had been done before.

MARTHA RADDATZ: Talk, talk more about your change, and what happened to you, when you left that White House- how you've done such a 180 on the, on the way out.

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Well, the, the book was a long process. Uh, you've written your own book, you know what it's like. It was, it was a long process, but, uh, uh, I wanted to make sure I got it right. Uh, I was, uh, late on a couple of initial deadlines, and I said, you know, we're not going to do this until I make sure that it's right. And I think I got it, uh, where I wanted it.

MARTHA RADDATZ: But, uh, what happened, in, in you, in your, in your heart, that changed you so much?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Well, one...

MARTHA RADDATZ: I mean, this is the most loyal White House- that is what this White House is famous for- this incredible loyalty...

SCOTT McCLELLAN: And no one, no one questioned my loyalty to the President when I was there.

MARTHA RADDATZ: Well they sure are now.

SCOTT McCLELLAN: But my- well, but there's a higher level of loyalty. It's a loyalty to the truth, it's a loyalty to the values I was raised upon, which are, uh, speaking up, which are making a positive difference.Um, those are- I was born into a political family that...

MARTHA RADDATZ: But where were those during those seven years, if you think you were misleading?

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.


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...


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

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Actually, I, I took note of it then, I took note of it then. Um, it was an interesting thing. And it was very understandable, for that issue. Uh, that, that he would take that approach. That was something that I, I didn't hold anything against him on that particular issue. But what I found out later, at times, I mean, you might remember well, one time after I left, during the, uh, issue over Iran pursuing nuclear weapons, and it came out that the NIE, uh, the President had been talking about, uh, Iran pursuing nuclear weapons, when the National Intelligence Estimate had come out prior to that time, saying, well, they had suspended their program. And in that press conference, uh, the President was asked about it, I don't know, you may have been the reporter that asked about it, and he, he said he didn't remember when, uh, he was briefed about that National Intelligence Estimate. Um, you know, I, I, I think that that was probably a matter of political convenience there, that is very reflective of what I talk about in that early chapter you just referenced.

MARTHA RADDATZ: Okay. What, when- I want you to go back, and I know, and I know you don't want to get too reflective on this, but I think this is simply the hardest thing for people to understand- how you walked out of that White House, after serving the President loyally, after talking about things that you now think you didn't really believe, and changed. And, and if you will tell us, did you sit down at your desk? Did you, did you struggle with this? How did you change so much, and how did you- you, you weren't having conversations with people, it was all you?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Well, no, I, no, I- I wouldn't say I wasn't having conversations with people. I was, uh, you know, giving speeches, you know, answering questions, and, you know, I'd left the White House...

MARTHA RADDATZ: During, during those speeches, were you talking about...

SCOTT McCLELLAN: ...I'd left the White House...

MARTHA RADDATZ: ...The things you talk about in the book?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Well, uh, no...

MARTHA RADDATZ: Or were you positive about the White House.

SCOTT McCLELLAN: When you first leave the White House, I think you still have your, your partisan hat on, and, and, and it's hard to kind of step back from the party line. But at- the further and further you get away from the White House, uh, I hope, uh, this is the case for other people, you're able to step back,and look back on your time there, and reflect on it, uh, in a, in a very honest way, with yourself. And try to find out what you can learn from it, and then what you can share with others. Um, and in the book, you know, I take the readers very much behind the scenes of at the White House. They can -- what I was thinking at the time, and then, I go through, uh, and talk about how, looking back on that, uh, what I feel now. Um, it, it's not always the same. Uh, but that's how you learn and grow, and that's how, uh, we are able to change things for the better in Washington, hopefully.

MARTHA RADDATZ: When you hear what Dan Bartlett is saying, what Ari Fleischer, uh, I, I think Ari Fleischer said he was just heartbroken, by reading what you wrote. Dan Bartlett- I mean, they all were saying fairly similar things about you...

SCOTT McCLELLAN: They- yeah. Yeah, they're, they're, they're good people. Uh, I was proud to serve alongside both of those individuals you mention. Uh, but I don't think that they've been able to take off their partisan hat like I was, and really take a clear-eyed look at things. Uh, I did, and I took a very clear-eyed look. Uh, I think that they're starting to understand, uh, as they read the book, that, uh, uh, this is a sincere effort by me, to understand the truth, from my standpoint, from my perspective, and then share it out with others. And, and hopefully, uh, give people something to think about, so that- and, and give them some ideas, for how we can stop this from happening in the future, how we can minimize the effects of the President campaign.

MARTHA RADDATZ: What, what do you think, as a reporter sitting on the front row of the White House, I should think, when I listen to press briefings today?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Uh, I think you've got a very capable Press Secretary there. I, I hired her. Um, uh, but, you know, she very much is there, uh, probably operating, uh, very similar to the way we did things when I was there.

MARTHA RADDATZ: Permanent campaign.

SCOTT McCLELLAN: I don't, I don't- you know, I think that she's someone who is very committed to serving the public and serving the President, and, uh, she is someone who does things, uh, uh, based on her own beliefs. And, uh, I can't, I, I'm not going to put my head in, in, uh, or put myself inside her head. Um, I think she's a very capable person...

MARTHA RADDATZ: When you, when you hear the briefings, though, are we being spun, exaggerated? Being led?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Well I haven't- I haven't paid attention to the briefings, uh, lately, uh, [INAUDIBLE] to finishing the book, and, uh, I don't have really time to watch too many of those briefings, nowadays.

MARTHA RADDATZ: Does it, does it hurt you to hear what Bartlett's saying, what Ari Fleischer's saying, what all of Bush's...?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: I, I'm not surprised, but I mean, I think it's to be expected. Um, uh, the White House did not want me to go out and openly and honestly kind of talk about these issues. Uh, they would prefer that I would've remained silent, I'm sure.


SCOTT McCLELLAN: But I felt, I felt...

MARTHA RADDATZ: People, people say, "Scott- Scott wrote this book for money, to sell books."

SCOTT McCLELLAN: And those are people that probably haven't even read the book, uh, I would say right off the bat, but, um, you know, my grandfather served in the University of Texas Law School for a long time, and he instilled in us at a very early age, that it's not the dollars you make, it's the difference you make. And that's something that stuck with me for a long time. Uh, this wasn't an easy thing to do. Uh, but I felt it was important for that reason. And, I've spent my career in politics and public service, and I view this book as an extension of my public service. It's a political education that I went through, and now it's an opportunity to share something back, with the broader American public, that will hopefully improve things for the better.

MARTHA RADDATZ: Do you think you would have written it if you hadn't been fired?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Well, and there, there are two things, uh, there. Uh, one, uh, I was ready to leave the White House at the time. I, as I describe in great detail.

MARTHA RADDATZ: Not, not in, not in...

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Not then, right what it happened, uh, but we did have a new chief of staff come on, and we had a, we had a very good discussion about that. Uh, you know, I, I've grown up in politics. I don't take anything personally. And, uh, uh, this book is not something others should take personally. Uh, this book is intended to, uh, really understand things better, and, uh, learn the truth.

MARTHA RADDATZ: Would you ever admit, if you hadn't let the White House under the circumstances you left...

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Uh, uh, it's, it's a, it's a hypothetical question. I'm, I'm actually, you know, in some ways, believe...

MARTHA RADDATZ: Are you bitter?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: No. Um, I'm disappointed. Disappointed that things didn't turn out the way that they did. Uh, but, you know, I think anybody that reads the book will see that, that I, that, uh, there's no bitterness. There may be disappointment, but I said, but I said that...

MARTHA RADDATZ: You mean, disappointment that you were, that you were let go as early as you were?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: No, disappointment that things didn't go the way that I'd hoped they would. Disappointment that this president wasn't able to change the way Washington worked. It wasn't able to change the tone in Washington as both candidates are talking about doing now.

MARTHA RADDATZ: I, I want to bring up something else, and that is, we looked back in file tape, and you were criticizing others- Richard Clark, Paul O'Neill, who, who wrote books- um, you said, "If they had grave concerns, why didn't they express them then? Why didn't he raise them sooner? If you look back at his past comments, and his past actions, they contradict his current rhetoric."

SCOTT McCLELLAN: I was doing my job as the White House Press Secretary, the way that, uh, the President and his team wanted it done. Um, looking back on that, uh, I think I probably should've done things differently at that time.

MARTHA RADDATZ: Why the book now, in the middle of the campaign season? You're a campaign guy. You know you've just given George Bush's enemies a sword.

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Well, uh, first of all, this was a book that has been a long in the writing. Uh, it's taken a- it's been a long process. Uh, again, uh, it was originally scheduled to be released earlier. Uh, but, uh, it was finished. I felt it's important to get it out, so that we can learn from these mistakes, and not repeat them. There's some discussion going on now, um, aboutwar and other areas.And, uh, I don't want us to repeat the same mistakes. And I also think it does, in a way, contribute to today's national political discussion. Uh, you have Senator McCain, who recently talked about ending the permanent campaign. I, I don't think you can end it- I think you can minimize it. Um, and that will be enough. Uh, but it's going to be here. I'm not- I used to think that it can be completely wiped out. Uh, but then you have Senator Obama, running much like the President, on changing the way Washington works. The only thing he doesn't say -- divider, otherwise that message is very similar to what we said in 2000. And I think that I offer some ideas for the candidates, to start considering, so that when they come into office, they don't run into the same problems that we did, on not having planned for addressing some of these very issues that can come back to haunt you later.

MARTHA RADDATZ: What do you think of John McCain?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Uh, I have a lot of respect and admiration for Senator McCain. Um, I, he's...

MARTHA RADDATZ: Would you like him to be President?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: He's someone that, uh, has governed from the center. Uh, I haven't made a decision, in the presidential election. Uh, I...

MARTHA RADDATZ: It's possible you could vote for a Democrat?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: I, I'm intrigued by Senator Obama's message. Uh, whether or not he can act- actually accomplish it is another thing. As I show in this book, it's a very difficult thing to try to change things in Washington.And you better have a way to do it, and you better constantly focus, focus on it.

MARTHA RADDATZ: So, you haven't made up your mind about a candidate, which means you haven't decided whether you'll vote Democrat or go Republican?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: I haven't made any decision.

MARTHA RADDATZ: One final thing- have you read blogs? Have you gotten hate mail?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: I, actually, most of the e-mails that I, I tell you, all the e-mails I'm getting are- I don't know about mail, because I'm in New York and not at home,but, um, a lot of very supportive e-mails. Uh, I actually got an e-mail from, um, one of my very closest friends, uh, in Texas, who served in the first Gulf War. And, he said, "Coming from someone who served in, in the Gulf War, thanks for telling the truth. And they can surely learn from these mistakes."


SCOTT McCLELLAN: It moved me very much.

MARTHA RADDATZ: I said last question...


MARTHA RADDATZ: ...But I don't mean that. What will you do after the book?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Uh, you know, I don't know. I, I, uh, uh, have been continue- I've continued to do communications work, and I'm actually, uh, in the process of exploring some new opportunities, but I haven't thought about it. Uh, I'm too focused on this book project right now.

MARTHA RADDATZ: This is- when you think about... Do you, do you think, when you think about how the President must feel, you, you know him well enough to know, he's probably pretty angry about this.

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Yeah. I, I, I- I imagine he is, absolutely.

MARTHA RADDATZ: And what does that do to you?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Uh, it's, it's tough. Uh, like I said, these weren't easy words to write. But, uh, there- there's a larger purpose to all this. It's a purpose that's larger than just this presidency.And, um, in the end, I felt it was important enough to, uh, get that message out.

MARTHA RADDATZ: Okay, thanks, Scott.


To read more about the reaction to McClellan's blistering look at President George Bush and the Bush White House, click HERE.