First a digest of some samples of the coverage:
Rich Lowry - National Review
Likable, but maladroit and plodding, he was the perfect spokesman for the administration of Harriet Miers, Michael Brown and Al Gonzales. For anyone who doubted that President Bush too often valued loyalty over talent, there was McClellan stumbling through daily briefings to embody the point more eloquently than he ever could have stated it.
He took the conventional anti-Iraq War case and cut-and-pasted it into his book.
Michael Paul Williams in the Richmond Times-Dispatch
Being a White House spokesman -- the equivalent, credibilitywise, of a lying sack of potatoes -- would make McClellan's assertions dubious if they weren't so obvious and stale.
His book is not exactly a profile in courage. Funny how McClellan and his ilk get a crisis of conscience around the time publishers come sniffing around with book deals. The nation would have been better served if he'd come clean in a more timely fashion.
An interesting interview with Karl Rove by Bill O'Reilly offers a fascinating expose of the command decisions and lots of new detail about some of the decision making process, but still no denials, just lots of rationalizations and defensiveness. They pass it off as "old news" and the grumblings of a disgruntled former employee. O'Reilly:
And I have the book now, and I'm going through the book, and I'm just not seeing the headline here. I'm not obtuse. I may be dense. I may not be smart enough to get it, but I'm just seeing the same old stuff with real no specific backup for it.
From By Michael D. Shear and Michael Abramowitz in the Washington Post.
Reaction has begun to the new tell-all book by former White House spokesman Scott McClellan.
Karl Rove, the subject of many of McClellan's charges, said on Fox's Hannity & Colmes last night that he disputes those charges and said McClellan sounded like a liberal blogger.
Bob Dole on Fox:
"There are miserable creatures like you in every administration who don't have the guts to speak up or quit if there are disagreements with the boss or colleagues," the five-term Kansas senator wrote to McClellan. "No, your type soaks up the benefits of power, revels in the limelight for years, then quits, and spurred on by greed, cashes in with a scathing critique."The Associated Press:
He continues: "When the money starts rolling in you should donate it to a worthy cause, something like, 'Biting The Hand That Fed Me.' Another thought is to weasel your way back into the White House if a Democrat is elected. That would provide a good set up for a second book deal in a few years."
McClellan's accusations have been met by counteraccusations that he is cashing in on his White House access. Bush supporters have criticized him, but so have liberals such as commentator Arianna Huffington.
"It's George Tenet deja vu all over again," Huffington wrote in a posting on her blog, http://www.huffingtonpost.com, referring to the former CIA director who received seven figures for his memoir. "How many times are we going to have a key Bush administration official try to wash the blood off his hands — and add a chunk of change to his bank account — by writing a come-clean book years after the fact ..."
Condoleezza Rice in Bloomberg:
``I'm not going to comment on a book that I haven't read but I will say that the concerns about weapons of mass destruction in Saddam Hussein's Iraq were the fundamental reason for tens, for dozens of resolutions within the Security Council from the time Saddam Hussein was expelled from Kuwait in 1991 up until 2003,'' Rice said in Stockholm today after meeting Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.
"It was not the United States of America alone that believed he had weapons of mass destruction, that he was hiding weapons of mass destruction, that led him to throw inspectors out," Rice added, referring to United Nations weapons experts.
William Tate at the American Thinker:
An examination of published reports reveals that Scott McClellan's kiss-and-smell betrayal of George W. Bush is a far cry from the book McClellan started out to write and was shaped into an offensive tome by a publisher with close ties to George Soros.
Matthew Yglesias in the Atlantic
But in coming clean, the man has performed a public service. Unlike Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, and the rest of those freaks, McClellan, for all his deep moral deficiencies, is not a sociopath. And yeah, that's defining deviancy down, for sure. But at least it's something. McClellan seems to feel genuine regret at what he did, and that's more than I thought we'd ever get out of any of the Bushies.
I think his book is valuable for two reasons. One is its potentially considerable merits as history. Future historians looking back at this administration are going to have a very frustrating time of it. The one thing the Republicans learned from Watergate is that it's essential to perfect the art of the cover-up, and surely the Bushies have that covered. Of course there will be no White House tapes, but it goes way beyond that. The Bush administration has gone to extraordinary lengths to restrict public access to presidential records.
The most interesting assessment by far and in my opinion, the one that get's us closest to what really happened is at the blog Nukes and Spooks written by the reporters from the McClatchy Washington Bureau. They have reported on all the allegations in McClellan's book from the beginning! They've finally posted on the book because they want us to see and read their documented, systematic journalistic record of the tragic march to war, the Katrina disaster, and Valerie Plame treason. McClatchy alone among the journalistic media as done the insightful, investigative reporting that has been sadly missing in the last seven years.
Until now, we've resisted the temptation to post on former White House press secretary Scott McClellan's new book, which accuses the Bush White House of launching a propaganda campaign to sell the war in Iraq.
Why? It's not news. At least not to some of us who've covered the story from the start.
(Click here, here and here to get just a taste of what we mean).
Second, we find it a wee bit preposterous -- and we are being diplomatic here -- that a man who slavishly - no, robotically! -- defended President Bush's policies in Iraq and elsewhere is trying to "set the record straight" (and sell a few books) five years and more after the invasion, with U.S. troops still bravely fighting and dying to stabilize that country.
But the responses to McClellan from the Bush administration and media bigwigs, history-bending as they are, compel us to jump in. As we like to say around here, it's truth to power time, not just for the politicians but also for some folks in our own business.
As we listen to the MSM hem and haw and offer excuses, it is refreshing to finally read an account from a truly reliable and accountable source that gives us the proper perspective on what has proven to be a landmark publication. The echos and ramifications of this book will be felt throughout this presidential campaign and indeed historically. The famous Bush "legacy" that we hear so much about is at stake. The stones are slowly being overturned and the slavish, loyalty-driven, personality cult that is the Bush Administration is beginning to realize it's true legacy.