HECKUVA JOB, BROWNIE: Did The Former White House Press Secretary Just Bring His President Down?


THE NATION — Scott McClellan’s admission that he unintentionally made false statements denying the involvement of Karl Rove and Scooter Libby in the Bush-Cheney administration’s plot to discredit former Ambassador Joe Wilson, along with his revelation that Vice President Cheney and President Bush were among those who provided him with the misinformation, sets the former White House press secretary as John Dean to George Bush’s Richard Nixon.

It was Dean’s willingness to reveal the details of what described as “a cancer” on the Nixon presidency that served as a critical turning point in the struggle by a previous Congress to hold the 37th president to account. Now, McClellan has offered what any honest observer must recognize as the stuff of a similarly significant breakthrough. The only question is whether the current Congress is up to the task of holding the 43rd president to account. MORE

RELATED: “The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me to speak on his behalf and help restore credibility he lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So I stood at the White house briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby. There was one problem. It was not true. I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice President, the President’s chief of staff, and the president himself.” — SCOTT MCCLELLAN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY [via EDITOR & PUBLISHER]

UPDATE: A 151-word excerpt from the memoir of Scott McClellan, chief spokesman to President Bush in 2006, was not meant to be as tantalizing as it sounded, according to the publisher of the book. After a day of wide coverage and swift reactions on the Web, the publisher, Peter Osnos of PublicAffairs, told MSNBC that Mr. McClellan “did not intend to suggest Bush lied to him” about two senior aides’ roles in leaking the identity of Valeria Plame Wilson, a C.I.A. operative, to the conservative columnist Robert Novak and others in 2003. How does that square with the book excerpt, where Mr. McClellan wrote that “the President himself” was “involved” in his offering false information to the press about the leak? [via NEW YORK TIMES]

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