Martha Raddatz On McClellan: 'He Seemed Like A Robot With A New Software Program On This One.'

Since Scotty McClellan came out with his new book called "What Happened," in which he was very harsh on President Bush over a host of issues includin

Since Scotty McClellan came out with his new book called "What Happened," in which he was very harsh on President Bush over a host of issues including partisianship, the Iraq war and the Valerie Plame leak---there has been a very interesting response to it. It's expected that the White House and the rest of the 28%ers would attach him as not qualified for the job, incompetent, a traitor, a phony and a kook, but I think the media has offered up some of the most informative opinions on him and in essence about themselves because he attacked on their war coverage. Martha Raddatz, ABC chief White House correspondent not surprisingly defends her coverage and then tells us something that I would have expected to come from the lips of from David Frum.

icon Download icon Download

RADDATZ: Yet, he seemed like a robot with a new software program on this one. I mean he was on message. It was just a very different message that he was -- he was delivering.

Is he a Cylon or part of the Borg!

He's not even human now. But she was never pressured to change her coverage.

RADDATZ: First of all, we're not a monolithic thing here. But my own experience, and I say this from the bottom of my heart, I was never pressured at all. But in the end, and I think Scott McClellan writes this, George Bush decided to take the country to war even though most people believe there were weapons of mass destruction. It was his decision that sent us to war. But I got absolutely no pressure

Some people needed that push and some people didn't.

transcript via CNN:

CNN,JAMES CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: He was absolutely a team player. And that probably gives what he has to say in this book some added credibility or credence.

BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: But insinuating sinister action by the president doesn't hold up even though the far left kooks love.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: I'm fed up with these phonies.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: As a great debate raged, did McClellan suffer a belated attack of congress or he is trying to peddle books? The former spokesman hit the talk show circuit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MEREDITH VIEIRA, NBC NEWS: What do you say, Scott, to people who have been harsher than Dan was just now? Believe what you're trying to do is really cash in on your years in this administration?

MCCLELLAN: Well, first of all, you know, again, I'm disappointed that things didn't turn out the way we all hoped they would.

KATIE COURIC, CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Why didn't you come forward with the criticisms earlier?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The question, is it's a blunt one, are you a hypocrite?

MCCLELLAN: No. That was part of our talking points at the time.

OLBERMANN: Have you been surprised that most of the criticism is personal as opposed to, say, refuting facts that perhaps you got right and nobody wants to talk about?

MCCLELLAN: I had noticed that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Joe Lockhart, if Scott McClellan had written a book and said on balance President Bush did a pretty good job. I don't think he'd be getting 45 minutes on Keith Olbermann.

LOCKHART: He wouldn't be and I wouldn't be here this morning.

KURTZ: So that would suggest that media loves defectors, especially, you know, here's somebody turning on his president, his close friend.

RADDATZ: I don't know if it's the media loves defectors. I think it's stunning because Scott McClellan was the face of that presidency and probably part of the media outrage is because a lot of us are still there. A lot of us are still on the front row. And there is this -- why didn't you tell thus before if you thought it? I think there is a wonderful column by Peggy Noonan, however, when she says, let's look at the facts not just who delivered the facts. And she said feed history.

He gave them a super sized meal on this one.

KURTZ: If you turn on Fox News, you see O'Reilly, Hannity, Gingrich, Rove denouncing McClellan as a traitor.

FRUM: Yes. First I would say, I did write a book on balance that said President Bush did a pretty good job. And there are -- Scott McClellan this is an important story. Not for what Scott McClellan says but for what this reveals about the workings of the Bush administration. One of the things that President Bush, one of the great failures as a manager is he put loyalty ahead of competence. And Scott McClellan is proof positive. He had no business being press secretary. He was awful at the job. It was painful to watch him. He got the job because he was somebody's deputy. And one of the way the Bush administration works is they promote the deputy then the deputy of the deputy of the deputy and then the deputy of the deputy.

KURTZ: Now he sees the light ...

FRUM: When you put somebody in a position where they can't do the job.

They're going to fail. When they fail, they become bitter. When they become bitter, that eventually bubbles up. Worms turn. And this is -- this is ...

RADDATZ: Not to be harsh or anything.

FRUM: This is an example of -- this is not just -- I'm not saying that as an indictment on McClellan. McClellan should not have been on that stage. What lead to this moment is management problems that put him on the stage in the first place and put a lot of other people who should not have been on their jobs in their jobs.

RADDATZ: Yet, he seemed like a robot with a new software program on this one. I mean he was on message. It was just a very different message that he was -- he was delivering.

KURTZ: Let me ask Joe Lockhart who worked in the previous White House, is it understandable that Dana Perino and Karl Rove and Ari Fleischer would rip this guy who they thought was a friend? Clinton loyalists didn't like the book that George Stephanopoulos wrote in the middle of Clinton's administration.

LOCKHART: I mean it's become part of the White House warfare playbook.

Which is when you don't like the facts are out there, assassinate the character. And now we have derivative assassination. Really, Scott McClellan was just incompetent and shouldn't have been on the job. What is stunning about the book and what is getting lost in this character assassination is what he said. You have someone who was arguably on the inside watching. I don't think he was a participant in many of these decisions. Certainly he watched the decisions being made saying the president led us into war and deceived the country in doing it. And, in fact, he was a terrible president. That -- we're going to get past all of this was Scott McClellan a good guy or bad guy and somebody has to deal with the charges he's making. There is no defense. There is nobody saying he's wrong on this point or he is wrong on that point which means he's right.


About John Amato

Comments

We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.