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June 02, 2008


IMHO what the media write and broadcast has more impact on what the public believes than what actually happened. IMHO the American people believe that the administration deliberately misled them Iraq's WMDs because that what they were told.

Misinformation also affects opinions of the ongoing situation. The survey linked by Brendan shows that 59% believe that things in Iraq are going moderately badly or very badly, even though the surge has been a rip-roaring success.

...even though the surge has been a rip-roaring success.

When you can stroll idly down the streets of Baghdad, Basra or Fallujah without a worrying about getting shot, kidnapped or killed in a bombing, then you can start bragging.

Brendan writes, " a majority of Americans now believe that the administration 'deliberately misled the American public about whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.'"

Are these Americans aware of the innumerable clear statements by the likes of Bill Clinton, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, Vlad Putin, Madeleine Albright, etcetera, etcetera claiming certainty that Saddam had WMD?

Brendan, I think I remember your talking about how easy it is to research issues like this. Or maybe now you've decided that research is only for the WSJ types. If you don't want to do it, this WSJ reader will do it for you.

In a recent post you scoffed at the notion that a popularity poll was reason to impeach Bush. Are you now claiming a poll of misinformed Americans, led by an actively dishonest press (you are sometimes part of it), should warp the historical facts of pre-war intelligence on Iraqi WMD?

Get off the bandwagon and get real.

Are these Americans aware of the innumerable clear statements by the likes of Bill Clinton, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, Vlad Putin, Madeleine Albright, etcetera, etcetera claiming certainty that Saddam had WMD?

Of course they're aware of it. It's one of the reasons that Hillary Clinton and John Edwards lost the Democratic nomination. What certainty most people had about Saddam's program derived from reading Bush's cherry picked intelligence reports and believing he was an honest man. Even the CIA was critical of the arguments made for war, which is why Cheney created his own intelligence service.

Maybe you could do a little research into those who were arguing against the war at the time. You could start with Scott Ritter, Hans Blix, Russ Feingold, and David Obey. 23 US Senators and 133 Representatives voted against the war at the time, because they didn't believe the case that was being made. You might also ask yourself why most of the world was skeptical of the threat Saddam supposed posed.

The people I cited claimed what they claimed because they had seen the intelligence - much of it from non-US sources and/or from Clinton admin. intelligence pros.

That's not to say there wasn't any contrary indication -- only that the view that Saddam had ongoing WMD programs was supported by the a strong preponderance of the intelligence and was refuted by only weak and circumstantial sources.

Saddam's blocking of the inspection effort raised suspicions further, as it should have.

Here's John Edwards on Meet The Press, circa October, 2003. Read this carefully Jinchi:

"No. I didn't get misled... As you know, I serve on the Senate Intelligence Committee. So it wasn't just the Bush administration. I sat in meeting after meeting after meeting where we were told about the presence of weapons of mass destruction"

Jinchi, you wrote, "of course (people) are aware of (this)". Really? Every time I quote this to BDS sufferers like you, they say I'm making it up.

So Google it.

You are right about one thing: Obama's virgin political birth four years ago at the Dem. convention meant he was not in the game and therefore can claim purity regarding the messy questions of Iraq in 2002/2003. Apparently that's important to his many fans.

Any honest person who writes a word or even holds an opinion about the contents of Scott McClellan's book owes it to himself to read the following in its entirity.

It is Scott McClellan's original book proposal, which McClellan used to shop his then unwritten book to prospective publishers.


Scott McClellan's book proposal
By: Scott McClellan

The primary purpose of the book is to give readers a better understanding of President Bush, the press, and national politics as the 2008 presidential campaign gets underway, and to take readers behind-the-scenes of the White House to some of the defining moments and issues of Bush’s presidency.

I also anticipate discussing some of the key personalities in the White House and the Administration, including how they interacted with one another, and the kind of influence they had on the President.

Having spent more than seven years working for George W. Bush, I am able to offer readers my unique perspective. I was one of a small number of Bush loyalists from Texas who became part of his inner circle of trusted advisers, and was at his side as we traveled the world and country together, including through two presidential campaigns. No one will have served longer as press secretary to President Bush than I did.

For the first time publicly, I will give my insider’s perspective on:

• How a popular, bipartisan Governor of Texas became such a divisive and controversial President

• The media, the power they wield and the influence they exert on the President and his agenda, and why they are held in such low esteem

• Iraq and the faulty, prewar intelligence

• The leak investigation into the public disclosure of a CIA official’s identity, including revealing why I publicly exonerated Karl Rove and Scooter Libby, who was later indicted by the Special Prosecutor, and what Karl Rove early on told the President about his involvement

• The botched response to the catastrophic Hurricane Katrina, including looking at who was most at fault and the behind-the-scenes discussions with the President and his inner circle

• The Vice President’s hunting accident and his refusal to notify the press sooner

• The clandestine effort by some CIA officials to undermine the President’s reelection

• The 2000 Presidential campaign, including discussing why then candidate Bush refused to answer questions about potential drug use in his past, the late-breaking, explosive revelation about being charged with driving under the influence in his twenties, and the Florida recount from my on-the-ground perspective

• What it was like working in the West Wing, and my relationship with the White House Press Corps

• The current state of national politics, and the future of the Republican Party
The President

One of the chief reasons I went to work for Governor George W. Bush in early 1999 was his bipartisan leadership. It was one of his greatest political strengths. As Governor of Texas, he was a different kind of Republican and a different kind of politician. He sought to elevate the discourse, and rise above partisanship to bring Democrats and Republicans together to get things done. He made a priority of establishing relationships across the partisan aisle in order to build consensus and get his priorities passed. It was a record of accomplishment he pointed to as he campaigned for President by calling himself “a uniter, not a divider.”

But, bipartisanship became secondary to Bush during his presidency. It was one of the biggest shortcomings of his Administration — one that hurt him in a number of other ways. Why? What happened from Austin to Washington? That is a question I will answer. To do so, I intend to take a critical look into the influence of some social conservative and neo-conservative leaders, and talk about the power they wield inside the White House.

Many of the social conservative opinion leaders are well-intentioned individuals, but their strong-held political stances helped move the focus away from the issues that impact ordinary Americans to ones that were more narrowly focused to motivate their constituencies. In short, their influence has pushed politicians, including the President, at times to focus on more divisive issues that pit people against one another at the expense of keeping attention focused on issues that unite the broader public. By doing so, they have set back their own cause. I will talk about how.

The neo-conservatives emboldened the President to pursue a new and riskier foreign policy, including the decision to invade Iraq and topple a brutal dictator. Has that approach helped advance the interests of our Nation, or has it hurt them as critics contend? I will explore that further as I discuss the President’s thinking when it comes to our national security, and take a closer look at the Iraq War.

The influence of social and neo-conservatives did not necessarily change the President, but they did push bipartisanship further down the list of priorities and changed the way he so successfully governed in Texas.

Today, as a wartime President, George W. Bush has come to be regarded as a polarizing figure. He has made some tough decisions, and those decisions have generated significant controversy. From the broader War on Terror to the War in Iraq, President Bush has sparked some heated exchanges across the partisan political divide.

People tend to love him or hate him, and there are not many in between. Those on the far left of the political spectrum tend to demonize him and view him as an incurious, incompetent politician that will twist the truth to further his own goals. Those further to the right of the political spectrum tend to view him as a principled, strong leader who is driven by a higher calling, and willing to use every bit of power at his disposal to protect us from the evils of the world.

There have been a number of books written about him, including many more recent ones that portray him in a very negative light.

This book is going to take a much different look at our Nation’s 43rd President. While being supportive of the President, I want to give readers a candid look into who George W. Bush is, what he believes, why he believes it so strongly, and what drives him.

I want to give readers a sense of what Bush is like outside of the public view -- in meetings with world leaders, Members of Congress, his Cabinet, key constituents, families of the fallen, wounded soldiers, and key staff.

It will be an insider’s account of his behind-the-scenes persona, including his decision-making style, his personal discipline, his composure under fire, and his sense of humor.

And, I will directly address myths that have been associated with him, some deliberately perpetuated by activist liberals and some created by the media, and look at the reality behind those myths.

The Press

As I assumed my duties as White House Press Secretary, the contentious atmosphere between the media and the White House was only growing. At the time, it was becoming clear that no weapons of mass destruction would be found in Iraq, and the press was under some fire from the left for not pressing the White House hard enough on our claims in the lead-up to the war. Furthermore, we had just acknowledged that it was a mistake for the President to cite in his State of the Union Address that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger, a key claim used to justify that Saddam Hussein was pursuing nuclear weapons.

With a press corps that was more emboldened than ever to take on the White House and a tough reelection looming in the year ahead, I knew we were entering a challenging period in the media. But, I had developed good relations with White House reporters over a seven year period, going back to the 2000 election when I served as traveling press secretary and followed by two and a half years as Deputy White House Press Secretary. I had earned the trust of those who covered the White House, and I knew that would be helpful in the days ahead.

It was also a period of change for the media. News organizations were grappling with how to deal with dwindling readers and viewers, the increasing number of ways in which people were getting their news, and the rising influence of blogs.

The experience of working with the White House Press Corps provided me valuable insight into the national media. I want to share with readers what I learned about how the press covers the President, breaks stories, and reports the news.

As I write about my perceptions of the national media, I do not intend to pull any punches. The best way to give readers a better understanding of the press is to critically analyze who they are, how they view their role, and how they report the news.

I came to know and respect those who were assigned to the White House beat. They are solid professionals, but rarely scrutinized or put under the microscope. I will take a look at notable personalities in the White House Briefing Room, including David Gregory and Helen Thomas. I anticipate an entire chapter about the former.

And, I will look at what is behind the media hostility toward the President and his Administration, and how much of it is rooted in a liberal bias.

The public holds the national media in low esteem. I think there are several reasons why, and I intend to write about them in some detail while discussing ways the media could improve their image. It is more than just the perceived arrogance, cynicism, gotcha-journalism, and lack of accountability. The establishment media does not tend to reflect Main Street America, or spend enough time focusing on the issues that matter most to the general public, and too often sacrifice substance for process. They tend to reflect the liberal elites of New York and Washington that are part of the social circles in which they run, and it shows in their reporting. Yet, they live in a constant state of denial when it comes to acknowledging such an obvious fact.

Fairness is defined by the establishment media within the left-of-center boundaries they set. They defend their reporting as fair because both sides are covered. But, how fair can it be when it is within the context of the liberal slant of the reporting? And, while the reporting of the establishment media may be based on true statements and facts, is it an accurate picture of what is really happening? And, how much influence do the New York Times and Washington Post have in shaping the coverage? And, why does the media do such a poor job of holding itself to account, or acknowledging their own mistakes?

In addition to covering the above issues and questions, I will get into the influence of activist liberal reporters, like Keith Olbermann, Nation editor David Corn, and Washington Post blogger Dan Froomkin, and activist liberal media personalities, like Cindy Sheehan, Michael Moore, Al Franken, Bill Maher, and Arianna Huffington.

Defining Moments and Issues

Throughout the course of the book, I will take readers behind-the-scenes to the events and issues that have come to define the Bush presidency. No one could have imagined everything that would be in store for the President and his Administration when he came into office. Who had any idea that the United States would become a Nation at war for nearly his entire eight years in office?

In addition to the ones already covered, some of the events and issues I will cover include the following:

• The President’s approach to foreign policy and the influence of Condi Rice

• September 11th in Sarasota, Florida

• Game 3 of the World Series at Yankee Stadium in October 2001

• The broader impact of White House Counselor and Bush confidant Karen Hughes’ departure; she was a game-changing personality within the White House who balanced out some of the other strong personalities; in my view, her departure was more costly to the President than realized at the time

• The faulty intelligence, including the 16 words and originally unknown declassification of the National Intelligence Estimate to counter war critics like Joe Wilson

• Abu Ghraib

• The capture of Saddam Hussein

• Newsweek’s retraction of its assertion that soldiers flushed a Koran down the toilet at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility

• Cindy Sheehan and the President’s refusal to meet with her a second time

• Terri Schiavo and what message the political happenings occurring around her situation sent to voters

• The controversy over CBS and the inauthentic National Guard documents

• Medicare Reform, and other domestic policy successes

• The Supreme Court nominations of Roberts, Miers, and Alito

• The Dubai Ports flap

• The failed effort on Social Security reform

• How these events and issues have contributed to the President’s dwindling poll numbers

National Politics

With a defining presidential election on the horizon, I also want to take an in-depth look at what impact the Bush presidency and past several years have had on the national political climate, and in setting the tone for the upcoming race for the White House.

Has the divide-and-conquer political strategy of winning elections by targeting the party base run its course? Instead of targeting select groups by focusing on hot-button issues that motivate specific constituencies, are voters looking for a new model of consensus politics that is grounded in a broader appeal?

I believe the answer to the former is not necessarily, but the answer to the latter is definitely yes. I think the 2006 elections signaled the beginning of something larger. It was a defeat for the Republican Party, but it was not necessarily a win for the Democratic Party.

There is a new trend emerging in American politics, one that has yet to reach its full potential but could alter national politics in a profound way, if one of the parties, or a leader from one of the parties seizes the moment.

More than anything, it is the reemergence of the politics of the center, a center that is reclaiming its rightful status as the majority in America that is clamoring for less partisanship and more statesmanship to address the big issues affecting ordinary Americans, from health care to energy to the environment to the economy. People are looking for politicians who will set aside partisan politics, focus on the issues that bring Americans together and govern in a bipartisan way.

This large segment of Americans – in the center of the political spectrum — are looking for something new, and waiting to see who will offer it.

I think there is a yearning for an individual whose force of personality is so powerful that he or she can transcend the two-party political system, including some of the more hot-button, controversial issues that tend to pit one constituency against another within each party.

That is why so much recent attention is focused on Senator Obama as a potential Presidential candidate for the Democrats. And, it is why the most formidable potential candidates on the Republican side are McCain, Guiliani [sic] and Romney — or, possibly a Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas and deeply religious conservative who has governed in a consensus way.

They are viewed as unconventional leaders, and in most cases as strong, independent, and open-minded leaders who are more interested in government and solving problems than playing politics. They are perceived by many to be interested in focusing on the big problems facing all Americans and finding bipartisan solutions to them, rather than tailoring policies to key demographic groups that make up part of a party’s base.

Could one of these leaders capture the electorate by doing something completely novel in this day and age? What if John McCain chose a Democrat like Joe Lieberman to be his running mate, or a Barak [sic]Obama announced during the campaign who he would appoint to key Cabinet posts and it included as many Republicans as Democrats?

The opportunity is there for someone to produce a landscape altering mode of governing, and bring about some positive change.

Final Thought

My hope is that the book will be informative, provocative and inspiring. I want readers to be better informed about what was happening behind-the-scenes during some of the defining moments and issues of my time working for the President. I want to provoke readers to think more critically about important issues and institutions that have a real impact on our everyday lives. And, I want to inspire readers to become more involved in our political system. The only way to accomplish those objectives is to talk candidly about what I saw, what I lived and what I learned during my time at the center of history.

Nameless Poster -

How can there be "a strong preponderance of intelligence" supporting the existence of a program that didn't exist?

Isn't it also a big jump to go from saying "Saddam may be hiding weapons activity" to saying "Saddam has weapons and is a real and imminent threat that must be countered" ?

Look at the foolish show that Powell presented to the UN. Even he was ashamed of his own performance.

We didn't go to war because the UN inspection process had failed, or because of any imminent danged from Saddam. We went to war because 9/11 gave Bush cover to bring about "regime change".

The McClellan book outlines (and criticizes) the selling of that policy. He's ashamed now too.

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