Et Tu, Scott McClellan?

Thursday, May 29, 2008 at 10:20 AM

I'm currently reading What Happened, former White House press secretary Scott McClellan's 323-page stab in the back to the Bush administration. The book wasn't supposed to be out until June 1, but the publisher lifted the embargo yesterday and I grabbed a copy at Barnes & Noble. Current and former Bush administration officials are playing dumb on McClellan's motive for writing the book, but he makes it crystal clear in the preface: Valerie Plame leakers in the White House used him to pass along lies to hide the truth and save their own asses, and Scotty don't play that way.

McClellan writes:

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, Vice President Cheney, the president's chief of staff Andrew Card, and the president himself.

For my next two years as press secretary, the false words I uttered at that Friday's briefing would stand as the official White House position on the Plame case.

What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception by Scott McClellanI'll say more on the book later, since I'm just 66 pages in, but the chapter where McClellan tells his life story makes him sound hopelessly out of his depth as a senior White House official. In a place you'd normally expect a 40-year-old man to describe the intellectual and professional accomplishments that had brought him to such an esteemed position in government, McClellan focuses almost entirely on his childhood.

He mentions that he graduated in the "with honors in the top 20 percent" of his high school class, waged an unsuccessful battle to stop his University of Texas fraternity from paddling, guided his high-school tennis team to second place in state, visited Six Flags over Georgia, and dated a Hispanic in elementary school. He even names her.

Before she lost interest in me, my smart, pretty sixth grade girlfriend was Camille Mojica, a Hispanic girl. Such a relationship was considered unusual in those days.

Mojica appears to have grown up to be a science reporter. Apparently they had a lot of chemistry.