Much ado about McClellan’s memoir

Checking in with PR and public affairs professionals around town, I find that the new Scott McClellan tell-all (or tell-some) book about his days as...

Checking in with PR and public affairs professionals around town, I find that the new Scott McClellan tell-all (or tell-some) book about his days as Bush administration press secretary is generating a lot of interest. But does it mean much in the long run? We’ll see.

One former member of the Clinton administration suggested its contents aren’t necessarily anything new – that people already knew the Bush administration used faulty intelligence to argue for the Iraq war; that Rove and Cheney shaded the truth about what they knew or revealed about Valerie Plame’s job with the CIA; etc.

But coming from a former Bush insider, the book simply gives more fodder for Democratic national officials to use in beating up the GOP during the upcoming presidential campaign.

This person also said he thought the allies of the Bush administration were too “reactive” to the book, when it was known a few months ago that it might contain a fair amount of criticism of Bush. They could have been more “proactive” in some way, instead of waiting until its release to moan and groan about it, this person suggests.

Echoing what’s been said on all the talks shows by Bush allies, a GOP insider told me that the book came as a total surprise to McClellan’s friends and also said it’s not in his “voice” – hinting that it was ghostwritten in some way. Slate reported that McClellan's publisher denied this claim.

Qorvis Communications MD Stan Collender in his Capital Gains and Games blog notes that the response by the administration and its allies has been of the “nondenial denial” variety used so often by the Nixon administration. Instead of addressing McClellan’s assertions directly, they seek to effectively change the subject by attacking McClellan’s character. If he had a problem with Bush, why didn’t he say so before or at least when he left?

The book was a featured topic on cable TV all weekend. While he may have alienated former colleagues and friends, McClellan has certainly succeeded in creating a lot of publicity for his book.

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