McClellan: First Talked to Bush About Exit on Monday

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By: E&P Staff

It was almost surreal: The Washington press corps probing White House whipping boy Scott McClellan today–about his own sudden resignation as press secretary. As usual, he was circumspect in his revelations. He did allow that he might work some on his mother’s race for governor in Texas.

Here is a transcript of the relevant portions.

***

Q Is it bittersweet? Is your announcement —

MR. McCLELLAN:No, not at all. The President and I had a very good discussion about this earlier this week, and I’m looking forward to a new chapter in my life. I’ve been very honored to be a part of this team, and to serve the President.

Q What are your plans now?

MR. McCLELLAN:I’m just beginning to think about it. When you’re in this position, you don’t have time to really think about what’s next.

This is a position where you really have to focus on the here and now. I’ll be thinking about that, but I also am going to remain fully focused on the job for the remainder of the time that I am here at the White House. I expect to be here for another two to three weeks; the process of — I want to be helpful in the process of finding a new press secretary.

Q How is that process going? Is there a short list? Do you expect it to be fast?

MR. McCLELLAN:I’m not going to get into speculating about it. But I’ll certainly be helpful in the transition and helpful in identifying someone who will serve the President well.

Q Do you know what they might be looking for in particular in a new press secretary? Is there anything specific?

MR. McCLELLAN:I think that we’ll have more to say once that person is ready to be named.

Q When did you go and tell the President you were planning to resign?

MR. McCLELLAN:Earlier this week.

Q Can you give us a date?

MR. McCLELLAN:Yes, Monday I talked to him.

Q In the Oval Office?

MR. McCLELLAN:Yes, in the Oval Office. We had a very good conversation.

Q What did you say?

MR. McCLELLAN:I’ll leave it a private conversation.

***

Q Back to your resignation.With the new Chief of Staff, did you feel any pressure to resign, or was it fully and freely your own decision?

MR. McCLELLAN:No, in fact I had a good discussion with Josh about this decision, and I felt it was a good time to do this. When Andy made his announcement, I think it started — I know it started me reflecting a little bit more, and thinking about how long I’ve been there. Two years and nine months in this position is quite a long period of time. And so I had been thinking about it over the last few weeks much more seriously than I ever had before. I mean, I can’t say there aren’t days before when I’ve thought about it, but this was first when I really started seriously thinking about it, and came to the decision that this was a good time to do it.

Q It was on Monday, after you had that staff meeting in the morning, did you take —

MR. McCLELLAN:I had been thinking about this prior to that meeting.

Q And when did you have the conversation with Josh?

MR. McCLELLAN:Just recently, over the last — it was before I had it with the President.I think it was the end of last week.

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