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What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception  
What Happened
First edition cover
Author Scott McClellan
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Memoir
Publisher PublicAffairs
Publication date 2008-06-02
Media type Hardback
Pages 400 pages
ISBN 978-1586485566
OCLC Number 191731855
Dewey Decimal 973.931 22
LC Classification E902 .M393 2008

What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception is the #1 New York Times bestseller of Scott McClellan, who served as White House Press Secretary from 2003 until 2006 under President George W. Bush. The book was scheduled to be released on June 2, 2008; however, excerpts were released to the press a week before publication. The book quickly became a media sensation for its candid, insider's critique of the Bush administration and ran as a leading story on most top news outlets days after the content became public.



McClellan harshly criticizes the Bush administration over its Iraq war-making campaign, though he writes in detail about his personal admiration for President Bush. He accuses Bush of "self-deception"[1] and of maintaining a "permanent campaign approach" to governing, rather than making the best choices.[2] McClellan stops short of saying Bush purposely lied about his reasons for invading Iraq (in fact, stating flatly that he did not believe that Bush would intentionally lie), writing that the administration was not "employing out-and-out deception" to make the case for war in 2002,[3] though he does assert the administration relied on an aggressive "political propaganda campaign" instead of the truth to sell the Iraq war.[4] The book is also critical of the press corps for being too accepting of the administration's perspective on the Iraq War,[2] and of Condoleezza Rice for being "too accommodating" and overly careful about protecting her own reputation.[1]



White House response

The Bush administration issued a statement about the book through Press Secretary Dana Perino, who said, "Scott, we now know, is disgruntled about his experience at the White House. We are puzzled. It is sad. This is not the Scott we knew."[5] The administration additionally took exception to the claim that they had misled the nation in the lead up to the war in Iraq, as Perino said, "He's suggesting that we purposely misled. There is no new evidence of that."[6]

Congressional response

In response to the claims made by McClellan in the book, Congressman Robert Wexler (D-FL) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who is the Chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, have called upon McClellan to testify under oath in front of Congress.[7] McClellan testified publicly under oath before the House Judiciary Committee in July of 2008.

McClellan response

McClellan has responded by stating that his role as Deputy White House Press Secretary during the lead-up to the Iraq War was not to make policy [8], contending that he was inclined to give the Administration the "benefit of the doubt," and that he did not fully appreciate the circumstances until after leaving the "White House bubble" so he could take a more clear-eyed look at events.[9]


While McClellan's book advance was for a comparatively low $75,000, What Happened reached the number-one position on the sales chart of, and its printing was quadrupled to more than 300,000 copies by its publisher, PublicAffairs.[10]


External links

Preceded by
by Barbara Walters
#1 New York Times Best Seller Non-Fiction
June 15 2008
Succeeded by
When You Are Engulfed in Flames
by David Sedaris

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

What Happened
by Rudyard Kipling
Information about this edition
From "Departmental Ditties" (1886)

Hurree Chunder Mookerjee, pride of Bow Bazaar,
Owner of a native press, "Barrishter-at-Lar,"
Waited on the Government with a claim to wear
Sabres by the bucketful, rifles by the pair.

Then the Indian Government winked a wicked wink,
Said to Chunder Mookerjee: "Stick to pen and ink.
They are safer implements, but, if you insist,
We will let you carry arms wheresoe'er you list."

Hurree Chunder Mookerjee sought the gunsmith and
Bought the tubes of Lancaster, Ballard, Dean, and Bland,
Bought a shiny bowie-knife, bought a town-made sword,
Jingled like a carriage-horse when he went abroad.

But the Indian Government, always keen to please,
Also gave permission to horrid men like these --
Yar Mahommed Yusufzai, down to kill or steal,
Chimbu Singh from Bikaneer, Tantia the Bhil;

Killar Khan the Marri chief, Jowar Singh the Sikh,
Nubbee Baksh Punjabi Jat, Abdul Huq Rafiq --
He was a Wahabi; last, little Boh Hla-oo
Took advantage of the Act -- took a Snider too.

They were unenlightened men, Ballard knew them not.
They procured their swords and guns chiefly on the spot;
And the lore of centuries, plus a hundred fights,
Made them slow to disregard one another's rights.

With a unanimity dear to patriot hearts
All those hairy gentlemen out of foreign parts
Said: "The good old days are back -- let us go to war!"
Swaggered down the Grand Trunk Road into Bow Bazaar,

Nubbee Baksh Punjabi Jat found a hide-bound flail;
Chimbu Singh from Bikaneer oiled his Tonk jezail;
Yar Mahommed Yusufzai spat and grinned with glee
As he ground the butcher-knife of the Khyberee.

Jowar Singh the Sikh procured sabre, quoit, and mace,
Abdul Huq, Wahabi, jerked his dagger from its place,
While amid the jungle-grass danced and grinned and jabbered
Little Boh Hla-oo and cleared his dah-blade from the scabbard.

What became of Mookerjee? Smoothly, who can say?
Yar Mahommed only grins in a nasty way,
Jowar Singh is reticent, Chimbu Singh is mute.
But the belts of all of them simply bulge with loot.

What became of Ballard's guns? Afghans black and grubby
Sell them for their silver weight to the men of Pubbi;
And the shiny bowie-knife and the town-made sword are
Hanging in a Marri camp just across the Border.

What became of Mookerjee? Ask Mahommed Yar
Prodding Siva's sacred bull down the Bow Bazaar.
Speak to placid Nubbee Baksh -- question land and sea --
Ask the Indian Congressmen -- only don't ask me!

PD-icon.svg This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1936, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.


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