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Bush announces new White House press secretary

McClellan replacing Fleischer

From Dana Bash
CNN Washington Bureau

From left to right: Ari Fleischer, President Bush and Scott McClellan approach reporters outside the White House on Friday.
From left to right: Ari Fleischer, President Bush and Scott McClellan approach reporters outside the White House on Friday.

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush Friday made official the worst kept secret in Washington -- that Scott McClellan will become White House press secretary when Ari Fleischer departs next month.

"He'll be able to do the job like Ari did, with the highest amount of professionalism and class, and I've got the full confidence in my new press secretary," said Bush, with both Fleischer and McClellan at his side on the South Lawn of the White House.

McClellan, 35, has worked for Bush since 1999, serving as his spokesman in the governor's mansion in Texas and during the 2000 presidential campaign. He currently serves as deputy White House press secretary.

"Four-and-a-half years ago, I went to work for the president because I believed in his leadership and I believed in his agenda," McClellan said. "I look forward to doing my small part as part of an outstanding White House team, to help him build upon that record of accomplishment."

McClellan will take over one of the most high-profile jobs in Washington next month. He told CNN he has learned a lot from watching Fleischer, but noted he will certainly deal with reporters in his "own style."

President Bush works on a press statement with Scott McClellan at the Oval Office in November.

He also said his 2 1/2 years of dealing with the White House press corps will serve him well.

"I think we've a good relationship built on trust and respect, and I think that's important," McClellan said.

But, he said, it is the president he serves, hinting that he has no plans to change the tight control over information for which the Bush administration is known.

"I view my role as 'I'm here to do my part to help the president implement his agenda and articulate his message,' " said McClellan.

McClellan comes from a Texas political family. His mother, Carole Keeton Strayhorn, is the state's comptroller and former mayor of Austin.

His brother, Mark McClellan, is the FDA commissioner and a former adviser to Bush.

Fleischer announced in May he would step down as White House spokesman. A White House official said his last day is likely to be July 14.

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