2002 When discussing his 9/11/01 meeting with Bush: "I will always remember the courage, determination, calm, and leadership you demonstrated on September 11th."
2003 When writing of the episode in his book:
The Bush in these pages sounds more ruminative than intimidating: "I know you have a lot to do and all, but I want you, as soon as you can, to go back over everything, everything. See if Saddam did this. See if he's linked in any way." When Clarke responds by saying that "al-Qaeda did this," Bush says, "I know, I know, but see if Saddam was involved. Just look. I want to know any shred....." Again Clarke protests, after which Bush says "testily," "Look into Iraq, Saddam."
2004 When doing interviews:
Here's how Clarke recounted the meeting on 60 Minutes: "The President dragged me into a room with a couple of other people, shut the door and said, 'I want you to find whether Iraq did this'.....the entire conversation left me in absolutely no doubt that George Bush wanted me to come back with a report that said, 'Iraq did this.'" After Clarke protested that "there's no connection," Bush came back to him and said "Iraq, Saddam ? find out if there's a connection." Clarke says Bush made the point "in a very intimidating way."
and the following day:
"What happened was the President, with his finger in my face, saying, 'Iraq, a memo on Iraq and al-Qaeda, a memo on Iraq and the attacks.' Very vigorous, very intimidating."
Damn, this is like the story of the fish that got away! At this rate, in another couple of days that minnow is going to sound like Moby Dick.