The sad, sobering comedy of errors that comprised the Bush administration's ignorance of all things Clinton -- including anti-terrorism efforts -- hit a particularly dour note with the testimony of Richard Clarke, a registered Republican and presidential terrorism advisor who quit two years into Dumbya's tenure.

The straight-talking, strident Clarke was the only one to apologize to the families of Sept. 11 victims:

"Your government failed you, those entrusted with protecting you failed you and I failed you. We tried hard, but that doesn't matter because we failed. And for that failure, I would ask -- once all the facts are out -- for your understanding and for your forgiveness."

Clarke has been the only one who hasn't tried to aggrandize himself or his efforts in front of the Sept. 11 commission.

Clarke came under repeated charges -- outright and implied -- that he was acting in a partisan manner. The Washington Post writes of the face-off with Republican commissioner John Lehman:

Clarke was ready for that challenge. "Let me talk about partisanship here, since you raised it," he said, noting that he registered as a Republican in 2000 and served President Ronald Reagan. "The White House has said that my book is an audition for a high-level position in the Kerry campaign," Clarke said. "So let me say here, as I am under oath, that I will not accept any position in the Kerry administration, should there be one."

When Clarke finished his answer, there was a long pause, and the gallery was silent. Lehman smiled slightly and nodded. He had no further questions.


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