WASHINGTON – The White House pressured CNN to fire former military analyst Gen. Wesley Clark (search), the retired Army chief told a Phoenix radio station on Monday.
"The White House actually back in February apparently tried to get me knocked off CNN and they wanted to do this because they were afraid that I would raise issues with their conduct of the war," Clark told Newsradio 620 KTAR. "Apparently they called CNN. I don't have all the proof on this because they didn't call me. I've only heard rumors about it."
CNN had no immediate comment on the general's allegations. White House officials told Fox News that they are "adamant" that they "never tried to get Wesley Clark kicked off the air in any way, shape or form." Beyond that, the White House "won't respond to rumors."
Clark was one of cable network CNN’s military analysts and commentators during the Iraq war. Frequently named as a possible presidential candidate, Clark has not said whether he is interested in seeking the Democratic nomination. But, in his comments on the "Drive Home With Preston Westmoreland Show," Clark indicated that he is debating a bid.
"I had a very clear understanding with CNN that if I ever decided to go forward in considering becoming a political candidate that I would at that point, leave CNN. That's what I did in June," he said.
Previously, Clark claimed publicly that after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, he was pressured by the Bush administration to link the attacks directly to Iraq. When pressed on Fox News' Hannity & Colmes show, Clark refused to name White House names and instead fingered a public policy think tank in Canada.
"I personally got a call from a fellow in Canada who is part of a Middle Eastern think tank who gets inside intelligence information. He called me on 9/11," Clark said.
When asked who in the White House contacted him, Clark responded that he was "not going to go into those sources." Once again, the White House insisted they never applied any pressure.
Grassroots organizations have encouraged the former NATO (search) commander to make a run. The DraftWesleyClark.com group commissioned a Zogby poll in which those surveyed were asked to select a candidate based on his bio without knowing the candidate's name.
The poll, released Monday, showed Clark with 49 percent support in the "Blind Bio" survey compared to 40 percent for President Bush.
Matched up against six of the nine Democratic candidates, Clark polled in first place. That number dropped to fifth place among likely Democratic primary voters, however, when the candidates were named.
Clark backers still found this data encouraging, noting that he earned high marks "despite his low name recognition, and the fact that he has not spent a dime" on campaigning.
Clark, who is holding his decision close to the vest, told the radio station: "I still am not a candidate. I'm not affiliated with the party, and I haven't raised a penny of political money."
He said last week that he would decide on whether to run in the next few weeks.
Clark served as NATO's supreme allied commander and as commander in chief of the U.S. European Command between 1997 and 2000. In 1999, he led Operation Allied Force, NATO's military action in Kosovo (search).
Insisting on the accuracy of his military analysis of the Iraq War, Clark said, "No one ever complained about my analysis being partisan except for [House Majority Leader] Tom DeLay and he's hardly an unbiased source," Clark told KTAR.
"I was anything but biased. I was 100 percent objective. I called it right and I stand by the results," he said.