In the context of Desert Storm I was sent over from the Pentagon to brief him in the Oval Office.
The benevolent grandpa image being propagated in the media on the occasion of his death and emerging apotheosis does not ring true to me.
At the time and ever since, I have thought him a tough, relentless and effective executive. For whatever reason he was adamant that he was going to put paid to Saddam Hussein. In public he made a show of mispronouncing the Iraqi's name, saying Saad-em. In private he pronounced the man's name correctly. The slight was intentional
He asked me what the Iraqis, then occupying Kuwait were likely to do. He understood that I had spent quite a lot of time in Kuwait and Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War. I told him that Saddam had been allowed to think that we would not defend Kuwait by the wavering and ambiguous statements made before the Iraqi invasion.
I told him that if he made it clear in an address that occupation of Kuwait meant an all out US military effort to drive them out of the country and that we would not necessarily stop at the border between Iraq and Kuwait they would withdraw because they knew they could not fight the US successfully.
His response was that he did not want them to withdraw because they must be punished for aggression.
I found him to be a perfect representative and heir of the flinty, hard, Puritans who had founded New England. Texas? The ah shucks Will Rogers manner was in my opinion a pose. The influence of his long and prosperous life in Texas was not evident to me.
He was intent on fighting Iraq in Kuwait and probably beyond. The WW2 torpedo bomber pilot was clearly visible. This was a formidable man, but one tightly self-controlled.
IMO Ross Perot did the US a great disservice in siphoning off enough votes to enable Clinton's electoral victory. We would have been much better off with another term for George Bush the Elder. pl