Since I issued my challenge 11 days ago, I've watched as it slowly gathered a bit of steam in the 'sphere, picking up contributions as it went. Bill Hobbs, Darren Kaplan, Michael, Chuck, and "Edward Boyd" have all pitched in, and now the award is for $310.
As Bill's site is by far the most trafficked, the best comments threads are at his site. In this thread, the second at his site, we hear a number of unfounded assertions:
1. My goal is fundamentally dishonest, and I don't plan to pay out a cent.
2. Nobody has claimed that Bush linked 9/11 with Hussein.
3. Richard Perle said it, and he's a high-ranking official in the administration.
1. I fully intend to pay, if someone finds a quote that meets the specified criteria.
2. I'm not even going to try to document that one. My first post had a direct link to a column that stated it quite clearly.
3. Richard Perle is not, and has never been, a "senior administration official". As I pointed out in the comments on my original post (and in the second thread at Hobbs), the Defense Policy Board (on which Perle served as an unpaid member) is far down the chain; in fact it is five levels below the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, which means it's not a major panel. The only reason Perle received so much time on TV is that he is interviewable. He is interesting, readily agrees to apperances, and is at least a recognizable name (despite the fact that his highest position in any administration was as Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Reagan Administration). Some people get lots of publicity, totally out of balance with their real influence, and Perle is one of them.
In any case, the quote (being pushed by well-known blogroach Jade Gold) doesn't meet the criteria, even if it had been uttered by Bush himself.
The offer still stands, although I doubt that anyone will ever find a quote.