Some people would think, "'I bet he doesn't know a damn thing about what's going on with this unit,' " he said. "There was always that atmosphere and you have to go in and just be yourself and work with people. And break down the barriers."
By 1999, Clark was the supreme allied commander of NATO. He led the campaign to successfully drive the former Yugoslav army out of Kosovo. And then he was then abruptly relieved of command.
Clark says his early retirement from the military was "painful."
"I love the armed forces," he said. "And I worked very hard to — for that fight.
"But on the other hand," he said, "I could feel what was going on in Washington. The problem was that the Pentagon was caught between a rock and a hard place. They didn't like the policy of being in the Balkans. So they couldn't tell me not to do it. But they wanted me not to do it."
Clark left the military and went into business. He also wrote two books.
He remembers his wife's reaction about his decision to run for president. They were on vacation in California.
"We stayed in a hotel that didn't have television, and it's beautiful," he said. "And she said, 'Do you realize,' she said, 'if you actually run and you're successful, we'll never ever, again be able to do this in our whole lives? You really want to do this?' "
Clark said he replied: "I can't stand where the country's being taken. That's why I'm doing this."