"I don't know. I never met him," says Mr. Clancy, not laughing. When reminded of the two-hour interview at his insurance office so many years ago, Mr. Clancy pauses.
"You're right, I'd forgotten all about that," says Mr. Clancy. "Gee, he made a real impression on me."
Mr. Clancy says he wouldn't even call this a feud. Nothing like the time Ms. McCarthy appeared on the "Dick Cavett Show" and called Ms. Hellman "a bad writer and a dishonest writer." Nothing like William F. Buckley's televised tiff with Mr. Vidal at the 1968 Democratic Convention, where Mr. Vidal repeatedly called Mr. Buckley a "crypto-Nazi," and Mr. Buckley shot back with "Now listen, you queer . . ."
Nothing like that, says Mr. Clancy, who appears to be declaring a truce.
"He's had his laugh, I've had mine," he says, not laughing. "End of story."
Laugh for laugh, Mr. Buckley seems to be getting the best of the deal. But he acknowledges that the party seems to be over.
"I think it's unlikely our phone or fax lines will cross again," says Mr. Buckley. And he laughs.