Questioned about her speech Thursday morning, Ms. Williams initially denied making the comment but reversed course after organizers confirmed the quote.
In a speech before 1,000 people Wednesday, Ms. Williams said that violence is a choice and the push for peace takes hard work and commitment.
"Right now, I could kill George Bush," she said. "No, I don't mean that. How could you nonviolently kill somebody? I would love to be able to do that." As she made her point, she chuckled and some members of the audience laughed.
Ms. Williams, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for creating a group that helped start peace talks in Northern Ireland, also said that Mr. Bush should be impeached. About half the audience responded to that with a standing ovation.
The speech, given in the city that will host Mr. Bush's presidential library, caused a stir on talk radio and Internet sites, and among those attending the conference.
"Threatening the president of the United States is a crime," conservative talk show host Mike Gallagher said on his nationally syndicated program, which airs in Dallas. "Many of us are resentful at a so-called Nobel Peace Prize laureate having the audacity to threaten the life of our commander in chief."
Several women at the conference said they admired Ms. Williams for having
the courage to say what she thought – even if unpopular.
During the Bush Years, it was courageous to call for President Bush 43's assassination, and there were no bogus SPLC claims about threats to the President increasing 400 percent like there is today.