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Candidates React to Scooter's Commutation

Jeff Jarvis

Candidates used the web to react to the Scooter Libby pardon. Joe Biden on his web site urges voters to call the White House in protest. Take that, operators! Barack Obama put a statement up on the campaign blog; ditto Chris Dodd. Hillary Clinton's campaign put up video of her remarks from the road in Iowa. Soundbite: "What we saw today was elevating cronyism over the rule of law."

(Ironically the Clinton campaign used C-SPAN footage for this YouTube clip, instead of its much-touted HillCam.)

By Ed O'Keefe |  July 3, 2007; 10:27 AM ET
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My question is, What does Libby know that has Bush so fightened? The Presidents track record is not one of quick decisions, so libby knows something.

Posted by: Michyle Glen | July 3, 2007 11:04 AM

Considering the number of former convicted(then pardoned) people he and his father had and have working for him, this is not a surprise. Bush claimed he wanted to get to the bottom of what happened. Well it looks as though he has finally reached the bottom.

Posted by: Inyoeyes | July 3, 2007 11:57 AM

1 down, 733 to go if W wants to catch Clinton in the "who can pardon the most folks" race. Oh, wait--this wasn't a pardon, you say? Libby is still a convicted felon, unlike, say, Marc Rich?

Guess Bush isn't as close to catching Clinton in the pardon race after all...

Posted by: cwilliams | July 3, 2007 12:22 PM

Response to cwilliams post of 7-07. Clinton's pardons were out of line. Bush won't have to worry about pardoning many, since most are above the law, Gonzalez, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and oh thats right, himself.

Posted by: ebischopink | July 3, 2007 12:40 PM

we all know this is the first step to a pardon. a long list of them. Libby will not remain a felon. and while the pardon of Marc Rich was certainly uncouth, Libby's role in the exposing of a CIA operative, which is treason and which Bush had strong words for 4 years ago, is infinitely worse.

Posted by: chris | July 3, 2007 12:44 PM

The attorny for Mark Rich ,Scooter Libby. oh the irony

Posted by: therookie | July 3, 2007 12:57 PM

Bill Richardson's statement, which you forgot to mention somehow:

"It's a sad day when the President commutes the sentence of a public official who deliberately and blatantly betrayed the public trust and obstructed an important federal investigation," said Governor Richardson. "This administration clearly believes its officials are above the law, from ignoring FISA laws when eavesdropping on US citizens, to the abuse of classified material, to ignoring the Geneva Conventions and international law with secret prisons and torturing prisoners.

There is a reason we have laws and why we expect our Presidents to obey them. Institutions have a collective wisdom greater than that of any one individual. The arrogance of this administration's disdain for the law and its belief it operates with impunity are breathtaking.

Will the President also commute the sentences of others who obstructed justice and lied to grand juries, or only those who act to protect President Bush and Vice President Cheney?"

Posted by: Alison | July 3, 2007 1:10 PM

It shows how indefensible Bush's decision was that the standard Republican talking point is that Clinton pardoned Marc Rich. (Interestingly, I think a better analogy would be Susan McDougal, who was a crony of Clinton caught up in an investigation of alleged wrongdoing on his part--but that's beside the point.) Even assuming that the Marc Rich pardon was indefensible, and I agree that it was, it hardly makes Bush's commutation of Libby's sentence okay. (If I recall, many of the Republicans that clamored for Libby to be pardoned were so outraged by the Rich pardon that they wanted to amend the Constitution to allow Congress to override presidential pardons.)

The argument advanced by "cwilliams" that Clinton pardoned more people than Bush is a red herring. Bush certainly has been more sparing in issuing pardons or commutations than any of his predecessors in recent history. (Clinton's pardon rate was in line with his Republican predecessors, including Reagan. Also, Bush hasn't pardoned zero people as cwilliams implies; I believe that the actual count is closer to 120. This is still low by historical standards, although remember that presidents pardon more toward the end of their terms, so comparing Bush's current figure against Clinton's final tally is still somewhat misleading.)

But Bush's stinginess with pardons and commutations would seem to make the Libby commutation even more outrageous. Bush believed that the standards for issuing pardons and commutations needed to be restricted, and then turned around and ignored those standards altogether for a friend and political ally.

Posted by: David | July 3, 2007 1:13 PM

I find it particularly offensive that the justification for the commutation was that the punishment was "excessive." Such compassion from a person who allowed over 130 other felons to go to their deaths when he was presiding over a state system whose capital punishment procedures were demonstratively flawed.

Posted by: JBW | July 3, 2007 1:35 PM

who is the jackass comparing the past administrations to this one?

it's not about Bill Clinton. It's about this puppet some people call the President.

No win on a minor point, Clinton's not this president, so keep it on track.

Temporal, today, okay?

Posted by: pgibson | July 3, 2007 3:55 PM

For the Democrats, Bush is the gift that keeps on giving. Along with two failed wars, Rudy and the boys now have to defend commuting a perjury sentence for a man who lied to the FBI and a grand jury to cover up Bush misleading America in his State of the Union address.
Should be no problem for the "tough on crime" Party. Especially for former Prosecutor Rudy, who doubtless asked for a lot of commutations for sentences in cases he won.

Posted by: Ron | July 3, 2007 4:15 PM

This is outrageous.

Libby obstructed justice and lied to both the FBI and a grand jury.

I hope congress publicly condems the pardon.

Posted by: Jim Harris | July 3, 2007 11:04 PM


Posted by: k | July 5, 2007 12:44 PM

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