Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tim Pawlenty Goes After Mike Huckabee For Granting Clemmency to Maurice Clemmons

Mike Huckabee has been receiving a lot of attention in the last few days for his decision to grant clemency to Maurice Clemmons, the man who was suspected of shooting four police officers in Washington state over the weekend. The pundits almost immediately claimed that this even would likely put an end to any hope that Huckabee had of winning the Republican nomination for president in 2012, but it appears as though even some of the other frontrunners are now piling on just to make sure that this event does harm Huckabee’s chances.

During an appearance on Laura Ingram’s show, Gov. Tim Pawlenty was asked if he would have granted Maurice Clemmons clemency due to his age. Pawlenty quickly responded that based upon the facts on hand, he wouldn’t have granted clemency. Then, in an attempt to highlight his law and order credentials, he claimed that he’s never voted for clemency.
No. On those facts, no, Laura, I would not. And in Minnesota, I don't think I've ever voted for clemency. We've given out pardons for things after everybody has served out their term, but again, usually for more minor offenses. But clemency -- certainly not. Commutation of sentence -- certainly not.
While it’s certainly easy for Tim Pawlenty to go after Huckabee in this instance, I certainly hope that what he is really looking at what – if any – lessons we can learn from the shootings over the weekend. As Dan Kalbacher pointed out in his guest post here yesterday, this shooting wasn’t the only time we’ve seen police officers targeted. This seems to suggest to me that we might want to look at some of the underlying reasons that officers might be targeted. In my opinion, figuring that out and potentially improving the safety of those who put their lives on the line everyday might be one of the best ways that we can actually honor the four officers who lost their lives on Sunday.

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