Bush said Tuesday he hasn't ruled out pardoning Libby.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Bush said Tuesday he wouldn't rule in or out a full pardon for former White House aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby, after having commuted his 30-month prison sentence Monday.
The president's comments came as he left the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he had been visiting military personnel wounded in the Iraq war.
White House spokesman Tony Snow also discussed the possibility of a pardon in the daily White House briefing.
"There is always a possibility or there's an avenue open for anybody to petition for consideration of a pardon," Snow told reporters. "As far as we know, that's not been done, and we don't know if it's contemplated by Scooter Libby or his defense team."
"The reason I will say I'm not going to close the door on a pardon is simply this: that Scooter Libby may petition for one. But the president has done what he thinks is appropriate to resolve this case," Snow said.
The tumultuous briefing, punctuated by pointed questions from reporters and repeated explanations by Snow, came a day after the president's announcement sparked an uproar by critics claiming the move was another example of the Bush administration believing that it is above the law.
Snow said the president respected the jury's verdict, which found Libby guilty in March of of perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements to investigators in the case surrounding the leak of a CIA agent's identity, but he felt that the 30-month prison sentence was "excessive."
The spokesman reminded reporters that Libby still must pay a $250,000 fine and will be on probation for two years.
"So this is hardly a slap on the wrist, in terms of penalty," he said. "It is a very severe penalty."
Snow said politics played no part in the president's decision, which he made after "long consideration."
"The president spent weeks and weeks consulting with senior members of this White House about the proper way to proceed," the spokesman explained.
"And they looked at a whole lot of options and they spent a lot of time talking through the options and doing some very detailed legal analysis."
Snow would not comment on whether Vice President Dick Cheney, Libby's former boss, had weighed in on the decision.