December 2nd, 2009
02:32 PM ET
8 months ago

HuckPAC coordinator steps down, citing clemency decision

Huckabee granted clemency to Maurice Clemmons in 2000, when he served as governor of Arkansas.
Huckabee granted clemency to Maurice Clemmons in 2000, when he served as governor of Arkansas.

(CNN) – The Arkansas coordinator for Mike Huckabee's political action committee resigned Tuesday, citing the former Arkansas governor's decision nine years ago to grant clemency to Maurice Clemmons, the man suspected of murdering four police officers in Washington state.

Jason Tolbert, who runs a conservative blog, served as Arkansas state coordinator for HuckPAC in a volunteer capacity.

"My departure was with a heavy heart but was done after serious prayer and consideration," Tolbert wrote on his Web site. "Some have asked about the timing. As most could imagine, the recent news of the last two days along with the response did play a role in this decision but was not the sole factor."

Huckabee said Tuesday he takes "full responsibility" for the clemency decision.

"I acted on the facts presented to me in 2000, the former GOP presidential hopeful said in a statement. "If I could have possibly known what Clemmons would do nine years later, I obviously would have made a different decision. But if the same file was presented to me today, I would have likely made the same decision."


Filed under: Mike Huckabee • Popular Posts
soundoff (279 Responses)
  1. lmj

    Being from Arkansas, I have been around Huckabee for a long time. He is a self-promoting hypocrit.

    December 2, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  2. James

    Are we all so sad that it's come down to 'my way or the highway' mentality? I once read that a person shouldn't have to explain their actions; their friends don't need it and their enemies won't believe it... As the animosity fountain is freely flowing, shouldn't someone at least raise their cup and a kind word for the four dedicated police officers. Many people were painfully affected by this, but this string of Huckabee/Horton is just childish and we as a nation should be greatly ashamed of ourselves for acting this way.

    December 2, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  3. Shawn

    I am not getting into any mudlinging here, but moving on to the next logical point: This decision was made, but the same decisions are being made every day across America. What will we as a people do about it?

    December 2, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  4. Bob in Pa

    This all says our idea of criminal justice needs to change a little bit. Bring back the gallows and solve a few modern day social problems.

    December 2, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  5. Franky, Land of Lincoln

    That's pretty crazy too. I'm not familiar with the full story in general but just heard bits of it. Pretty ironic the people close to you or assume are the ones you never expect could commit such a heinous crime. Talk about another level.

    I just hope Fox News treated this story just like anyone else. There is association and affiliation among Fox news and their beliefs. I can call em out but na'h, the're a waste of time. I'm sure they did but with the Afghan strategy already set in motion, that seems the most logical and reasonable solution by far.

    This ain't big news, is just big news because the Huckster is associated with him. And yes, even conservatives can get crazy too, morons.

    December 2, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  6. Nate

    I'm no fan of Mike Huckabee, or the GOP for that matter. However, I must say that taking responsibility for making that decision would be a tough thing to do. He didn't have to say he would do it again, either. Kudos to a GOP politician for not making an excuse for what turned out to be a bad decision.

    December 2, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  7. Bob in Pa

    By the way, it wasn't the Huckster that released him, it was the parole board. Huck only made it possible. The parole board is the guilty party here.

    December 2, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  8. Ross

    This is why a jail term should be set in stone. A 10 year sentence should mean ten years. No exceptions and no excuses.

    December 2, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  9. Rob

    Huckabee got himself a Willie Horton!

    December 2, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  10. LynnWa

    The absolute most unfathomable part of all of this is how in the United States of America is a governor allowed to grant clemancy to anyone and part of the deal is that the criminal must NOT RESIDE in THAT STATE. If the criminal was supposedly good enough to be relieved of a sentence that a jury gave him then why would you release that criminal but say he can't live in YOUR state?? This needs to be changed. Perhaps less criminals that belong in prison would be set loose if those politicians had to have them living next door to them. As long as the politicians are able to ship these criminals out of state, none of us will ever be safe.

    December 2, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  11. Bridgette-PA

    BOY! You people are takin' no prisoners today! Well, if I may add my 1 cent; I have to agree with the Huckster. I don't agree with any of his policies BUT how in this world could he have known this would happen NINE YEARS LATER?? Gees.....I don't even know what's going to happen tonight! Give him a break people (although my heart sincerely hurts for the families of the police officers). If you do, he may start seeing things for what they really are and stop bashing our current President. Maybe??

    December 2, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  12. Right wingnuts are the darlings of dementia

    Who will Chuck Norris turn to now that he found out that the Huckster is soft of crime?

    December 2, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  13. Pedro

    It's all about JESUS – This is a perfect example why religion and other superstitious activity has NO PLACE in Government.

    December 2, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  14. johnnyfresno

    huckabee let more people loose then a bleeding heart liberal would have. his done.

    December 2, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  15. meridian

    "But I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that's what we need to do - to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view." Mike Huckabee Jan 2008

    Separation of church and state, anyone?

    December 2, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  16. Trevor

    It's such a sad affair. My regards to the families of the slain officers. I cannot imagine the anguish the governor is going through now. I’m a Democrat who empathize with the governor‘s situation. How was he to know this would happen 9 years later? He did the best he could with the information he had at the time. My problem with the governor was his first reaction, realizing the consequences on his political aspirations; he started blaming everybody but himself. He remembered the Republicans vicious Willie Horton ad and started to play it in his head and watching his dreams grow wings. Now, after his media consultants told him to own up he unenthusiastically owns up. It’s so sad to see these games come home to roost. I wonder how the show fits on the other foot???

    December 2, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  17. A.B.

    Well, I think that this unfortunate episode is similiar to the Willie Horton flap and will certainly doom Huckabee's chance of a second run for the presidency. Huckabee is now politically vunerable and will probably not win nomination. There are other reasons why he will not win the presidency. They are these:

    * Huckabee does not appeal to a broad and diverse constituency of Americans since he is represents social conservatives–a small segment of the American electorate.
    * Huckabee is neither a pragmatist nor a problem solver.
    * Huckabee is too conservative whereas, most Americans are middle of the road–moderate in their views on most issues.

    December 2, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  18. donttreadonme

    Get the facts straight Huckabee only commuted his sentence and this only made him “eligible” for parole. Meaning unless a parole board found him fit to return to society he would live out his term in prison. Anyway 95 years in prison with no possibility of parole for armed robbery is not a typical punishment?

    December 2, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  19. Parik

    GOP has blamed OBAMA for the Sun rise, and now Ol' Huck cannot be blamed for a direct......direct decision. Ha, Ha GOP same hypocrites. One thing is certain and that's Karma and it will visit all the loudmouths on Repub side. Watch out Rush, Hannity and Beck. Karma will get you...

    December 2, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  20. toxmom

    Those arguing that Huckabee has no blame in this tragedy because he could not predict the future are ignoring the facts in this case. I believe it likely that Huckabee was advised not to pardon this man by the attorney's office who knew of Clemmons' violent history. Huckabee chose to pardon this man because he was persuaded by a fellow minister that Clemmons had "come to Jesus." Being a Southern Baptist minister himself, Huckabee believed that Clemmons was pardoned of his sin by God. Huckabee has a history of doing this with other prisoners, and he had to reverse a pardon in one case because the people of Arkansas strenuously objected. In addition to being laughably credulous, Huckabee is guilty of two things: ignoring the advice of the AR justice department and putting his religion ahead of his job to protect the people of Arkansas.

    December 2, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  21. Franky, Land of Lincoln

    "Speaker Gingrich will give opening remarks followed by an opportunity for audience members to ask questions, share stories about what has worked for their business, and provide input on our 'Jobs Here, Jobs Now, Jobs First' plan."

    Sorry but I don't give a - who's advice is better because their economic conditions is better than those of the population. I understand what he's trying to do but this isn't 1st grade and we share stories to among each other.

    What the - you gonna do? Do I look mad or what? :)

    Laters.

    December 2, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  22. zZzzzzzzzzzzZzzzzzzzzZzzzzzz

    His political career is over and don't think most people are crying over it, they are not. I can't wait for the Huckabeast to get out of the limelight. His big pale doughboy face makes me sick.

    December 2, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  23. Buford T Justice

    (yawn) I'm still waiting for CNN to stop spiking the stories on Climategate and start doing some honest reporting instead of confirming their overt bias for the left-wing extremists. (yawn)

    December 2, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  24. Bob of Lompoc

    "Huck", as all his political friends refer to him, to make him look like a "regular guy", which he is not, is the candidate from the Jerry Farwell wing of the Republican Party. Those are the people who have more in common with the Taliban that with America. They and the Taliban have a common goal: Control Women!

    If you glued one of those deer whistles to "Huck's" head, he would make the same sound, as he fell from grace, as a bomb dropping from a high altitude aircraft. The loud noise you would hear when he hit the ground would be the end of his political career.

    He is right where he belongs – on the Fools On Xanax network, pushing lies, just as big, but at a little less rate, than O'Reilly, Hannity, guests Coulter, Malkin, and the rest of that disgusting, phony "news" gang.

    December 2, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  25. Katy

    I'm not a Huckabee fan by any means, but kudos to him for admitting that if presented with the same facts now as he was then, he'd do the same thing. The problem needs to be looked at much closer – what was in the report that fooled everyone, and how can convicts play that game too easily anymore.

    December 2, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
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