December 2nd, 2009
02:32 PM ET
3 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."


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soundoff (279 Responses)
  1. PULEEEZZZ!! lets tell some truth

    Huckabee is just one more power hungry self appointed ego centric person hiding behind GOD and he thinks he has a direct line to HIS version of the creator. Republican politics have led our country to the brink of desaster, but thats OK cause we will be saved in the next world.

    December 2, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  2. Bev

    Although I am NOT a big fan of Huckabee-–when Huckabee granted the clemency-–I don't really think that he did anything wrong.

    The kid at that time (as he was only 17)-–received 60 years for burglary and theft charges (I believe it was 60 years, it might have been longer).

    There is no way that anyone should receive 60 years for burglary and theft charges--–especially a 17 year old.

    Therefore, I do believe that Huckabee made the right decision at the time, when he granted the clemency.

    However, this is going to hurt Huckabee's political career--as the majority of people in the country are not getting all of the facts about the clemency.

    December 2, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  3. Marie MD

    WHAT? He didn't know what he was going to do in the future. How about the past dummy? hucky now has to live with four lives taken just because of his beliefs that everyone should be pardoend.
    At least there's one repug out there willibg to act of something that he believes is wrong. What a concerpyt cominb from the partty of no and lies and cheats.
    He also pardoned Wayne Dumond who later raped and murder a woman in Missouri.
    Even the shrub had more sense in not pardoning libby except that he should have put cheney in jail for shooting his friend and lying about the cover up in general.

    December 2, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  4. Steve

    Blaming Huckabee for what Clemmons did nine years later is just lame.

    And the comment about Obama... I didn't know he was part of this story but... leaders make decisions and sometimes it doesn't work out how they would have hoped. Sometimes lives are even lost. It happens for the President. Every President. It happened for Mike Huckabee here.

    Our prayers are with the officers' families and Mr. Huckabee.

    December 2, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  5. Adam Robinette

    And that's why Mike Huckabee is as well respected as he is. He met the issue head on, and with class. Good guy that really is the Republican's best chance in 2012.

    December 2, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  6. frank

    CNN full of haters....and worse of all people who are ignorant or plain stupid with their comments
    comments that are driven by hate not facts or solid reasonable opinions
    the Gov. did the right thing in 2000
    the judges in WA did the wrong thing..why don't you focus on them?
    not a word on CNN amazing

    December 2, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  7. Daniel Ritchie

    Why are Americans so dumb! The thought, as carried by Wolf Blitzer and his guests earleir this week, that Huckabee's presidential ambitions can be wiped out by one decision made NINE years ago....the world just laughs at you...louder and louder!

    This aide resigning needs to find a new god to pray to...one who will ensure that no human EVER makes a mistake again! (and frankly, it was not seen as a mistake to grant clemency nine years GO!)

    I think 24 hour news channels is the worse thing to ever happen in America....because most of those 24 hours are filled with trivial crap and an attempt to blow tiny little issue into great big concerns....why don't you start REPORTING the news and stop trying to manufacture it!

    December 2, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  8. Bren

    Huckabee will now probably not seek a presidential run in 2012 because of this–even though he really did nothing wrong when he granted the clemency.

    This will just make it easier for Romney to run and win in 2012.

    December 2, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  9. sir magneto

    Quite clearly the Huckster should not take these odds to Vegas. If Huck bets on Red, I'm taking Black.

    December 2, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  10. John

    Huckabee would have made the same decision today?

    A lame governor is now an ex candidate.

    Fitting.

    December 2, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  11. G

    Murderer's don't exist. A benevolent all omnipotent and powerful god that can magically do anything on a whim would not allow for such things to exist. Oh.. wait.

    December 2, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  12. Mark, Philadelphia, PA

    At least the first 6 comments on this story are from some pretty ridiculous "haters".

    As Mike Huckabee stated earlier, 9 years ago, the judge in the Clemmons case as well as all 8 members of the parole board all felt the young Clemmons deserved clemency. The prosecutors in the case submitted no opinion. His decision to grant Clemmons clemency was based on what he knew 9 years ago....not on what Clemmons was going to do at some point in the future....and on the fact that Clemmons' prison sentence was based on crimes he committed under the age of 18. No blame should be directed to Huckabee for what Clemmons did just recently.

    December 2, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  13. Robin

    Easy to focus on Huckabee, isn't it?

    Instead of blaming Huckabee, let's blame the animal who committed murder! You libs are all the same.

    December 2, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  14. JD

    Kiss your 2012 chances goodbye, Huck. I for one am glad you'll never come within 1,000 miles of the seat of Presidential power. You have become the symbol of everything that's wrong with the "moderates" in the GOP.

    December 2, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  15. Tom C

    This also could have been a decision based on money also. It is costing us more and more to coddle our prisoners because we want to be so human toward them. Maybe we should rethink on how well our prisoners are treated. After all it is suppossed to be a punishment.

    December 2, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  16. johnrj08

    What does he mean "with serious prayer"? What does God or this man's spiritual beliefs have to do with this highly political decision?

    This guy and his former boss, Mike Huckabee, wear their religion on their sleeve and use it to expiate guilt and diffuse personal accountability for what they do.

    When you make a choice, it is yours. Not God's. When Huckabee gave that killer clemency despite his +120 year sentence and history of violence, it was Mike Huckabee, not God.

    Knock off this self-righteous, holier-than-thou pseudo-religious crap and take ownership of your decisions.

    December 2, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  17. dave

    If Mikey Huckleberry knew 9 years ago what Clemmons would have done , he would never have pardoned him.
    Gee, Mikey Dukakis said the same thing 20 years ago, but Willie Horton stuck with him.
    Bye Mikey Huckelberry. LifeReality bites, don't it?

    December 2, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  18. Joanne B

    That is why Huckabee will never be President – he is too honest.
    The AMerican people fell for a fast talking, used car salesman type in 2008 who they still call a great orator (when all he can do i read well)...America gets what it deserves.
    Joan
    MN

    December 2, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  19. Razorback

    He made an error in judgement which ended up costing lives. It will also cost him his political aspirations as many conservatives (myself included) would not have agreed with parole at the time it was granted. This is not Monday morning quarterbacking on my part-I have always felt if the sentence was for 95 years, he should have served 95 years. I get the feeling that if it had been a Democratic judge or governor that did this, the tone on this blog would be far different (like who are we to judge, he did what he thought was best with the facts he had at the time).

    December 2, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  20. reeba

    I suppose Tolbert has a crystal ball, thereby NEVER making any decisions or mistakes that years later could render a 'sucker-punch'. There have been many politicians that commuted prison sentences – – - this time the guy was paroled on a measly $15000 bail - NOT by Huckabee – - but he gets blamed for it.

    ps – - the hatred, bias and venom that spews from the left-wing bloggers here is repulsive, ignorant and often immature – - – too bad !!

    December 2, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  21. Felonious Monk

    Does anyone remember Willie Horton?
    The republicans used the willie horton issue to destroy Dukakis.

    The exact same situation here. Why was Dukakis held to the fire and Huckabee is given a pass?

    Double Standard?

    December 2, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  22. Bob

    Maybe what we need to do is put all teenagers in jail for the rest of their lives. You know some of them will be murderers and drug users.

    December 2, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  23. mjm

    Poor Huckabee. He's a good man who does not deserve the blame for what this man did in Washington.

    The media needs to stop using the deaths of these officers to attack him.

    Knock off the politics for 5 seconds, could ya?

    However, let this be a lesson to governors around the country. Make these convicts serve their entire sentence no matter what the parole board says. Once a convict always a convict. You try to give someone a second chance and look what happens.

    December 2, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  24. tess

    i couldn't stand huckabee when he ran as a conservative republican and such an upstanding christian. i saw him as a petty, vindictive, jealous and mean man who was our version of jimmy carter – a hypocritacal , judgemental " religious man". his petty digs at romney have never stopped and he is just being exposed as the really small person he is. i am glad this has come out before he tried to fool people and run again in 2012. he is a loser and we don't need him.

    December 2, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  25. Sam

    Never had plans to vote for Huckabee and never would consider it either. Although I am in Seattle, I do not blame Huckabee for letting a guy out for a crime that he committed when he was 17. Again, that is all that you will get from me Mr. Huckabee....no vote though.

    December 2, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
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