December 2nd, 2009
02:32 PM ET
6 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. B

    Judges and Governors that let these people back on the streets that have records like this guy did should be held accountable!

    This guy should have never been let out.....

    Unconscionable !!

    December 2, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  2. Tom in Delaware

    Nice story CNN...too bad you can't get the facts right...Huckabee 'commuted' the sentence to 47 years....he didn't grant him clemency by setting him free...stupid is as stupid does.

    December 2, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  3. Nunya

    I give Huckabee credit for taking responsibility for and standing by his actions rather than recharacterizing them in light of hindsight.

    I give Tolbert for being a self-righteous prick.

    Regardless, I think this means Huckabee stands no chance of a successful run for the presidency at this point.

    December 2, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  4. Danny E. Gonzalez

    I'm not a Huckabee fan; but I think it is silly to pin this on him or for one of his coordinators to resign in protest over it... people change and it is unforunate that this happened, the man obvously had issues and God will render his final act on justice on him...

    December 2, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  5. Mike in NYC

    Think again, ThinkAgain.

    In the white neighborhoods I've lived in, I never knew of one kid with the record Clemmons had. Non-white areas, OTOH, are filled with aspiring social liabilities.

    December 2, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  6. No More Incumbents

    Willie Horton, take 2. Bye Huckabee, it was nice while it lasted.

    December 2, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  7. D

    Personally, I think we should use this as an opportunity to reflect on two things: The first of which is why some people are granted 'clemency' to start with, laws should be the same ACROSS the board. Secondly, further proof the gun laws in this country have no teeth, our streets are turning into war zones...either enforce the laws, or restrict them. There are way to many massacres happening on US soil these days.

    December 2, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  8. No More Incumbents

    Obama never would have freed him. Community organizers don't have that power.........

    December 2, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  9. Jay

    There goes your Presidential ambitions pal. Good. One less idiot to run for office.

    December 2, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  10. cregis

    If it were not for Willie Horton, I might say give Huckabee a pass on this commutation thing, but turnabout is fair play for the Republicans.
    Also, Huck tried to pass the buck or pass part of the buck and that shows the man has no character. He seems to be a Christian hypocrite. Where were these Huck defenders when Dukakis was beeing skewered?

    December 2, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  11. dick delson

    another Republican boob.

    December 2, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  12. kgreen

    I wish he had orginally taken responsibility rather than issuing a statement about how the whole system in AR and WA had failed. He obviouly heard loud and clear that this was whiney and weak so he changed his tune. What a lout!

    December 2, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  13. Limbaugh is a liberal

    And with all that he is still the most honest, most civil GOP hopeful for 2012.

    December 2, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  14. Ken

    Don't blame this on the Judicial system Mike. You signed his clemency papers on the dotted line. We don't need you representing anyone especially after your comments " I would do it again given the same circumstances" Wake up Mike, these type of individuals don't change. I think your religious beliefs are getting in the way. And no we don't need to change the constitution to make our way of life more in line with the bible. We need to make sure all the laws protect us from people who think like you. Look whats going on in the middle eash where religion and government are mixing it up. You screwed up Mike. Admit it, realize your terrible mistake and ask forgiveness from the families.

    December 2, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  15. Jacque Bauer

    Most of these comments are lame and politically biased (you're kidding!). As a GOP conservative, it is clear that Huckabee will never be considered for a major office holder again. We were concerned about this issue (Huck's spinelessness for tough law enforcement)before; we are convinced about it now. Conservative principles remain rock steady regardless of who may violate them...

    December 2, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  16. Peter E

    He's still better than Palin.

    December 2, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  17. G-mo

    I'm not a Repub supporter, but it's amazing how so many librals throw all Christians into the same little box. Accuse us of being judgmental, yet continuously launch judgments themselves. Come on bros and sisters, let thoes without sin cast the first stone...there should he none. The guy made a mistake years ago, let it go already.

    December 2, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  18. JonDie

    "My departure was with a heavy heart but was done after serious prayer and consideration"

    Yes, you certainly wouldn't want to make such a decision after light-hearted prayer.

    December 2, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  19. Larry Karmel

    Let's see: 1 bad decision + the same bad decision = 2 bad decisions.

    At least 1 republican is honest about making bad decisions.

    December 2, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    Nobody's questioning whether he "acted on the facts presented to him at the time." Of course he did. The problem is, part of the facts "present at the time" is his extremely high rate of granting clemency to people in comparison to the governors for 17 years before him. That doesn't necessarily prove he was wrong, but it certainly forms a very solid foundation for questioning the lucidity and accuracy of his judgment when he acts on those "facts present at the time"...particularly when the potential results have now been played out and 4 officers are dead. Why don't you get off your duffs and get us more of those :"facts present at the time" CNN, so we don't have to act on surmise....oh wait, you like that because it leads to bickering and controversy to help grab viewers...instead of an informed public knowing what the real answer to the question is.

    December 2, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  21. Citizen

    Huckabee let this cop killer go scott free. Obviously he does not have the juidgement to lead this country.

    December 2, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  22. Dave

    Huckabee is a nice guy, but this is a sign of his poor judgement. He went on a spree where he released all kinds of criminals from jail, based on their "religious conversion" (which covers darn near everyone in the pen). Huckabee let his religious beliefs sway him into making some bad choices, and this guy isn't the first person he set free to have committed further crimes.

    I don't blame him entirely for this, and I'm sure he acted with good intentions, but it does show poor judgement. And his record with the economy is even worse. I'd never vote for him because I don't trust his judgement, but as far as a person goes, I like him.

    December 2, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  23. andrewstl

    did anybody see fox come out and defend mike ?

    if this would of been a democrat they would of wanted him to flog himself. i am so sick of the hypocritical gop and there yelling god and church everytime they get theri tit in a ringer. we al;l mistkaes you guys are not protected from that. if you would just own up to yours the world would be a better place. if the gop qwould quit teling people what to thnk and how to act the spin monster could stop for them.

    December 2, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  24. MikeH

    I'll add to the chorus and say that Huckabee has earned my respect for his honesty on this issue.

    However...

    He is still unqualified to be President, he wants to change the U.S. Constitiution into a 'Christian Document', which pretty much destroys what the U.S. is supposed to be all about.

    December 2, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  25. rob

    where is Huck's high moral standard... He owes those 4 families a big apology

    December 2, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
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