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

HuckPAC coordinator steps down, citing clemency decision

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. patNY

    Huckabee frees murders and rapists and they do it again...he is a discrace!

    Huckabee denies evolution and would make us into a Christian Theocracy...he's just like Taliban!

    Huckabee is gaining weight again...clearly a total glutten who can't be trusted!

    December 2, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "If I could have possibly known what Clemmons would do nine years later, I obviously would have made a different decision"

    It's not as easy as it looks from the armchair is it Huckie? Hindsight IS a perfect science but without it you always run the risk of making the WRONG decision. I know GOPers like to see themselves as infallible, but that's a bunch of bulltwinkle. Now your main guy has bailed on you in typical GOP fashion. The rats leaving a sinking ship: nothing in it for him if he stuck in there with you Huckie. Tsk, tsk. That swirling sound you hear is the toilet flushing down your aspirations of becoming the next President of the USA. I agree, it may not be fair, but you're dealing with a REALLY tough crowd here.

    December 2, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  3. JB

    I wonder if he knows that the decisions only get harder after becoming president. Cut Obama some slack dude cuz everybody makes mistakes and yours has cost lives.

    December 2, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  4. Mike in NYC

    Huck's now saying that it would have been racist not to grant clemency.

    Quote: “If he were a white kid from an upper middle class family he would have gotten a lawyer and some counseling....”

    Ignoring the fact that said hypothetical white kid wouldn’t have had anything approaching the record that Clemmons had amassed by that age.

    Just goes to show how even so-called right wingers feel compelled to adhere to liberal racial orthodoxy.

    December 2, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  5. AEJ

    Mike Huckabee also needs to step down. It is the morale thing to do.

    December 2, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  6. joel

    At the end of the day a simple fact remains, the man you gave clemency to murdered 4 police officers.

    December 2, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  7. marc

    It is not shocking that this happened, it goes on all the time.
    Unfortunately we lost 4 police officers, what can we say to their Families?
    This was senseless if you follow the time lines of this murdering inhuman person to do such a thing!

    My sincere condolences to the Families, I can not fathom what they are
    now going through.

    December 2, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  8. Bob

    Time to start looking at just who sits on parole boards.

    December 2, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  9. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I saw this coming. 2012 is a wrap for Huckaboo.

    December 2, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  10. Dieter Zerressen

    This is the problem when decisions are made in a cloud of religious mysticism and not on the facts. When government leaders rely too much on their "faith" whatever it is, it leads to bad judgement. This is a very good example why separation of church and state is so important.

    December 2, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  11. Chanel

    He already had SEVERAL felonies when Huckabee granted clemoncy.

    I am a Christian, so I hate to say it... but this is what happens when you govern with your religion.

    Huckabee should admit fault in his decision making process and step down. Even if he doesn't, because of this he will never win another Presidential primary anyway.

    December 2, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  12. ThinkAgain

    Mike in NYC writes, "Ignoring the fact that said hypothetical white kid wouldn’t have had anything approaching the record that Clemmons had amassed by that age."

    Boy, are you naive! Some of the most reprehensible criminals in all of history have been white, including all the "white collar" criminals who recently just about took down the entire global financial system!

    And as I recall, Ted Bundy, Timothy McVeigh and Jeffrey Dahmer – just to name a few – were all white.

    December 2, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  13. Huh?

    The ONLY one a racist in this whole incident was the black man who shot 4 innocent white police. Let's call a spade a spade, whall we? Just for ONCE?

    December 2, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  14. VB Lincoln Park NJ

    No need to comment here. This situation speaks volumes for itself.

    December 2, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  15. ThinkAgain

    Regardless of a person's circumstances or background, if they committed a crime, they are responsible.

    Factors such as mental health, lack of opportunity, mental capacity, etc., should be taken into consideration during the sentencing phase. It was obvious from Clemmons’ actions that he had very serious psychological/psychiatric problems – and that the answer was not to commute his sentence, but to keep him incarcerated, receiving the treatment he needed until he had either completed his sentenced or been deemed fit to return to society.

    This is the kind of subtlety of thinking that is lacking in not only our criminal justice system, but everyday life.

    It ain't easy – but it is the right and responsible thing to do.

    December 2, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  16. ThinkAgain

    My heartfelt sympathies and condolences go out to the friends and family of the four slain police officers. What a senseless tragedy!

    December 2, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  17. Rick Karl

    During the last general election cycle, Huckabee was one of the FEW Republicans that looked somewhat respectable.

    Since the election, he has veered to the FAR RIGHT, and is even hosting a show on Fox, inwhich he toes the tea-party line 100%.

    Very disappointed here, but Karma strikes again!

    December 2, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  18. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    That Willie Horton stuff is a two-way street, no?

    December 2, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  19. Tom

    What a joke...the clemency decision was there in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and up until he stepped down in 2009...Now all of a sudden it is a big deal that test his principles. Please.

    December 2, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  20. Todd

    huckleberry is a moron, a charlatan, a phony, and a fool. In other words, a modern conservative. however, pointing a finger at him for a grant of clemency 9 years ago is silly. There are many perfectly valid reasons to mock and detest huckleberry, but this is not one of them.

    December 2, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  21. Pamela

    Perhaps now Mr. Huckabee will stop all of his criticism of our president. My, my, my, how quickly things change. It isn't so easy is it Mr. Know-it-all-Huckabee? I do not believe you made the decision out of anything but good intentions according to the information you were presented with. But maybe you need to take a step back and stop judging President Obama so harshly- it is obvious you are NOT capable of perfect judgement- no one is. Enough with your non-stop nonsense. You could not run this country any better- you, beck, hannity, o'reilly, and that awful liar Palin need to shut-up now and start to represent something other than lies and hate. I hope you can do this, if for nothing else, yourself.

    December 2, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  22. Jimmy

    The Huckster is beginning to show a pattern of poor judgement where clemency is concerned. Over 1000 pardons/commuted sentences on his watch in Arkansas, with several becoming repeat offenders. Chuck the Huck!

    December 2, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  23. kevin

    Hi. Big Democrat here. I just wanted say, that given the choice between Huckabee and the other conservatives that are currently positioning themselves for 2012, I'd take Huckabee in a heartbeat. He seems to be the only one who is down to earth.

    Don't get me wrong, I want Obama to win in 2012. But should Obama lose, Huckabee is the only guy from the right that I think I could actually support.

    So, yes, it's a terrible tragedy what happened. But I still supported Dukakis after Willie Horton.

    December 2, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  24. Timus

    Wow it boggles the mind at how self righteous and judgmental conservatives can be!! Why would anyone want to associate themselves with such PERFECT people!! Huck made a decision years ago that seemed like a good one at the time. He had no idea that this guys was going to go postal a decade later!!

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

    No wonder the republicans ar jumping ship. The nailed Michael Dukakis to the tree for the same thing

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