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. Just Biding My Time

    I would love to be able to see nine years in the future, wouldn't you? But, he couldn't. And neither can any of you.

    December 2, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  2. David

    This guy is a clown and hypocrite. No way he should be on a national stage.

    December 2, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  3. Eric of Reseda

    Clemmons wrote to Huckabee that he was a "good Christian" and that's all Huckabee had to hear. The fact is, even back then, this kid had a "file" that warranted keeping him locked up. But it seems the Christian mind in this country, eager to believe, will believe anything as long the speaker/writer claims to be a "good Christian". Look at Mark Sanford, or Ted Haggard, or Jim Bakker or Swaggart and on and on and on. These people lie and steal from their flocks and constituents, but hey, as long as speak The Word, as Clemmons did, they MUST be good people. Well, Mr. Huckabee, your "good Christian" murdered a whole lot of folks, and you are in LARGE part, responsible.

    December 2, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  4. Independent_me

    Good Lord!!!
    How on earth could any governor have known that a seemingly contrite man who, by all accounts, was initially dealt with too harshly by the law, would turn out to be a murderer many years later???

    There are those who get paroled and go on to live decent lives, and there are those who don't. I am with Huckabee... he did what he felt was the right and compassionate thing at the time. He is not a clairvoyant – he was just a governor trying to do the right thing.

    December 2, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  5. Jim Stafford

    A lot of folks gloating that Huckabee won't be POTUS. I really don't care but after reading most the comments – I'm glad none of you will be President too. 4 police officers were killed and most of you think its a football game – "my side wins". It not the country that screwed up – its the people. With few exceptions – lots of half wits here.

    December 2, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  6. Julia - Native American from Idaho

    It is not his fault, he does not have a crystal ball to look into and see the future. I am an Idaho Democrat and support our President, but you should read the racist comments in the Local newspaper. It will make your stomach turn. My condolences go to the families of the victims.

    December 2, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  7. W Spivey

    It's very obvious that you do not learn from your mistakes.

    December 2, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  8. Vets4Obama

    No two ways about it, blood is on his hands. He made a retarded decision and now four cops are dead because of it.

    You can cover for him all you want, it simply makes you an accessory to the murder. If he had a shred of 'values' he would not have let a very dangerous person, with a proven track record, back out on the streets to harass and murder.

    The only thing Huckabee didn't do, was pull the trigger. But with out his aid, four officers would still be alive.

    December 2, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  9. Richard

    It's funny how the republicans ravaged Dukakis on parioling Willie Horton. I wonder what Huckabee had to say about that when it happened. He takes full responsibility, I'm sure the familise of the slain officers are gratified about that statement.

    December 2, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  10. steven harnack

    How many of the people that Huckabee pardoned or gave clemency to have NOT gone on to commit more crimes? Odds say that in any group of people there are going to be some who don't make good use of the breaks they are given.The only person responsible for the shooting of the police officers is the shooter himself.

    December 2, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  11. Michael

    Gee, with all the conservatives complaining about the unfair treatment Huckabee is getting in the press, one would think they have completely forgotten Willie Horton.

    How convenient.

    I can't wait for the attack ads in the next few elections. Now that the tables have turned, we'll see how well the conservatives handle the criticism.

    December 2, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  12. Dirt

    Of course it isn't Huckabee's fault. But up until yesterday, Huckabee blamed everybody and took no responsibility until he had to. That reflects poorly on Huckabee's integrity.

    December 2, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  13. Emma

    When public safety is not taken seriously by a governor or president, our
    lives will always be at great risk.

    December 2, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  14. Norm

    As a Republican, Huck was never on my short list, but at least he tells the truth. As for the Horton thing, it was only one reason Duckie got beat, the others were that he was a whimp and a moron. So go ahead and rip Huck for this decision 9 years ago, get your pound of flesh, but remember liberals, you and your ilk want all like him pardoned because "society did it, not them." Heck, you even want that crazy MOSLEM who killed 18 soldiers pardoned because he will say was driven to it by the system that gave him over a million dollars for an education because he was a minority. So don't talk about hypocrits unless you can look into a mirror and not see one. Bet you can't.

    December 2, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  15. Jessica from Grand Rapids

    If he was "doing the christian thing" by releasing this guy, why didnt he do the "christian thing" and release nearly everyone?

    *crickets*...thought so.

    December 2, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  16. A guy

    I am no fan of Mike Huckabee and think he would possibly even worse than Bush as a president, but it's pretty difficult to hang this albatross around his neck.

    December 2, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  17. Cindy

    I'm an Obama supporter.. and I support Mike Huckabee on this. He went with what was known at the time. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't. But you can't simply stop doing clemencies because it "might" bite you in the butt years down the road.

    I wish the Republican Right could learn from this unfortunate incident, but I doubt they will. Pretty soon, we'll be doing the Chinese thing, and just execute people who did wrong, no clemency, no chance for redemption, on the "chance" that they might not straighten up later.

    December 2, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  18. Keeth in California

    Not good enough, Huckabee. You need to beg forgiveness from the families of those police officers.

    You GOP want to hold others to an extremely high moral standard, but when it comes time for all of you to hold yourselves to your own high moral standard, you fail miserably. Huckabee, Ensign, Vitter, Foley - and 2 of these men are still in office!

    December 2, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  19. Pittsburgh

    I've seen a bunch of people on here referring to him being 17 and too young to be sentenced to such a long time in jail – where did the age 17 come into play? Everyone is calling him a kid. He wasn't a kid when he was released from jail in 2000 – he was 28 years old. Every news agency that reported on him said that he was now 37 years old, and if that was 9 years ago that his sentence was commuted, he would have been 28. Old enough to know better, no matter what the crime was, and old enough to serve his punishment for said crime. He should have NEVER gotten out of jail.

    December 2, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  20. Jeanette

    I'm not a Republician but I have respect for Huckabee. He's a upstanding guy. Many thing failed here in what happened in Washington and Huckabee should not have to carry all the blame on his head. Washing judicial system let this man bound out of jail after the rape of a child and hitting a officer in the face.

    December 2, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  21. Wheres Waldo,I mean Elrushbo?

    Poor Huck,now if only mjm was a convict,we could all sleep better at night.hahaha

    December 2, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  22. j williamson

    The ghost of Willie Horton has come back to haunt the Republicans (specifically Huckabee). Karma can really bite sometimes. P.S. Governor, some people really don't belong out of the confines of a jail cell – I'm sure the jury knew exactly what they were doing when they imposed the 95 year sentence.

    December 2, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  23. Patience

    I hope that talk show host gig works out for him. His political career is over.
    Willie Horton might have been a good idea at the time. Now not so much.

    December 2, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  24. Texas Longhorn talks Truth

    This is why your not presidential material. Decisions of such nature must be given careful analysis not just on the spur of the moment to grant clemacy to a certain few. That is why we have streets full of child molesters, illegal aliens and murderers again. Thanks Governor you politicians really have a knowledge bump.

    December 2, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  25. Lori, Houston Texas

    "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."

    Maya Angelou said: "when someone shows you who they are, believe them".

    Huck failed to remember that when he allowed a monster to be released into the public. But we will remember that when/if he tries to run for any office again.

    December 2, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
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