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. Thomas Japhet

    I am certainly not a Huckabee supporter but in the interest of fairness to him I would be very interested in seeing a complete breakdown of what happened to the other 1000 people that he commuted sentences many of them returned to a life of crime. If this was the only one, then it certainly seems that he did a pretty good job...nobody should be expected to be perfect. If 500 of them returned to a life of crime and this is just the big example, then I certainly would question his ability to make decisions.
    I think an article looking at the crime rate of individuals that received reduced sentences or clemency would be very interesting in regards to any of our potential candidates that have served as governor.

    December 2, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  2. Moderate Democrat

    It's amusing to see the conservatives condoning the murder of four police officers when confronted by the choice between doing that, or taking responsibility for a very bad decision that ole Huckee boy made.

    No, he couldn't see into the future. But he owned up to making a bad decision, good for him. It's the retards here trying to persuade us that it wasn't a bad decision that need SERIOUS help. Pathetic shirkers of responsibility is all they are. Man up, like Huck, and admit when you are wrong. Or do what conservatives ALWAYS do, and blame someone else for a mistake that resulted in DEAD PEOPLE.

    December 2, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  3. Garry

    As an Arkansan I can tell you right now..Huckster is aloser. He does what he is told to do, flip flops on so many issues it isn't funny and now he says this is a political thing? RIGHT Huckster!
    Stay out of Arkansas..we don't .ike you.

    December 2, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  4. Nelson Colorado Springs Co.

    Why does Mr. Jason Tolbert have to step down, when fomer Gov Mike Huckabe, former GOP presidential hopeful and 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. Something wrong with this picture

    December 2, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  5. Razorskin

    This not the only ex-Arkansas inmate that Huckabee released that killed somone after the release. Dumond killed a woman a few years ago in Missouri after being released by the Huckster. This over the objections of everyone.; but Huckster knew better than everyone..forced the prison board to grant the pardon....ugh.... this is his nail in the coffin... see you on the lecture circuit Huck...

    December 2, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  6. The Other Michael in Houston

    I don't think you all should be so quick to judge Huckabee. I agree with a few people on here, some of you idiots are using this tragic situation to spew your ignorant politically ideology and that folks is just sad. no wonder why the rest of the world views America as joke. Four police officers who chose to protect you, me, everyone lost thier lives and all some of you can say is Conservative this or Liberal that?????? It's people like you who vote a D.C. crackhead back into office after being caught in a hotel room with crack and hookers, or idiots who flat out lied to you about WMD and you still voted him back in for another four years! Now don't get me wrong, I disagree with Huckabee's religous and political ideology but he should not blame himself for one man's actions nor should any of you do the same. Some of you make me want to puke, morons!

    December 2, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  7. sms29s

    The Democrats won't have to use this against Huckabee. He will never get out of the primaries. The Republicans will use it.

    December 2, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  8. Kevin Denver Colorado

    The parole board STRONGLY opposed his release. The ONLY reason he was is because of his kowtowing to Schmukabees pro religious prejudice. ALL RELIGION SHOULD BE REDUCED TO THE CULT STATUS THAT IT IS.

    December 2, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  9. jack in denver

    Not my fault! Not my fault!

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

    Nice work Mike! I figure you're going to run on a "Law and Order" platform. I love when good upstanding Christians release criminals on compassionate grounds. You must be from Scotland...

    December 2, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  11. J.Crobuzon

    Huck ain't one of the good guys like he says.

    December 2, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  12. Jerry

    This report from 2000 is so off base it makes msnbc calling west point the enemy camp last night seem like both news feeds are America haters. Whose side are you on anyway ?

    December 2, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  13. John

    I don't feel bad for Huckabee. After years of claiming that the Liberals/Democrats were too soft on crime. That they would turn murders and rapist loose after giving them milk and cookies first, I think that he deserves everything he has coming his way. The Republicans want us to believe that they are tough guys and only they can protect us from the evils in the world. I for one don't need or want their protection any longer.

    December 2, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  14. Just Biding My Time

    How many of the people hating on Huckabee for following the recommendation of the parole board would have crucified him if he hadn't followed it? He would have been accused of being a racist by the far left.

    December 2, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  15. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Huckabee can always use Bush's words that he used to start war "my faith tells me it's the right thing to do" . Isn't it strange Huckabee hasn't mentioned his religion, most Republicans do when they get ready to tell a lie.

    December 2, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  16. Amazing

    Huck is done, this will end his political hopes for president. Only Democrats can get away with these types of choices.

    December 2, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  17. Terry from West Texas

    I believe that someone who has posted a comment on this blog will commit a serious crime in 10 years. I want all of you arrested and imprisoned for life, because I cannot tell now which of you is the future criminal. And don't bother asking for parole. There may be 49 people who will not commit a crime in the future, but one of you will – according to statistics – commit a felony or already has committed a felony.

    I also believe that ten of you (statistics) has had inappropriate relations with a minor, so I'm sorry but you will all have to be imprisoned for life, since I can't be sure which of you is the culprit (or future culprit).

    December 2, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  18. BenYaweh

    Where were all the Republicans when G H W Bush ran those Willie Horton ads?

    December 2, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  19. Steve

    As long as we have a judicial system which permits parole these types of tragedies will happen – no matter how smart we think we are, there is really no way to be able to predict with 100% certainty what a parolee will or won't do.

    December 2, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  20. I am the not-so-great and powerless wizard of Rush

    What Roger Ailes did to Dukakis in 1988 has come back to bite the conservative's best chance to beat Obama in 2012.
    Another whirlwind reaped by the right wing goon squads.

    December 2, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  21. phyllis

    First of all I am not a republican, and never will be.

    I donot think that, Mr. Hubabee was wrong in what he did releasing Clemmons, he could not have known, that this man would turn around and kill these four Police Officers.

    The thing that bothers me is, this man had a 95 year sentence, that would have bother me, if I had been in Mr. Hubabee place. Some one with that kind of sentence must have been a bad hombre from the start. They should have taken more time on making a decision on letting him out on parole.

    I think Mr. Hubabee bid for the White House is over. He and he fellow republicans over at Fox News will just have to preach their venom from the news room. Thank you

    December 2, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  22. Nate

    well, i don't see Mike Huckabee running for president in 2012, not after this....
    it's looking more and more like Palin will be the frontrunner. regardless of what the left says, people really like her. for the same reasons the left doesn't. reminds me of how the right was saying they hoped Hillary would run because Hillary is so polarizing. truth is, McCain would never have led for a minute without her. as McCain said in his own words...get used to it folks!

    December 2, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  23. Paul Brown

    The people slamming Huckabee here are idiots. It's not his fault this happened; first it's the criminals fault to begin with.

    After that, it's all the people who let this guy skip out on jail AFTER he was let out. When Huckabee let this guy out there was not a good reason to keep him. However down the road when he committed multiple offenses and broke parole the liberal prosecuter dropped the ball and let this guy walk.

    But lets not cloud the argument with facts!

    December 2, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  24. Sgt. USMC

    Looks like the repugs are running short on Presidential candidates. Too bad it took 4 police officer's lives to showcase this idiot's ignorant decision making. Better luck in 2016.

    December 2, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  25. SocialismBad

    Who cares?! This idiot is looking for publicity and now CNN has given him that. What happened 9 years ago is irrelevant. The justice system completely failed to deal with this habitual criminal AFTER he received clemency. It seems the justice system will jail a guy stealing bread to feed his family for 2 years but will release violent repeat offenders at the drop of a hat. Now 4 police officers are dead because of it. The judges and parole dept. EVERYWHERE need to be held accountable for these travesties.

    December 2, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
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