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."

Filed under: Mike Huckabee • Popular Posts
soundoff (279 Responses)
  1. Kaye

    Two words for the republicans: Willie Horton.

    December 2, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  2. Jim Waite

    It would be interesting to look back to see if Huckabee claimed to have prayed about the decision to pardon Maurice Clemmons . If so he could then claim it was within either the permissive or directive will of God and therefore part of God's plan. It would get him off the hook with his base.

    Bulltwinkle for sure.

    December 2, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  3. Joe M

    God told you to free this nut????? Right Huck????

    December 2, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  4. Doug

    Huckabee is just as responsible for this shooting as Obama was when those kids beat that honor student to death with that 2X4. That was a direct cause of Democrat politicians and community organizers.

    December 2, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  5. Uncle Buck

    I hope you people, especially the Republican people, are actually reading these posts. Clearly, one of the key factors that seperates Republicans and Democrats is the understanding and honesty in views of Democrats.
    In numerous posts, people who are neither Republican or Huckabee supporters are voicing their opinions that Huckabee is an honest and respectable man who did what he thought was right based on the information he was provided at the time.
    Notice the lack of hatred as typically from the right, just honest views regardless of his Republican affiliation. As a Democrat, I agree with these views, I don't hold him accountable for this and don't think others should either.
    I feel for the families involved, but there's noone to blame but the perp.

    December 2, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  6. hongli

    When will this idiot Huckabee step out of the limelight like so many of his fellow republican friends?

    December 2, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  7. timbuck2

    Why do people reference their party affiliation on this thread? Stupiid stupid and their are fine examples at both poles.
    When he says he would do the same thing again he means don't elect me to any position where i have the opportunity to be a "do-gooder" and free dangerous people into society. The sheer number of his pardons is frightening. He is now saying that he will persist in his ignorance and apply the same "rigor" to other cases. Forget the nomination, pal...go work for ACORN...........

    December 2, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  8. pv

    Mr. Huckabee needs to denounce the Republican Party for it's Willie Horton tactics.

    He's no leader.

    December 2, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  9. dave d

    Anyone with the authority to grant clemancy or parole should have to live with the person they let out. So if YOU are NOT WILLING to put your own family at risk, don't turn them loose on an unsuspecting world.

    December 2, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  10. Aaron

    The GOP went after Dukakis full-force for the Horton thing, despite Dukakis never claiming to be psychic and know what Horton would do. It should be tit for tat for Hucklebee.

    December 2, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  11. ben

    I am certain if the Board that presented this file to Mr. Huckabee had thought or known this individual would make a turn for the worse and do these terrible things, then the file would have been presented in a way where as the then governor Huckabee would not have made the decision he did. There's plenty of blame to go around and my heart and prayers go out to the families of the murdered officers but I don't feel as though Mr. Huckabee is the only one at fault here. After all; Clemmons committed these atrocious acts.

    December 2, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  12. Art Surette

    It is surely the system. Dirty Harry tried to warn us all in the 1970's about the left pushing laws to let the criminals out to commit more murders and the right with police taking the law into their own hands.

    What ever happen to John Wayne punching out or shooting someone who deserves it.

    Govern from the Center. There is no way anyone can make everyone happy all the same. Have Obama read Means to Ascent about LBJ.

    December 2, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  13. Jay

    Wow, Huck still doesn't get it. Of course there's no way "to have possibly" known" that this guy would kill 9 years later, but there's certainly this thing called "judgment." Huck has poor "judgment", and there is a history of poor judgment through his clemency decisions.

    It wouldn't be such a big deal if Huckabee didn't have one of the highest clemency numbers and one of his previous clemencies resulted in a murder. Huckabee has a history of bad decision-making and should never be in a position to make decisions that affect anyone ever again.

    December 2, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  14. jared

    Im am also an Obama supporter....But I don't blame Mike Huckabee for this tragedy... The state of Washington also let Clemmons slip through cracks, after commiting a crime aginst a child and other offenses he was once again let go to live freely
    in the state of Washington,, so is our justice system perfect...obviously not....people in power make decisions sometimes there good and sometimes they are not...even president obama has made a few and without a doubt he will make more...but Mike Huckabee should not have to carrry this burden, but he will for the rest of his life, him as well as those officials and attorneys in the great state of Washington whom also could not have predicted this horrible tragedy.

    December 2, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  15. Kimmie of Vegas

    Come on folks, let's not forget the Repubes salivating over Willie Horton when Mike D. ran for president. Fair is fair and let's not let the Repubes forget this one. It is a banner on which it should be flown everyday. Hucky baby, you're fair game. Mine as well think of running for dog catcher, no, those folks are too good for you. Just keep doing what you're doing and the Democratic party is safe.

    December 2, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  16. JonDie

    The parole board also considered the case, the accused killer wasn't pardoned, he was paroled.

    OBVIOUSLY (unless your a Republican or a cave man, wait, that's the same thing), some teenagers do need to be locked up for life.

    But also OBVIOUSLY, if every teenager who commits a violent crime is locked up for life, SOMEONE (not Republicans though since Republicans believe all government services, including prisons are free) will have to pay.

    I would never vote for Huckabee because he's a flat-Earther who thinks the Earth is 6,000 years old and that dinosaurs walked around with humans.

    But I can't conclude that he did ANYTHING wrong based on what he knew.

    December 2, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  17. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    this was the kiss of death for his possible president campaign....especially now since even some of the GOP is going against him.

    December 2, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  18. kd

    I'm not a Huckabee fan and disagree with an overwhelming majority of his ideas and methods. But I can't see him as a culprit in this. I can't believe the decision was off the cuff but made with serious consideration. A lot of time has passed – that's what people should be looking at. What was it that pushed this guy over the edge?

    December 2, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  19. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    I'm not a fan of Huckabee or the GOP. However, I find it hard to blame him for exercising kindness and humanity to a young man 9 years ago. It’s easy to sit back and play arm chair quarterback after the fact; something the GOP loves to do.

    December 2, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  20. Don F NYC

    Kind of silly to blame a man who gave pardon to a criminal 9 years ago. I would assume the shooter met all the qualifications at that time to be granted clemency and was released with the thought that he would make good use of his second chance.

    I hope this type of sentiment doesn't start becoming the norm because there are people out there who have been granted pardons/clemency/commutations and have gone on to live good, crime-free lives.

    As much as I don't like Huckabee, I don't see that Huckabee did any wrong and shouldn't be to blame for this shooter's crimes.

    December 2, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  21. Reny

    I guess he is jumping a sinking ship. Huckabee just lost any chance at the nomination. Too bad. I thought he was a pretty good guy.

    December 2, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  22. Doug

    It's a fact that if he were a Democrat, Hannity, Rush, Beck and O'Reilly would still defend him based on principles. Take this truth and compare it to how a majority of Democrat here have responded. Same ones who agree with Chris Mathews that Obama was on enemy grounds at West Point.

    December 2, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  23. Steve

    Accuracy... Not clemency but comutation.
    Accuracy... Did not free him but reduced sentence from 106 years to 67years
    Accuracy... Parole Board released him. Then did a crime and went back to prison until 2006.

    When trying to be truthful also be accurate and make sure the words selected match the event.

    December 2, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  24. Nea

    Im a Obama supporter too and i feel Huckabee just tried to be merciful towards the guy by giving him another chance to get his life together. Mr, clemmings is the one that blew it. everyone deserves a chance to try to do whats right Huckabee was just being compassionate at the time and i dont blame Mr. Huckabee its the Crmminal fault, yes if he had known that he was going to do this no he wouldnt offer release efforts but how many of us knows what another person might do later.

    December 2, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  25. Steve Dallas

    I live in Seattle. If Huckabee ever runs for public office, I will do all in my power to remind ALL voters of his role in the execution of 4 police officers. Huckabee does not deserve to be in power, and there is NO WAY he will EVER become President because of this.

    December 2, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
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