Kristol: Bush Timed Clemency To Get Political Cover By Attacking Clinton

Posted on

"Kristol: Bush Timed Clemency To Get Political Cover By Attacking Clinton"

This morning, the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol — who accurately predicted the President’s decision to commute Libby’s sentence — suggested the order was timed to provide political cover for the decision by attacking President Clinton.

“Here’s why the president acted the way he did. He knew Bill Clinton was joining Hillary in Iowa on July 4th. No, I’m serious,” Kristol said. “So on July 2d, Ed Gillespie, who’s a very canny Republican operator, said, Let’s pardon Libby. Clinton will rise to the bait, and we could spend the last half of the week debating the unbelievable Clinton pardons against the defensible Bush pardon.”

Kristol concluded, “I regard this as an extremely clever Machiavellian move by the president. It cheers me up about the Bush White House, and I’m really heartened.” Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/07/kristolmachiavellian.320.240.flv]

The Libby case is not comparable to anything President Clinton ever did. Libby was spared prison time because he was “charged with activities that involve knowledge of what his superiors in the White House did.” House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers said this kind of relationship in a commutation has “never existed before.”

If Kristol’s theory is correct that politics played a large role in the timing of Libby’s commutation, that provides yet another issue for Congress to delve into when it begins hearings on Bush’s abuse of clemency powers this week.

Transcript:

KRISTOL: Here’s why the president acted the way he did. He knew Bill Clinton was joining Hillary in Iowa on July 4th.

No, I’m serious. So on July 2d, Ed Gillespie, who’s a very canny Republican operator, said, Let’s pardon Libby. Clinton will rise to the bait, and we could spend the last half of the week debating the unbelievable Clinton pardons against the defensible Bush pardon.

So I regard this as an extremely clever Machiavellian move by the president. It cheers me up. It cheers me up about the Bush White House, and I’m really heartened.

« »

By clicking and submitting a comment I acknowledge the ThinkProgress Privacy Policy and agree to the ThinkProgress Terms of Use. I understand that my comments are also being governed by Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, or Hotmail’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policies as applicable, which can be found here.