Monday, July 2, 2007

Candidate Reactions to the Libby Commutation

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 567

The following are statements issued by the Democratic candidates in reaction to President Bush's commutation of Scooter Libby's jail term.

Joe Biden:

"Hours after a federal appeals court ruled that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby would have to begin serving his prison sentence while appealing his conviction for crimes of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to investigators, President Bush commuted his sentence.

Last week Vice President Cheney asserted that he was beyond the reach of the law. Today, President Bush demonstrated the lengths he would go to, ensuring that even aides to Dick Cheney are beyond the judgment of the law.

It is time for the American people to be heard.

I call for all Americans to flood the White House with phone calls tomorrow expressing their outrage over this blatant disregard for the rule of law.

Remind George Bush what he told staffers during a swearing in ceremony for White House staff back in January 2001:

"[We] must remember the high standards that come with high office. This begins with careful adherence to the rules. I expect every member of this administration to stay well within the boundaries that define legal and ethical conduct. This means avoiding even the appearance of problems. This means checking and, if need be, double- checking that the rules have been obeyed. This means never compromising those rules. No one in the White House should be afraid to confront the people they work for, for ethical concerns, and no one should hesitate to confront me as well. We are all accountable to one another. And above all, we are all accountable to the law and to the American people."

Click here to watch the video of George Bush addressing staff:"

Hillary Clinton:
"Today's decision is yet another example that this Administration simply considers itself above the law. This case arose from the Administration's politicization of national security intelligence and its efforts to punish those who spoke out against its policies. Four years into the Iraq war, Americans are still living with the consequences of this White House's efforts to quell dissent. This commutation sends the clear signal that in this Administration, cronyism and ideology trump competence and justice."

Chris Dodd:
"By commuting Scooter Libby's sentence, the President continues to abdicate responsibility for the actions of his Administration. The only ones paying the price for this Administration's actions are the American people."

John Edwards:
"Only a president clinically incapable of understanding that mistakes have consequences could take the action he did today. President Bush has just sent exactly the wrong signal to the country and the world. In George Bush's America, it is apparently okay to misuse intelligence for political gain, mislead prosecutors and lie to the FBI. George Bush and his cronies think they are above the law and the rest of us live with the consequences. The cause of equal justice in America took a serious blow today."

Barack Obama:
"This decision to commute the sentence of a man who compromised our national security cements the legacy of an Administration characterized by a politics of cynicism and division, one that has consistently placed itself and its ideology above the law. This is exactly the kind of politics we must change so we can begin restoring the American people's faith in a government that puts the country's progress ahead of the bitter partisanship of recent years."

Bill Richardson:
"It's a sad day when the President commutes the sentence of a public official who deliberately and blatantly betrayed the public trust and obstructed an important federal investigation," said Governor Richardson. "This administration clearly believes its officials are above the law, from ignoring FISA laws when eavesdropping on US citizens, to the abuse of classified material, to ignoring the Geneva Conventions and international law with secret prisons and torturing prisoners.

There is a reason we have laws and why we expect our Presidents to obey them. Institutions have a collective wisdom greater than that of any one individual. The arrogance of this administration's disdain for the law and its belief it operates with impunity are breathtaking.

Will the President also commute the sentences of others who obstructed justice and lied to grand juries, or only those who act to protect President Bush and Vice President Cheney?"


First Casualty of Poor Q2 Fund Raising: McCain's Staff

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 567

In considering how best to approach the money race for the 2nd quarter, I decided pretty early on to leave the bean-counting to others, and wait instead until all the checks had been written and then focus on the impact of fund raising success (or failure) to the various campaigns.

Not hard to do, at least today.

The first casualty: John McCain's campaign organization and staff. According to the Associated Press, McCain did so poorly in raising money during the quarter ending June 30 that he will be getting rid of at least 50 staff members, and slashing pay for those who remain, even at the most senior levels.

There's no indication at this point that McCain is considering dropping out of the race, nor, the AP article notes, is a major reshuffle planned for the campaign's senior staff. However, with poll numbers going through the floor not just in Iowa, but nationally, the McCain camp must undertake some type of action to get a little momentum back on their side. And if McCain's upcoming return to Iraq to trumpet the success of military escalation there is part of that plan, his campaign is in deep, deep trouble.

All this is astonishing, really, for the candidate who just a few months ago was considered the frontrunner for his party's nomination.


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