Tim Russert asked a few questions to Mike Huckabee about his role in the parole of Wayne Dumnond on Meet the Press this morning. You can read Murray's Waas's investigative report of the whole Dumond matter here. I had suggested a few questions to Russert in an earlier post, so good for Russert to at least broach the topic. Kudos.
Here's what he said:
MR. RUSSERT: Let me ask you about a controversial aspect of your governorship. Wayne Dumond...
GOV. HUCKABEE: Yes.
MR. RUSSERT: ...a rapist who was convicted, sentenced in Arkansas, the parole board voted not to parole him in September of—in August of '96. You announced that you were going to commute his sentence, and then the parole board reversed course and agreed to parole him, and you supported their decision to parole. He was, was freed, left the state, killed and raped someone else in Missouri. Do you regret supporting that parole?
GOV. HUCKABEE: You know, looking back, certainly I wish that I had known more than I knew, but here's what I knew: I never commuted his sentence; his sentence was commuted by my predecessor. When he was parole elibigle, he had not yet made parole. And I supported that he was parole-eligible. Later, the parole board did, in fact, give him their parole, supervised.
MR. RUSSERT: Did you talk to the parole board?
GOV. HUCKABEE: I did. But it wasn't about Wayne Dumond. I went there, even though there are some tabloid reports that tried to make it that I did, I went there to get acquainted with them because I hadn't appointed any of them. Out of all...
MR. RUSSERT: You never mentioned Wayne Dumond?
GOV. HUCKABEE: No, they brought it up to me. And, of course...
MR. RUSSERT: So you did talk to the board about him?
GOV. HUCKABEE: Only thing I said was this: They asked me did I think that he should be paroled, or something to that effect, and I simply said, "I think that his case has got to be given, you know, a serious look." What he apparently did when he left was horrible, Tim. But, you know, the issue is, he is a person who did a horrible thing before and after. I think all of us regret and have deep, deep, painful thoughts that someone could do something like this.
MR. RUSSERT: You or your staff did not pressure or try to convince the parole board—parole board in any way shape or form?
GOV. HUCKABEE: No, we didn't. And, in fact, here's the, the part that never gets really pointed out. That parole board had all been appointed by either Bill Clinton or Jim Guy Tucker, my predecessors. I don't think I had that kind of power. If I'm that persuasive, I'll be the next president of the United States.
MR. RUSSERT: But, in hindsight, you regret announcing that you were going to commute his sentence.
GOV. HUCKABEE: Sure. I, I—of course I do, because it, it turned out not to be as we thought, that he had an exemplary prison record. And he'd been commuted by Jim Guy Tucker while he was acting governor, and Bill Clinton knew all about it.
Murray Waas is not a tabloid reporter. As a Governor how can Huckabee claim that he wished he had known more? Since he was so staunchly in favor of his release---and had total access--shouldn't he have known every aspect of the case?
How is it relevant to the case who appointed the parole board? Wouldn't you think that these people would want to be in Huckabee's good graces to keep their jobs? And you make an idiotic comment about your authority over the board. You are the Governor, of course you wield power.
He used the fact that Dumond's sentence had already been commuted as another excuse. I believe it was commuted to about about 37 years. Is there anything they won't blame on Clinton?
Murray Waas also did some fact checking.
What Huckabee didn't say is that irregardless as to who appointed the parole board, it was Huckabee, not Clinton or Tucker, who advocated, lobbied, and pressured the board to parole Dumond.
Huckabee also claimed that when he lobbied the parole board in an executive session to release Dumond, he told Russert, he was only seeking that Dumond's case "be given a fair hearing," and that they, not him, raised the issue with him. The parole board members, as my story shows, claim otherwise: they told me that it was Huckabee who raised the issue with the board, and that he was a strong advocate of releasing Dumond from prison...read on