Thank you NEWSWEEK: Romney on Huckabee II Romney attacks Huckabee again with false and misleading claims.

False and misleading… like I’ve been saying all along. Those that want to know the truth should just see the records for themselves – and remember; visit mikehuckabee.com and click the truth-squad icon for the facts as well as factcheck.org

Hey FOXNEWS, be FAIR AND BALANCED and ask Mitt on the validation of this article.

If you’re in IOWA, please pass along to your family, friends and colleagues.

Here’s the NEWSWEEK article

by Justin Bank and Lori Robertson | factcheck.org

Romney launched another negative ad in Iowa this week, where the Republican presidential candidate has been battling the new front-runner, Huckabee. This time, Romney attacks Huckabee’s record on methamphetaminelaws and the clemencies he granted as governor of Arkansas. We found that:

The ad says Romney “got tough on drugs like meth” while governor of Massachusetts, but the legislation he supported never passed, and his state’s laws are much weaker than Arkansas’. Convicted meth dealers face both minimum and maximum prison terms in Arkansas that are four times longer than those in Massachusetts.

The ad misrepresents news articles, implying that they supported Romney’s actions as governor when that’s not what the news organizations said. One article, in fact, gave critical views of Romney’s refusal to issue a pardon.

Analysis
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney announced that the ad would begin airing in Iowa Dec. 17. It’s a sequel to an earlier Romney attack on former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee that we reviewed here, and it begins with the same misleading description of similarities between the two before going on the attack with new material.

Injecting Meth into the Campaign
The ad says Romney “got tough on drugs like meth” while Huckabee “even reduced penalties for manufacturing methamphetamine.” But wait: While Romney did submit legislation in 2005 that would have broadened state laws against meth production, such as setting sentencing guidelines for possessing various methamphetamine precursor ingredients, this effort to get “tough” failed. That bill died in committee in Jan. 2007.

The legislation Huckabee supported, meanwhile, did shorten the amount of time a convict would have to serve before being eligible for parole from 70 percent of the sentence to 50 percent. But Arkansas has strict meth laws that remain on the books, and they are far tougher than those in Massachusetts. A convicted meth dealer can be sentenced to 40 years in Arkansas, but in Massachusetts the maximum term is 10 years. The mandatory minimum in Arkansas is 10 years in prison, but it’s only a two-and-a-half-year state prison term in Massachusetts. And, in fact, the bill this ad criticizes was drafted with the help of Arkansas state prosecutors to help alleviate overcrowding problems in the state penal system.

Here are the details of the state laws: In Arkansas, offenders found guilty of intent to distribute or manufacture while in possession of less than an ounce of meth face a minimum sentence of “not less than ten (10) years nor more than forty (40) years, or life” and a fine “not exceeding twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000).” In Massachusetts, the penalty for a person convicted of manufacturing, distributing or possessing with intent to manufacture or distribute a substance that contains any quantity of methamphetamine is “a term of imprisonment in the state prison for not less than two and one-half nor more than ten years.” A fine of no more than $10,000 may be imposed as well. The legislation Romney backed would not have increased the mandatory minimum, even if it had passed.

One possible reason that Arkansas has far tougher meth laws than Massachusetts is that it has a far larger meth problem: The federal Drug Enforcement Agency counts 407 methamphetamine “lab incidents” in Arkansas in 2006, compared with only one in Massachusetts. The DEA says methamphetamine is Arkansas’ “primary drug of concern,” while in Massachusetts the drug is “available in limited quantities” and “rarely abused.” However, meth is a huge problem in Iowa, where this ad is airing. In 2006, there were 318 meth lab incidents, according to the DEA, down from a high of 1,370 in 2004. Iowa enacted a tough law in 2005 that made it illegal to sell non-prescription pseudoephedrine to a minor or to keep it anywhere but behind a pharmacy counter. Pseudophedrine is found in common over-the-counter medications such as Sudafed and has been widely used to make meth.

Print Your Own Newspaper!
The ad uses news clippings to borrow the independent credibility of newspapers and bolster Romney’s claims. However, in several instances, the ad reconstructs the words of the newspapers to distort the original reporting. For instance, it lists the Berkshire Eagle as saying “tough on drugs like meth” on Aug. 15, 2005. But the paper didn’t exactly say that. What the paper did say was:

Berkshire Eagle: Legislation filed by Gov. Mitt Romney would heighten the penalties for the possession of methamphetamine as well as toughen penalties for the possession of the chemicals used to produce it.

The newspaper is clearly reporting on the legislation filed. Romney’s ad changes the words to make it appear the newspaper is endorsing his effort. Filching the credibility of news organizations is an old trick we’ve found in past elections here, here and here.

Pardonable Offenses
In another example of skewing the news in his favor, the ad shows a June 12, 2007, Associated Press tagline under the headline “never pardoned a criminal.” But the closest the AP article comes to saying that is this:

AP: During the four years Romney was in office, 100 requests for commutations and 172 requests for pardons were filed in the state. All were denied.

The language from the ad appears nowhere in the news article, which is certainly no endorsement of Romney’s policies. It actually portrays the governor as unreasonably stubborn. The article focuses primarily on Romney’s refusal to pardon National Guard Lt. Anthony Circosta, who had been convicted of assault at age 13 for “shooting another boy in the arm with a BB gun, a shot that didn’t break the skin,” according to the AP. After returning from duty in Iraq, Circosta wanted to become a police officer but needed to have his childhood charge pardoned first. Romney refused twice, despite the recommendations of the state Board of Pardons.

We’re not passing judgment on either governors’ record on clemencies, but we take issue with Romney’s misleading attempt to claim this news article endorsed his actions. It didn’t.

Sources
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Senate bill No. 2183, “An Act to Control the Use of Methamphetamine.” 18 Aug. 2005.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Chapter 94C: Section 32A. Class B controlled substances. Accessed 18 Dec. 2007.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. Arkansas state fact sheet 2007. Updated June 2007.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. Massachusetts state fact sheet 2007. Updated June 2007.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. Iowa state fact sheet 2007. Updated June 2007.

“Meth in Iowa” fact sheet. Prepared by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute on behalf of the Midwestern Governors Association Regional Meth Summit, Dec. 2005.

Kendell, Gary W. “Methamphetamine Abuse in Iowa.” Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy, 19 Jan. 2007.

Arkansas Code (Non annotated) > Title 5 Criminal Offenses > Subtitle 6. Offenses Against Public Health, Safety, Or Welfare > Chapter 64 Controlled Substances > Subchapter 4 — Uniform Controlled Substances Act — Prohibitions and Penalties > 5-64-401. Criminal penalties.

Arvidson, Erik, “Romney acts to boost meth penalties,” The Berkshire Eagle (Pittsfield, MA). 15 Aug 2005.

LeBlanc, Steve, “As governor, Romney opposed pardons, a blanket policy challenged by case of Iraq war veteran,” AP. 12 June 2007.

Robinson, David and Thompson, Doug, “House approves repeal of 70-percent law for meth producers,” Arkansas News Bureau. 9 Mar 2005.

Republished with permission of FactCheck.org .

Truth Squad: Former Huckabee Aide Denounces Huffpo Distortion

FORMER HUCKABEE AIDE DENOUNCES HUFFPO DISTORTION;
Corroborates Huckabee Account of Disputed Meeting:

“He was not trying to influence the Board”

(In addition to this rebuttal to the Huffington Post article, see the comment from Miranda who was living in Arkansas at the time – click here to read the post and comment)

 

A report on the left-wing blog, The Huffington Post makes allegations against Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee that are inaccurate and distort the truth. According to the HuffPo article, Olan W. “Butch” Reeves, a former senior aide of former Governor Mike Huckabee, “directly contradicts” the Governor’s account of a meeting between himself and the Arkansas state parole board that took place on October 31, 1996.

In fact, Mr. Reeves completely corrobates Mr. Huckabee’s account of the meeting.

As background to the controversy, in 1985, Wayne DuMond was convicted of raping Ashley Stephens and was sentenced to life in prison. Subsequently, in 1992 then-Governor of Arkansas, Jim Guy Tucker granted executive clemency for DuMond which commuted his sentence to 39.5 years. This act made DuMond immediately eligible for parole.

In 1996, Mike Huckabee became Governor of Arkansas. That August the Post Prison Transfer Board reviewed a request for a pardon from DuMond and decided to recommend to the Governor that the request had “no merit.” That decision was sent to the Governor. The Board’s decision is a recommendation and not binding on the Governor.

When the Governor received the file with the recommendation from the Board, his review of the case led him to issue an “intent to grant” the clemency. There then followed a mandatory period for the Governor to receive comments from the public. The DuMond case was very controversial and the Governor received many comments, both supporting and opposing his consideration of a pardon.

During this time period, the Board – which was composed entirely of Democrats appointed either by Bill Clinton, or Jim Guy Tucker — issued an invitation to the new Republican Governor to come to a meeting to become acquainted and discuss his philosophy of clemency.

Please note a crucial distinction: clemency (or pardon) is separate and distinct from parole. Only the Governor can grant clemency or pardon; the Parole Board reviews and grants parole. The Governor is not involved in parole decisions.

It is this October ’96 meeting which is now the focus of attention. One of the Board members, Charles Chastain, is now alleging publicly that the Governor used that meeting to pressure the Board to grant DuMond parole.

In fact, just the opposite is true: Mr. Chastain attempted to dissuade Governor Huckabee from his intent to grant clemency to DuMond.

“They are saying that the Governor was trying to persuade them to grant parole,” said Reeves, “it was the other way around, they were trying to persuade him not to grant clemency.”

At the time Mr. Reeves served as chief counsel to the Governor and attended the October meeting with Governor Huckabee in his official capacity.

Mr. Reeves asserts categorically that parole for DuMond was “never mentioned” during the meeting. (“I told this guy [Waas], that’s not why we had that meeting.”) The quotes attributed to Reeves in The Huffington Post article, authored by Murray Waas, all relate to a conversation which was about Governor Huckabee’s stated intention to grant DuMond clemency.

This is a very simple distinction that Waas fails to make. The context of the discussion that occurred – and Governor Huckabee has not denied that a discussion occurred – was the question of whether or not Governor Huckabee would grant clemency, not whether or not the Board would grant parole. The Board’s decision had already been made and their recommendation was already on the Governor’s desk.

In the midst of a general discussion about the Governor’s general philosophy related to clemency, one of the Board members asked the Governor about the DuMond case and his intention to grant clemency (which was public knowledge due to the notice of intent.)

The Governor responded by stating that he believed the facts warranted his decision to initiate a notice of intent. As has been reported, he added that he believed DuMond had gotten a bad deal from the justice system. (This goes to the stated purpose of the meeting which was for the Governor to communicate to the Board his clemency philosophy.) Note that this does parallel the quotes attributed to Reeves by Waas in the Huffington Post:

“But, according to Reeves, Huckabee actually told the parole board members that the prison sentence meted out to Dumond for his rape conviction was “outlandish” and “way out of bounds for his crime.”

Again, the Governor made these comments to explain his position on the clemency request, not to persuade the Board to grant parole. The Board had already decided against parole. “Parole was not an issue; it didn’t come up,” said Reeves.

In response to the Governor’s explanation of why he intended to grant DuMond clemency, Chastain then stated why he was against it. The Governor, according to Reeves replied, “Well, okay, it’s a difference of opinion.” And the discussion ended.

The Huffington Post article asserts that the Reeves account contradicts the Governor’s version when, in fact, everything Mr. Reeves describes corroborates Governor Huckabee’s statement on the issue, as quoted by Waas:

“This stands in stark contrast to Huckabee’s assertion, repeated at a press conference today that he “did not ask [the board] to do anything.” When asked directly about trying to influence the board, Huckabee responded: “No. I did not. Let me categorically say that I did not.”
“He never mentioned parole at that meeting,” says Mr. Reeves. “The Governor was talking about clemency.”

On January 16, 1997 the Board took up a reconsideration of DuMond’s parole request and voted to grant parole with the stipulation that DuMond be paroled out of state.

The vote was as follows:
4 members voted yes. LeRoy Brownlee, Chairman; Fred Allen, Jr.; Ermer Poindexter; Railey Steele;
1 voted no. Dr. Charles Chastain.
There were 2 abstentions. Deborah Suttler and August Pieroni.

That same afternoon the Governor denied the clemency request. He sent a letter to DuMond that has been widely reported saying, (excerpted):
“Dear Wayne, I have reviewed your applications for executive clemency, specifically a commutation and/or pardon. … My desire is that you be released from prison. I feel now that parole is the best way for your reintegration into society. … Therefore, after careful consideration … I have denied your applications.”
The Governor’s approach to the DuMond case has been consistent. As he expressed in the letter, he did believe that DuMond should be released from prison. However, he denied clemency/pardon FOUR TIMES. Even after the Board granted parole with the out-of-state stipulation, Governor Huckabee denied two subsequent clemency requests. DuMond could not find a state which would take him, so he remained in prison for TWO MORE YEARS. It was during this time that the Governor continued to deny him clemency.

If the Governor was actively seeking to release DuMond, he could have easily done so by granting him clemency. He did not do so.

Finally, September 16, 1999 the Board, during a regular progress report on DuMond, dropped the out-of state condition for parole. The Governor took no action to promote this decision and did not know it was coming.

In October of that year, DuMond was released.

 

Truth Squad: Governor Huckabee’s Response to the Wayne Dumond Incident

Nothing but the facts please Governor, nothing but the facts.

December 05, 2007

This is the transcript from his answer at the press conference today on the Wayne Dumond Case.

Governor Huckabee was asked if he had pressured the parole board to release Dumond.

Governor Huckabee: No. I did not. Let me categorically say that I did not. And it’s really interesting, if people want to really look into that record. Here’s the chronology, and here’s the timeline. I’m going to try to do it as briefly as I can, because it’s been delved into repeatedly, normally during an election year.

In 1992, Bill Clinton was governor; Jim Guy Tucker was Lieutenant Governor. And during Bill Clinton’s governorship, while he was campaigning for president, Jim Guy Tucker signed the papers to commute the sentence of Wayne DuMond to parole eligibility. That’s what made him parole eligible in 1992.

He had been convicted of rape in Forest City Arkansas, during time of awaiting trial, he was hogtied and castrated; his testicles were later placed in a jar on the desk of a sherriff.
It was a brutal, amazingly, just, complicated case. There were all kinds of questions about the case. Many stories were written; I am sure you can Google all the way back to the 1980s and get more information than you even want on the case. For reasons Bill Clinton and Jim Guy Tucker would have to answer, not me, the sentence was commuted in 1992.
I was not elected to anything at that time; I was a candidate for the United States Senate. I was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1993; in 1996, Wayne DuMond had requested another commutation for time served because the parole board had not granted parole even though he was parole eligible.

Let me make it clear, governors in Arkansas cannot parole anybody. The parole process is separated from governor; the governor can commute a sentence to make it parole eligible. The actual parole is handled completely separate from the governor. Jim Guy Tucker had been convicted of Whitewater related felonies, he resigned. When I came into office in July, the file of Wayne DuMond was on my desk and was transferred to me having been sat there for several months prior to my coming of office.

That request for commutation to time served awaited me. I originally considered it, indicated even an intention I that might grant it. There was and incredible outcry over that, I ultimately requested to deny it. Primarily for the reason I believed there needed to be some supervision; I was not completely confident that it would be appropriate for him to get out without supervision. He had a unblemished prison record – an exemplary record in terms of getting along as an inmate. He had met all the qualifications for being paroled, including having a job lined up, a sponsor with a church I think in Houston, TX, originally.

I chose ultimately not to pardon him. I made a visit to the parole board early in my tenure as a governor at the request of chairman, because you gotta remember, every member of that parole board had been appointed by Jim Guy Tucker or Bill Clinton. Not one of them appointed by me. I’m a new Republican governor, they’d never seen one. I think they had real concern on how to interrelate or how to relate to me. And what kind of attitude I had in general to crime, attitude, parole, etc. So at their invitation, I went to the meeting; someone brought up this case.

Frankly, it was simply part of a broader discussion; I did not ask them to do anything. I did indicate it was sitting at my desk; and I was giving thought to it. But this was probably in, I’m thinking maybe September or October when that meeting was held; I can’t remember exactly. The parole board, the following year, early 97 approved his parole plan after I had denied the further commutation.

Subsequent to that, he…I can’t remember exactly the timing, he left there, went to MO, unfortunately was later convicted for the murder of one woman and awaiting trial for the murder of another when he died in prison.

It was a horrible situation, horrible, I feel awful about it in every way. I wish that there was some way I could go back and reverse the clock and put him back in prison. But nobody, not me, not Jim Guy Tucker, not Bill Clinton, not that parole board, could ever imagine what might have transpired.

For people to say that I was responsible in getting him out makes a few presumptions

Number one, it presumes, I had an influence on Bill Clinton and Jim Guy Tucker in 1992. The second presumption, it assumes I had the amazing persuasive power to go into a board of seven people, all of them appointed by Democratic governors before me and persuade them to do something they didn’t wish to do.

It also assumes that, not only did I have that power, but that only two of them changed story about what happened and they didn’t do so until 6 years later when we were in the middle of an election year. And after, and subsequent to the fact that I had not reappointed them to their $75,000 jobs on the parole board.

Now if you can follow that line and believe that I am solely responsible, then you’ll believe that. But you’ll believe a lot of other things as well. I am deeply sorry, and I mean, awfully, just horrified of what happened to (inaudible). And there is not a single person that will ever bring those women back to their families. But that’s the story, that’s what happened.

And yes it will come up in the presidential campaign. It came up in my governor’s campaign. There will be people who are victims who will probably be brought forth to make statements but, you know, I can’t fix it. I can only tell the truth and let the truth be my judge.