Yesterday, despite overwhelming public opposition, President Bush commuted the sentence of Scooter Libby, the former White House Chief of Staff to Vice President Cheney who was convicted by a jury of lying about a matter of national security. As yet another example of the elitist attitude that defines Republicans in Washington, he shamelessly put partisan loyalties before the fundamental American value of fair and equal justice under the law.

Bush doesn’t care that Libby was convicted by a jury of his peers and sentenced by an experienced federal judge, and he doesn’t care that Libby’s sentence was well within the sentencing guidelines set by Congress. He once again ignored over 70% of the American public and disregarded the legal process — this time to help someone who has friends in the right places.

Rudy Giuliani, who brags of being tough on crime, prosecuted perjury cases as a lawyer and wanted mandatory sentences on people who commit perjury. But yesterday he went out of his way to support Scooter Libby, saying “I believe the decision was correct.” In an interview with the Wall Street Journal editorial board he offered what they said “sounds an awful lot like an argument for a pardon,” and said “I think the option the president really has is commutation.”

Mitt Romney never granted a pardon, even for the most trivial offense. But when asked if he would consider pardoning Scooter Libby, Mitt Romney said “It’s worth looking at that. I will study it very closely if I’m lucky enough to be president. And I’d keep that option open.” Yesterday he blamed the prosecutor and completely ignored the jury, saying that “the prosecutor knew that there had not been a crime committed.”

Howard Dean

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