Hillary commutes her views on Libby

Two weeks after dodging questions about a Libby pardon, Sen. Clinton comes out swinging in Des Moines.

Published July 3, 2007 4:38AM (EDT)

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Several weeks ago, Sen. Hillary Clinton dodged a direct question about whether or not she would support the pardon of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the assistant to Vice President Dick Cheney who was convicted of perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements. "I would think there would be enough to be said about this without me adding to it," she said at a union-sponsored candidate forum on June 20. Why dodge the question? Perhaps, she did not want to get drawn into a debate about the controversial pardon record of her husband who let off Marc Rich, the fugitive ex-husband of a major campaign contributor, not to mention a Tennessee couple with financial ties to Hillary Clinton's brother, Tony Rodham.

On Monday night, however, Clinton was singing an entirely different tune at a rally in Des Moines. "You heard what the president did today, didn't you?" she asked more than a thousand people, referring to the president's afternoon commutation of Libby's sentence.

"Now as I recall the president said, if anybody in his White House were found to have any part in disclosing the identity of Valerie Plame they would be fired. Well, apparently that is another one of those statements by the president that just doesn't hold up, does it? And what we saw today was elevating cronyism over the rule of law. And what we saw today was further evidence that this administration has no regard whatsoever for what needs to be held sacred. And when I am president we are going to get back to cherishing the Constitution, upholding the rule of law and putting forth the best values of America for the entire world to see again."

She did not take questions after the event, so no one could ask if she thought her husband's pardons all met that same "sacred" test.

By Michael Scherer

Michael Scherer is Salon's Washington correspondent. Read his other articles here.

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