The Huckabee camp is trying to do damage control re Wayne DuMond, as in this letter at Time in which Olan “Butch” Reeves attempts to clarify the Huffington Post’s interpretation of his statements:
In fact, Mr. Reeves completely corrobates Mr. Huckabee’s account of the meeting.
“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.
“He never mentioned parole at that meeting,” says Mr. Reeves. “The Governor was talking about clemency.”
This helps mitigate, somewhat, the accusation that Huckabee had coerced the parole board into granting DuMond parole. At least his own people are corroborating his account of events.
Still, something about this matter isn’t sitting right with me. Perhaps it is because all of those accusing Huckabee are from the Democratic side of the aisle, recipients of patronage from Huckabee’s past opponents. That does not seemly likely to me, although it’s more than possible.
Or perhaps it’s because what the HuffPo calls a right wing tabloid campaign to release DuMond consists largely of drivel like this and this. Tabloid, certainly. Christian, Religious Right, or conservative? Um, no. Certainly events have proven those who championed Wayne DuMond were fools, as most of those who sympathize with violent criminals are.
But ultimately I think my unease is caused by the fact that Huckabee intended to release DuMond one way or another. That decision was a colossal mistake that cost two women their dignity and their lives.
The only up side to the DuMond case is that Huckabee must have learned a hard – and important – lesson about interfering in matters in which other people have greater expertise and knowledge.
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.
I am deeply sorry, and I mean, awfully, just horrified of what happened. 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.
Interestingly – and speaking of deferring to those who have the closest knowledge of individuals – a new Rasmussen poll shows that voters from Arkansas prefer Huckabee over Hillary Clinton 48% to 42% and that they expect him to win the Republican nomination.
That certainly counts for something, no?