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Obama Stingiest with Pardons in Over a Century

President Obama has granted the least number of pardons of any president in more than 100 years – even on annualized basis – issuing only 39 pardons in just over four years in office. He’s pardoned far fewer criminals than Richard Nixon or Ronald Reagan, Republican presidents Obama’s liberal allies like to tout as among the least compassionate.

Before last Friday, when Obama pardoned 17 convicted felons, he had only doled out 22 grants of clemency during his entire first term.

I forget, but I don't forgive. Photo by Keith KofflerI forget, but I don’t forgive.
Photo by Keith Koffler

According to Justice Department records, no president since before William MicKinley even comes close to Obama’s record of hard heartedness, except for the Bushes. George H.W. Bush granted clemency to only 74 people during his single term in office and George W. Bush, to whom Obama hates to be compared, doled out a mere 189 pardons over two terms.

By contrast, Richard Nixon granted 863 petitions for pardon in just five and a half years as president and Ronald Reagan granted 393 over his eight years. Bill Clinton pardoned 396 while Jimmy Carter pardoned 534.

Obama has received 1,351 petitions for pardon and nearly 7,000 requests for sentence commutations, which would reduce the length of time people currently in jail must serve. He has granted only one commutation.

What’s more, many of his pardons have gone to those with minor offenses, avoiding the legally and politically tricky cases that could forgive or limit the incarceration people who have received controversial sentences for serious offenses or who worked hard to turn their lives around after committing bad crimes.

Assuming that Obama isn’t really a law and order tough guy who bears no compassion toward convicts who have more than paid their debt to society, it’s possible the president has been stingy because he didn’t want to give Republicans ammunition for political attacks, particularly before being reelected. That would suggest he may grant more pardons during his second term.

But there’s another possibility that bodes poorly for felons seeking forgiveness: That the president who savors his vacations, is not known for long workdays, golfs every chance he gets and admits “there’s a laziness in me” hasn’t gotten around to reviewing many petitions.

17 Responses to Obama Stingiest with Pardons in Over a Century

  1. 1) a man who presumably embodies perfection has little acquaintance with “I beg your pardon”.

    2) a man who built his career on “Present” thinks that those who passed a different set of bars should be confident with the same status.

    3) a man who is a long range planner may consider it prudent to hang on to the bulk of the “get out of jail free” cards for himself.

    • sorry: # 2 should be “content” with the same status. (I should have had Mr. Holder review the post before hitting “submit”).

  2. If we’re only counting the “official” pardons, then yes, he’s being tough on criminals.
    However, if we count the passes on prosecution of various political groups, of terrorizing mobs, and the release of thousands of criminal illegal aliens or the refusal to prosecute any illegal alien, the numbers soar to millions of lawbreakers that have a free pass for their crimes from Obama’s administration. In some cases, MrObama wishes to reward certain criminals for their actions. .

  3. Guys – I think you are missing the point. The president is far too busy to be reviewing these requests. Just look at his daily schedules. Where do you expect him to fit this in AND run the country?

  4. I am shocked.

    There are so many 60’s terrorists, neo-Marxist thugs, Black Panthers and Ayers acolytes to pardon that Mr Obama’s outbox should have been full of release slips by now.

    This speaks volumes about Obama’s stingyness. Pardons are nothing more than the government weilding mercy toward a condemned felon. They may be as evil as Barnabas or have been caught up in events where a pardon would right a wrong that was never caught during jurisprudence. Obama’s lack of use of a /proper/ pardon simply shows him to be a tight-wad with the very principle of mercy that government should exercise, but for which the exercisee knoweth not.

    Obama still has four more years to do so, but knowing his insularness and downright bigoted disposition, I doubt he’ll make much use of it.

    No wait: Tony Rezco. Yes, he’ll pardon Mr. Rezco.

  5. Keith Keith KEITH Keith Keith…you know better than to call Obama lazy! that’s a dog-whistle word that actually means “conservatives hate black people.”

    oh sure, you’ll say you’re just quoting Obama himself, but that won’t get you a pass from Matthews or Sharpton or the other intellectual giants on the Left. Roger Ailes and others who have referred to this same quote have already been accused of racism.

    so please: try to limit your use of racially charged terms like “lazy,” “apartment,” and “Chicago”–we wouldn’t want to offend anyone.

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