Yesterday's steep sentence for Scooter Libby is forcing Bush's hand on a possible pardon for the convicted perjurer. Judge Reggie Walton probably won't let Cheney's former chief of staff remain free pending appeals, WaPo reports, so the president is short on time if he wants to spare a close and popular ally a prison stay.
The White House, already beset by charges of cronyism, has only made temporary promises that the president "is not going to intervene." But pressure is mounting from neocons to spend Bush's paltry political capital to save Libby. Meanwhile, the topic is so touchy that West Wingers have been briefed not to bring it up.