Why Bush Let Scooter Skate

President, 'liberated' by his unpopularity, acted unilaterally
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2007 5:58 AM CDT
President Bush, and first lady Laura Bush, leave Marine One upon their arrival on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, July 2, 2007. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – President Bush's dwindling popularity played a major role in his decision to commute the prison sentence for Scooter Libby, according to the Times. The ostracized president had little left to lose by saving Libby from prison and, in the words of one Republican observer, knew he was "going to get hammered no matter what."

The LA Times disagrees: Bush had a lot to gain in a conservative base personally friendly with Libby, they argue. And a familiar chorus is lining up against the president nonetheless: Nancy Pelosi called the decision "a betrayal of trust of the American people" and Howard Dean termed it a "get out of jail free card." WaPo, meanwhile, reports that the Decider made the choice almost entirely alone.