The End of Huckabee's Presidential Aspirations?

Over the weekend, Mike Huckabee suggested that he wasn't particularly interested in running for president in 2012, saying that even though he is leading in several polls, he really likes his job at Fox News:

WALLACE: Governor Huckabee, I want to show you a couple of polls that I suspect you already know about, but let’s put them up on the screen.

Seventy percent of Iowa Republicans view you favorably. That is more than any of the other mentioned likely presidential possibilities for 2012. And a national poll of Republicans last month had you in first place -- national poll -- ahead of Romney, and Palin and Gingrich.

So, Governor Huckabee, why wouldn’t you run for president in 2012?

HUCKABEE: Well, there’s obviously a lot of smart people in Iowa and the rest of the country. Let me acknowledge that. But the reason I wouldn’t is because this Fox gig I’ve got right now, Chris, is really, really wonderful.

And you know, it’s easy to say, “Oh, gee, don’t you just want to jump back in it?” But jumping into the pool -- you’ve got to make sure there’s some water in it. And there’s a whole different deal of saying some folks take a poll and whether there’s the financial support.

Howard [Dean] and I have both been there, done that. It’s a wonderful experience. But I am nowhere near ready to say that that’s what I want to do three years from now.

WALLACE: So let me ask you a silly question three years out. What do you -- would you say at this moment are the chances that you will run, 50/50, better, worse, what?

HUCKABEE: It’s hard to say. A lot of it depends on how the elections turn out next year and whether Roger Ailes continues to like my show on the weekends. And if all those things factor in, you know, it’s less likely than more likely, just because I would have to see that the Republicans would be willing to unite behind me.

The last time out, my biggest challenge was with the establishment Republicans who just never showed their support. And while I think a person can possibly win without them, the Republican Party needs to unite if it’s going to win in 2012. And anyone who thinks Barack Obama is an easy mark off, just remember Bill Clinton was just labeled politically dead and came back to win a resounding re-election in 1996.

Given the other tragic event over the weekend, it looks like Huckabee's decision about whether or not to make another run in 2012 might have been made for him:

The man whom police are seeking as a "person of interest" in the slaying of four police officers was released from an Arkansas prison nine years ago after a controversial decision by then-Gov. Mike Huckabee to commute his sentence.

Maurice Clemmons, 37, was identified late Sunday by the Pierce County Sheriff's Office as a man sought for questioning . Clemmons has pending charges in Pierce County Superior Court for second-degree child rape and third-degree assault for an attack on a police officer. He was released from custody in those cases after posting a $150,000 bond, according to the Lakewood Police Department.

Long before coming to Washington, Clemmons was serving a 35-year prison term in Arkansas for armed robbery but his sentence was commuted by then-Gov. Huckabee, who unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination in his 2008 presidential bid, according to the Arkansas Times Web site.

After his release, he committed two armed robberies and other crimes and was sentenced to 10 years, but was later paroled, according to this column in the Arkansas Leader.

HuckPAC has released this statement, saying that if Clemmons is responsible for this crime, laying that fault of the "criminal justice system": 

The senseless and savage execution of police officers in Washington State has saddened the nation, and early reports indicate that a person of interest is a repeat offender who once lived in Arkansas and was wanted on outstanding warrants here and in Washington State. The murder of any individual is a profound tragedy, but the murder of a police officer is the worst of all murders in that it is an assault on every citizen and the laws we live within.

Should he be found to be responsible for this horrible tragedy, it will be the result of a series of failures in the criminal justice system in both Arkansas and Washington State. He was recommended for and received a commutation of his original sentence from 1990, this commutation made him parole eligible and he was then paroled by the parole board once they determined he met the conditions at that time. He was arrested later for parole violation and taken back to prison to serve his full term, but prosecutors dropped the charges that would have held him. It appears that he has continued to have a string of criminal and psychotic behavior but was not kept incarcerated by either state. This is a horrible and tragic event and if found and convicted the offender should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. Our thoughts and prayers are and should be with the families of those honorable, brave, and heroic police officers.