Pardon Me

The Boston Globe ran a piece today on the man at the center of the pardon case that has injected itself into the tiff between Huckabee and Romney, both of whom are running neck and neck in the latest Iowa polls.

Mike Huckabee (AP)

The case concerns Anthony Circosta, an Iraq War veteran denied a pardon in 2004 by then Governor Romney. In 1991, a 13-year-old Circosta was convicted for the BB gun shooting of a classmate that left the victim with little more than a bruised shoulder, but was nonetheless a felony because the assault was committed with a firearm.

Years later Circosta, considering a law enforcement position, sought to have the conviction expunged so he could apply for a gun permit.

Huckabee glommed onto the Circosta case in response to Romney blasting the 1,033 pardons and/or commutations Huckabee handed out as governor of Arkansas.

Take this Romney ad for example:

The Globe says that Huckabee cites Circosta as further evidence of Romney's "cold hearted" political calculus: his GOP rival refused to pardon an Iraq War veteran for a youthful indiscretion simply so he could one day boast "'he never, ever gave out a pardon' when he ran for president."

And as TPM points out the Baptist preacher's seemingly politically counterintuitive message concerning pardons may yet resonate with some conservative voters, or at the very least least distract from the more problematic cases. For his part Circosta is not saying anything, but as The Globe observes "he is becoming a symbol among Iowa Republicans. With Huckabee and Romney virtually tied in the polls, the fight over their sharply contrasting pardon records has emerged as a telling reflection of their characters."


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