Saturday, January 12, 2013

Obama and Lincoln? Lincoln, you say?!

It appears that President Obama will be taking the oath of office by swearing himself in on a copy of the Bible used by Abraham Lincoln, at his first inauguration ceremony (see one of many, many stories floating around on the topic here).

With this explicit invitation to compare the presidential record of President Obama to that of Abraham Lincoln, we have gathered data on individual acts of clemency from National Archives microfilm set T967 for both presidents up to January 12th of the last year, of their first term. These data thus exclude general pardons (or amnesties) and here are the results:


Pardons
Cond. Pardons
Rem. of
Fines
Respites
Comm. Sentence
Other
Total
Lincoln
305
5
25
6
3
4
349
Obama
22
0
0
0
1
0
23

We remind readers that President Lincoln was somewhat busy with the Civil War and had no Department of Justice with an Office of the Pardon Attorney and a $3 million plus budget to "process" applications. And, of course, it is the Bible which contains that witty line: "For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy" (James 2:13).

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