President-elect Barack Obama is steering clear of the heated debate over whether former Governor George Ryan should receive a pardon or some other form of clemency from President Bush, Greg Hinz reports in Crain's Chicago Business:
A one-sentence statement, released midday Wednesday after repeated media inquiries, said: "As the incoming president, he doesn't feel it appropriate to involve himself in pardon and commutation decisions at this time."
Earlier in the day, Obama aides had indicated a statement on the Ryan matter was coming, but wouldn't tip their hand as to the contents.
The issue has been a hot topic since Senator Dick Durbin said last week that he was considering asking President Bush to commute Ryan's six-and-a-half-year racketeering sentence. On Monday, Durbin released the letter he sent to President Bush making his request official.