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Jennifer Rubin misrepresents Newt’s position on Pollard clemency

Jennifer Rubin misrepresents Newt’s position on Pollard clemency

Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post has a post today in which she contrasts Mitt Romney’s non-pandering to the Jewish community with Newt Gingrich’s supposed pandering.

She highlights Jonathan Pollard, an American convicted of spying for Israel, and whether he should be granted clemency.  She quotes Romney as saying:

On the topic of [Jonathan] Pollard, Romney said that he “was open to examining” the issue, but stopped short of saying that he would free the spy from federal prison, the source said.

She contrasts that non-pandering position with Newt’s supposed rash and pandering position (emphasis mine):

On Pollard, there is a great deal of classified material that would need to be examined and a complex set of considerations on U.S.-Israel relations before a president rendered a decision. Some prominent figures on both sides of the aisle have urged President Obama to take action. But for Romney, making a snap decision, or saying as Gingrich did, that he’s largely made up his mind, would be rash. As with any pardon, it’s unwise and vaguely inappropriate for a presidential candidate to make promises.

There is just one problem with Rubin’s point.  Newt has not said that he has largely made up his mind and insists on a thorough review and understanding of defense department objections.

Here’s the full transcript of the Pollard discussion from Newt’s interview with Wolf Blitzer:

BLITZER:  If the prime minister of Israel were to say to you as president, please free Jonathan Pollard, the convicted Israeli spy, what would you say?

GINGRICH:  I will say as a candidate that I want a thorough review of — because every secretary of defense in both parties, I believe, has said no.  And I want to thoroughly understand why they have said that.

BLITZER:  You haven’t looked into it at this point?

GINGRICH:  There are secrecy things involved here that I frankly don’t — and I want to have access to as a candidate, and I don’t think it’s necessarily appropriate to have access to it.  But I am very cautious about what position I would take on that.  I am prepared to say my bias is towards clemency, and I would like to review it.  He’s been in a very long time.  But we are pretty tough about people spying on the United States.  And I also have a study under way to compare his sentence with comparable people who have been sentenced for very long sentences for comparable deeds.

Rubin is entitled, as they say, to her own opinions but not her own facts.

Update:  It gets even worse.  In the same post Rubin lambasts Newt for saying he would move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem (a fairly standard pro-Israel position), but as pointed out by Jonathan Chait in New York Magazine, that has been Rubin’s position as well:

Wait. Seriously? Rubin is against candidates posturing in favor of moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem? Here she is last year praising the Jerusalem Embassy Act, and lauding Marco Rubio for pledging to move the embassy to Jerusalem. Oh, and you can read her here, here and here writing approvingly of the movement to pardon Pollard. You can only imagine how she would have responded if, in 2008, Obama had given the same remarks Romney made yesterday. How much more will the GOP contenders torture Rubin?


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Why does it matter what Rubin writes? Do you think she will influence even 1 vote in the GOP nomination process?

Just ignore her

Ah, but there are people who vote who will believe her. We are dealing with a river of misinformation.

It must be true! It was in the newspaper!

Again, clearly Gingrich was fully aware of the issue. His answer reveals that he knows everything about it that we could expect a candidate to know.

Romney’s “open to examining” tells us nothing. He may know, or he may well haven’t the slightest clue. Its an answer designed to conceal his ignorance.

I’ve yet to see Gingrich stumped on any issue. He never needs to BS an answer, or, as Cain did, take a minute to collect his thoughts and then ask his interviewer to clarify the question so he could base his answer on what he could learn in that moment from the question.

    Tamminator in reply to Aarradin. | December 20, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Great catch, Aarradin. You seem to be an expert on debate. I focus my expertise on body language. Gingrich is rock solid in both his debating skills and body language.

    Again, I’m not endorsing Newt. Yet. But he truly is a master in regard to his communication skills.

Pardon Pollard? You must be kidding. Find a deeper hole in which to lock him away? That’s more like it.

[…] Waters did, then you have reached a point where you are no longer a viable “journalist” but a hack. Both of them have begun to do nothing but vomit words of bile spewed at Newt […]