Republican audience members at the GOP debate Wednesday night cheered and applauded upon hearing the news that Rick Perry had executed 234 people in Texas as Governor. Talking Points Memo described the outburst as “probably the largest applause of the night, swelling in the Regan Library’s now-familiar pavilion featuring the Gipper’s Air Force One.”
As you can hear on this video, moderator Brian Williams says, “Governor Perry, a question about Texas. Your state has executed 234 death row inmates, more than any other governor in modern times. Have you…,” at which point he is interrupted but he cheers and applause of the audience.
Talking Points Memo adds:
Asked in the debate tonight if the final say over 234 lives on death row had ever given him pause, Perry was unequivocal.
“No, sir. I’ve never struggled with that at all,” he said. “The state of Texas has a very thoughtful, a very clear process in place of which — when someone commits the most heinous of crimes against our citizens, they get a fair hearing, they go through an appellate process, they go up to the Supreme Court of the United States, if that’s required.”
Texas justice is certainly popular among the GOP electorate, and the idea of the least squeamish governor of them all most likely turns on more Republicans than it turns off. Perry sure seems to think so.
“What do you make of that dynamic that just happened here?” Williams asked. “The mention of the execution of 234 people drew applause?”
“I think Americans understand justice,” Perry replied.
Jason Linkins at The Huffington Post writes,
Brian Williams becomes the next reporter to almost, but not quite, hold Rick Perry to account for the execution of Cameron Todd Willingham. During the GOP debate Wednesday night, Williams asked without naming Willingham, or going at Perry armed with the science that undermined the prosecution’s case.
For what it’s worth, here’s an article from the Houston Chronicle, Oct. 27, 2010:
After 18 years of incarceration and countless protestations of innocence, Anthony Graves finally got a nod of approval from the one person who mattered Wednesday and at last returned home — free from charges that he participated in the butchery of a family in Somerville he did not know and free of the possibility that he would have to answer for them with his life.The district attorney for Washington and Burleson counties, Bill Parham, gave Graves his release. The prosecutor filed a motion to dismiss charges that had sent Graves to Texas’ death row for most of his adult life. Graves returned to his mother’s home in Brenham no longer the “cold-blooded killer,” so characterized by the prosecutor who first tried him, but as another exonerated inmate who even in the joy of redemption will face the daunting prospect of reassembling the pieces of a shattered life.
“He’s an innocent man,” Parham said, noting that his office investigated the case for five months. “There is nothing that connects Anthony Graves to this crime. I did what I did because that’s the right thing to do.”
It’s worth worrying about!
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