Posted by: spacewritinguy | January 19, 2009

Pardon Me?

Here’s an interesting set of stats on Bush compared to Clinton:

During his presidency, Bush has granted a total of 189 pardons and 11 commutations. That’s fewer than half as many as Presidents Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan issued during their two-term tenures. Bush technically has until noon on Tuesday when President-elect Barack Obama is sworn into office to exercise his executive pardon authority, but presidential advisers said no more were forthcoming.

In an earlier high-profile official act of forgiveness, Bush saved Vice President Dick Cheney‘s former chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, from serving prison time in the case of the 2003 leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity. Libby was convicted of perjury and obstructing justice. Bush could still grant him a full pardon, although Libby has not applied for one.

Clinton issued a total of 457 pardons or commutations in eight years in office. Bush’s father, George H. W. Bush, issued 77 in four years. Reagan issued 406 in eight years, and President Jimmy Carter issued 563 in four years. Since World War II, the largest number of pardons and commutations — 2,031 — came from President Harry Truman, who served 82 days short of eight years.

Here are some more interesting statistics:

January 1933
Unemployment Rate*: 24.9 percent
President: Franklin D. Roosevelt
(* From the FDR Library. All other stats from the Dept. of Labor.)

President: Harry S. Truman
Starting Unemployment Rate (first full term, January 1949): 4.3 percent
High: 7.9 percent
Low: 2.7 percent
Finishing (December 1952): 2.7 percent

President: Dwight D. Eisenhower
Starting Unemployment Rate: 2.9 percent
High: 7.5 percent
Low: 2.5 percent
Finishing: 6.6 percent

President: John F. Kennedy
Starting Unemployment Rate: 6.6 percent
High: 7.1 percent
Low: 5.4 percent
Finishing (November 1963): 5.7 percent

President: Lyndon B. Johnson
Starting Unemployment Rate: 5.5 percent
High: 5.6 percent
Low: 3.4 percent
Finishing: 3.4 percent

President Richard M. Nixon
Starting Unemployment Rate: 3.4 percent
High: 6.1 percent
Low: 3.4 percent
Finishing (August 1974): 5.5 percent

President: Gerald R. Ford
Starting Unemployment Rate: 5.9 percent
High: 9.0 percent
Low: 5.9 percent
Finishing: 7.8 percent

President: James E. Carter
Starting Unemployment Rate: 7.5 percent
High: 7.5 percent
Low: 5.8 percent
Finishing: 7.2 percent

President: Ronald W. Reagan
Starting Unemployment Rate: 7.5 percent
High: 10.8 percent
Low: 5.3 percent
Finishing: 5.3 percent

President: George H. W. Bush
Starting Unemployment Rate: 5.4 percent
High: 7.8 percent
Low: 5.0 percent
Finishing: 7.4 percent

President: William J. B. Clinton
Starting Unemployment Rate: 7.3 percent
High: 7.4 percent
Low: 3.8 percent
Finishing: 3.9 percent

President: George W. Bush
Starting Unemployment Rate: 4.2 percent
High: 7.2 percent
Low: 4.2 percent
Finishing: 7.2 percent

The table looks like this:

  HST DDE JFK LBJ RMN GRF JEC RWR GHWB WJBC GWB
Starting 4.3 2.9 6.6 5.5 3.4 5.9 7.5 7.5 5.4 7.3 4.2
High 7.9 7.5 7.1 5.6 6.1 9 7.5 10.8 7.8 7.4 7.2
Low 2.7 2.5 5.4 3.4 3.4 5.9 5.8 5.3 5 3.8 4.2
Finishing 2.7 6.6 5.7 3.4 5.5 7.8 7.2 5.3 7.4 3.9 7.2
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