Tough Call

Obama's Death Penalty Challenge

How long until Barack Obama has to make a decision about the death penalty? Could be a matter of months, according to Politico’s Josh Gerstein. Today, 55 men and two women sit on federal death row, and a case involving six of those individuals is pending in a Washington court. George W. Bush presided over 152 executions as governor of Texas and three as president. Bill Clinton oversaw four executions as governor of Arkansas but none as president, twice postponing executions in his final months in office. While writing in his book, The Audacity of Hope that he believed the death penalty was not a deterrent to crime, Obama campaigned in favor of its use in cases of “heinous crimes.” As president, Obama has remained silent on the issue.