The Corner

Obama on the Death Penalty

I don’t think Obama’s position is all that muddled, Kathryn. (It isn’t mine, of course; like you, I oppose capital punishment.) Keep in mind that the context for several of the Obama statements listed on that page was the death penalty in Illinois. I don’t believe that the death penalty has been “unreliable,” as Obama puts it, nationally. But it certainly has been in Illinois, and it would not have been unreasonable for someone who supported the death penalty in general to withhold support for it until reforms were implemented.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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