With 152 executions under his belt as Governor of Texas; should we be really be surprised to learn that during a 1999 Talk Magazine interview, our President, then Governor, mocked a woman after he condemned her to death? Puckering his lips, feminizing his eyes, and letting out in a desperate squeak, “please don't kill me!"
Not the words of a nefarious cartoon villain, but the words of our President. It was during his time as Governor; George Bush executed more prisoners than any governor in U.S. history, averaging 1 execution every nine days, with as many as 7 executions per month, and occasionally 2 executions per day. These statistics put whole countries to shame. George Bush executed the first woman in Texas since the 1860’s, executed the mentally ill, the mentally retarded, the rehabilitated, and statistically 9 innocent people.
It was during a 1999 interview with CNN correspondent, Tucker Carlson, when Bush decided to publicly humiliate a woman after refusing her request for a 30-day stay of execution and condemning her to death. There was public outcry to save the life of Karla Faye Tucker, who during her 14 years of imprisonment, found God, became the leader of a prison ministry, and by all outward appearances seemed rehabilitated. With incoming pleas for clemency from Pope John Paul and the world community as a whole, it was outrageous that Bush should so quickly discount world opinion and put the woman to death.
The very essence of prison is rehabilitation, so why spend 14 years and taxpayer money to rehabilitate an inmate, just to put them to death? This is not a question of pro or anti-death penalty; it’s more a question of logic, a question of humanity. Did Karla Tucker deserve to die? I don’t know. But I do know the spirit of justice should look upon the past, rise above quick judgment and cruelty, and objectively balance wrong with right.
"Devil May Care"
Talk Magazine, 9/99
Bush's brand of forthright tough-guy populism can be appealing, and it has played well in Texas. Yet occasionally there are flashes of meanness visible beneath it.
While driving back from the speech later that day, Bush mentions Karla Faye Tucker, a double murderer who was executed in Texas last year. In the weeks before the execution, Bush says, Bianca Jagger and a number of other protesters came to Austin to demand clemency for Tucker. 'Did you meet with any of them?' I ask.
Bush whips around and stares at me. 'No, I didn't meet with any of them,' he snaps, as though I've just asked the dumbest, most offensive question ever posed. 'I didn't meet with Larry King either when he came down for it. I watched his interview with [Tucker], though. He asked her real difficult questions, like 'What would you say to Governor Bush?' 'What was her answer?' I wonder.
'Please,' Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, 'don't kill me.'
I must look shocked -- ridiculing the pleas of a condemned prisoner who has since been executed seems odd and cruel, even for someone as militantly anticrime as Bush -- because he immediately stops smirking.
'It's tough stuff,' Bush says, suddenly somber, 'but my job is to enforce the law.' As it turns out, the Larry King-Karla Faye Tucker exchange Bush recounted never took place, at least not on television. During her interview with King, however, Tucker did imply that Bush was succumbing to election-year pressure from pro-death penalty voters. Apparently Bush never forgot it. He has a long memory for slights.”