President Bush commuted the jail term of Lewis “Scooter” Libby, convicted over a CIA-leak case, on Monday.
White House spokesman Tony Snow accused the Clintons of “chutzpah” – Yiddish for brashness – in criticising Mr Bush.
President Clinton issued 140 pardons on his final day in office, including one for fugitive financier Marc Rich.
Mr Bush commuted the 30-month prison sentence but left in place a $250,000 (Â£124,000) fine, which Libby paid on Thursday, and a two-year “supervised release”, or probation, period. He has refused to rule out a full pardon for Libby.
The White House’s accusation of hypocrisy against the former president and first lady followed a radio interview in which Mr Clinton said the Bush administration viewed the law as a “minor obstacle”.
Mr Clinton, from the state of Arkansas, also rejected comparisons with his own controversial granting of pardons, saying “the facts were different”.
Mrs Clinton, a Democratic contender for the presidential elections in 2008, in turn accused the administration of having “elevated cronyism over the rule of law”.
White House spokesman Tony Snow responded: “I don’t know what the Arkansan is for chutzpah, but this is a gigantic case of it.”
He then referred critics to Mr Clinton’s pardons on the last day of his presidency, 20 January, 2001.
Oh the Hypocrisy……………
This issue with pardons is going to bite Bill and Hillary in the ass again as the race for 2008 heats up.
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