Posted: December 8th, 2009 04:18 PM ET
From CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby
Washington (CNN) – Sarah Palin said in a recent radio appearance that Mike Huckabee made a "horrible decision" nine years ago to commute the prison sentence of the man suspected of killing four police officers in Washington, but she added that her "heart goes out" to the former Arkansas governor.
In an interview last week with conservative radio host Lars Larson, Palin called the murders "tragic" and "unfathomable."
"It was a bad decision obviously, but my heart goes out to Huckabee," the former Alaska governor said. "I love him, and I feel bad for him to be in this position. But I feel even worse for the victim's families in this situation. I do feel bad for Huckabee, but it was a horrible decision he made."
Huckabee has said he regrets the decision to commute the sentence of the suspected shooter, Maurice Clemmons, but said he thinks he made the right assessment at the time. Palin said she had never pardoned or granted clemency to prisoners when she served in Juneau.
"I don't have a whole lot of mercy for the bad guys," she said. "I'm on the good guys' side."
Pressed on her political ambitions, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee would not rule out a third party run at the White House in 2012.
"That depends on how things go in the next couple of years," she said. "It really does depend. There are enough Republicans who are realizing, 'Oh whoops, some of us liberal republicans have screwed up.' And I'm not including myself in that group, but some liberal Republicans have screwed up."
Palin said her decision rests on whether or not the GOP does a better job of appealing to its conservative base.
"If the Republican Party gets back to that base, I think our party is going to be stronger and there's not going to be a need for a third party, but I'll play that by ear in these coming months, coming years," she said.