President Obama speaks to reporters Wednesday in the Oval Office. On Thursday, Obama announced that he was granting a series of pardons and clemencies. Carolyn Kaster/AP hide caption itoggle caption Carolyn Kaster/AP It's All Politics Will 2nd-Term Obama Show More Mercy Through Pardons? December 19, 2013 President Obama came to office bemoaning the disparity in sentences for crack versus powder cocaine offenses, and with a background as a community organizer and constitutional law teacher that had some progressives anticipating a robust use of the Constitution's "reprieves and pardons" power. That hasn't been the case.