Jeff Rosen rightly defends him from charges of expediency:
Obama's support for the execution of child rapists wasn't invented for the presidential election; it dates back to The Audacity of Hope, where he wrote:
"While the evidence tells me that the death penalty does little to deter crime, I believe there are some crimes--mass murder, the rape and murder of a child--so heinous, so beyond the pale, that the community is justified in expressing the full measure of its outrage by meting out the ultimate punishment."
His longstanding opinion on the death penalty is a particularly nuanced one. He has opposed expanding the death penalty to include gang activity, for example, on the grounds that it would disproportionately punish men of color, but he supports the execution of especially egregious murderers who are clearly guilty.
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