“If (George W. Bush) pardons Roger Clemens, there will be nothing quiet about it; it will be a headline grabber that would only be overshadowed in the event the president issued a pre-emptive pardon on behalf of Vice President Dick Cheney,” insists ESPN’s Buster Olney, the former scenario being one the New York Daily News’ Michael O’Keeffe considers “increasingly less likely”.

Clemens may be a family friend, but Washington insiders say the president is still smarting from his Dec. 23 pardon of Isaac Toussie, who pleaded guilty in 2001 to lying to the feds to obtain mortgages for unqualified homebuyers. Bush later revoked the pardon after the Daily News reported that Toussie™s father had donated $28,500 to the Republican National Committee.

Bush, of course, never seemed to value anybody™s opinion but Dick Cheney™s, he™ll never run for public office again, and some believe the public embarrassment of the Toussie debacle doesn™t matter. But the president is reportedly not a big fan of pardons – he™s issued far fewer than his father or President Clinton – and he made a point of addressing steroids and sports in his 2004 State of the Union address. Also, Clemens™ lawyer Rusty Hardin has said for months that he will not request a pardon – that™s not what innocent people do, he says.