Pennsylvania senate candidate Joe Sestak set off quite a storm back in February when he revealed that the White House had offered him an unspecified job to stop his primary challenge to GOP turncoat and Scots law professor Arlen Specter.
Rep. Joe Sestak (D., Pa.) said yesterday that the White House offered him a federal job in an effort to dissuade him from challenging Sen. Arlen Specter in the state's Democratic primary.
The disclosure came during an afternoon taping of Larry Kane: Voice of Reason, a Sunday news-analysis show on the Comcast Network. Sestak would not elaborate on the circumstances and seemed chagrined after blurting out "yes" to veteran news anchor Kane's direct question.
"Was it secretary of the Navy?" Kane asked.
"No comment," Sestak said.
"Was it [the job] high-ranking?" Kane asked. Sestak said yes, but added that he would "never leave" the Senate race for a deal.
For reasons that have less to do with a never-sleeping Fourth Estate than a monomaniacal Darrell Issa the issue has refused to die.
Yesterday, Dave Weigel, the guy who takes transcription from Media Matters and Oliver Willis (but I repeat myself) while masquerading as an employee of the Washington Post, had this apologia to offer:
A helpful reader points out a hole in the theory that someone in the Obama administration floated a job offer to Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) in order to entice him out of the U.S. Senate primary with Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Penn.). The most popular version of the story -- and the only fact we have is that Sestak claims an offer of some kind was made at some point -- has Sestak being offered the role of secretary of the Navy. But as The Post pointed out in an op-ed on the matter -- itself an example of what a ripe fruit Sestak has given Republicans here -- that would have been impossible.
This is just diversion of the worst sort. The issue is not whether or not Sestak was offered the position of Secretary of the Navy, as he doesn't claim that. So even if the crazypants logic followed by Weigel, or whomever sent him the directions on what to write, is correct it is meaningless. In fact, when one delves farther into this alleged debunking one finds it rests on the sole fact that the incumbent SecNav was sworn in last year. You are supposed to assume from this that the President can't replace his own cabinet officials.
Earlier, David Axelrod went even farther.
Senior adviser to the president David Axelrod said Monday evening that there is “no evidence” that White House officials tried to keep a Democratic congressman from entering the Pennsylvania Senate race by offering him a high-ranking government job.
“When the allegations were made, they were looked into. And there was no evidence of such a thing,” Axelrod said on CNN’s “John King USA.”
Axelrod acknowledged that if White House officials dangled a job in front of Rep. Joe Sestak’s face to keep him away from challenging incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter, that would “constitute a serious breach of the law.”
That's pretty cut and dried. The White House has said that Sestak, for reasons that remain unclear, simply made up the job story and for good measure he's told it several times. Most recently this past Sunday on Meet the Press.
The White House was backing incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) in the primary. Sestak acknowledged in an interview in February that he was offered a position by an unnamed White House official - a potential violation of federal law - but has not offered any specifics on conversation. Republicans are trying to use the issue against Sestak in the November Senate race.
"It's interesting. I was asked a question about something that happened months earlier, and I felt that I should answer it honestly, and that's all I had to say about it." Sestak said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press." "Anybody else has to decide on what they will say upon their role. That's their responsibility."
Yet Sestak confirmed to NBC's David Gregory that the incident did take place.
"I was offered a job, and I answered that," Sestak said. "Anything that goes beyond that is for others to talk about."
This is all rather counterintuitive to me as I don't follow Democrat politics. Maybe the Administration is dragging this story out in an effort to give Sestak anti-Administration cred as he goes into an election. Maybe they're just inept. Whatever the reason, the Obama Administration is now in the interesting position of potentially supporting a candidate they have branded as either a liar or delusional.