When in doubt, blame a Clinton:
Senior White House advisers asked former President Bill Clinton to talk to Joe Sestak about whether he was serious about running for Senate, and to feel out whether he'd be open to other alternatives, according to sources familiar with the situation.
But the White House maintains that the Clinton-Sestak discussions were informal, according to the sources. The White House, under pressure to divulge the specifics of its interactions with Sestak, will release a formal statement later today outlining their version of events, including Clinton's involvement.
So it took them this long to come up with that story? I wonder if they hire writers for this sort of thing. "Hey, so, we need a version of events that isn't, like, a federal crime. Make that happen."
The little problem with their story is that no one is buying it. First of all, it took them months to concoct it. There is no doubt that they'll all stick to the script, now that it's been written... but as Sargent points out in the WashPo piece, the fact that they brought Clinton in at all does nothing but highlight how heavily invested the White House was in that race. If they're using former President to dissuade Senate candidates for running, there's an issue. It's all about presentation: Let's send someone seemingly disconnected from the administration but who has sufficient power to strong arm. We'll pretend to ignore the fact that he's married to the Secretary of State, so he's not entirely without connection to the administration.
I'll join the chorus of bloggers calling BS on the "non-paying advisory" bit. No one paying attention believes that for a second. Who would consider dropping out of a Senate race for a "non-paying" gig? How many White House advisory gigs are actually unpaid?
The questions begs to be asked: how much taxpayer money is going to go to Clinton for this one?
This in no way gets them off the hook.