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Sestak alleges WH offered him a job to drop Senate bid

By Ben Pershing
The lawmaker challenging Sen. Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania's Democratic primary claims the Obama administration pushed him to get out of the contest, even dangling the possibility of a plum job in return.

Rep. Joe Sestak has been running hard for several months to oust Specter, who has had the support of President Obama and much of the Democratic establishment since he left the Republican Party and helped give his new party a temporary supermajority in the Senate. The White House's backing of Specter has long been clear, but did the administration actually go so far as to offer Sestak a job?

As reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer Friday, Sestak was asked Thursday during a taping of a local television news show, "Larry Kane: Voice of Reason," whether the White House had made such an offer. Sestak responded, "Yes," but declined to provide any further details.

Asked whether the position in question was Secretary of the Navy, Sestak said, "No comment." He did allow that the job was "high-ranking" but made clear that he would never have abandoned his campaign for such an offer.

Sestak, a retired Navy admiral, entered the Senate race last August, and he told Kane that the administration's offer came in July. Ray Mabus was sworn in as Secretary of the Navy in June.

Sestak was asked separately Thursday about administration pressure by a Washington Post reporter. He replied, "There has been some indirect means in which they were trying to offer things if I got out."

Appearing on Fox News Channel Friday, Sestak stood by his previous statements. "I was asked a direct question yesterday and I answered it honestly. There's nothing more to go into. I'm in this race now," he said.

The White House had not responded to a request for comment as of this posting. The administration has denied Sestak's allegation to the Inquirer and other outlets.

Sestak's charge comes as he is working to close the gap with Specter. Multiple polls have shown Sestak trailing Specter by double-digits in the primary contest, and the incumbent also has a massive fundraising edge over the challenger. The general election matchup is a different story, as several surveys have shown ex-Rep. Pat Toomey (R) leading Specter.

This isn't the only Democratic primary in which the White House has been accused of such behavior. In September, the Denver Post cited "several sources" in reporting that White House deputy chief of staff Jim Messina had told Andrew Romanoff he could get an administration post -- specifically at the U.S. Agency for International Development -- if he dropped his primary challenge to Sen. Michael Bennet. The White House denied that Romanoff had been offered a job.

Washington Post staff writer Jason Horowitz contributed to this report.

By Ben Pershing  |  February 19, 2010; 11:55 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Election , Capitol Briefing  
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Posted by: dagner49 | February 25, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Obama would never do that! LOL

Posted by: usmc1969 | February 19, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Obama would never do that! LOL

Posted by: usmc1969 | February 19, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

This is just another example of Obama's true belief that the end justifies the means. He will lie, break promises and bribe as long as it furthers his admitted agenda to "fundamentally transform America".

Many of the admitted radicals in Obama's administration also believe the same. This idea was espoused by radical Saul Alinski in the 60's.

Posted by: thehamptons1 | February 19, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Obama is truly a chip off the old block -- and by "old block" I mean his old friend, Boss Daley!! Obama is so desparate to keep the one-party rule in Washington that he is manipulating local and state races.

Now, I know, all Presidents do this to one extent or another, but Obama does it more than any of his immediate predecessors. Obama -- you are not Boss Daley, and America is not Chicago. If you want to do your job and be President of all Americans - not just the Pelosi wing of the Democrat Party and your Chicago gang of thugs - here's some tips:

Listen more to Virginia's Democratic Senators Warner & Webb and Republicans and give less priority to:

1.) Pelosi and the wing of the Democrat Party;

2.) so-called "Universal Healthcare" - we can work something smaller but better out;

3.) card check;

4.)... Cap & Trade;

5) Boss Daley’s Chicago machine [urban and rust belt Democrat machines are known for their corruption, cronyism, thug tactics, waste, and economic destructiveness in areas in which they’ve held one-party rule for generations -- #1 reason I don’t like the Democrat Party -- though their "cousins" down here in Virginia like our former GREAT GOVERNOR Warner are much better]...

Posted by: chrojo01 | February 19, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Uncle Sam Needs You

There are several jobs that Rear Admiral Sestak, could help the Osama’s administration with, such as chief of staff position, rumor has it that Mr. Emanuel wish to run for mayor of Chicago or Mr. Sestak, could also been offer a position to replace Secretary Gates when he step down.

Both positions will further his political career, as he would later recommence his Pennsylvania life. If I am right Mr. Sestak, has turn down the White House positions, and this may come back to bite him in the polls. However, if he lose in the Pennsylvania’ 2010 primary, he would be damaged goods, then he will look back at this time in his life as he fail to grasp the golden ring, and he have is past the fork in the road.

On the road of life you may want to burn some bridges, it is a huge decision, make one mistake and you could be doing a two-step on exit ramp to the bridge to know where. Independents do not vote in the primary, this will block the “Tea Party” influence; this will stump his growth. Looking down the road, young mainstream voters that admire our president will support Arlan, progressive and moderate democrats will also support him as well.

The White House has a right to select sound and trust worthy personnel to head important position in the party and protect weaker statesman. Whatever you think of Arlan Specter, voters in Pennsylvania know his honorable record. And whatever you may think of the president of the United States of America, taxpayers, knows he is an honorable man and a strong politician.

Posted by: nateminor | February 19, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

I expect a Dem Administration to care about these races, but the Obama Admin is going too far with the pressuring against primary elections from even taking place.

It's really playing with fire on several levels. A less popular Dem could move on uncontested and then lose in the General Election. And anger over intrusion into local democracy could result in crossover voting or apathy.

Posted by: ErikW65 | February 19, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

But Barry was 'pose to be different!

Posted by: JohnnyGee | February 19, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

welcome to good old down and dirty chicago
politics.starting to see the tarnish on obamas halo.just think. these are only the few who are willingf to comment.this is the change for the better you elected these peole for.

Posted by: dagner49 | February 19, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

swatkins1 said:

"I believe Sestak. I'm so tired of the Obama administration's nonsense. But I guarantee you haven't seen anything until the conservatives come back to power. The constitution? It's conservative toilet paper."

Not if we can get Ron Paul into the White House.

Actually the Lib-activists deem the Constitution a joke more so than the conservatives.

Where, for example, do you see the Constitution saying a homicidal parent has the right to "off" her kid before birth, hiring a doctor [violating the Hippocratic Oath to do no harm] like a mafia hit-man?

The illegals are also NOT the "We the People" intended by the Constitution, and the constitution of Mexico, etc. has no jurisdiction here. So there is no constitutional basis to grant illegals Due Process or any other constitutional rights, only SUMMARY JUSTICE [same as military tribunals dispense]. Yet Lib-activist judges are even allowing illegals to sue the U.S. Border Patrol!

And since when should homosexuals be shown FAVORITISM in the military, as the Lib-activists are trying to force? Or that they should be allowed to sue the Boy Scouts of America for not allowing homosexual troop leader role-models?

Our country is being destroyed by "politically-correct" but wrong Lib-activists. Not conservatives who want the Constitution upheld.

Lib-activists are TRAITORS to our country. They serve not only lobbyists, instead of those who elected them, but also they serve foreign nationals here illegally.

Obama, Pelosi and other TRAITORS in Congress are trying to give the illegals amnesty, "free" college, "free" healthcare, and just about everything else. And of course is we don't stop them from doing that, the illegals will invite all their extended family members and friends to come here too. So that, instead of already well over 40 million of them here [ See: ], we will soon wind up with over 100 million of them...

and a Third World economy like Mexico's.

Maybe you "can't see the forest for the tress," but it's the AGENDA-DRIVEN Lib-activists FASCISM that we should fear the most.

Posted by: tncdel | February 19, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

I love the way the commentators are trying to go after Adm Sestak here. If this was the first accusation of this conduct I would probably be wondering about the motive of the person. However, since this is the second time someone has accused the administration of this behavior it becomes a little more believable. To be honest, nothing that comes out of Washington surprises me any more regardless of the party. But as long as the sheep will follow, nothing is going to change.

Posted by: mburton325 | February 19, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Maybe soon, the Obama-smitten main stream media will tell the whole story behind the attempted "sale" of Obama's Senate seat in Illinois. A good place to start would be with Mr. Axelrod -- who makes Karl Rove look like high school civics class.

Posted by: mpwynn | February 19, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I believe Sestak. I'm so tired of the Obama administration's nonsense. But I guarantee you haven't seen anything until the conservatives come back to power. The constitution? It's conservative toilet paper.

Posted by: swatkins1 | February 19, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Now this sounds like something that might happen in a place like Chicago.. not DC right? Oooppps I forgot. Chicago style politics is in DC now and runs the place.... Maybe the guys disappears next or gets beat up. A little thug action is what BHO does best.

Posted by: tbastian | February 19, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

If you say the WH offered you a job to get out of a race name names (job; person offered, etc.).

Posted by: rlj1 | February 19, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Chicago,Chicago that toddlin' town...Obama supporters are surprised? Must be from back east.

Posted by: jobro2 | February 19, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Chicago,Chicago that toddlin' town...Obama supporters are surprised? Must be from back east.

Posted by: jobro2 | February 19, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Also, I'm not sure why Obama would want the moderate Spectre to remain in the Senate rather than the far-left Sestack who is much more in-line with Obama's political philosphies.

Could it be Obama is simply a ham-fisted political operator and not the all-knowing master of the universe as advertised?

Posted by: dgb100 | February 19, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Golly gosh, gee whiz Batman! Imagine the Obama W/H offering a bribe! It's shocking isn't it?

Posted by: vgailitis | February 19, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Sestak, who is not a career politician, lawyer, or scumbag, thinks bribery is unethical, and dare I use such an antiquated term, wrong? Frankly I'm not sure why, Spectre is going to get his a** kicked in the general election. Why would this man lie anyway? It's not like he threw anyone under the bus, he simply, honestly, answered a direct question. Isn't this what we want from our representatives?

Posted by: dgb100 | February 19, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Pershing's use of the term "Sestak's charge" is misleading. Is this all "journalists" do is play Gotcha? Sestal answered one journalist's question in a forthright manner (something commendable IMHO) and another journalist wants to make it into a "charge" against the White House. Grow up, Pershing.

Posted by: optimyst | February 19, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

The blatant corruption and cesspool politics of the pelosi-hussein regime is nauseating. I can't wait for the Nov election.

Posted by: TeaPartyPatriot | February 19, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Washington Post:

Get your facts straight before you make
statements like this!

You have the responsiblity to do your research, and not just report some blather
from a candidate.

Where are the facts? Report them!

Posted by: Sirius2 | February 19, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I agree with parkerfl1, it is extremely unprofessional of Sestak to do this. Theres no way I'd vote for Specter, now I can't honestly see myself voting for Sestak as he obviously intends to antagonize the Democratic party. I guess the best I can hope for is a moderate Republican winning the primary.

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | February 19, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

There was no reason for Sestak to make this amateur attempt to embarrass the White House and the president. This is beyond the pale for a serious politician...

Posted by: parkerfl1 | February 19, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

If it is true, and it's a big "if," it sounds the death knell to the Obama Administrations claims of being the "most transparent" presidency in American history.

Posted by: srpinpgh | February 19, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

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