Steele: Paul's 'philosophy got in the way of reality'; Sestak: White House offered me a job; Gibbs defends White House spill response
By Matt DeLong and Felicia Sonmez
Sunday Rundown: Here's a quick wrap-up of the Sunday talk shows.
FOX NEWS SUNDAY - Steele: 'Paul's philosophy got in the way of reality'
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine said misleading statements by Connecticut Senate candidate and state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal about his service in Vietnam "were wrong," but pointed out that Blumenthal frequently stated his record accurately. Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele countered that Blumenthal "knowingly misrepresented what he did."
Steele distanced himself from Kentucky GOP Senate candidate Rand Paul's controversial comments on the 1964 Civil Rights Act's prohibition of discrimination by private businesses. "I think in this case Rand Paul's philosophy got in the way of reality," Steele said.
Kaine said he has "no idea" if the White House offered Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) a job if he stayed out of the Democratic primary race against Sen. Arlen Specter, as Sestak has claimed. Steele demanded to know, "what did the president offer and when did he offer it." Kaine said that if the question gets asked, the White House "should deal with it."
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said she still supports offshore drilling in light of the current oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but "oil companies need to be held accountable" when they cause environmental disasters. She suggested the White House may have been slow to react to the spill because of campaign contributions President Obama received from oil companies. Palin said MSNBC host Rachel Maddow was "prejudiced" by her own agenda when interviewing GOP Senate candidate Rand Paul about his civil rights views.
NBC: MEET THE PRESS - Sestak: White House offered me a job
Sens. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) faced off on Tuesday's primaries. Cornyn defended Kentucky GOP Senate candidate Rand Paul (R), who on Friday canceled his appearance on the show, citing exhaustion at the end of a week in which he came under fire for remarks on the landmark Civil Rights Act. Cornyn said that canceling was "the right thing," emphasizing that Paul "needs to be talking to the voters back in Kentucky." On Paul's controversial comments, Cornyn chalked them up to the fact that Paul "is new to running for public office," noting that "you see novice candidates occasionally stumble on questions." He denied that Paul is a "weaker candidate" after the controversy. "He's leading by 25 points, so I'll let the numbers speak for themselves," Cornyn said.
Cornyn also defended the Tea Party movement and libertarians such as Paul, explaining that they "don't believe in no government; they believe in limited government, smaller government." Still, Cornyn acknowledged of Paul, "I don't know what all his views are." Menendez characterized Paul as "an example of what's happening to the Republican Party across the country, being the Republican establishment, but it's the mainstream losing to the extreme."
Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) also appeared on the show. He confirmed that he was offered a job by the administration in exchange for potentially withdrawing his primary challenge against Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), but he refused to give the details of the offer. "Anything that goes beyond that is for others to talk about."Sestak defended his votes for TARP and the stimulus, telling host David Gregory, "I did vote for those because they were needed." Asked what parts of Obama's agenda he has "stood up to," Sestak responded that he thought Obama "has done great, good things," but needed to go farther in terms of helping small business.
CBS: FACE THE NATION - Gibbs defends White House spill response
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs defended the administration's response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. "We are working every minute of every day to ensure the response is everything it should be," Gibbs said. He said the Justice Department has been gathering information but declined to say if the spill is being investigated as a criminal matter. Gibbs dismissed the suggestion that the oil spill would be President Obama's "Katrina." Gibbs said Palin "get slightly more informed as to what's going on in and around oil drilling in this country" in response to the former Alaska governor's suggestion that campaign contributions from oil companies played a role in the adminstration's response to the disaster.
Gibbs said the United States is "actively trying to find" American-born cleric Anwar al-Alwaki, who recently released a 45-minute video tape encouraging terrorist acts against the United States.
Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) repeated his assertion that the White House had offered him a job in the administration if he didn't challenge Sen. Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary. Sestak declined to say what job he was offered. Gibbs would not say if such an offer was made, but said "nothing inappropriate" had taken place.
Sen. Lamar Alexander chalked up Rand Paul's civil rights comments to a rookie mistake. "Even a good baseball player sometimes has a hard time going from AAA to the major leagues," Alexander said.
ABC: THIS WEEK - Steele won't condemn Paul's views
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said he was uncomfortable with Paul's comments on the 1964 Civil Rights Act, but declined to condemn them. "I can't condemn a person's views," Steele said, adding that "the people of Kentucky will judge" them. Steele pledged that as a senator, Paul will be "foursquare with the Republican Party looking forward on civil rights."
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine hammered some of Paul's other recent comments, in which the Kentucky candidate said that President Obama's criticism of British Petroleum was "un-American" and "accidents happen." Steele criticized the administration for not stepping in to take a greater role in stopping the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. "Here we are almost a month and a half later and it's still spilling oil," Steele said.
Kaine said he was unaware of any contingency plan to select another Democratic Senate candidate following revelations that Attorney General Richard Blumenthal at times embellished his military service during the Vietnam War.
CNN: STATE OF THE UNION - Pawlenty to candidates: 'Be for change'
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) reflected on the national impact of Tuesday's primaries. Pawlenty said that "the best advice for anybody running is to be for change." He added that the current anger among voters isn't just anti-incumbent. "It's dissatisfaction with the substance underneath it and it really relates profoundly to the economy," Pawlenty said.
Rendell called the Tea Party movement "a difficulty for the Republican Party," noting that in recent months, the party has "lost some very good people" such as Florida Governor Charlie Crist (I) and Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah). Rendell also predicted that Tea Party candidates "are going to be easier to beat in the general election," adding, "I think that's the case with Rand Paul." Pawlenty said Paul's remarks this week on the Civil Rights Act "were unfortunate," noting that Paul later clarified that he would have voted for the act. Pawlenty also praised the new ideas and passion of the Tea Party movement, saying "it's still a little chaotic in some ways, but it's a good thing."
Pawlenty added that the immigration situation between the United States and Mexico "is out of control," and that Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who criticized the Arizona immigration law this week in an address before Congress, "should actually read the law."
C-SPAN: NEWSMAKERS - Van Hollen: Voters are 'anti-business-as-usual'
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) highlighted the increasing impact of the Tea Party movement, which he said has become "a real phenomenon in the Republican primaries." Van Hollen said that Republicans "would love in some way to exploit that energy," but as a result, Tea Partiers are "very suspicious" of Washington Republicans. He added that most Tea Party views are "out of the mainstream," and that this week's controversy surrounding ophthalmologist Rand Paul (R) "is a reflection of the great uncertainty that surrounds a lot of the Tea Party candidates."
Van Hollen said that in last week's special election in PA-12, Republicans "tried to make a big deal" about Rep. Mark Critz's (D) position on health care, but they ultimately "fell flat," since Critz "was very much against repeal." He also downplayed the role of anti-incumbent sentiment in the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic primary, noting that Sen. Arlen Specter's (D-Pa.) party switch was a "major issue," and that "this wasn't any ordinary incumbent senator running."
On the greater national mood, Van Hollen characterized it as "anti-business-as-usual." And asked about the role that President Obama should play in this year's races, Van Hollen said, "I think he's going to be front and center in delivering the message.
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