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RNC goes back to the Sestak 'job' story

Me on Monday:

[I]f Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) wins Tuesday's U.S. Senate primary in Pennsylvania, expect to hear more about the issue on which Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) grilled [Attorney General Eric] Holder -- Sestak's off-the-cuff comment that the Obama administration offered him a job if he would drop out of the race.

The RNC, today:

It has been close to three months and the American public is still looking for a straight answer from the White House on whether a job offer was made to bait Joe Sestak out of the Pennsylvania Senate race and, if so, whether it still stands. It is unacceptable for an administration that touts itself as the ‘most transparent’ in history to continue to stonewall a significant and potentially devastating accusation of political corruption. And, until a thorough and public investigation has been conducted and the air is cleared, this matter will continue to cloud the President each time he steps foot in Pennsylvania to place the establishment mantle on Joe Sestak between now and November.

There are a number of reasons why reporters aren't interested in this story. The "stonewall" is the big one -- Sestak will curtly repeat his version of the story whenever asked, but the White House blows off questions about it. Another reason is that it simply doesn't make sense. Why would the White House make a serious job offer to a sitting member of Congress whose seat the party would have a little trouble holding in a special election? Another reason is that, because the White House failed here and continually fails to nudge Democrats in and out of races (the big exception being the clearing of the field for New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand), the image of a thuggish White House cutting deals like this to get what it wants is just sort of laughable. If someone in the administration informed Sestak that his challenge to Specter would hurt his future chances of advancement, that sounds less like "scandal" and more like "politics."

That said, expect to keep hearing about this as Republicans see some vulnerability in Sestak's unwillingness to stay on a script.

By David Weigel  |  May 20, 2010; 11:56 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Election  
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