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Sestak couldn't have been nominated for secretary of the Navy

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.

On March 27, 2009, the administration nominated Ray Mabus as secretary of the Navy. It wasn't until April 28 that Specter became a Democrat, and by Sestak's own recollection, he was literally being courted to run the day that news broke. On May 18, the Senate confirmed Mabus. And on May 29, Sestak entered the Senate race.

It's pretty clear that if Sestak was offered a job, it wasn't secretary of the Navy. And yet David Gregory of "Meet the Press" asked him that question, point-blank, this weekend. Another example of how Sestak's weird decision to float the story then answer no new questions about it has led to a worse situation than simply explaining what he meant. (For obvious reasons, the story would have been worse for all sides if the callow White House was politicizing the military.)

By David Weigel  |  May 25, 2010; 8:16 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Election  
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