Andrew Romanoff says he won't turn White House job overtures into political hay
Colorado Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff said he doesn't plan to use the White House's "dangling" of a job offer as a political trump card this summer.
Romanoff is running a primary against appointed Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.). The White House has acknowledged in recent days that it suggested he might instead pursue one of a trio of job opportunities in the administration, with the purpose of clearing the field for Bennet.
Romanoff declined to pursue the jobs, and bringing that up would seem a real good way to reinforce his credentials as the outsider candidate in the race. But in an interview with The Fix, he repeatedly declined to judge the White House for its conduct and says it won't be a campaign issue.
"No, it's not," he said. "I declined to comment on this matter precisely because I did not want and do not want to politicize it. It became apparent over the last couple days that a great deal of misinformation was filling the void."
At the same time, the former state House speaker noted that the White House has been unsuccessful in thwarting other primary challenges in Pennsylvania and Arkansas. And he suggested that it wasn't persuasive in his case.
"They fought unsuccessfully to prevent Congressman (Joe) Sestak's challenge, Lt. Gov. (Bill) Halter's challenge," Romanoff said. "The national party supports incumbents; I understand that. That's their call. But at the end of the day, these decisions get made by the people of our state."
Romanoff said he didn't consider any of the three jobs that White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina mentioned in a phone conversation shortly after Romanoff entered the race.
The types of jobs that the White House has broached with Romanoff and Sestak have drawn some ridicule for their lack of appeal. Two of the jobs mentioned to Romanoff were at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which the Post's Al Kamen today compared to a "failed state." And Sestak couldn't have taken the unpaid advisory board job reportedly offered to him unless he resigned from Congress.
Romanoff said he respects the president and supports him, and that he looks forward to getting past the drama and focusing on bigger political issues.
"There is a much deeper problem in Washington that has turned Congress into a subsidiary of the industries it is supposed to be regulating," Romanoff said. "I'm running, in part, because I want to change the way the Senate works."
-- Aaron Blake
June 4, 2010; 12:15 PM ET
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