White House or Sestak — someone is lying 

Here is the White House version, from The New York Times:

President Obama’s chief of staff used former President Bill Clinton as an intermediary to see if Representative Joe Sestak would drop out of a Senate primary if given a prominent, but unpaid, advisory position, people briefed on the matter said Friday.

Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, asked Mr. Clinton to explore the possibilities last summer, according to the briefed individuals, who insisted on anonymity to discuss the politically charged situation. Mr. Sestak said no and went on to win last week’s Pennsylvania Democratic primary against Senator Arlen Specter.

The White House did not offer Mr. Sestak a full-time paid position because Mr. Emanuel wanted him to stay in the House rather than risk losing his seat. Among the positions explored by the White House was an appointment to the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, which provides independent oversight and advice the president. But White House officials discovered it would not work because Mr. Sestak could not serve on the board while still serving in Congress.

Okay — now here is what Sestak said in February:

LARRY KANE: “Were you ever offered a federal job to get out of this race?”


Sestak was asked the question on several subsequent occasions. The day after Kane’s story broke, FOX News’s Megyn Kelly asked whether he had been offered “a federal job, a White House or administration job.” Joe Scarborough referred to it as “an offer to run the Navy.” He was asked about a “job” or a “high-ranking position” in various contexts and on various television shows. He always confirmed that there had been an offer. He never tried to downplay it as a non-job offer, with something like, “Actually, I was not offered a job. I was offered additional responsibilities, but not a job.”

A “federal or White House job” is really not the same thing as a spot on an uncompensated advisory board, on which Sestak supposedly would have served while still in Congress. Either Sestak embellished the offer to make himself look good, or the White House is concocting a fable to avoid further controversy.

And when you consider the job offer the White House made to Andrew Romanoff to get him out of a Senate race in Colorado under similar circumstances, it doesn’t look very good for the White House’s version.

About The Author

David Freddoso

David Freddoso came to the Washington Examiner in June 2009, after serving for nearly two years as a Capitol Hill-based staff reporter for National Review Online. Before writing his New York Times bestselling book, The Case Against Barack Obama, he spent three years assisting Robert Novak, the legendary Washington... more
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