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Obama White House probe of Obama White House finds no Obama White House impropriety on Sestak

Pennsylvania Democrats Representative Joe Sestak and Arlen Specter

Obviously, nothing to see over here, folks. Move along now.

Joe Sestak, the newly-elected Democratic Senate nominee from Pennsylvania, repeated his assertion Sunday that somebody he did not identify from the Obama White House offered him an administration job he did not detail, possibly in return for him dropping out of his undesirable primary challenge of Arlen "I Was a Republican Before I Realized I Was a Democrat" Specter.

Obviously, Sestak didn't accept the offer. And Specter didn't win a primary race that he feared losing if he stayed a Republican. 

On NBC's "Meet the Press" David Gregory asked Sestak about the job offer.

Here's the exchange:

MR. GREGORY: What, what job were you offered to stay out of a primary race by the administration?

REP. SESTAK: It's interesting. I was asked a question about something that....

...happened months earlier, and I felt I should answer it honestly. And that's all I had to say about it because anything beyond that gets away from what we just spoke about.


REP. SESTAK: What are the policies that are really going to help people who've been slammed by the economy...

MR. GREGORY: All right, but you've campaigned on transparency. It's part of the politics. You talked about standing up to the White House when they'd fielded a candidate--made a deal with Arlen Specter. So isn't it in the--in the spirit of transparency, were you offered a job by the administration? And what was it?

REP. SESTAK: I learned, as I mentioned, about that personal accountability in the Navy.


REP. SESTAK: I felt I needed to answer that question honestly because I was personally accountable for my role in the matter.

MR. GREGORY: What's the answer? What's the job you were offered?

REP. SESTAK: And--but anybody else has to decide for themselves what to say upon their role, and that's their responsibility.

MR. GREGORY: Yes or no, straightforward question. Were you, were you offered a job, and what was the job?

REP. SESTAK: I was offered a job, and I answered that.

Blank Photo of White House official who offered Joe Sestak an administration job for dropping out of the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic primary race

MR. GREGORY: You said no, you wouldn't take the job. Was it the secretary of the Navy?

REP. SESTAK: Right. And I also said, "Look, I'm getting into this...

MR. GREGORY: Was it the secretary of the Navy job?

REP. SESTAK: Anything that go--goes beyond that is others--for others to talk about.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, CBS' Bob Schieffer asked Obama press secretary Robert "The Artful Dodger" Gibbs about the Sestak offer.

Here's that exchange:

SCHIEFFER: One final question. Joe Sestak, who beat Arlen Specter -- and the White House, of course, was backing Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania primary up there -- all these reports that the White House offered him some sort of job, some sort of post in the administration if he wouldn't run. Would you tell us what -- what post he was offered?

GIBBS: Well, Bob, I'm not a lawyer. But lawyers in the White House and others have looked into conversations that were had with Congressman Sestak. And nothing inappropriate happened.

I think Republicans are continuing to dredge this up because, if you look just a couple of days after this primary, the polling shows that Republicans are already behind in a very important Senate race.

SCHIEFFER: Improper or not, did you offer him a job in the administration?

GIBBS: I'm not going to get further into what the conversations were. People that have looked into them assure me that they weren't inappropriate in any way.

SCHIEFFER: Robert Gibbs, thank you very much for being with us.

The self-cleansing investigation of themselves is a favored tactic of the ex-state senator; See this Obama-Blagojevich Ticket item from 2008, and relies on the media dropping it.

It should also be noted that even though Sestak is a two-term House member, he's running as a let's-clean-up-Dodge candidate. But now he won't say who from the White House offered him what to get out of Dodge.

Sestak did reveal that President Obama, who campaigned for Specter against Sestak, was the first to call, congratulate and offer to support Sestak this fall. That's an offer of dubious usefulness in that state of small people in small towns bitterly clinging to their guns and religion.

Especially seeing as how the Democratic president is now 0-4 in such select endorsement contests since November. But it's not something from the party leader that the newly-stamped party candidate can reject out of hand either.

The way modern American politics operates, it is now no longer in Sestak's interests to fight with Obama. And Obama's call was an implicit peace offering designed to keep him quiet, if not happy. 

Because it sure isn't in the interests of a president who promised to change the way Washington works to have a smoldering quid pro quo Navy-gate scandal traced back to a smoke-filled Oval Office.

Hence, Gibbs' artful dodge, in the hopes that this week the rest of the media will drop this line of questioning as quickly as Schieffer did.

Related Items:

So, Mr. President, how's that Guantanamo closing promise coming along?

Transparent Robert Gibbs successfully deflects 13 straight media questions

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: Karen Bleier / AFP / Getty Images (Sestak); George Widman / Associated Press (Specter); Blank photo of unidentified administration official(s) who talked with Sestak.

Comments () | Archives (39)

The comments to this entry are closed.

"""...bitterly clinging to their guns and religion."""

Couldn't let an article go by without insulting, fly-over country could you.

(AM responds: It's only Pennsylvania. But did you even read the item? Seems not. But thanks for visiting anyway.)

Well isn't this cosy the wolves guarding the chicken house? You don't have to be educated to realize that something is fishy about this whole thing. Let's do what the Democrat always do have an indepedant counsel look into this matter!

It's kind of like when the incoming Obama White House investigated whether any one from the incoming staff had anything improper to do with the Blagojevich administration of my home state of Illinois. Obama found himself and all his staff not guilty. Isn't that amazing?

And I am quite sure that the Obama White House's findings will be all the press needs to move on. They need to be on alert to be ready for the next round of tea-bagger-related outrageousness.

Where's the comment that begins, "I love it when you wingnuts..." Those are always among the best. They combine a sniffing dismissiveness with an inability to approach the evidence or even the argument.

Cmate, that's what Obama said about Pennsylvania. You didn't hear that?

yea kinda like when accorn investagated themselves and found nothing wrong well i robbed a bank checked ionto it and found i did no wrong

I expect that this kind of horse trading, pay offs and pay backs, goes on all the time. But the sputtering and dissembling sure makes it smell like a scandal.

I wonder if Andrew Malcolm would care to cite the statute that says it's illegal to offer jobs to people who are campaigning for political office. If the White House offered Sestak the Secretary of the Navy job they would not have done so "in return" for him leaving the race, because in order to accept the job he would need to leave the race regardless. In other words, you're accusing the White House of "bribing" Sestak to become Secretary of the Navy by offering him the position of Secretary of the Navy.

Were you, Mr. Malcolm, "bribed" to work for the LA Times (rather than, say, for Fox News, where you would seem to be more at home) by the offer of a job at the paper? When the LA Times offered you a job did they say to you "if you'll do us a favor by leaving your current job, we'll pay you back by giving you a job here at the Times?" Or did they simply say "we'd like to offer you a job at our paper and we're willing to pay such-and-such"?

If the White House approached Sestak, do you think they would have said "hey, buddy, if you leave the race against Specter, we'll offer you a job as Secretary of the Navy"--thus implying that they didn't really think he'd be a very good Secretary of the Navy or have the President's strong support in that position? Or do you think they'd have simply said "we want you to be Secretary of the Navy, because we think you're the best possible candidate for the job!" If they said that, can you please try to explain to me how in the world that would be "bribery"?

The most corrupt administration EVER!!! Now if only the rest of the press would quit licking the hands of these corrupt democrats and actually do some REPORTING!!! Of course our "free" press has already neutered itself for its political masters, so all we'll get is "Nothing to see here, move along...look, there's a republican! [pant, pant] I can smell the corruption!" Pathetic, truly pathetic. Good thing we have the blogosphere, talk radio and the National Enquirer to break all the real stories, otherwise we'd only get the democrat approved propaganda. Sad.

This reminds me of the stylings of many dictators around the world. Remember Sadaam's (Speaking of Husseins) announcement about 5 minutes after a supposed free election ON PAPER BALLOTS that he had won 100% of the votes?!? That's some fast counting! Hugo does it regularly, stating, "We couldn't come up with an amicable agreement, so the government had to act"... Kim Jong, The Castro Bros, etc all play this game because they can. This is because the people they overthrew were either unable, or unwilling to stand up to them.

People, hold these politicians to account. They will rob, cheat, transform & steal to our ultimate demise if we do not. They are the proverbial fox guarding the hen-house, this attempted bribery of Sestak is exactly that, and this guy should be impeached if it can be proven.

Sestak should name names. It's not too late!
Doesn't anyone in the press want a story? Lazy bunch. No one does their job anymore. Lame stream media is now Lazy stream media. Years ago, a reporter to do anything to get to the truth. Now they are hand fed by the W.H. Very sad.

where the hell is Joe Wilson when ya need 'em......

oh well I'll try to do it like he would....

YOU LIE!!!!!

"Obama White House probe of Obama White House finds no Obama White House impropriety on Sestak"
Classic headline!

ALSO- OJ Simpson announced the results of HIS investigation into the murder of his wife: "I found absolutely no evidence that I did it...!

I definitely need to start writing down the rules that have come into effect since Obama was elected. Just a few so I don't forget:
1) Dissent is the highest form of sedition and also racist.
2) It is acceptable for the White House to investigate and adjudicate corruption allegations against the White House (Richard Nixon just called to say "what the f#ck")
3) Everything bad that happens in the world is not the President's fault and, in fact, the President is not even accountable for his own actions or the results of his own policies.

I think that's a good start

This reminds me of the early days of the Nixon cover up. The chi town thugs in the white house are doing Obama in. Since Obama is an empty suit, I am happy to see his poll numbers headed south. LOL

I didn't know NYT Judith Miller was still working for the White House on their internal investigation team.

".....Obama White House probe of Obama White House finds no Obama White House impropriety on Sesta........"


The headline reveals this probe as pure incest.

Mullins kicked Sestak out of the Navy in, I believe it was 2005. Sestak is a snake who would bite his jmother if it would get him a vote.

Just like in all prisons. The inmates will tell you they can find no wrong doing in what they did, But in this case the (White House) guards are the ones doing the crimes and the taxpayers are paying the fines.

Hugh, its unfortunate you possess such a malformed sense of judgment. Or perhaps you are blinded by party politics and simply caught up in cheering for your 'team'. If you honestly do not understand why buying off a political candidate with tax payer's money then perhaps you're none other than a crook from the Nixon admin. Try to put the red and blue b.s. aside and understand the implications of any president buying off political opposition.... Folks like Hugh Roberts are to blame for the poor political culture in this country. Folks like Hugh Roberts blindly vote for party lines versus real issues. Sizzle Hugh Roberts, sizzle.

I can see why you allowed the post by Hugh Roberts, even the logic challenged deserve a say, I guess. If Joe Sestak has knowledge of a federal crime, he is supposed to report it, not say it is the responsibility of someone else to come forward should they so choose. Maybe Joe is just angling for a higher post. If he runs and wins in November, then he can hold out for Sec. of Defense. And when he resigns Ed Rendell can then appoint Spector to fill the empty Senate seat. What a plan.

....Isn't it about time for the AMERICAN PEOPLE.. to decide if its time
to have a SPECIAL a real investigation. If the people
don't get a chance to tell OBAMA.. what they want.......

Chances are that the Democrat Party will never get to appoint one again,
no matter what the circumstances. OBAMA's time in office will set a
precedent for many moons to come. But, then OBAMA has set a lot of
prededents that will harm the Democrat party. I don't want that to happen to a once great unit. It is time for real Democrats to speak up!

For the sake of our party ---- we should tell OBAMA to ' cool it ' with his
crazy views for America being just another global country or just
another Bananna Republic.

Hugh (obama) Roberts, has proven to us that he never studied CIVICS.
Seems he knows little about our UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION
Study up on bribes and stop thinking of ways to get around the
criminal ways of the present president. You can start with the reason
that Blago was not allowed to present the tapes on the Chicago bribe!

Robert Gibbs could not answer the question for four different interviews
about the bribe, because the entire White House was checking to make
sure no one would speak up!


This is an outrage..... this should take this administration down and yes..., OUT!

yeah right. this is like asking a fox to guard the hen house.

this is for blithering idiots like mr. hugh roberts:

"Whoever, directly or indirectly, promises any employment, position, compensation, contract, appointment, or other benefit, provided for or made possible in whole or in part by any Act of Congress, or any special consideration in obtaining any such benefit, to any person as consideration, favor, or reward for any political activity or for the support of or opposition to any candidate or any political party in connection with any general or special election to any political office, or in connection with any primary election or political convention or caucus held to select candidates for any political office, shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both."

do you get it now, mr. roberts? this is a F-E-L-O-N-Y offense. if obama knew about it, this is a high crime and impeachable offense.

perhaps the greatest irony of all is that this is supposed to be "the most transparent and ethical administration in u.s. history." a true oxymoron once you consider the fact that obama and his administration are products of the chicago machine.

bring on the impeachment hearings...

Love the headline LA that like...OJ examines evidence in Nicole's murder and finds that OJ did not do it. This lying, cheating scumbag in chief is the filthiest piece of garbage ever to sully the halls of the WH.

Of course the White House found no "impropriety". Criminals never see anything wrong with breaking the law. They only see something wrong with getting caught at it.

So... there is nothing to see here. Move along.

Gibbs the liar.
I checked my taxes and found I don't owe the government a damn

If the White House offered Sestak the Secretary of the Navy job they would not have done so "in return" for him leaving the race, because in order to accept the job he would need to leave the race regardless. In other words, you're accusing the White House of "bribing" Sestak to become Secretary of the Navy by offering him the position of Secretary of the Navy.

Posted by: Hugh Roberts | May 25, 2010 at 08:54 AM

Wrong. There is already a Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, who has been there since spring 2009. The position is not open now, and certainly wasn't open several months ago, when the alleged job offer happened (and I think we all can agree that it happened based on the statements of Gibbs).

So an immediate direct job offer wouldn't be on the table - unless they were actually going to get rid of Ray Mabus, but suddenly chose not to because they were unable to procure the legendary Naval secretariat skillz of the famed Joe Sestak.

Obviously, the job offer would have to be for some point down the road, in which case, there would be nothing to prevent him from continuing his campaign.

Of course, the other reason you know it was improper is because at this point, if the offer was done "by the book", then no matter how shady it might have seemed, it would be in the White house's interest to defuse the scandal by coming clean, rather than continuing to feed it by stonewalling. Unless of course they are very, very stupid, which I concede is also possible.

I guess it doesn't have to be an either-or, though...

So...lots of personal insults, but no attempt to answer the question. Seems about the usual response one expects from the right.

Is it illegal to offer a job to someone who is campaigning for political office if accepting that job would preclude the possibility of their continuing with the campaign? If that is illegal, please quote the statute which makes it illegal. And please explain why no one has ever been prosecuted for this, despite the fact that it happens over and over and over again. People running for president often tap politico colleagues to work on their, for example. That means those people have to drop out of their own campaigns to take the job. Has every one of those cases been a prosecutable case of "bribery"? Or is this only "bribery" when you happen to dislike the person who does it?

MW99 writes: "Obviously, the job offer would have to be for some point down the road, in which case, there would be nothing to prevent him from continuing his campaign."

And by "obviously" you mean "I just plucked this out of thin air!"

Sestak says that they offered him "a job." Nobody, including Sestak, has said specifically that it was Sec. of the Navy--that's just a rumor that I happened to use as a hypothetical. I agree that it could be very problematic to say to someone "leave this campaign and we'll find a job for you at some later date." Unfortunately for you there is no evidence that this is what the Obama administration did--and you would surely have to agree that it would be just about the clumsiest and least effective "bribe" in the history of political bribes. What possible incentive would Sestak have to accept on terms as vague as that?

All that Sestak has claimed is that they offered him a job and that he assumed that the only reason they offered him that job was because they wanted him out of the race. That says something about his personal modesty (or feelings of inadequacy) but nothing whatsoever to the illegality of the job offer. Unless, again, you're saying that it is always and in every case illegal to offer a job to someone who is involved in a political campaign. Though why would you stop there? Why wouldn't it be an illegal bribe to offer a job to a sitting politician? After all, by offering them a job you change the political equation, no? You get them replaced with another person who might vote differently, no? So why isn't that "bribery"?

"...bitterly clinging to their guns and religion."

And watching this Godless and unarmed country be flushed down the toilet by the drooling liberals.


Ok, first off, SESTAK wouldn't necessarily have to withdraw from the campaign to accept the job. ...THANK YOU Mr. President for your confidence in my ability to run your NAVY Department. I'm sure I will do a fantastic job for you. And, should I lose my election to the US SENATE, where i can do even more good for you and your administration, rest assured I'll be back behind my desk at the NAVY Dept the next day.

OHHHHHH, I can't have this job AND CAMPAIGN for Senate at the same time?

Why? Political appointees do it all the time...AHHHH, you need me out of the way so that dinosaur can get reelected



As for RENDELL appointing Specter to fill SESTAK's seat, RENDELL will be gone before that happens.


The news here is that Schieffer ANNOUNCES his LAST QUESTION! In other words, this wouldn't last long Gibbs, I wouldn't have time to really probe like I would have done if you were W's press secretary.

Schieffer made a lame attempt not to question, but to protect the White House, while being able to say in hindsight that he "grilled Gibbs."


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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