May 27th, 2010
06:25 PM ET
4 years ago

President Obama shares little about Sestak job speculation

President Obama refuted allegations of impropriety surrounding reports that his administration offered Rep. Joe Sestak a job in exchange for dropping his Pennsylvania senate bid.
President Obama refuted allegations of impropriety surrounding reports that his administration offered Rep. Joe Sestak a job in exchange for dropping his Pennsylvania senate bid.

(CNN) – Amid a press conference that largely focused on the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, President Barack Obama refuted allegations of impropriety surrounding reports that his administration offered Rep. Joe Sestak a position several months ago if he would drop his Pennsylvania Senate bid.

"I can assure the public that nothing improper took place," the President said, at the end of his hour-long press conference.

But Obama refused to give any more details on the alleged offer, even as several Republicans and a handful of Democrats have demanded the White House be more upfront on the matter.

(Updated with Sestak comments after the jump.)

"There will be an official response shortly on the Sestak issue, which I hope will answer your questions," Obama said when asked about the issue at the end of an hour press conference. "You will get it from my administration. And it will be coming out, when I say shortly, I mean shortly. I don't mean weeks or months."

Sestak defeated Sen. Arlen Specter in last Tuesday's Democratic Pennsylvania Senate primary, but three months ago - when he faced longer odds against his Democratic opponent - the Philadelphia-area congressman said that someone in the White House offered him a job on the condition that he quit the race.

Sestak has since refused to reveal any more details about the job offer – a pattern he continued earlier this week in an interview on CNN's "John King USA."

"I will let others speak for themselves," Sestak said when asked whom he talked to at the White House."I have said all I am going to say on the matter,"

White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod also told CNN earlier this week that if White House officials offered Sestak a job in exchange for abandoning the Senate race, it would constitute "a serious breach of the law."

Pressed on the matter, Axelrod would not say whether the White House planned to reveal which officials had conservations with Sestak.

On Wednesday, all seven Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee called for a special prosecutor to look into the matter.

UPDATE 6:50 p.m.: After Obama's press conference Thursday, Rep. Sestak told reporters that his brother Richard, who works as an attorney for Sestak's Senate campaign, was called by the White House.

Sestak said as soon as the White House releases information he will have more to say and the Pennsylvania Democrat pledged to meet with reporters to answer any further questions.

He said "I presently don't" have plans to speak with the White House before it releases its report, and he repeatedly said he did not know when the report would be issued.

Sestak maintained that the controversy over whether he was offered a job to get him not to run against Sen. Specter has not had any impact on his Senate race. "Not at all. Not at all. We have just kept on going," he said.

The Senate hopeful said that in his many campaign stops he has yet to have anyone in Pennsylvania ask him about the controversy with the exception of one reporter.

"I understand Washington, D.C. This is of interest to Washington D.C., but the fact is I was asked a question, you know, something that happened 7-8 months earlier. And if you look at the original interview I just said yes, and beyond that, anything, except this, is for others."


Filed under: 2010 • Joe Sestak • Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (109 Responses)
  1. Whatever

    OMG like Cheney and Bush didn't make similar deals!!!! Firstly the guy didn't take the job that was offered to him before he entered the election, which he won... what scandal?! LOL

    May 27, 2010 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  2. RemainCalm

    I do not support most of the President's initiatives, but this "scandal" is trumped-up nonsense. It's common for one employer to offer a job to a good prospect if that person refrains from taking a different job. This is not bribery, it's the free market in action.

    May 27, 2010 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  3. De Hartmann

    Too bad you can't see his pants. They're on fire!

    May 27, 2010 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  4. Un-educated

    Ok...... Is that something out of the ordinary? Isn't that what party leadership has done since the founding of the United States? How is this an issue? Party leadership has always negotiated who they think is the strongest candidate or who could give them what they want. Take a hint Tea Party and stop putting your craziest candidates up for vote to the rest of America. The conservative grassroot movement will take a butt kicking this coming November. No matter what people feel about the present leadership, they’re not going to vote for the radical crazy folk, Liberal or conservative.

    May 27, 2010 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  5. M. Bovary

    And his nose is longer than a telephone wire!

    May 27, 2010 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  6. lolo

    He is not ducking and dodging. He has more important things to worry about. You Republicans are really a trip. No problem picking Harriet Meirs for the supreme court, no problem firing the attorneys, no problem starting wars with lies, no problem taking a lot of vacations, no problem with deregulation, no problem with the bailout before Bush left office. You really don't have a problem with Obama, only that he is a black man trying to enact laws for your America only. America has changed in more ways than one and trying to railroad the first black president is not going to solve your hatred and racism for people who are not like the many faces of the republican party. You keep saying it is not racism? It has to be, because everything else that you say is so contradictory to your beliefs. Then you wonder why the rest of America is not behind the republican party. Your party is a stain on America. You all need to practice what you preach and pray for forgiveness. God don't like ugly and I don't mean ugly looking.

    May 27, 2010 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  7. GDMS

    Impeach Obama he'd done enough damage to last a lifetime.

    May 27, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  8. Simon/Orlando

    He doesn't have to say much. Just one word.. "bribery".

    May 27, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  9. Katie B in NC

    I don't understand what all the fuss is about. Sounds like just another GOP "hissy fit" to me.

    May 27, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
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