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. All the news that is fit to omit

    Why can't they answer NOW, or do the lies need to be put in order?

    This is NOT a new story, DEMOCRAT Sestak said it on Febuary 19th which is WELL OVER THREE MONTHS AGO and the LSM has ignored it except for the usual suspects.

    By the way Oweblamo sheep, some DEMOCRATS have FINALLY started pushing for answers, not just Republicans and not just Fox news (who has been on it for months) but even David Gregory and Anderson Cooper have been asking questions....

    Oweblama is the worst President EVER and the most corrupt.

    THIS IS ILLEGAL, to offer a JOB (not support like Cheney did) for someone getting out of ANY political race, JOB bad, SUPPORT in another race is OK nitwits.

    May 27, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  2. U.S. Common Sense

    I can't wait until he is voted out of office in 2012.

    May 27, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  3. da

    I see the GOP is trying anything to get a scandal started. I mean if the President offered the guy a job, so be it. Now I guess it up to media, GOP, and the person who was offered the job to interpret it as something ,suspect.

    May 27, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  4. TammyB

    Sounds like a cover-up to me, when all parties start saying they are NOT saying anything more on the matter. It will be interesting to see what comes out, or if the whole matter will be blown over in hopes that the American people will forget about it.

    May 27, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  5. Angus McDugan

    Mr. Obama, You can't just run around in Washington D.C. using the same dirty illegal political tactics that were acceptable in Chicago.

    Come on Mr. Obama. Do I have to think of everything for you?

    May 27, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  6. TangledThorns

    Hooray for Chicago style corruption from the White House :( When the truth comes out Obama should be impeached!

    May 27, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  7. JazzCat

    There's very little coverage of the Sestak issue.

    I wish I could say I'm shocked...

    May 27, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  8. Dan

    Serious breach of the law, says WH Senior Advisor David Axelrod. Wonder who will throw themselves on that grenade ...

    May 27, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  9. Bob

    Why is no one asking more questions about this? Seems odd that a federal law may have been broken and no one wants to know the truth. I could only imagine what CNN and other news outlets would be doing right now if this were a Republican.

    May 27, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  10. phoenix86

    By nothing "improper", Obama means nothing technically illegal, but completely unethical. Obama's Chicago Way.

    May 27, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  11. Obama the liar

    Joe Sestak is about to be waterboarded. Should have come clean sooner Joe.

    May 27, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  12. rob

    That will probably be enough for the Obama loving Media like DNCNN, but if that's true why does the Admin and Sestak act like they have something to hide? Sestak is on record acknowledging an offer of a high level position in the Administration if he did not run in the primary, so he is either lying now or the Admin is constructing some scenario that exonerates them.

    If this were a Republican Admin the dems in Congress would be having hearings, issuing subpoenas and the press would be HOUNDING them for answers.

    This is by far the most secretive, non transparent and arrogant bunch of people in the White house since Nixon in the Watergate era. The only difference is the Liberal media is either afraid of them or willfully ignoring stories to protect Obama. Either way it spells the end of the Media as we have known them for decades.

    Good riddance

    May 27, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  13. Joe Hanson

    Official response coming from the Czar of official responses.

    May 27, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  14. Bear

    So in other words, until he knows how to spin this disaster politically, he will share a fantasy version of what really happened. Chicago politics on a national scale. How do you Obama lovers ignore this corruption? Must be Bush's fault.

    May 27, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  15. Mark from Louisiana

    yea like we can trust this administration to tell us the truth? Gotta be kidding me. We need a special prosecutor put on this problem NOW.

    It's not only Sestak,

    Not long after news leaked last month that Andrew Romanoff was determined to make a Democratic primary run against Sen. Michael Bennet, Romanoff received an unexpected communication from one of the most powerful men in Washington.

    Jim Messina, President Barack Obama's deputy chief of staff and a storied fixer in the White House political shop, suggested a place for Romanoff might be found in the administration and offered specific suggestions, according to several sources who described the communication to The Denver Post.

    Romanoff turned down the overture, which included mention of a job at USAID, the foreign aid agency, sources said.

    May 27, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  16. Curious Observer

    Obama needs to repent. I hope this Sestak issue blows up all over him and destroys what is left of his presidency. This crook is worse than Nixon and Carter combined.

    May 27, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  17. Dustin

    As a supporter of the President I too want to know if anything illegal took place. Hopefully these questions will be answered before this thing turns into a circus.

    In the end, the President will not take the fall if anything illegal was done. That's just the way it is. Look at Bush and the Scooter Libby fiasco.

    May 27, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  18. Jack

    "once everyone here gets their stories straight."..then watch the msm lap it up with a spoon...lemmings!

    May 27, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  19. Dar

    Okay any bets on who is going to take the fall for Odumbo and his Chicago tactics
    I dont think that Sestak is lying and he is just waiting for Odumbo's administation to come out with their lie so he can shoot it down.
    This will be interesting.

    May 27, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  20. GI Joe

    Who cares? They aren't taking millions from the oil industry like McCain/Palin, Bush/Cheney.

    When you prove this admin. did something never done by any republican - I'll be impressed with the journalist. Until then, gossip and hate-mongering is not professional, CNN.

    May 27, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  21. Ron in California

    The artful dodger. You have the right to remain silent......

    May 27, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  22. dale

    Don't plan a speach obama, just speak or are you affraid to?

    May 27, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  23. Hammerer

    A statement about the Sestak bribe will be released as soon as the decision makers can decide how to make a misstatement about the facts (misstatement is the replacement phrase for "lie" now) and rest assured that no improper action will be admitted.

    May 27, 2010 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  24. Paul from Phoenix

    All you people posting earlier about how the Bush administration was all about cronyism and nepotism, and Obama has cleaned everything up...I can't wait to hear your response to this.

    May 27, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  25. Edward

    Hussein's Presidential future is at steak so why would he say any more than he has to? He knows all too well what he has done is illegal.

    May 27, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
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