May 27th, 2010
06:25 PM ET
5 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. Dale

    It's called CYA and politicians are masters at CYA.

    May 27, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  2. aware

    Obama lies – the world sighs and Christians, who are now awake, pray!

    Jesus,the authentic Messiah, rules – Obama does not! :)

    May 27, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  3. jeff jackson, alabama

    What did you folks expect from a
    product of the Chicago political
    machine ?

    May 27, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  4. gt

    something smells rotten about this ,,,more corruptions.. more moral decay... more bad news for the american people...

    May 27, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  5. Big George in Big D

    Yeah, right!

    May 27, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  6. EqualPolitics4Everyone

    Of course Eric Holder isn't going to look into this. Him and Obama are best buds.

    It's going to take time for Obama's administration to come up with something politically correct. It sounds like what they did was wrong, but I'm sure they'll cover it up quickly.

    If there were nothing to cover up, why not come out with it last week?

    May 27, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  7. Dean

    The republicans want to make a big deal of this maybe we should go after Cheney and Bush for War Crimes

    May 27, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  8. Barbara

    Why are we letting this President stay in office, he does everything on his own, doesn't give anyone information until it is over. We don't need Congress they have no say, I am so surprised that these people Dem. or Rep. would go along with his crazy ideas. Oboma thinks he is God.

    May 27, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  9. Where the help for the rest of us

    Refuse to give details or Refuse to self incriminate?

    May 27, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  10. Dr. Sam

    BEFORE THE PRESIDENT'S PRESS CONFERENCE (May 27, 2010), I HAD MANY MISGIVINGS. After his press conference, I felt much better. The President has tried to clear the air and answer pertinent questions about the role of his administration in the oil spill disaster management. We are all fallible human beings, and no one is perfect. Surely, you can see that the President is trying and cares. His answers at the press conference were forceful, informative, factual, revealing, empathetic and sincere. He even said on a number of issues that his administration fell short and explained why. Did you ever see George Bush do this? The President said he was in-charge—and responsible. I think the guy is doing his best for us all–and Republicans could not have done any better, being the ones who put us in this situation through Bush and Cheney. We all need to support the administration to finally resolve this crisis. Just a few short months back some were shouting to us the SUPPOSEDLY redemptive slogan of DRILL, BABY, DRILL and GET GOVERNMENT OUT OF MY LIFE mantra. They include the Gov. of Louisiana Bobby Gindal, and of course the irrepressible Sarah Palin. These same folks are now shouting a different jingle: “Where is the federal government?; Where is Obama?” Funny, isn’t it? It is almost like they are incapable of recognizing their highend volteface. Their appetite for oil is as voracious as ever, totally uncaring about the real consequences of their demagogic politics.

    May 27, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  11. llop

    He should be IMPEACHED, you morons of the commie news network. But you wouldn't investigate, because that's what Izvestya and Pravda would do. The homosexual, radical state-run "press" will give him support instead of supporting the interests of this pityful now country. SHAME ON YOU, commies.

    May 27, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  12. David

    Ahhh yes, give me a little time to get this covered up.

    May 27, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  13. Ron

    The longer this administration delays a response to this possible illegal activity the guiltier he looks. It would be very easy simply to say "we offered Joe Sestak a job in this administration because of his excellent knowledge and service to the american people. Blah, Blah, Blah....". But when the administration CONSTANTLY says nothing improper was done BUT we won't tell you what happened. That is the reply of someone hiding something. This is going to be a Pandoras Box that will turn into a crate VERY SOON if this administration doesn't come up with a reasonable explanation!!

    May 27, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  14. scooter libby

    when i say shortly people, i mean shortly.... can't a guy have some time to fabricate a story? jeeeeze loooooouuuuiiiiiize. treating me like i'm not the messiah or something. i said "stop the oil" yesterday and it did. i say jobs and they appear. i am Iron Man baaaaaaby

    May 27, 2010 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  15. Liberals can NEVER be trusted

    "Circle the wagons guys, we have to make up a lame excuse for breaking Federal laws and committing a Felony. We better think of something quick because we did the same thing in Colorado." CNN and ALL the other lame-stream media has buried this story for months. Just like the cockroaches you are, we're watching you scurry now that the lights have been turned on.

    May 27, 2010 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  16. LacrosseMom (the real one)

    I heard Paul Begala an attorney speaking to Wolf on CNN yesterday. Mr. Begala mentioned that NO LAW was broken. Come on, don't we have enough problems at hand, that we have to add more drama to the mix?!

    The GOP is constantly looking for something, anything to "get" Obama on!

    True leaders work hard for the people, they don't go around causing drama, spreading fear and being downright stubborn!

    May 27, 2010 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  17. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    The President said:
    "I can assure the public that nothing improper took place," the President said, at the end of his hour-long press conference."
    and
    "There will be an official response shortly on the Sestak issue, which I hope will answer your questions, 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."

    HOW IS THAT MUM???
    Sestak put himself and the White House in the soup by mentioning this "job offer," true or not...
    NOW, the President has to try and figure out how to save the seat for a Democrat and get rid of this CHUMP.

    OR someone in the White House is going to jail.

    With the understanding that there is absolutely NOTHING that this President can say that will please (or even satisfy) "Conservatives," the President will provide more information, KEEP YOUR PANTS ON FOLKS!

    May 27, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  18. Zeke2112

    "There will be an official response shortly on the Sestak issue"

    Yes, once the administration has had a chance to cover it up and spin it, and make sure Sestak won't open his mouth any more.

    I voted for Obama because I thought he'd be different from his predecessors. I continue to be disappointed.

    May 27, 2010 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  19. Brian

    Who knew Chicagoland standard politics were illegal? Hope is fading quickly.

    May 27, 2010 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  20. cindy

    He should stay "mum" more often.

    May 27, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  21. tess

    well duh! when you haven't got your lie nailed down there is not much you can say. afterall, emanual is in israel, gibbs is probably stuttering around someplace, o'bama is busy trying to blame bush for the oil spill – they haven't had time to get together to get their stories straight – and add to that, sestak has to be shut up from telling the truth! that's a whole lot to do before a "statement" can be issued!!!

    May 27, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  22. Tom in Illinois

    This is transparency and change. Just a whole lot of BS out of the WH again.

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

    So....on the top of everything this one too. Oh boy, here we go.

    May 27, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  24. MH

    Does anyone really care? Republicans are just looking for a way to bring the President down even more. I do not see any issue if they offered him a job. Either way, it came down to his decision. He decided to run, and so now he will more than likely become the next Senator from Pennsylvania, case closed.

    May 27, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  25. cspurgeon

    I heard the media say..the public wants to know and I am here to say I don't care if I ever know. Its a media thing and of course a republican thing but very soon someone will do something else to get the media crap gpong. My guess is Biden said something to the guy and we all know how he misspeaks and whilen i wanted this guy to beat the old man now I am not so sure because for an Admiral hes looking a little wacko. Oh well gives the opinionators something to rant on about.

    May 27, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
1 2 3 4 5