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. Bassman

    Barack Obama said in his first press conference in nearly a year that his daugher asks him every day "[d]id you plug the hole yet, Daddy?" If we apply the left's and the media's standards for Governor Palin and her children to Obama and his children, then the left and the media will have to denounce Obama for using his daughter as a prop because he mentioned her name.

    May 27, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  2. David

    What does this matter? I'm tired of grown adults using distractions to stir up controversy rather than these same adults showing the same level of energy about real issues – like our economy, the wars, North Korea oh and this oil spill!

    I have sat here for years and years seeing one Republican or Democrat giving jobs to friends (Heck of a job Bronwnie) and no one says anything – no one lifts one finger in protest.

    What is wrong with offering jobs anyway? Sestak is still a CANDIDATE folks – he hasn't gotten anything yet other than a nomination that he took from a Republican for Pete's sake! Move on – more important things to worry about. Seriously much more important things.

    May 27, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  3. ???????????

    "...which officials had conservations(?) with Sestak."

    May 27, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  4. not all docs play golf

    There's nothing here, Rush and Glenn. So move along.

    May 27, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  5. Erika

    Just like in the Haley situation, anybody can say anything. When sestak claimed this he was behind in the polls. Until I see proof, I will discount his statements. Why? Because, with all of the hubbub going on. Sestak would have come out and said who approached him. By refusing to answer the question leeds me to believe that he is full of it. I am willing to bet that in the near future you will see sestak walking back from this claim. and make no mistake, he would not lie for the administration, because he knows that saying that he misspoke or lied is going to hurt his chances of being elected.

    May 27, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  6. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Who knew we have the worst oil spill in U.S. history with MMS federal officials allegedly getting free hookers, cocaine and booze in exchange for Big Oil pats on the back. Oh and all the while negotiating for lucrative job offers on the side.

    May 27, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  7. ???????????

    Dang, I wrote some comments earlier that were so incriminating of the White House that they got blocked. I am good!

    May 27, 2010 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  8. Sene S

    It's not a speculation. Sestak, a liberal Democrat has admitted over and over that Obama offered him a high ranking job to get out of the PA race.
    That is not a speculation. That's an accusation and a very odd one coming from someone in Obama's own party with the same positions.
    Now if it was Obama's political opposition making a claim it would be speculation..
    Obama has commited a felony and the media better treat it as such or be forever considered pointless and untrustworthy

    May 27, 2010 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  9. wake up

    have the obamabots woken up to what a liar and fraud this guy is? I can't believe America is stuck with this (now criminal) unqualified liar as our president for 2 more year.

    wake up america

    May 27, 2010 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  10. geecee

    This is just so important, the Republicans need to appoint a special counsel to investigate. How many people died because of this Sestak job offer? Think of the money this cost the American taxpayer! How terrible. Just like with Bill Clinton, think of how many Americans were killed because he lied about his affair and we taxpayers had to spend two years of Congress's time and Millions of Dollars trying to impeach Clinton for that lie about getting a b.j. This is important stuff!! After all, think of the lives that were destroyed forever. Unlike Bush's lies, which didn't cause any deaths whatsoever, no American soldiers died, no Iraqi civilians died, no one is still dying over in Iraq. Bush, Republicans all good – Democrats – bad!!

    May 27, 2010 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  11. wjf

    This will blow over fast. It's not that big of a deal for people to get worked up about. It's about 1/4 as important as the back door deals that got health care passed.

    May 27, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  12. Mike

    nobummer has to have time to find someone to fall on their sword for him. I wonder who the fool will be, probably someone who does not always agree with him and is not a real yes man. I smell another pay off coming from this corrupt administration.

    May 27, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  13. Kevin from Co

    "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."

    Yes, because Obama's administration has been so transparent and up front so far. NOT! LOL

    May 27, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  14. susie

    Nixon kept saying he did nothing wrong too.

    May 27, 2010 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  15. Larry

    If Sestak can produce evidence of this he needs to do it now!

    Otherwise he's looking like that flake Rand Paul.

    May 27, 2010 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  16. Seth

    Months of the AZ gov begging for federal help on immigration.

    Months of the Sestak allogations, requests from Senator Isa to investigate.

    Months of NOT speaking to the commanders on the Ground in the War
    in Afghanistan.

    Months of NOT taking press questions.

    This administration RE-ACTS. The next administration will ACT!!!

    Conservatism rules in 2010 & 2012

    May 27, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  17. joe

    Chicago poitics at its best. He has learned well. Stonewalling right out of Chicago. You might get info shortly but it is not what you will want because it will not reveal anything and will be a lie. If this were Repbulicans, the liberals would be all over this calling for a special counsel. But not for Obama. That will not happen. What are you afraid of Mr President??? You are hiding something and if this offer was made, the person making it shouldbe fired or if it is you impeached. Again, if it was a Repub the press would be outraged and calling for everything, yet since it is the Godlen One, you wil not hear anything about this on MSNBC or Rachel or Keith?? Why because they are in the pocket of the White House......

    May 27, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  18. Dan

    I'm all for impeachment proceedings if they offered him a job in exchange for dropping the race.

    May 27, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  19. Darlene

    Hmmmm.....Where's all the outrage by the Democrats? If it were a Republican, there would be hundreds of nasty accusations.

    May 27, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  20. TCM

    he's quiet, because he's guilty....

    May 27, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  21. Who

    Who gets thrown under the bus this time to provide cover?

    May 27, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    Just more GOP/conservatard attempts to take advantage of the fact that the vast majority of Americans, especially the GOP/conservatard base, haven't the first clue what the law actually says. Even Republican legal experts who have reviewed this say there is no potential for Obama or his administration to have violated the law. This is a prime example of "accusation = conviction" politics. The second the GOPers insinuated that "something fishy is going on and might be a crime," their base believed that's exactly what it was. They needed no proof whatsoever, just supposition. Now, no matter what Obama or his administration says or does, they will still believe it, so why even bother trying to appease them? I say flip 'em the bird, Barry, and get back to work, ignoring their nonsense.

    May 27, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  23. Bob in PA

    He was guilty with influance peddling in regards to his Senate seat too. But you know it won't stick. If it gets too hot, a subordinate will take the fall.

    May 27, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  24. Dan_Orlando

    Someone needs to be strung up for this mess, they just can't say who yet!

    May 27, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  25. Karl in Charleston,SC

    "I did not have sex with that woman, Monica Lewinsky"

    +

    "It depends on what your definition of 'is' is."

    =

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

    May 27, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
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