May 25th, 2010
01:26 PM ET
12 years ago

Durbin: Sestak must come clean about job offer

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption =" Sen. Dick Durbin said Tuesday that Rep. Joe Sestak should fully explain whether Obama administration officials pressed him to drop his Democratic primary challenge to Sen. Arlen Specter in exchange for a job."]
Washington (CNN) - The number two Democrat in the Senate, who has close ties to the White House, is urging Rep. Joe Sestak to come clean.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin told CNN Tuesday that the Pennsylvania Democrat should fully explain whether Obama administration officials pressed him to drop his Democratic primary challenge to Sen. Arlen Specter in exchange for a job.

Related: CNN's John King on Sestak, the WH

"At some point I thing Congressman Sestak needs to make it clear what happened," Durbin told CNN. Sestak has refused to reveal whom he spoke with at the White House about a job offer.

Sestak made the claim in February when he was still trailing Specter, who had the backing of the White House, in the polls. Sestak captured the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate nomination last week.

Aides to President Obama have acknowledged that conservations took place between White House aides and Sestak during the campaign, but said nothing improper took place. Still, administration officials have also refused to divulge who talked to Sestak.

Durbin said the White House can provide details after Sestak explains himself.
"Congressman Sestak raised the issue," Durbin said. "If there's been some confusion, I hope he can make the facts as clear as possible. Then, as far as the administration is concerned, they will react to that."

- CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby contributed to this report.

Filed under: Arlen Specter • Dick Durbin • Joe Sestak • Obama administration
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    Obama also offered the worthless republican senator Judd Gregg a job, and we are all thankful that Judd refused.

    May 25, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  2. Brenda

    Republican Rep Darrell Issa is demanding an independent investigation of this issue--and I hope that he does not drop it.

    Either one of two things happened......Either Sestak told a lie or the Obama Admin committed an impeachable felony.

    This needs to be investigated/exposed before the November elections--especially in regard to the PA elections.

    Either way, this is not good news for the Democrats.

    In addition, there is also an article on the Judicial Watch website--the White House is also being investigated for bribes--offering judgeships in order to get the votes of Democrats.

    May 25, 2010 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  3. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    Is there any possibility that a 30 year veteran of the Navy would be able to giver counsel which would be valuable to a president?

    May 25, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  4. The Commish

    A felony occured, start the impeachment hearings now!

    May 25, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  5. Marie (Portland, Oregon)

    I agree with Sen. Durbin, the longer this bit of information hangs out there unanswered the more it takes on an air of something done under the table. Mr. Sestak needs to clear the air. If he in fact was encouraged to drop his race in exchange for a guaranteed job then voters need to know. As it stands I find myself becoming more and more uncomfortable with Joe Sestak because he seems to be at odds with his own party. In fact, the current political atmosphere of unrest seems to be breeding "rogue" candidates on both sides of the aisle.

    May 25, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  6. Pam

    What difference does it make what job he was offered. He didn't accept it. I am sick of all the mud slinging all alligations from both sides this year. Stop with the crap and just tell us what you will do to fix the mess we are in.
    I swear, it gets dirtier every day.

    May 25, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  7. j

    Deals like that are made every day in DC. Sounds like Durbin wanted to protect his ole buddy, Arlen.

    May 25, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  8. Josi

    Hey Durbin – shut the fluff up – way to feed right into this manufactured / fake story by the Publos -what a sack of crap you are for giving this more air time – crap head

    May 25, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  9. Greg K., PA

    Frankly, I couldn't care less if Joe Sestak made the whole thing up, he's the much more sane choice compared to Pat Toomey, who racked up a voting record during his three terms in Congress that is even more conservative than Sen. Rick "Man on Dog" Santorum.

    May 25, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  10. Bill

    Why I ask is Durbin not suggesting that the administration come clean? The White House directed someone to make the offer, it backfired. Now they dissapear into the closet. What would you expect from a Chicago-land Obama administration?

    May 25, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  11. Chandler01

    It seems that Sestak was simply tooting his own horn. Exaggerations happen frequently in campaigns.

    May 25, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  12. Sgt. USMC

    Don't talk out of your rear if you are not ready to provide facts. Stir the doodoo and everyone will smell it.

    May 25, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  13. Jim

    Transparency at it's finest

    May 25, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  14. rob

    "Durbin said the White House can provide details after Sestak explains himself."

    Oh Thanks Dick, lets not bother the White House about a possible illegal Quid Pro Quo untill the Congressman explains himself.

    Hey DNCNN, when you get a chance, how about you send a couple or "Reporters" around to ask the White House what it knows and who may have broken the LAW over there if your not too busy.

    May 25, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  15. Mike in SA

    Watch, this is how the Obama administration is planning to divest itself of Rahm Emanuel.

    May 25, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  16. Martin Guillot

    So much for openness and transparency. Obama has not followed through on any of his promises of transparency. I guess its one thing to promise transparency as a candidate, but quite another to deliver it as president.

    May 25, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  17. worriedmom

    I think not only Sestak needs to come clean, I think our White House comes clean. As many have said, the WH is not going to be the fall guy in this one. They will spin it around that Sestak thought he heard them offer him a job, or that he heard nothing at all. Comeon we are not fools WH and Mr. Durbin. If the law was broken, people need to be held accountable for it. I personally think that Sestak is telling the truth but he has been warned by WH to shut up. If this was Bush Administration all the news media would be all over it. It is just plain lamestream with our news media these days.

    May 25, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  18. awaitingmoderationby CNN

    Durbin the dirty calling for someone to come clean. I know it is hypocrisy, but that is the democratic way. Obozo should be impeached.

    May 25, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  19. tess

    if this were a republican he would already have been tried, convicted and in jail – for democrats the law means absolutely nothing when pertaining to them. however, we will be getting rid of as many as we possibly can in 2010 and the biggest liar of all in 2012! my prayer is that we can keep the country from falling completely apart between now and then!!

    May 25, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  20. sara

    Why is this important? So what if he goat a better offer

    May 25, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  21. Gary

    There's nothing improper about that, by Chicago standards.

    May 25, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  22. Dan

    If Sestak was offered a high profile job (like Sec. of the Navy as has been suggested) that would almost certainly have been with President Obama's consent and knowledge.

    It is an illegal activity and there would have to be a trial of impeachment, successful or not.

    If the President didn't consent or know, Rahm Emanuel most likely did – he'd have to be tossed.

    Sestak MUST come forward. I'm pleased a fellow Democrat is on this. I hope he stays on it.

    May 25, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  23. David

    who cares and why does it matter? Corruption or not, Washington will not change until Lobbyist are abolished all together and money is actually spent on things that matter and make a difference in this country. I want a job? Have a vigorous debate about that.

    May 25, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  24. Greg Pottstown PA

    If he comes clean one of two out comes are possible.
    1: sestak lied and will have to admit it and will loose his race.

    2: Sestak told the truth and Obama will through Rahm under the bus to save his own skin.

    In any case it looks bad for dems if people keep pressure on to find the truth.

    May 25, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  25. Suckers

    I for one like the fact that there are topics that the Administration refuses to discuss with the media. Nosey people ask everything and sometimes, in the interest of the nation, they shouldn't.

    I'm not saying that this falls in that category. Rather, I think that the WH is looking to recalibrate the media ... in effect to embarass them ... they've already said that the media should leave it alone. There is no vulnerability here for the WH.

    What may occur is that Sestak exaggerated for political effect and that the media has been played for fools.

    May 25, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
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