Last Week Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak made an astounding prediction. The White House offered a plum job in the administration if he would only drop his primary battle against now Democrat, former Republican, former Democrat, Arlen Specter.
Both Fox News and the Philadelphia Enquirer spoke to unnamed White House officials, who insisted on “anonymity,” but had denied the congressman’s claim. Sestak, meanwhile, has repeatedly stood by his assertion that the administration offered him a job in exchange for not running against Specter.
Yesterday, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was asked the question out in the Instead of answering the question, Gibbs put on his “tap” shoes and danced around the question. He said he would have to “check on it” before he could deny Rep. Joe Sestak’s (D.-Pa.) claim that the administration had offered him a high-ranking job in the administration in exchange for not mounting a primary challenge against incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter. This is not the first time Gibbs has dodged the question.
“So, at this point, the White House is not ready to deny what Sestak said?” CNSNews.com asked Gibbs.
“No. I think I said I would check on it, on the situation,” said ibbs.
Gibbs statement that he still needed to do some checking on the issue comes a week after he gave virtually the same non-substantive answer to reporters who asked about it at last Tuesday’s briefing.
…The controversy started on Feb. 18, when Sestak appeared on “Larry Kane: Voice of Reason,” a public affairs television program on the Comcast Network in Pennsylvania. Kane asked, “Were you ever offered a federal job to get out of this race?”
“Yes,” said Sestak.
“Was it secretary of the Navy?” Kane asked.
“No comment, though I would never get out for a deal. I’m in this for the Democratic principles,” said Sestak.
“Okay,” said Kane. “But there was a job offered to you by the White House?”
“Yes, someone offered–” said Sestak.
“It was big, right?” asked Kane.
“It was—let me not comment on it,” Sestak responded.
The Philadelphia Inquirer, which had a reporter present when Sestak taped the interview with Kane, reported that Sestak “nodded when asked if the offer was for a high-ranking post.”
….On Feb. 19, Martha MacCallum interviewed Sestak on Fox News and asked him about his allegation that the administration had offered him a job in exchange for not running against Sen. Specter. “The White House now says, you know, on background, that that is not true and that they have no further comment on it, but that it’s not true,” she said. “Your response, sir.”
“I was asked a direct question yesterday and I answered it honestly. There’s nothing more to go in to,” said Sestak.
….At the Feb. 23 White House press briefing, two reporters asked Gibbs about the matter.
One reporter asked: “Congressman Sestak last week said that the White House offered him a high ranking job in the administration to not run against Arlen Specter. Do you guys have any comment on that?”
Gibbs answered, “I was traveling for a couple of days, as you know. I have seen some stuff that he said, but I have not looked into this.”
….Yesterday, another reporter asked, “You were asked twice about the claim from Congressman Sestak that he had been offered a high ranking administration position.”
Gibbs answered, “I have not checked.”
The reporter followed: “Just to let you know, I was in touch with Geoff Morrell at the Pentagon and he said there was no discussion at all. But Mr. Sestak’s spokesman, Jonathon Dworkin, said the congressman stands by his story.”
“I will check,” Gibbs responded.
CNSNews.com followed up: “An unnamed White House spokesperson did say in the Philadelphia Inquirer, or did deny, what Sestak said three times on TV.”
Gibbs interjected, “Like I said I will check on it.”
CNSNews.com then asked: “So, at this point, the White House is not ready to deny what Sestak said?”
“No. I think I said I would check on it, on the situation,” said Gibbs.
When Sestak made his claim it was HUGE news. Gibbs is one of the President’s closest advisers. If you really believe there hasn’t been any discussions on the Sestak charge yet, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. The White House is probably still discussion how do defuse their error.