Sestak: WH offered job if he left race

May 23, 2010 at 2:56 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 23 (UPI) -- Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., repeated Sunday the White House had offered him a job if he would withdraw from the primary race against Sen. Arlen Specter.

Sestak, who defeated the five-term incumbent Specter to win the Democratic nomination in the Senate primary, was asked on CBS's "Face the Nation" if the Obama administration had offered a position in exchange for his agreeing not to run.

"Yeah," he replied. "I was asked that question months after it happened. And I felt an obligation to answer it honestly. I said, 'yes.'"

Asked what job, Sestak said: "No, no … and I said at the time, anything beyond that just gets into politics."

He said his victory reflected anti-incumbent and anti-Washington sentiments.

On the campaign trail, he said: "What I listened to was people who had literally lost trust. They'd lost faith in Washington, D.C. … They knew that Washington had lost focus."

Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, appearing on the program before Sestak, declined to answer whether the congressman had been offered a position.

Gibbs said the White House had "conversations" with Sestak but refused to provide details.

"Lawyers in the White House and others have looked into conversations that were had with Congressman Sestak, and nothing inappropriate happened," he said.

Gibbs blamed Republicans for dredging up the conversations for political reasons.

On "Fox News Sunday," Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said: "The White House can either corroborate (Sestak's claim) or call him a liar. Is Joe Sestak lying right now? Is he saying that the president did something that the president didn't do? That to me is a serious concern for both Sestak and the White House. At this point, somebody (has) got to come through and clarify exactly what happened."

Meanwhile, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said he plans to file an ethics complaint against Sestak unless he provides more details about the conversations, Politico reported Sunday.

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