At the request of President Obama's chief of staff, former President Bill Clinton asked Joe Sestak if he would drop out of Pennsylvania's Democratic Senate primary if given a prominent but unpaid advisory position within the administration.
That's what sources told the New York Times' Peter Baker on Friday morning, as the White House prepared to release its official response to Sestak's claim that a White House job was dangled before him as inducement to pull the plug on his primary challenge to incumbent Arlen Specter. The White House has since released its counsel's findings on the matter, confirming that Clinton spoke to Sestak.
Baker describes Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel as having personally asked Clinton last summer to be an emissary to Sestak. Emanuel — a former chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee who actually recruited Sestak to run for the House back in 2006 — didn't want Sestak to drop out of the House. So, according to Baker, White House officials considered several unpaid positions, including a spot on the independent President's Intelligence Advisory Board. But that position wouldn't work because Sestak couldn't take the job while still serving in Congress.
If Baker's account is accurate, did Sestak exaggerate this job business a little bit? Back in February, Sestak replied "yes" when a Pennsylvania TV reporter asked if he had been offered a "high-ranking" administration job. An unpaid advisory role, while perhaps important and influential, isn't exactly "high-ranking."
The wild card here, which administration officials will no doubt play up, is that evidently no one except Clinton and Sestak know exactly what Clinton said. Sestak still isn't talking, though he did confirm to reporters Thursday that his brother, Richard, who is also his chief political adviser and campaign attorney, spoke with the White House Thursday about the matter.
Granted, corrupt Democrats have a history of looking out each other in times of crisis, but one can't help but wonder if this will possibly re-open wounds between the rival Obama and Clinton camps. Barry better tread carefully here because I can't see the Hillary supporters liking this one bit. Of course, as a conservative there's nothing better than watching some liberal-on-liberal violence. Heh.