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Sestak’s Stall Not Working

Joe Sestak, not unlike Rand Paul and Richard Blumenthal, has gotten off to a poor start, which threatens to drag him under before the general election race starts in earnest. Even the New York Times is shining a light on the cooperative stonewall going on between the least transparent White House in history and Sestak:

For three months, the White House has refused to say whether it offered a job to Representative Joe Sestak to induce him to drop his challenge to Senator Arlen Specter in a Pennsylvania Democratic primary, as Mr. Sestak has asserted. But the White House wants everyone who suspects that something untoward, or even illegal, might have happened to rest easy: it still will not reveal what happened, but the White House says it has examined its own actions and decided that it did nothing wrong. Whatever it was that it did.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the “trust us” response from the White House has not exactly put the matter to rest. Though Mr. Sestak stayed in the race, and defeated Mr. Specter in the primary last Tuesday, the questions have returned with intensity and remain unanswered. Mr. Gibbs deflected questions about the matter 13 times at a White House news briefing last Thursday, while Mr. Sestak reaffirmed his assertion without providing any specifics about what the offer was or who made it.

There are two possibilities here. One is that Sestak was embellishing or outright fibbing, and the White House doesn’t want to hang him out to dry (unlike what happened to Harry Reid). The other is that there was some kind of offer, which might be illegal but is — in any case — the epitome of Washington insiderness and backroom deals, which the voters have come to loathe.

His opponent, Pat Toomey, echoes the New York Times (yeah, it’s a weird election year all right), putting out a statement that is restrained in tone but asks for a full accounting: “My response is simply this: Congressman Sestak should tell the public everything he knows about the job he was offered, and who offered it.  To do otherwise will only continue to raise questions and continue to be a needless distraction in this campaign.”

It is a measure of how frustrated the press has become with the perpetual stonewalling and outright contempt this president has shown the media that the Times and other outlets are now aligned with a conservative Republican in demanding that one of the most liberal Democrats on the ballot come clean.



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