MR. GREGORY: What, what job were you offered to stay out of a primary race by the administration?
REP. SESTAK: It's interesting. I was asked a question about something that....
MR. GREGORY: All right, but you've campaigned on transparency. It's part of the politics. You talked about standing up to the White House when they'd fielded a candidate--made a deal with Arlen Specter. So isn't it in the--in the spirit of transparency, were you offered a job by the administration? And what was it? ...
REP. SESTAK: I felt I needed to answer that question honestly because I was personally accountable for my role in the matter.
MR. GREGORY: What's the answer? What's the job you were offered?
REP. SESTAK: And--but anybody else has to decide for themselves what to say upon their role, and that's their responsibility.
MR. GREGORY: Yes or no, straightforward question. Were you, were you offered a job, and what was the job?
REP. SESTAK: I was offered a job, and I answered that...
MR. GREGORY: You said no, you wouldn't take the job. Was it the secretary of the Navy?
REP. SESTAK: Right. And I also said, "Look, I'm getting into this...
MR. GREGORY: Was it the secretary of the Navy job?
REP. SESTAK: Anything that go--goes beyond that is others--for others to talk about.
Robert Gibbs offered his usual stalwart defense on the Sunday talk circuit, which consisted of equal parts deflection and incoherence.
Today, however, even the official public relations newsletter of the DNC -- The Washington Compost -- raised the white flag.
"NOTHING inappropriate happened," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs says about the job offer that Rep. Joe Sestak, now the Democratic nominee for a Pennsylvania Senate seat, claims the White House dangled to induce him to back away from challenging incumbent Arlen Specter. "It has been looked into," adds White House senior adviser David Axelrod, and "nothing inappropriate happened."
...It would be awfully ham-handed if, as Mr. Sestak claims, an administration official presented the situation as an explicit quid pro quo: Don't challenge Mr. Specter and the Navy (or another job) is yours. Would it be illegal? Mr. Specter said so, but ethics laws do not seem designed for this circumstance. Ordinarily, bribery takes place in the opposite direction...
Still, the White House position that everyone should just trust it and go away is unacceptable from any administration; it is especially hypocritical coming from this one. "I'm not going to get further into what the conversations were," Mr. Gibbs said Sunday. "People that have looked into them assure me that they weren't inappropriate in any way." This response would hardly have satisfied those who were upset during the previous administration about the firing of U.S. attorneys. If there was nothing improper, why not all that sunlight Mr. Obama promised?
The most. Transparent. Administration. Evah! And to think that the geniuses at Slate Magazine were wondering if the Obama administration would be too transparent!
When the history books are written, I can assure you that this incident will be among the least of our concerns.
And I have only one more question:
* What would Kwame Kilpatrick do?