(Robert Romano/ALG News Bureau) – Last week White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs appeared to affirm that Barack Obama was directly responsible for the job offers made to Joe Sestak and Andrew Romanoff in return for dropping out of U.S. Senate races.
Said Gibbs, “the President has, as the leader of the party, has an interest in ensuring that supporters don’t run against each other in contested primaries…”
This differed slightly with White House Counsel Robert Bauer’s somewhat carefully-crafted account of the situation that “The Democratic Party leadership had a legitimate interest in averting a divisive primary fight and a similarly legitimate concern about [Congressman Sestak] vacating his seat in the House.”
Realizing the value of Gibbs’ admission of Obama’s express interest in the job offers, the reporter responded to Gibbs: “But that makes it sound like he did know about them, then.” To which, Gibbs responded, “No, no, he’s not aware of the individual circumstances.”
This is being handled very poorly by the Obama Administration. On one hand their essential case is that no laws were broken and are in fact legitimized by Obama’s status as Democrat Party leader, but on the other, that Obama apparently knew nothing of the actual job offers.
But, if no laws were broken and the job offers are perfectly legitimate, why take such pains to dissociate Obama’s direct involvement? Why the initial denials in both the Sestak and Romanoff cases by the White House? Why has the Justice Department thus far refused to appoint a special counsel, as requested by Representative Darrell Issa, and by Senate Republicans?
They’re acting guilty.
Indeed, if everything is above board, should not the White House publish the names of every candidate that has been offered some sort of appointment with dropping out of a political race as a precondition?
And which candidates obliged the request? Speculation is already swirling. Was it Ed Case in HI-CD1, who dropped out of the race against newly-elected Representative Charles Djou in favor of Colleen Hanabusa? “My heart tells me to stay in this fight, but my head says this has become the wrong fight,” Case told his supporters.
Perhaps Harold Ford, Jr. took a dive, who dropped out of a primary battle against incumbent New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand after he wrote that he was bullied by party bosses. Or maybe Representative Steve Israel, whom according to the New York Post “Obama personally called and asked to drop out.” Or Representative Carolyn Maloney. But not to worry, the White House has already denied claims that they might have been offered jobs, too, because reporters wanted to know.
No wonder. You see, it begs the question. If Sestak and Romanoff were offered positions and refused, there may have been candidates that were made offers that accepted.
And it is a question that the White House press corps must demand an answer to: If the Administration truly believes that offering candidates positions to drop out of races is completely lawful, and there is nothing to hide, will it now release a list of every candidate it has “discussed alternatives” to running for office with?
Because the stonewalling is making Obama look guilty.
(Robert Romano is the Senior Editor of ALG News Bureau)