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Administration buys-off Sestak?; Daniels disagrees with Crist.


Did Obama Try to Bribe Sestak?

Administration buys-off Sestak?; Daniels disagrees with Crist.

Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa) is insisting that the Obama Administration offered him a “high-ranking job” in return for his withdrawal from the May Democratic primary against five-term Sen. (and Republican convert) Arlen Specter.  As of yesterday (February 23rd), the top spokesmen for both the President and the Secretary of Defense were not commenting one way or another.

 Last Thursday, two-termer Sestak stunned his fellow Keystone State pols during an interview with veteran Philadelphia TV newsman Larry Kane.  At one point, Kane asked Sestak whether the White House had offered him “a high ranking job in the administration … to get you to drop out of the primary?”

“Yes,” Sestak replied, without hesitation.

 When Kane pressed him as to whether that position was secretary of the navy, retired Vice Admiral Sestak replied: “I can’t comment on that.”  However, he pointed out that the job he was referring to was “high up.”  Sestak also made clear he would have never left the campaign for a government appointment.

Sestak’s claim was brought up twice yesterday during the regular briefing of reporters at the White House.  Asked by ABC-TV’s Jake Tapper if the White House had any comment on it, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs replied: “I was traveling for a couple of days, as you know.  I have seen some stuff on that, but I have not looked into this.”

That was not the end of it.  Major Garrett of Fox News pointed out to Gibbs that “on Friday, unnamed officials of this building did vociferously deny Representative Sestak’s assessment that he had been offered a job.  And I just want to say, when you said, ‘I haven’t looked at this,’ I want to make sure you’re not contradicting that denial.”

The President’s top spokesman insisted that “because I was on the road and dealing with different things on the road, I’ve not had a chance to delve into this.”

Pressed by Garrett as to whether he felt there was anything “inappropriate” about such a discussion with Sestak, Gibbs said only that he would have “somebody look into that” because “like I said, I was on the road and I don’t really have a whole lot of knowledge on this.”

Sestak, however, has no doubt about what was said and offered to him.  Following Gibbs’exchange with reporters, I spoke to the congressman’s press secretary Jonathon Dworkin and he told me without hesitation: “Congressman Sestak stands by his statement.  He was asked a direct question and answered honestly.  Nothing further needs to be said.” 

I posed the same question through e-mail to Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell and asked if Secretary of Defense Robert Gates had any discussions with Sestak about a position. 

“I will check,” Morrell e-mailed me, “First I have heard of such a thing.”

Indiana’s Gov. Daniels Disagrees With Florida’s Crist on Stimulus Package

One day after Florida Gov. Charlie Crist made a spirited defense of the President’s $787 billion stimulus package and his early support of it, a fellow Republican governor took sharp issue with him. 

When I read Crist’s strong words of support for the Obama stimulus package to Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels yesterday (January 23rd) and asked if he agreed with the Floridian, Daniels replied: “No”

“Although let me hasten to add I didn’t criticize the idea of some fiscal stimulus as part of the attempt to jump start [the economy],” Daniels told me during a breakfast in Washington held by the Christian Science Monitor. “The way they did it turned out to be mediocre, to be gentle about it.”

In the view of onetime Office of Management and Budget chief Daniels, little of the stimulus package was spent on jump-starting the private sector and most “was spent to maintain social programs.”

 Recalling his days as a Reagan White House aide and OMB director under George W. Bush — “I served two sentences in White Houses” — Daniels insisted that “I’m inclined to be a little charitable to whoever’s there because they always have to operate under incredible pressure.”

But he felt the results were poor and so, “I disagree with Charlie.”

Written By

John Gizzi has come to be known as â??the man who knows everyone in Washingtonâ? and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on whatâ??s going on in the nationâ??s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as â??Gizzi on Politicsâ? and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of â??Gizziâ??s America,â? video interviews that appear on Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. Johnâ??s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com

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