On February 18, Rep. Joe Sestak, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania, revealed in a Philadelphia TV interview that the Obama White House offered him a job in an effort to talk him out of opposing Sen. Arlen Specter, who’d recently switched parties. Network interviewers asked the White House for comment, but the network news bosses at ABC, CBS, and NBC kept any mention of this possible quid pro quo off the airwaves of their morning and evening news programs for more than three months.
Then ten days after Sestak defeated Specter, the White House issued a brief statement on the Friday afternoon heading into the Memorial Day weekend, claiming they asked former President Bill Clinton to offer Sestak an unpaid position on a presidential advisory board. That drew perfunctory reports on Friday night and some brief mentions over the holiday weekend.
During the following week, the White House narrative fell apart, since Sestak could not serve on these advisory boards as a member of Congress. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs obfuscated and dodged reporters when peppered with questions, which led to some newspaper and cable coverage, but ABC, CBS and NBC all blacked out the story as it crumbled.
Then Andrew Romanoff, a Democratic Senate candidate in Colorado, emerged with a similar story, complete with a White House e-mail he received that touted several positions in foreign aid programs he could have. This spurred two network morning show stories, but the networks weren’t acknowledging any kind of scandal was occurring. There’s now been 12 days of network silence on Team Obama’s Sestak maneuvering.
CNN's Larry King completely left out the major topic of the White House's continuing obfuscation on the Sestak and Romanoff controversies and barely mentioned the economy during his interview of President Obama on Thursday. While King did ask extensively on the Gulf oil leak and touched on the Middle East and immigration, he also tossed softballs on LeBron James and the President singing with Paul McCartney.
The CNN host aired his interview with the chief executive during the first half of the 9 pm Eastern hour. King spent the entire first two segments asking about the oil leak issue. Other than one question, where he asked whether the President had any responsibility for the disaster, the journalist asked softball questions (remember, CNN claimed just under two months ago in April that it was the only "non-partisan" cable network, and how King hounded Carrie Prejean during an interview in November 2009):
After 8 months of being in a silent lockdown mode on the subject of whether the White House offered the Democrat Senate candidate from Colorado, Andrew Romanoff (photo), a job if he would remove himself from the primary race, the Denver Post has finally gotten around to reporting on it again following their initial September story. By strange "coincidence" the Post's sudden willingness to once again broach this subject happened just hours after their bizarre silence on this topic was pointed out by various blogs on the web including the NewsBusters blog of your humble correspondent yesterday.
The first Denver Post mention in 8 months of this allegation comes from the blog of staff writer Michael Booth who sounds irritated with Republicans for even focusing on this situation:
Republicans trying hard to make Joe Sestak’s job-trading allegations stick are dragging Colorado Senate challenger Andrew Romanoff into the argument.
Much of their ammunition comes straight from a Denver Post article last September by Washington correspondent Michael Riley. The Post article cited top Democratic sources saying the Obama administration “suggested a place for Romanoff might be found” in the executive branch. The implication was that the job would be available if Romanoff dropped any challenge to appointed Sen. Michael Bennet for the Colorado Democratic primary.
A Democrat candidate running against a Senate incumbent is offered a job by the White House as an incentive to drop out of the primary race. Sounds like the Joe Sestak scandal in which he alleged that someone in the White House offered him a job in order to drop out of the race against the incumbent senator from Pennsylvania, Arlen Specter. Right? Well, yes. However, this also perfectly describes another similar scandal in which it is alleged that the White House offered a job to Andrew Romanoff (photo) in order to drop out of the primary race for the senate from Colorado against incumbent Michael Bennet. And the amazing thing about this scandal is that the newspaper that broke it has since remained completely silent on any further reporting.
First the scandal details as reported by Michael Riley for the Denver Post in this September 27, 2009 article:
WASHINGTON — Not long after news leaked last month that Andrew Romanoff was determined to make a Democratic primary run against Sen. Michael Bennet, Romanoff received an unexpected communication from one of the most powerful men in Washington.
Jim Messina, President Barack Obama's deputy chief of staff and a storied fixer in the White House political shop, suggested a place for Romanoff might be found in the administration and offered specific suggestions, according to several sources who described the communication to The Denver Post.
Romanoff turned down the overture, which included mention of a job at USAID, the foreign aid agency, sources said.
In a story primarily about President Obama's plan to campaign on behalf of incumbent Democratic senators in Nevada and Colorado, Washington Times reporter Joseph Curl did not name Colorado Senator Michael Bennet's opponent.
That oversight would ordinarily be defensible if the Bennet's primary competitor were polling weakly. But he is most decidedly not, at least where it ultimately counts -- in general election match-ups against the current Republican primary front-runner.