White House to Name Clinton as Person Who Spoke to Sestak

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Journalist

The White House is expected to release a statement later today naming former President Bill Clinton as the person who spoke with Senate candidate Joe Sestak about the possibility of taking another job instead of running for office.

According to Greg Sargent of the Washington Post, sources say the White House will inform the public that it was White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel who asked Clinton and his longtime adviser, lawyer Doug Band, to talk to Sestak about the race.

“It’s unclear right now whether the White House will say that Clinton was asked to suggest specific administration positions for Sestak, whether Clinton floated positions on his own, whether Clinton discussed other options not related to the adminstration, or whether employment even came up at all in the talks,” Sargent writes.

But the White House is expected to maintain that the Clinton-Sestak discussions were informal.

“The White House maintains that Clinton’s overtures to Sestak merely constituted an effort to gauge his seriousness about the race, the sources say, adding that Clinton was informally discussing the range of options open to Sestak as part of a larger conversation meant to ascertain Sestak’s thinking,” Sargent writes.

However, the fact that Clinton was involved underscores how serious the White House was in dissuading Sestak from running because of the risk it posed to Arlen Specter, whose switch to the Democratic party last year gave the Democrats the crucial 60th vote in the Senate.

“I’ve been unable to ascertain precisely what Clinton discussed with Sestak in terms of his future options, but the release of the White House’s formal response will clear that up,” Sargent concludes.

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