Joe Sestak says “I was offered a job” by someone senior in the Obama administration in exchange for getting out of the Democratic primary against Arlen Specter.
“Joe heard what he wanted to hear,” said Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell on Greta last night (video below):
“And I believe Joe heard what he wanted to hear because, you know, he’s a former admiral. And you know, when they said something like, This is something in your background or your experience level, he must have interpreted — I guess the position at that time was open and it hadn’t been filled.”
Rendell, who seems to be the designated Democratic point man on Fox News, did not claim to have inside knowledge of what was said. But Rendell repeated that line of attack on Sestak several times during the interview, a clear talking point.
Rendell treated Joe Sestak the way the rest of us treat Joe Biden; that’s just Joe being Joe, he says things, you know.
Rendell’s talking point is similar to David Axelrod’s statement that there was “no evidence” that conversations took place as related by Sestak, and Robert Gibbs statement that any conversations were “not inappropriate.”
The White House is spinning a narrative that a conversation or conversations took place (because the fact of a conversation cannot be denied), but that there was a misunderstanding on the part of Sestak. Admit what cannot be denied, and muddle the rest based on imperfect memories and the frailty of human perception.
The story will go something like this: There may have been discussion of a “job,” but it was only about what types of jobs might be appropriate for someone with Sestak’s background; there never was an “offer” or “promise” of a specific “job.”
The contortion necessary to paint Sestak as confused, but not a liar (which would be bad for the general election) explains why it is taking the White House so long to identify the person who didn’t make the job offer and what was said that didn’t constitute a job offer but might have been misunderstood as such by Sestak.
I was taught, and teach my students, that people who tell the truth don’t need to remember which story to tell. Someone at the White House is trying to remember which story to tell.
And remembering which story to tell is all the more difficult here because of the possible criminal nature of the job offer. Politically, a huge mea culpa combined with a resignation might be enough. Legally, public contrition would be dangerous.
We appear to be heading towards a defense of “it depends upon what the meaning of ‘job offer’ is.”