Pennsylvania’s Blumenthal: ex-Admiral’s image of honesty, White House credibility torpedoed.
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ROBERT GIBBS: I— I— I’m not going to get—
BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): Okay.
ROBERT GIBBS: —further into what the conversations were. People that have looked into them assure me that they weren’t inappropriate in any way.
Which is to say, while Sestak is now admitting the job in question was Secretary of the Navy, Gibbs refuses yet again to discuss the issue. He makes it clear the White House will not be revealing the name of the person who offered Sestak the job of Secretary of the Navy.
Added to the growing calls from Pennsylvania talk radio hosts for Sestak to tell the truth, the ex-Admiral is quickly gaining a reputation as Pennsylvania’s Richard Blumenthal — the Connecticut Attorney General turned Democratic Senate nominee found to have been deliberately dishonest about his service in Vietnam.
In the just over two minute video, posted on Friday, national media figures across the spectrum are shown grilling both Gibbs and Sestak about “Jobsgate” — the allegation originally made by Sestak of a job offer from the White House if he would halt a primary challenge to Senator Specter. Sestak refused to abandon the race, and last week defeated Specter for the Senate nomination. He will face Republican Pat Toomey this fall.
At various points in the video one or the other of the two men are seen or heard being questioned by Jake Tapper (ABC), Larry Kane (Comcast), Brett Baier (Fox News), Martha McCallum (Fox News), Ed Schultz (MSNBC), Chip Reid (CBS), Neil Cavuto (Fox News), Ed Henry (CNN), and Rick Sanchez (CNN). Commenting on the legal aspects, stating flatly that what Sestak alleges is a federal crime, are Fox legal analyst and anchor Megyn Kelley and Judge Andrew Napolitano of Fox News.
Tapper, Reid and Henry are White House correspondents for their respective networks. Not seen on camera is Fox News White House correspondent Major Garrett, who has also been trying to get answers from Gibbs. Off-camera questions are also heard from Pennsylvania radio talk show host Gary Sutton, of WSBA radio in York.
The video, contrasting the answers from the White House podium by Gibbs with repeated clips of Sestak telling a variety of journalists that he has “answered the question honestly,” presents a vivid contrast between the two men. Gibbs is portrayed as saying he “has not looked into this” — then repeatedly deflecting questions, just as he did with Schieffer yesterday. The commercial ends with the tag line: “Honestly, they can’t both be right. So who is wrong?”
The tape, issued not from a political action committee but the ranking Republican Congressman on the Oversight Committee (the credit reads “Oversight Productions: republicans.oversight.house.gov” — which is to say an official arm of the House Minority), will surely receive considerable publicity and has the potential to be a torpedo-amidships to the ex-Admiral’s Senate campaign. Not unlike the revelation in Connecticut that Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, nominated by Democrats over the weekend to replace the ethically challenged Senator Chris Dodd, repeatedly lied to the public about his service in Vietnam.
In yet another development, in an interview with Pittsburgh’s KDKA radio the day after defeating Specter, this testy exchange took place between Sestak and interviewer Mike Pintek:
Pintek: I want to ask you something from, in fact, before the election yesterday alright? We were just talking about it a few minutes ago just before the break…It is that you said the Obama administration offered you a job if you would drop out of the primary for Arlen Specter. You said no. Who offered you the job? What was the job?
Sestak: It’s interesting. It happened last July and somebody called.
Pintek: Who called?
Sestak: Somebody called. And I answered the question honestly when I was asked. And then I stopped and I said, : “that’s it, no more.” Because you know, nobody outside a studio or anything else cares. What they want to know is what the heck are you going to do to get me a job that I’ve lost? And that’s how I’ve approached that whole campaign, you know? And I honestly believe that…
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