Gibbs Grilled Over Sestak Bribery Claim
7:59 PM, May 20, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
Earlier today, I noted that the Washington Post's piece on Joe Sestak didn't even mention Sestak's claim that he'd been offered a job by the White House if he would have dropped out of the race against Arlen Specter. At today's White House press briefing, ABC's Jake Tapper, CNN's Ed Henry, and another reporter grilled Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Sestak's claim (full transcript after the jump). Julie Mason reports:
Meanwhile, prior to this grilling, the WaPo's Dave Weigel defended the fact that journalists (or at least his colleague at the Post) were uninterested in this story:
There are a number of reasons why reporters aren't interested in this story. The "stonewall" is the big one -- Sestak will curtly repeat his version of the story whenever asked, but the White House blows off questions about it.
Huh? When those in power don't want to give journalists answers, journalists should be uninterested in asking questions? Aren't those the stories journalists should be most interested in? Isn't the stonewalling in and of itself a story?
Weigel also writes that it's nonsensical and laughable that the White House would have made such an offer. I fail to see what is nonsensical about the idea that the White House offerred a job to Sestak in exchange for his dropping out of a race against the White House's preferred candidate.
Here's the transcript from today's briefing:
Q And Sestak -- several months ago, I asked you on February 23rd if you could find out more about what Sestak said about the White House making him an offer to not run. And I know that in March you said whatever conversations have been had are not problematic. But I’m wondering since this has become an issue in Congressman Sestak’s campaign and will likely be -- continue to be an issue, if you could -- if you want to put it to rest right now, what exactly was the conversation?
MR. GIBBS: Jake, I don’t have anything to add to what I said in March.
Q But you never -- you never really explained what the conversation was.
MR. GIBBS: Then I don’t have anything to add today.
Q But if the White House offers a congressman a position in the administration in order to convince that congressman to not run for office --