NPR logo Joe Sestak: Nothing Wrong Was Done

Joe Sestak: Nothing Wrong Was Done

Rep. Joe Sestak told reporters during an impromptu news conference that the Obama White House did nothing wrong in having former President Bill Clinton talk with him about the possibility of an administration position if he stayed out of the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate primary.

Sestak said:

I was very conscious that the Democratic establishment did not want me in the race. And I merely looked at this as just another effort by the Democratic establishment in Washington D.C. not to have me in the race... There was nothing wrong that was done... This happened in July.

This portion of the conversation (with the former president) probably lasted, I'm not sure of the time, 30 to 60 seconds. We were on another conversation and it came up during it. And it was almost as if he was saying, like I kind of almost felt like I was interrupting, saying Mr. President I would only get out of this or not get into at the time, because I wasn't in the primary at the time if I felt it was right thing to do for Pennsylvania families and not for an offer.

And he chuckled and said: 'Joe, I knew you were going to say that.' ... I immediately said no and then moved on.

Asked why he hadn't detailed his conversation with Clinton before Friday, Sestak said:

I didn't feel it was right for me after being called by a former president of the U.S. to talk about the details of that conversation.

He also was asked about the last time he spoke with White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel who asked the former president to speak with Sestak.

Last time I spoke with Rahm was March a year ago.

Sestak said he was one of a number of lawmakers invited to the White House to talk about health care back then and he and Emanuel merely exchanged greetings.