By Bob Cusack
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) said he and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel discussed how to persuade Rep. Joe Sestak (Pa.) not to challenge Sen. Arlen Specter in the 2010 Democratic primary.
During an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News Wednesday, Rendell said, "I know about this. Number one, Rahm Emanuel and I had discussions about this. We very much wanted to persuade Congressman Sestak to stay in the House and run for his seat, 'cause he would have won his seat easily and now that's a seat that's up for grabs. So I know that the administration did not want to offer him a job that would have meant he would have to leave Congress."
Rendell, who recently called on the White House to publicly reveal its efforts to convince Sestak not to jump into the race against Specter, downplayed the significance of former President Bill Clinton's lobbying of Sestak to remain in the lower chamber.
"This happens all the time," Rendell said, noting that former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who served in George W. Bush's administration, has suggested that no laws were broken.
Sestak defeated Specter in the Pennsylvania primary last month. Sestak will face former Rep. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) in the general election.