Steele: White House effort to 'deny, obfuscate, and mislead' in job incidents

Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Michael Steele used the GOP address Saturday to attack the Obama White House over discussions it had about jobs for Senate candidates to avoid primary showdowns.

Late last month, the White House admitted that it offered an unpaid post last year to Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.), who had been challenging the White House’s favored candidate, Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), to not enter the race.

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This week, it was confirmed that the administration suggested several potential job opportunities to Colorado Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff should he drop his primary bid against appointed Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetThe Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape The Hill's Morning Report — Recession fears climb and markets dive — now what? Hickenlooper expected to end presidential bid on Thursday MORE (D-Colo.).

Republicans, led by Steele and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee ranking member Darrell Issa (Calif.), have pounced on the discussions, saying they are examples of illegal political strong-arming.

“From Day One of this current flap involving Congressman Joe Sestak and now Andrew Romanoff, the White House efforts to deny, obfuscate, and mislead have only served to raise suspicions even further,” Steele said. “There’s a reason we have a law that prohibits federal officials from offering things of value to people for political gain. It’s called transparency.”


While Democrats have said that the talks were appropriate and are common in politics, Republicans have pressed forth with their arguments, adding that Obama came to Washington to change politics as usual but is instead engaging in it.

“President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaDick Cheney to attend fundraiser supporting Trump reelection: report Forget conventional wisdom — Bernie Sanders is electable 2020 Democrats fight to claim Obama's mantle on health care MORE promised that he ‘won’t stop fighting to open up government,’ and that he would have ‘the most transparent administration in history.’ Really?” Steele asked. “Of course, it’s one thing to keep that promise when you think it’ll help you politically. The real test of a man’s word is if he keeps it when it’s inconvenient, embarrassing or potentially damaging. On this test, the president and his people have failed.”

Both Sestak and Romanoff turned down the opportunities and Sestak won his race over the Republican-turned-Democrat Specter several weeks ago.

In his address, Steele turned his fire on a common enemy of the GOP, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. The chairman said that if he “has been offering government goodies to inconvenient politicians threatening Democrat incumbents, then it’s time for him to resign.

“If it comes out that the president knew about any of it, then we have a larger problem. And, if offering political appointments in exchange for sitting out of a campaign is the president’s proposal for ‘job-creation,’ then we’re in for more economic misery,” Steele added.