Previewing the White House Response to Sestak's Allegations

By Marc Ambinder

Briefly, here is the White House version of events in re: the contact between chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and Rep. Joe Sestak.

Special guest star: Bill Clinton. Emanuel telephoned Clinton and chief of staff Doug Band and asked the former president to feel out Sestak to see if he was serious about running for Senate or whether he was trying to parlay his interest into an administration position somehow.

Clinton did as instructed and found Sestak to be serious about running for Senate.

This was conveyed to Emanuel.

Problems:

1. Bill Clinton. His name is bound to turn this story from a Friday news dump into something that will be covered extensively.

2. Republicans are not going to accept an account prepared by Robert Bauer, the White House counsel, who is friendly with Clinton, even though there is no reason to assume ill motivations.

3. The question of what specific instructions Clinton was given -- whether he was authorized to offer Sestak a job -- will become the focal point of Republican queries, even as the White House will insist that Clinton wasn't given any authority to offer anything.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/05/previewing-the-white-house-response-to-sestaks-allegations/57399/