June 03, 2010
Obama Tried Bribing Another Senate Candidate
In the latest of many political scandals to rock the Obama Administration, another U.S. Senate candidate has acknowledged that the president tried bribing him with a lucrative government job to abandon the race in order to protect the White House favorite.
Former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff was offered the possibility of three high-ranking government positions if he agreed not to challenge Democratic incumbent Michael Bennet, formally endorsed by the president, in this year’s primaries. Two of the jobs involved working for a State Department affiliate—U.S. Agency for International Development—and one with the U.S. Trade Development Agency.
Romanoff rejected the offer but revealed this week that they were extended via electronic mail last fall by Obama’s deputy chief of staff, Jim Messina. A political news site has posted a copy of Messina’s email to Romanoff, which explains in detail the various job possibilities: Deputy Assistant Administrator for Latin America and Caribbean, USAID; Director, Office of Democracy and Governance, USAID and Director, U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA).
Romanoff says he left Messina a “voice mail informing him that I would not change course.” Romanoff handily defeated Bennet in last month’s state Democratic assembly and the candidates will face off in an August primary election. Bennet was appointed to the seat last year when Senator Ken Salazar left to become Obama’s Interior Secretary and the administration wants to keep him in place.
This scandal comes on the heels of a separate but similar White House scheme to prevent Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Sestak from challenging incumbent Arlen Specter in that state’s Senate contest. Sestak, a two-term congressman from Philadelphia, revealed on national television that the White House tried bribing him with a top federal job to drop out of the race. After nearly three decades as a Republican, Specter became a Democrat last spring after giving Obama the critical vote for his disastrous $787 billion stimulus and the president vowed to help him get reelected.
Like Romanoff, Sestak refused the president’s offer and defeated Specter in last month’s Democratic primaries just as Camp Obama had feared. After a “thorough investigation,” the White House announced last week that no one in the Obama Administration committed any crimes in the Sestak case because Bill Clinton actually carried out the shady scheme. Perhaps Obama can blame Clinton for the failed plot to eliminate Romanoff.