Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele on Saturday accused President Barack Obama of attempting to “deny, obfuscate and mislead” over White House efforts to persuade two Senate Democratic primary challengers to drop bids against incumbents.
In the Republican response to Obama’s weekly radio address, Steele took the president to task over allegations that his staff offered jobs to Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) and Colorado Democrat Andrew Romanoff in an effort to persuade them to drop primary challenges to Sens. Arlen Specter and Michael Bennet, respectively.
“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,” Steele said. “And the White House’s efforts to use federal appointments to entice candidates out of competitive Democratic primaries goes directly against the Obama administration’s claims of openness and transparency.”
Steele said White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel should resign if he offered jobs to Sestak, Romanoff or other candidates.
Emanuel has not been linked to any job offers to candidates in Democratic primaries. The White House has acknowledged former President Bill Clinton spoke with Sestak about an unpaid advisory position and that Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina spoke with Bennet about possible postings within the administration.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said this week that Obama was unaware of any job offer to Romanoff.
Steele trained his fire on Obama’s chief of staff.
“Enough is enough. If Rahm Emanuel has been offering government goodies to inconvenient politicians threatening Democrat incumbents, then it’s time for him to resign,” Steele said. “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.”