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June 11, 2010 10:20 PM UTC

Michael Bennet gradually admits knowledge of WH job offer

  • by: StrykerK2

Yesterday, Wade Norris posted a story outlining the timeline on the White House job offer to get Romanoff out of the race.

In it, he essentially asked a few simple question: what did Michael Bennet know, when did he know it, and what was his involvement?

Well finally, today, Michael Bennet at least comes clean on the first two.

After a few statements dodging the issue with phrases like:

Conversations Michael had with the White House focused on the president’s continued support for his campaign, regardless of what career path Speaker Romanoff chose to follow.


Bennet, whom the White House is supporting in the primary, was aware at the time that someone in the Obama administration planned to contact Romanoff “to confirm reports that he was interested in running for the Senate or determine if he was still interested in serving in the administration,” according to a statement from Bennet’s campaign. But Bennet had no role in those conversations with Romanoff, his campaign said.

Today we find a slightly more direct response in the Hill.

Bennet told The Hill he knew beforehand that White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina had reached out to Romanoff in hopes of avoiding a primary challenge to the incumbent Bennet.

“Yeah, I was aware,” Bennet said. “Right.”

But wait…isn’t there now a little problem between this and the previous statement?  First his campaign said he had no role in those conversations, then Bennet says he knew a lot more than he previously implied.  The entire quote from Bennet in the hill is 5 words, which begs the question…care to elaborate Senator?

His campaign quickly ponies up the info that he knows the everything that happened, and makes a desperate pitch to cover the Senator’s ass, which just implicates him even more:

Bennet said he didn’t remember specifically how he was made aware of the contact, but pointed to a September 2009 Denver Post article about Messina’s contact with Romanoff. An aide clarified that Bennet knew before the article’s publication of the White House contacting Romanoff.

(emphasis added)

So here is my question for Senator Bennet: please give a timeline of your involvement.  Andrew Romanoff did so, clearing the air about what he did or didn’t do.  Senator Bennet — if you are really so inclined to clean up “this Washington” as your TV ad says, why not clear the air yourself?

To start with, you could release a list of when you talked to Jim Messina or others in the White House.  White House calls and visitors are logged right?  That should be easy to do.  Then you can answer one very simple question that no one has yet asked you:

Senator Bennet: did you ask the White House to try and get Andrew Romanoff out of the race?

and for a followup:

Senator Bennet: if you did ask the White House to get try and get Andrew Romanoff out of the race, isn’t your whole messaging crusade about cleaning up dirty politics just a giant hypocritical ploy?  


33 thoughts on “Michael Bennet gradually admits knowledge of WH job offer

  1. Is there any idiotic Republican-generated nontroversy that a Romanoff supporter or Bennet supporter won’t latch onto in this awful goddamn campaign?

    1. Senator Bennet wants to get up there and preach about how he’s all high and mighty reforming Washington because he’s an outsider and doesn’t cut backroom deals like everyone else.

      If he’s clean he should lay out the facts so people can decide for themselves.  If he did work with Rahm/Messina/whoever to try and get Romanoff out of the race, he’s a giant hypocrite — and voters will act accordingly.

      There.  I give a shit and that’s why.  Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

      1. Mr. Squeaky clean “I’ve only been in Washington for a few months and am not a career politician” actually is just another back room deal cutting elitist who runs to Rahm when he has a problem because he doesn’t actually want to campaign?  

  2. Don’t you understand? This seat is his damnit. It’s not fair that he should have to work for it. His daddy got him a job out of college then Philly Anschutz gave him a job doing something he admitted knowing nothing about. Next was that hard part where he got appointed to a job in the city busting up union contracts and after that was the appointment to run DPS into the ground. Of course he paid it forward when he left there by demanding that the school board hire his school chum Boasberg without interviewing anybody else.  And his chums at JP Morgan (including Chris Romer) paid-it-back by keeping their mouths shut about the derivatives gamble and they rained money down on him and professed his brilliance.

    Still don’t understand? Mike doesn’t have to work for things, he expects them to be handed to him on a silver platter like they always have been. Ritter told him if he could raise lots of money this job was his for keeps. Rahm told him if he’d be the red herring super hero calling for a public option that was never going to be, they’d take good care of him. Now who does this Andrew guy think he was to tell Mike he was going to challenge him? Uhh uhh – Ritter and Rahm told him it was his! “Rahm you told me I didn’t have to do anything as long as I did what you said!! Make him stop picking on me. Can’t you give him another job? This one is mine!”

    1. A couple of the veteran school board members will tell you about how Bennet would not leave the room when they were discussing the prospect of Boasberg becoming the superintendent.  They had to finally kick him out of the room because he was trying to steer them toward Boasberg.

      He is well versed in backroom dealings.

  3. It was stupid when people tried to tar Romanoff with it for failing to immediately admit everything about everything about it.  It’s equally stupid to try to tar Bennet with it.  His alleged awareness that someone else made a non-offer to someone else??  Pleeze.

    There is a lot to like about both Romanoff and Bennet.  And there is something to dislike about both.  Petty squabbles like this one demean the entire debate.

    1. If Bennet really wasn’t involved, he should lay out the facts like Romanoff did.  If Bennet did ask Rahm/Messina to get Romanoff out of the race, he should just man up and admit it.

      1. ..he’s already said he didn’t ask anyone to offer anything to anyone.  He said he knew about it beforehand but had no role in the alleged offer to Romanoff.  You have found contradiction where it doesn’t really exist, and you’ve found ambiguity where it doesn’t really exist either.  

        1. about the weakest, most ineffectual version of “Chicago-style” politics in the universe.

          “Are you still interested in the job you applied for earlier this year? No? OK, thanks for letting us know.”

          Mayor Daley must be spinning in his grave to have his famous brand compared with this.

          1. who wanted to be an alderman.

            12 months prior to voting, he approached the incumbent who acknolwedged he wasn’t going to run again, and if the new guy would “play him” for him , green light.

            10 months before he the big day he went to the party chair – green light.

            8 months before he approached two other likely challnegers – they both agreed to stay out- one if he could get a job with the guy’s family’s construction biz. The other if the candidate wanna be would “play ball’ once elected.

            4 months before the incumbent announced his retirement- and endorsed my guy.

            3 months prior my guy is raising money like crazy and meeting everyone “with a letter” (I’m not explaining letters and Chicago politics.)

            2 months prior he’s a lock.

            3 weeks before the vote- the party chair announces that the candidate no longer has the party’s support.

            1 week prior to primary election day the candidate withdraws and leaves town.

            1 week after the party handpicks the D replacement and acknowledges they got the former candidate a job and a house in another county.

            How do I know any of this: it was well documented in the Chicago Tribune. No one, and I mean no one, was surprised or cared.

            And that is a soft kind of Chicago politics.

            For other examples – see “Miegs Field*”; “McCormick Place” and “union conrtacts**”  and a dozen other famous and easily documented goings on.

            This non-offer job conversation baloney is just not anything. And if it’s all you got to try and embarrass Romanoff, or Obama or Bennet or Messina or Mayor Daley or anyone else, keep looking.

            *In 2001, a “compromise” was reached between Chicago, the State of Illinois, and others to keep Miegs Field  airport open for the next twenty-five years. However, Mayor Daley ordered “private crews” (park district employees working after hours with city equipment) to destroy the runway in the middle of the night, bulldozing large X-shaped gouges into the runway surface and planting 22 trees.

            **There’s an electrical outlet in McCormick Place stamped “47” for no apparent reason.  47 different guys billed the contract 2.5 hours for installing that outlet. And some drunken smart ass stamped it.

  4. Stryker gets more here than Wde gets on Huffpo.

    Most people ignore him.The usual suspecs, stryker2, conducrix, angry’s John.

    That’s about it

  5. The whole point of your post is that Michael Bennet “finally” acknowledged that he was aware that the WH had contacted AR about a previous job application.  Yet you state that he had already acknowledged just that.

    Bennet, whom the White House is supporting in the primary, was aware at the time that someone in the Obama administration planned to contact Romanoff “to confirm reports that he was interested in running for the Senate or determine if he was still interested in serving in the administration,” according to a statement from Bennet’s campaign

    Sounds pretty straight forward to me.  How does that qualify as a dodge?  You’re sounding a lot like Dick Wadhams.  

    1. Look, if the story is that Bennet found out that Romanoff was going to run and he really didn’t want to have to run in a contested primary (which I get him not wanting to) so he went to Rahm or Messina and said “Hey, can you do anything about this?” – well that’s him trying to keep his job and focus on a general election instead of a primary. Now, if he knew that they were going to offer him a job to try to get out of the race it might not be illegal but it sure as hell isn’t the “I’m new to Washington” or the “I want to change the way Washington works” character he’s tried to paint himself as. It’s just typical Washington insider maneuvering from a guy who is Washington through and through and is used to people just handing him whatever job he wants on a silver platter.

      Does Bennet think it’s ok to offer Romanoff a job to not run against him? He knew Romanoff was IN THE RACE and he says he had a conversation with the White House to find out if Romanoff would take another option and get out. Did he think that was wrong? If he did, why didn’t he say anything at the time? If he didn’t see anything wrong with that, is it because he doesn’t think he should have to earn (from Democrats) his seat? Why was Mike Johnston apparently going around telling people that he was in regular contact with Bennet and his campaign and that there was no way Romanoff was going to get in because he was going to be offered a job he couldn’t refuse?

      The timing really is the key. When did Bennet talk to the White House? It’s clear it was before they called Romanoff to not offer him a job and since the White House call came after Romanoff was legally a candidate, I’d like to know if Bennet’s conversations were also after Romanoff was officially a candidate or not. If it was before Romanoff was officially a candidate I see that as him just playing old-boy network to try for a clean path to the general. If it was after Romanoff was officially in and Bennet talked to the White House and knew they were going to try to not offer him something to get out of the race, that’s a lot different in my opinion

      1. Like so much in this “story,” you’re taking a shred of something someone passed on and extrapolating it into something solid and big and damning:

        Why was Mike Johnston apparently going around telling people that he was in regular contact with Bennet and his campaign and that there was no way Romanoff was going to get in because he was going to be offered a job he couldn’t refuse?

        Your conclusion is nothing but a wild guess. Like a lot of these conclusions. It fits a narrative you’ve already decided must be true. That’s not usually the best way to figure out what really happened.

  6. .

    Dems setting upon Dems. Soon neither candidate will be electable.  

    Now if we can get Buck and Norton to assassinate each other, the winner of the Libertarian primary, Stringer or Finger, ought to be a shoo-in.


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