The Man Who Asked ‘The Question’ Speaks

by Robert Costa

Larry Kane, the host of a Comcast Network public-affairs show in Philadelphia, is the veteran reporter who first asked Rep. Joe Sestak (D., Pa.) back in February whether he was offered a “federal job” to get out of his Senate race against Sen. Arlen Specter (D., Pa.):

KANE: “Were you ever offered a federal job to get out of this race?”

SESTAK: “Yes.”

KANE: “Was it secretary of the Navy?”

SESTAK: “No comment”

Later Kane asks again, “Was there a job offered to you by the White House?” to which Sestak nods and replies “yes, someone offered it.”

Kane asks “It was big right?” Sestak replies, “Let me ‘no comment’ on it.”

“Was it high-ranking?” Kane asked. Sestak said yes.

This afternoon, National Review Online caught up with Kane to get his take on the White House memo.

“After Sestak said on my show, without hesitation, that he had been offered a federal position, I, along with Tom Fitzgerald of the Philadelphia Inquirer, who was in the studio doing a ‘day in the life’ piece on Sestak, called up the White House,” Kane recalls. “We got on the phone with the deputy press secretary there, who said they’d get back to us right away. Yet the phone didn’t ring again until 6:45 a.m. the next morning.”

“When the White House finally called back, they denied it,” Kane says. “Strategically, the White House press person I spoke with said Sestak’s statement ‘was not true.’ So I pressed: Was anything, at all, dangled? She repeated that all she could say was that Sestak’s words ‘were not true.’ Looking back, I was curious as to why it took so many hours for them to respond. And now I’m curious as to why it took so many months to issue this report. Why did they let it drift?”

“When I asked [Sestak] that question, he answered in a nanosecond,” Kane observes. “No hesitation, no pause. I figured something was up, especially after he kept resisting further explanations these past few months.”

Kane says his sources, who told him about the federal-job rumor, are “impeccable.” He notes that as far back as summer 2009, there “was buzz in Pennsylvania political circles, and especially in Washington, about some kind of meeting.”