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Hannity

Sestak's First Interview on Job Offer Reveals Inconsistencies With White House Story

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," June 1, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: The Sestak scandal is quickly developed into a political nightmare for the Obama White House. Senate campaign and the careers of some top administration officials are hanging in the balance. But what sparked this firestorm? Well, it all started with one simple question back in February of this year. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "VOICE OF REASON" ON COMCAST NETWORK)

LARRY KANE, HOST: Were you ever offered a federal job to get out of this race?

REP. JOE SESTAK, D-PENN, SENATE CANDIDATE: Yes.

KANE: Was it the Navy secretary?

SESTAK: No comment.

KANE: Was there an offer — a job offered to you by the White House? That's what —

SESTAK: Yes. The — someone offered.

KANE: Yes. It was big, right?

SESTAK: It was — let me not comment on it.

KANE: Yes. But you're going all the way? You're not —

SESTAK: I'm in this all the way for the working family.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: All right, now following that interview veteran Philadelphia area reporter Larry Kane was done digging. He immediately contacted the White House for comment. But it wasn't until 15 hours later when a deputy press secretary called to tell Mr. Kane, quote, "You can say the White House says it's not true."

But what took the White House so long to issue such a basic response? And does that denial mesh with what we heard from the administration late on Friday before holiday weekend?

Joining me now to share his unique analysis of all of this is the man who broke this story: Anchor, author and the host of "Voice of Reason" on Comcast Network, a legend, Larry Kane is here with us.

Larry, I'm a fan. Welcome to the show. Thanks for being with us.

KANE: Thank you, Sean, great to be here.

HANNITY: All right. First of all, they gave you that answer within 15 hours. You — first of all what are you — what made you ask that question? Because it was an interesting question at the time.

KANE: Well, I'll tell you the truth. I had heard about it for six months earlier. And I called some Democratic Party officials, very high up — I'm talking about major primo sources — and I asked them about it and they said there's no question that Sestak was coerced to try to move out of the race with the job offer.

So I knew that this was around the Washington press corps for a long time. And it really was. Nobody asked the question. So I figured I would. But I almost forgot to ask the question. And I had 90 seconds left in the program and I asked the question. And to my surprise, he said yes.

Now if you could see the look on my face on that tape you'll know that I was very titillated by that and continued asking questions. My show doesn't air until Sunday. I got the approval of the people at Comcast, who run the Comcast Network, to put the broadcast on the air, at KYW News Radio where I do an analysis in Philadelphia.

And I went on the air with it. But before I did, I called the White House. I played the tape, word-for-word, just like you played it, for someone in the White House press room. They said they'd call me back. They called me back in 10 minutes. They said we'll get back to you as quickly as possible.

So the story ran without a reaction from the White House for a lot of hours. The next morning, on the bedside at the bed table — the night table the phone starts gyrating and it's the White House and it's the deputy press secretary who says on background you can say the White House says it's not true.

Later in the day after Joe Sestak went on the air talking about it, they issued another statement saying they vociferously deny that. And then the story really went away. But there was a tremendous impact of the story.

HANNITY: Now —

KANE: There's no question in my mind it affected — it showed his — displayed his independence from the White House and everybody in the Democratic establishment was against him in that election.

HANNITY: There's a couple of issues here, Larry. First of all the timing of this is interesting because they at that time were supporting Arlen Specter. So when they denied that they had done this, they basically were saying Sestak was lying to you and on top of that what they said to you then totally contradicts what they said on Friday.

KANE: I think that's true. I'm not going to make any judgment on the entire scandal as you call it. But I will say this: One of the things that I was very surprised about was that the story had legs. And the story kept going.

And then all of a sudden he had — he was closing in on Arlen Specter who's a legend in his own time in politics in Pennsylvania and he was within four or five points. And the story was still around there. And there was no question in my mind that Sestak believed wow, this shows the entire Democratic establishment is against me.

There's one other point: People like Ed Rendell, the governor, Josh Shapiro, a very powerful state representative and fervent Obama supporter, urged the White House to come out and say something —

HANNITY: Right.

KANE: — weeks ago. So I don't know why they waited all this time.

HANNITY: All right.

KANE: I'm pretty surprised.

HANNITY: I'm not asking for your political commentary, only the facts, because you're obviously involved in this case here. But there's two points here. They denied that any offer was given. But on Friday they said — they sent an emissary. They sent Bill Clinton and that they confirmed that this was the deal basically that they put before Sestak which doesn't — which contradicts what you said.

And the other thing that I think is contradictory is you asked a very good follow-up question, I thought, was it a high ranking position? And I don't think by anybody's definition what they're describing in the White House today is high ranking.

KANE: Well, there's no question whether it was high ranking or not, that Joe Sestak felt the pressure. There was also another moment you should know about. When the show was over, he was flushed. He was walking out, and he said, you know, Larry, nobody has ever asked me the question, so I've never answered it.

And I thought that was fascinating, too. And we talked about it at length about the question, the answer and what impact it might have. Now Pat Toomey, his opponent, who's going to run a strong race against him in the fall, I believe is all concerned about this issue because it does show Sestak's independence.

There is no love between the White House and Joe Sestak. Make no mistake about it. No love at all.

HANNITY: Well, it's interesting. Because the story has — there's a lot of unanswered questions here. Because it seems to me, without dragging into the political commentary here, that there's an admission here that they were offering a thing of value, which is against the U.S. code, No. 1. It contradicts the issue of high ranking, No. 2.

You got a denial from them, No. 3, which would be part of any investigation. And No. 4, on your blog, I thought you said something very, very interesting: Why didn't any other reporter ask that question? Larry, do you have a theory on that?

KANE: I don't really know. I do know that I had good sources, and I felt that the question was worth asking, even if he denied it.

But I want to tell you something very interesting. There's a startling contrast here, and I'm going to just say it in objective form. When I asked the question of Joe Sestak, it took him one split second, and he said yes. The White House took three months, almost, to react to it.

HANNITY: Well, actually, they reacted to you in 15 hours with a denial.

KANE: Yes, but the full disclosure apparently came on Friday.

HANNITY: At a time when they were at odds with Sestak, because they were supporting Specter. So we've got an interesting timeline developing here.

KANE: Has the White House — has the president called Sestak to congratulate him yet?

HANNITY: Another good — boy, you're asking good questions. I don't know the answer, but I will look into it for you, Larry, because you're a great reporter. And we really do appreciate you being here. You really are a legend in this business. Thanks for being onboard.

KANE: Sean, thank you very much.

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