Obama's Nominee for UN Reform Job Left Senate Race After Specter Joined Dems

President Obama's nominee for a high-level United Nations reform position dropped out of the U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania last year shortly after Sen. Arlen Specter switched parties and won an endorsement from the White House.

Joe Torsella, chairman of the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, was nominated this week for U.S. ambassador for the U.N. Management and Reform, a post that has been vacant since Obama took office.

A spokesman for Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who appointed Torsella to the chairmanship, told the Philadelphia Daily News that he was not aware of the U.N. job but has "recommended Joe to the White House for a number of positions."

Rendell was among the Democratic leaders who embraced Specter in the race, which drew national publicity after his primary opponent, Rep. Joe Sestak, revealed that the White House tried to lure him out of the contest with a high-level job.

The White House later disclosed that it had former President Bill Clinton offer Sestak an unpaid position on an intelligence advisory board if he would stay in the House. But Sestak went on to defeat Specter in the primary and lose to Republican Pat Toomey this month in the general election.

Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. gave $1,608 to Torsella's Senate campaign last year and later got a refund after he withdrew his bid, the Daily News reported.

The White House did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment. Torsella did not return messages requesting an interview.

John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. during the Bush administration, told FoxNews.com that Torsella's nomination raises a number of questions about his background, including his experience working to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse from government programs.

"And from what I see, he doesn't have it," he said. "In the absence of significant management experience with government programs, these are all questions the Senate should raise."

Bolton also said the Sestak controversy should compel senators to do some digging on Torsella's nomination.

"We can't tell on the surface whether there's anything there but given the circumstances, it's a legitimate question for senators."