Party of One: An officer and a gentleman
In the summer of 2009, the cell phone of Rep. Joe Sestak (D., Pa.) was ringing. Sestak: Hello? Bill Clinton: Admiral Sestak, hi, it's Bill Clinton.
In the summer of 2009, the cell phone of Rep. Joe Sestak (D., Pa.) was ringing.
Bill Clinton: Admiral Sestak, hi, it's Bill Clinton.
Sestak: President Clinton! What a nice surprise.
Clinton: Please, call me Bill.
Sestak: Please, call me Admiral.
Clinton: How've you been, Admiral?
Sestak: Fine, sir, fine. I'm steaming full speed ahead in the House. Some of my staffers want four hours of sleep a night. Can you believe that? Civilians!
Clinton: You always were the hardest-working guy in my White House.
Sestak: Thank you, sir. Serving on your National Security Council was an honor for which I'll always be grateful.
Clinton: Speaking of gratitude, Admiral, I have a personal favor to ask.
Sestak: Fire away, sir.
Clinton: Rahm Emanuel is a dear friend, and I'm proud that President Obama made him his chief of staff. Rahm asked me to call you.
Clinton: They don't want you to run against Arlen Specter for Senate.
Sestak: But, sir, my mind is made up. I'm going to run.
Clinton: I knew you'd say that. So I've been authorized to offer you a prestigious new position if you'll reconsider.
Sestak: What's that?
Clinton: It's called "Special Adviser on Presidential Problems." They created it just for you.
Clinton: Yes. And if you agree to be a SAPP, Admiral, you will become one of the president's most trusted counselors.
Sestak: Where would my office be - in the West Wing?
Clinton: Your office would be at 1022 Longworth Building, Washington, D.C.
Sestak: But that's where my office is now.
Clinton: Exactly. The president wants you to keep your House seat.
Sestak: But how could I serve in Congress and work at the White House?
Clinton: They'd call you when they needed you, Admiral. It would be an unpaid position. They can't offer you anything of monetary value, legally speaking. Say, we're not being recorded, are we?
Sestak: Sir, I can't do it.
Clinton: Admiral, I should also mention that Senator Specter holds a special place in my heart. Back when he was a Republican, he voted against my impeachment conviction. Remember all his yammering about Scottish law? To this day, I still don't know what he meant. But what a clever guy - saved my presidency.
Sestak: I appreciate that, sir. But I've decided to run for Senate.
Clinton: Very well, Admiral. I told Rahm I would try. One more thing: Let's not tell anyone we had this conversation, OK?
Sestak: Aye, aye, sir. Who would believe it anyway?