Source Says Specter Hasn’t Had Job Talks With Administration

Posted July 15, 2010 at 9:46pm

Sen. Arlen Specter’s professional future remains cloudy at best, despite reports that the Pennsylvania Democrat has discussed possible positions with the Obama administration.

According to a source, while Specter has met with Barack Obama several times since he became president last year, at no time have the two discussed the possibility of Specter joining the administration — and no similar talks have occurred with other administration officials.

Some Republicans have questioned whether the reports of a possible job offer are tied to Specter’s endorsement Thursday of Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court nomination. Specter was far more aggressive in his questioning of Kagan than most Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, and the GOP has long suspected that a potential administration slot was used as bait to persuade Specter to switch parties last year.

But the source rejected those arguments, pointing out that Specter, while endorsing Kagan in a floor speech, criticized her but said he found her qualified to serve on the high court.

The source also said that the only positions Obama has offered to Senators have been Cabinet slots — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar both served in the Senate with Obama — and that there are no open positions in Obama’s Cabinet.

The source argued that Specter would not “take a step down” and that it is unlikely that Obama would dangle a lesser slot as a possible enticement for Specter.

Specter’s office did not return requests for comment.