Obama Embraces Sestak

Meet the man who beat Arlen Specter
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2010 10:15 AM CDT
Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., speaks at a primary night watch event at the Valley Forge Military Academy & College in Wayne, Pa., Tuesday, May 18, 2010.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(Newser) – Barack Obama was lined up against Joe Sestak until Tuesday, as was much of the Democratic establishment, but, well, that was Tuesday and this is now. The president called the Pennsylvania rep yesterday to congratulate him on beating Arlen Specter, and promised him his full support—including campaigning on his behalf. This from a guy who, Sestak reveals to the New York Times, offered him a high-ranking job last year to dissuade him from running against Specter.

So who is this Sestak guy? Here's his bio in brief: He grew up in Pennsylvania, earned a Ph.D in political economy from Harvard, and went on to become an admiral in the Navy. He ran the Navy's post-9/11 program to develop new counterterror strategies, but he was eventually reassigned because of what Mike Mullen called “poor command climate.” Specter used that line against him, but Republican opponent Pat Toomey says he won't. “I'm more interested in focusing on our policy differences.”

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