Spin Cycle

News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics.

Just in case you’re wondering…

Did Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) get more than a phone call from President Barack Obama last year to persuade him to drop his planned primary challenge to the appointed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand?

That question arose again after recent news that the White House unsuccessfully offered upstart Joe Sestak a non-paying appointment to skip the Pennsylvania senate primary (which he won) and Andrew Romanoff three possible jobs to pass up the Colorado senate primary.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Asked about it in a telephone interview Friday, Israel deadpanned, “They offered me the choice of vice president or secretary of state.” He turned the jobs down, he said, “because I don’t like to travel.”

When he stopped laughing, he said White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel offered him nothing – “there was no hint, no intimation, no promise” -- other than the certainty the president would support Gillibrand.

But the reported deals make Israel uneasy.

“Any White House dating back to the first administrations have engaged in this kind of issue,” he said. “It’s regrettable that it happens. But it certainly didn’t happen with me.”