Rep. Joe Sestak, Pennsylvania's Democratic Senate nominee, was invited to attend President Obama's event in Pittsburgh this afternoon, Sestak's campaign says.
Sestak declined because of two engagements. The first was a 9:30 a.m. private meeting with the Philadelphia Building Trades Council of labor unions, a major political force that was backing Sen. Arlen Specter in the May 18 primary. During the campaign, Sestak often dismissed Big Labor and Democratic Party organizations, most of whom supported Specter, as "the establishment." Pat Gillespie, president of the Building Trades, said the meeting was cordial, and "there are no hard feelings." The group expects to work productively and happily with the Democratic nominee, Gillespie said.
Later this evening, Sestak will be speaking and presenting awards at an event by Philadelphia FIGHT celebrating AIDS Education month. That is an official event in his capacity as a member of the House, not a campaign event.