Rep. Alcee Hastings, who bowed out of the running for House intelligence committee chair, tells CQ that he made the decision after a lengthy telephone call from former President Bill Clinton who told the Miramar Democrat that he would "force a rift in the party" if he held out for the position.
Hastings told CQ there would have been "blood all over the floor" had he pursued the prestigious seat.
"Had I had chosen that path, I could have demogogued on a whole set of persons," Hastings told in the interview.
Word that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was considering Hastings for the sensitive post sparked controversy last fall because the former federal judge was impeached by the House in the late 1980s and some questioned his suitability for the job.
Hastings blamed the dustup on "party functionaries" but said Clinton wanted to resolve the party dispute and called Hastings.
"We talked to close to an hour and forty minutes," Hastings told CQ. "And he was saying, among other things, that, you know, I would force a rift in the party if I was to force the issue. And that sometimes you come out better ...if you could find a way to say, ‘Fine, pass over me, choose someone else,’ then I would come across better, and be thought better of by Democratic functionaries."
Read the entire interview here - including how Hastings is erasing $2 million in debt.