December 6th, 2008
04:40 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama speechwriter Favreau learns the perils of Facebook

This photo of Favreau and Clinton appeared on Facebook Friday.
This photo of Favreau and Clinton appeared on Facebook Friday.

(CNN) - Jon Favreau, future White House director of speechwriting, has so far been at a loss for words over Facebook pictures of him at a recent party.

Pictures of Favreau, 27, at a recent party appeared on Facebook Friday. In one of the photos, Favreau, who served as President-elect Barack Obama’s chief speechwriter during the campaign season, was dancing with a life-sized cardboard cut-out of future secretary of state Hillary Clinton. In a second photo, a friend was offering the cutout a bottle of beer while Favreau stood beside the likeness with his hand on the cardboard New York senator’s chest.

The picture was reportedly up for a scant two hours or so before Favreau removed it, along with every other picture of himself beyond his profile photo - but there’s no getting the Facebook genie back in the bottle.

Favreau wasn’t talking to reporters about the incident, but transition officials said he had offered an apology to Clinton.

The Clinton camp reaction? "Sen. Clinton is pleased to learn of Jon's obvious interest in the State Department, and is currently reviewing his application," Clinton aide Philippe Reines told the Washington Post.


Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (717 Responses)
  1. Nicole

    Now you see what alcohol can do you to it brings out the"Truth"

    December 6, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  2. Does not Care

    Sure its immature, but does really change his ability to write speeches, No.

    December 6, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  3. Disgusting

    This is very disgusting but I am not suprised. First, he is 27 years old, a young guy, and not too far from his college years. These young people today are very different than us older ones and they find doing things like this as just having a little fun.

    However, Obama can not be accountable for every action that someone does. Everytime someone does something, people want to pin it on Obama's judgment. This does not reflect Obama. Obviously Obama has great respect for Hillary or he wouldn't have chose her for Secretary of State.

    December 6, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  4. Reality

    This is the guy that wrote Obama's speeches that so enthralled people that voted for him. Reality hurts doesn't it?

    December 6, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  5. faye

    I do feel sorry for him in some ways that the photo came out. You know, we have all been to parties where we do inappropriate things, its really sad when that can jeopardize our reputation and jobs (and humiliation to the whole world). I am 29 and I can see myself and friends at a party like that, but the problem is when you are seeking high visibility, political positions, then you really have to be more careful. His friend really must feel awful about posting it on facebook.
    P.S. thats why we make our facebook accounts private, so only friends in our network can get a hold of anything we post on there

    December 6, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  6. B-Koi

    WOW! No matter the Country is falling to pieces, dogs are freezing to the sidewalks, terrorists are killing innocent people, and this is REALLY that newsworthy ? C'mon guys, give it a rest !!! I'D be flattered !

    December 6, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  7. MC- Atlanta,GA

    Now that's funny...

    December 6, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  8. opedanderson

    Yet another example of the rampant sexism found in the left wing of our society. Again, we all expect this sort of thing from the right wing but this election season has shown something very ugly to be found among people that should know better.

    It's time for the Democratic Party to do some soul-searching and self evaluation re. sexism much like it did back in thye 60's with racism. Howard Dean, outgoing Chariman of the DNC has said as much......

    December 6, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  9. Rose

    Martin,

    Obama has not ignored Latinos. Are you one of those republicans causing trouble? Hillary will be a better SoS than Richardson for now... Richardson has a very bright futur ahead of him in the Obama administration and beyond. Hillary is 61, she deserves the SoS job!

    December 6, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  10. Dave

    "Also notice that Obama ignored Latinos and Asians in his cabinet while both groups voted heavily for Obama. Isn't it interesting that the GOP was the first to appoint a Latino to the top for cabinet posts and an Asian to Sec. of Transportation."

    I guess your right each "group" should be directly represented in every position to the exact degree they supported a candidate
    please spare me your "false flag" republican "politically correct" manipulative crocodile tears. I'm sure your real worried about Asians and Latinos. Bush's appointments were mostly terrible whatever thier ethnic background. Obama seems to be doing a reasonable good job with his appointments with the possible exception of Clinton.
    (btw Richardson is Latino) Your candidate(s) lost live with it. Obama isnt even in office yet and you people wont stop with the carterwauling waah waaah waah baby wants a bottle.

    To the rest of you lighten up this is a 27 year old at a party. he's a speechwriter he does not make policy. and to mw what exactly does "Infinity if forever" mean? are you sure you not trying to say eternity? and if so is this a point?
    Einstein you're not.

    December 6, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  11. T

    As a young woman I believe that the incident was sexist and wrong. It's a situation where you can either laugh or cry and Hilary chose the former. One can only hope that the speechwriter has learned his lesson NOT to do such a thing again.

    December 6, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  12. Jerry

    Bye-bye!

    December 6, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  13. DM

    Molesting a cardboard cut-out of Clinton–stupid. Allowing yourself to be photographed doing so–more stupid. Posting the picture on your Facebook page–Bushesque. Fire the idiot and move on.

    December 6, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  14. lol

    Jeez, it's not a big deal at all. As for sexism, if this had been a girl pretending to squeeze Barack Obama's butt this would not be a controversy. People say stuff like "when will men learn?" There's the sexism.

    Get over it people, there are alot of people who do much worse and aren't fired or forced to resign.

    December 6, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  15. jon

    i thought Obama screened these kind of jerks out !

    bye bye

    December 6, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  16. Susan

    Give the guy a break. He's a 20-something who was fooling around at a private party and did something stupid for a few seconds. Who hasn't done that? Unfortunately for him, someone was there to take a photo and post it online and it was instantly picked up by the media. If this happened five years ago, before Facebook, nobody ever would have known and it would be a complete non-issue.

    It bugs me that the faces of everyone else in this picture are blurred. CNN should either blur everyone's faces or nobody's. They shouldn't show some people while hiding others. That's simply not fair.

    Obama first me this kid when he was working for Kerry in 2004 (at only 23 years old) and he helped Obama edit his DNC keynote address. He then became Obama's head speechwriter in 2005 when he was only 24 years old. Think about that for a second; every one of Obama's incredible speeches were the work of this kid in his twenties. Obviously, he's a genius when it comes to writing speeches. What he does at a private party has nothing to do with how he does his job and is not anyone's business.

    December 6, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  17. Ben Martin

    I think this transpired at a private party . I find it hard to believe there is anyone at any age who hasn't done some very silly picture posturing in the privacy of a private residence party. I'm glad to see that Hillary was able to find the very silly fun in being a little irreverent. I liked Hillary's spirit and smarts during her campaign and glad to see she still is smart enough to distinguish between some silly picture posturing and the real sexist issue that truly matter. The person here to be chastised is the one who posted it on the internet. Not what I would call very smart and certainly not a friend. I don't know who or under what circumstances this was posted, but I do find it disturbing anything anyone does in privacy can be vulnerable to be exploited by a "friend" without their knowledge or permission. It's worst than having the SS spying on you 24/7.

    December 6, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  18. Yakiski

    What a moron! Not only is it insulting, it it amazing how stupid this guy can be! Does he have any idea how politics works? Why would he even put himself in this position, and allow a pic? He should get fired once for doing it, and again for posing for a pic. With an Obama staff shirt on? Barack has made it a point to rise above this trash, and frat boys like these two are doing him, and our country a disservice.

    December 6, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  19. sam

    lighten up people. who cares. lol

    December 6, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  20. CH West

    Ummm, welcome to 2008 Jon Favreau. My 6th grader understands the "perils of Facebook". Is this guy supposed to be bright and upcoming? Because he looks like a moron.

    December 6, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  21. jerry

    Campbell, do cardboard cutouts have breasts? Are you this desperate for a story now that the election is over?

    December 6, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  22. Carborundum1

    The real issue here isn't the picture, which is just young-drunk-guy dumb. The issue is whether Obama can afford to have a person in a powerful, sensitive position in his administration who can't figure out that posting the pic on Facebook might be indiscreet. His judgment is clearly not up to the level required for a serious government job.

    December 6, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  23. Joyce in Indiana

    I agree that this gesture, while offensive, is small potatoes compared to what we've been living through the last eight years. However, I think the young man should quit so that his boss will not have to choose whether to fire him or defend him.

    December 6, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  24. Nick - West Hills (L.A.), CA

    I have no interest in a 27 year old having anything to do with running the country, even if it's just writing speeches.

    Sorry kid. Go back to your fraternity house and drink up. Let the mature men and women, who have all of that juvenile behavior behind them, run the place. The country has neither the time nor the patience for this.

    You had your chance.

    Mr. Obama: Please, give this kid his walking papers. I voted for you and admire you. Keep the standards high. Don't let us down.

    December 6, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  25. professional designer

    Hm. I moved the photo in the cnn article to my desktop and dropped it into photoshop, and then zoomed in to 300%. I would be willing to bet that somebody changed the angle of his hand, and maybe even added the Hillary cardboard. Why? because the angle of his hand on his wrist doesn't look correct, and it's color doesn't match quiet correctly with his wrist. Its close, but doesn't show the right lighting. (and I wouldn't see that easily without zooming in) Also, the lighting on the cardboard doesn't really match correctly... I would expect it to reflect light more evenly across the surface because it's flat cardboard.

    And what's he going to say? Somebody faked it? People would just say that's a likely story. Maybe even someone who knows him did it as a joke – one way or another I doubt this is the original photo. It looks like his hand was holding a beer bottle, or reaching for one. I don't really care about him personally – don't know him, but this stuff is easy for someone familiar with Photoshop to do. It isn't difficult at all.. especially with all those dark colors in the image.

    And certainly this would be very stupid, somewhat believable, and exceedingly disrespectful.

    It would be easy for someone to damage the reputation of a young professional suddenly doing well who doesn't have the 'network' of an experienced career. Other people hate it when someone who didn't 'pay their dues' gets 'ahead', and it's not difficult to attack somebody without a well established network. Even worse, there's no way to slow him down because he's not so connected that he has anything to lose.

    It's too easy – let's give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe the super-smart kid really didn't do this. As I said early – what would anyone think if he said he didn't? Let's not be fooled by this crap, and retain focus on the work that really needs to be done. We don't really have time for this.

    December 6, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
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