Sources: Obama picks for ambassadorships include top donors
February 28th, 2013
01:36 AM ET
2 years ago

Sources: Obama picks for ambassadorships include top donors

Washington (CNN) - Major donors of President Barack Obama are leading candidates for ambassadorships, Democratic sources tell CNN.

Marc Lasry, founder of Avenue Capital Group and a key Wall Street backer of Obama during the election, is the leading candidate for ambassador to France, according to two Democratic sources.

The Lasrys were passionate supporters of Hillary Clinton during the 2008 primary campaign, but became big Obama bundlers in the last election cycle.

Patrick Gaspard, a former executive director of the Democratic National Committee, is a leading candidate to be ambassador to South Africa.

And Matthew Barzun, an Obama campaign finance chair and former ambassador to Switzerland, is the leading candidate for top envoy to England, the sources said.

According to one Democratic source, Caroline Kennedy, daughter of President John F. Kennedy, is also being considered for an ambassadorship.

It is rumored that she will be nominated to be the ambassador to Canada, though Bloomberg reported Wednesday night that she will be nominated as the ambassador to Japan.

Kennedy endorsed Obama early on in the 2008 election, and was a national co-chair of his 2012 campaign. A different source close to Kennedy says she hasn't been asked to do anything and isn't being vetted.

So far there are no confirmations of any nominations for Vogue editor Anna Wintour. In December, Bloomberg reported that Wintour - another big Obama bundler –- was on the short list for an ambassadorship.


Filed under: Caroline Kennedy • President Obama
soundoff (177 Responses)
  1. Kobe

    Obama's typical schedule:
    – Visit local diner for breakfast
    – Work out at the gym
    – Meet up with sports teams / cancer patients
    – Lunch at local diner
    – Visit business and greet supporters
    – Prep for evening events
    – Dinner at white house, fundraiser $50,000 a plate
    – Meet and greet with donors, at fundraiser with hired hollywood stars

    February 28, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  2. Wake up People!

    Way to make something out of nothing Fox-Lite. Like all the other Presidents haven't done the same.

    Keep throwing that red meat to the rabid wolves.

    February 28, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  3. critical thinking

    Pay to Play, now who amongst us are surprised by this.

    February 28, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  4. Anonymous

    "The best, most qualified person for the job" does not apply anymore, not in the private or public sector. It's all about who you know and how much you kiss up.

    February 28, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  5. Bruce Eder

    Wow - I guess no prior administration ever rewarded top people in this way. I think it calls for a major investigation . . . into the heads of the powers-that-are at CNN, for thinking that this is "news."

    February 28, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  6. Edwin

    Did other presidents do this? I think so. Ambassadorships have always served as a reward for those who you like, or those who did you some kind of favor, or as a PR boost. They are sometimes critical positions, but most are almost ceremonial in nature.

    This is kind of like when Bush appointed his donors and friends to positions (remember "Brownie" at FEMA?) - except those positions required actual expertise. Being an ambassador is not the same kind of job (for most countries).

    February 28, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  7. Iowan

    Are we to believe this is something new?

    February 28, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  8. John

    I guess Obama lie is now public. He was not going to have that in his presidency, what a hypocrite. The man has lied from day 1 and his sheep still follow and make excuses. Typical

    February 28, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  9. Ezra

    You don't say. The White House was advertising $500K donors get private access to Obama so big money for ambassadorships is a given. He has come a long way from swearing off lobbyists considering they now run the White House. Did you hear that those same beacons of morality were threatening Bob Woodward for his reporting.

    February 28, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  10. enuff

    And this is different from any other administration..HOW???

    February 28, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  11. Glenn San Diego

    Whoever he appoint's will be critisize by the GOP's. Even if he appoint Michelle Backman or Sarah Palin, the GOP will still be whinning. See what happened to Chuck Hagel..
    The president has every right to appoint who he think can do the job.

    February 28, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  12. Lynda/Minnesota

    I can't remember the last time I cared who was picked by ANY president to become Ambassador of [ fill in the blank ]. Perhaps I'm missing the "big picture"? Is Jessica Yellin suggesting that this has never been done before?

    No doubt GOPers will be overjoyed to fill me in using their oh so unique and oh so subtle FOX and Friends talking points.

    February 28, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  13. callmecrazy

    Ban all ambassadors!!! Oops...wrong thread.

    February 28, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  14. connie

    I think another shocking subheading to this unbelievably insightful news should be "Sun rises today"! What deep journalistic skills it took to break this story! Whoever wrote this story must have been living under a rock for many decades.

    February 28, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  15. Jasr

    Ambassadorships have always been used this way. They are largely ceremonial.

    The headline suggests that key executive posts (like the director of FEMA) have been given to donors. It is highly misleading, and worthy of Fox News.

    February 28, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  16. The REAL Truth...

    Yawn... this is so-o-o... Republican.

    February 28, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  17. JP4Paul

    Nice to see 2 non-Americans nominated as American ambassadors. LOL. What a joke.

    February 28, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  18. chatmandu002

    Obama = No hope, No change, No transparency, No leadership but lots of first-class travel.

    February 28, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  19. joeazona

    Anyone still think Obama was NOT backed by Wall Street just like every other president since around the Kennedy admin? Time for you to WAKE UP!!!

    February 28, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  20. joeazona

    Nothing changes until we clean house in DC. They pretty much all have to go.

    February 28, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  21. ENR

    "The best, most qualified person for the job" seems to no longer apply – neither in the private or public sector. It'a all about who you know and how much you're willing to kiss up.

    February 28, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  22. Randy, San Francisco

    Like they say on Wall Street, you need to offer the appropriate compensation for the best talent.

    February 28, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  23. Lynne Buchanan

    Getting Washington straightened out and stopping the "business as usual" - huh? It's interesting that so many posts here seem to think if other presidfent's have done it, it's okay to continue doing it - well, at least for this president. All those "wrongs" making "right" again!
    And to the GOP criticizing whomever he appoints - well, that's because it is now apparent more than ever that it isn't about who can do the job; it's about who he owes for their support. And here I thought all those one percenters were Republicans - hmmm. Guess it's okay to be rich if you support Barack Obama, and then you get to be Queen for a day - or King or court jester.

    February 28, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  24. Average Joe

    How much do you have to donate to get sent to Benghazi?

    February 28, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  25. Rudy NYC

    This is meaningless red meat for the right wing to jump up and start beating their war drums, just like they're trained to do.

    February 28, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
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