Sources: Obama picks for ambassadorships include top donors
February 28th, 2013
01:36 AM ET
5 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. Rink

    A real man of the people. If they ever really pulled back the covers on all that happens in the Obama White House it would be scary.

    February 28, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Only problem is that Barzum was NOT ambassador to Switzerland (that would have been the superb Don Beyer) but to SWEDEN! CNN you should know better or check your facts
    -------------------------------------------------CNN checking their facts bwahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!

    February 28, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  3. Robert

    To everyone say "Every Administration/President did this, so it is fine" .... i have one answer: It is NOT fine because this President promised CHANGE. So if nothing is changed, why bother with Obama?

    Expected alot more and alot different from this man and we are getting the same old politics!

    February 28, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  4. Lynda/Minnesota

    "It's all about who you know and how much you kiss up."

    OK. Now you made me laugh. Guess you thought YOU (or maybe your next door neighbor) would be getting one of those jobs ... yes? How disappointing for you. As for myself ... I totally understand why ALL presidents don't grab just any Joe Schmuck off the street and promote them to ambassadorships willy-nilly. We Americans have been voting for Joe Schmuck's to represent us in the Republican House of Representatives for two years now. And look where we are now. That alone ought to be a wake up call to everyone. Thank goodness a handful of them got voted back out this past election. At least Ambassadors don't vote on policies.

    February 28, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  5. Steve- Illinois

    Can't wait to see which Ambassadorship the Managing director of Bain Capital gets. He's a big Obama bundler.

    February 28, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  6. Debits-n-Credits

    I voted for Obama, but corruption, of any kind, (both parties) is exactly what is wrong with this country, and every other country and government in the world.

    The problem is: How do you stop humans from being greedy, unjust, selfish, petty and evil?

    February 28, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  7. Babyboomer

    Must be a very, very slow news day. As if this has never happened in American politics. Unless and until President Obama makes and appointment like "Doing a Great Job Brownie" to a vital part of the government like FEMA, this is a non-issue...

    February 28, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  8. ladyofthelake

    Who cares? This is just standard DC yap. But I am disappointed in Woodward for even talking about something so small and run-of-the mill. I hope he does not turn into John McCain.

    February 28, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  9. PatheticCNN

    Obama's Legacy: A Failed Recovery & Forever Recession !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 28, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  10. Mike

    For those defending Obama because other Presidents have done this, you are missing the point. Obama said he would not do this. It is part of his platform of "Change you can believe in". So it's not the fact that he is doing what other Presidents have done, it's the fact that it is yet one more campaign promise he has broken.

    February 28, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  11. Aaron Moore

    So, one of Obama's biggest financial backers is a Wall Street guy? But I thought Wall Street was the problem,

    February 28, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  12. Lisa

    This is not new...the idea of hiring the most qualified was replaced by nepotism some time ago.

    February 28, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  13. noKidding

    LOL and GW Bush or no otherr presidents did anything like this right? They worse than this, even. Remember the California electric black out and Dick Cheney's secret meeting s with the electric utitly companies?

    February 28, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  14. Barry from Wisconsin

    Why is this news? This has been common practice since George Washington was President.

    February 28, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  15. Peace

    Pres. Obama appointed Jon Huntsman as ambassador to China. When he came back he started attacking him. Why should he repeat the same mistake again and not appoint those who showed him the really care?

    February 28, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  16. gladiatorgrl

    of course to the right wing this NEVER happened until Obama became Prez

    February 28, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  17. ct

    so as long as it has been done in the past, it's ok? what happend to all the talk about changing the way things worked in washington? if you complained about republicans doing it, you should also complain about democrats doing the same thing. ..not giving them a pass. hypocrisy at it's finest.

    February 28, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  18. Fair is Fair

    I thought the Obama Administration was going to be different?

    February 28, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  19. connie

    The major skill required to be a good ambassador in most western countries is to be adept at throwing parties and otherwise providing gracious entertaining to dignitaries. No one has ever cared that such Ambassadorships in wealthy countries are given out as political favors, so long as the job is given to someone good at creating an open and welcoming home for guests. This is not a policy setting role.

    February 28, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  20. connie

    Rather than "western countries" I should have said countries with whom we have good relations.

    February 28, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  21. Babyboomer

    I don't think anyone is missing the point here. What I do know is that this President is expected to perform at 150% all the time, when we have had Presidents in our recent past who performed at about 70% max. What those of us who support President Obama are really, really tired of is the "Double Standard" and I know ya'll know exactly what I am talking about. Some things in the country are never going to change and it's a damned shame...

    February 28, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  22. Darla (Edmonton, Canada)

    Better to have them out of the country than right next door to the Oval Office.

    February 28, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  23. Hank

    Obama has changed nothing in DC. Love him for the man he is if you will but he achieved no true change as a leader.

    February 28, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  24. chachabrown

    I think the blame lies in the anti-islam, you-tube video. Haters are gonna hate.

    February 28, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  25. Lionel

    It about time. Republicans like to run the show. The people elected Obama. Did the author of this article wanted to see Rick Santorum, Koch brothers and Karl Rove become an ambassador. Not.

    February 28, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
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