Sources: Obama picks for ambassadorships include top donors
February 28th, 2013
01:36 AM ET
1 year 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. Sniffit

    Oh brother. Name a POTUS who didn't appoint supporters to ambassadorships in countries that are major allies and where the ambassador is really nothing more than a friendly liason and PR frontman.

    Note to CNN: You're not going to steal major conservatroll market share from Faux, so quit it with the lame Teatroll clickbait.

    February 28, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  2. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    How is his selection of ambassadors any different from any other President? The plum assignments (England and France) always go to the biggest donors. Other assignments go to other major donors. The only countries that career diplomats get sent to are the ones where we always need to be on our top game, not the countries that we are buddy-buddy with. Think of Joe Kennedy. FDR appointed him as ambassador to the Court of St. James (i.e. the UK). What was his qualification? Raising money and getting votes.

    February 28, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  3. Bubba Ray

    And people who win elections reward those that supported them? Really? Did the sun rise in the east today?

    February 28, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  4. Harbinger

    He picked wall street bankers because of thier campaign donations, just another reason why he really is not for the common man, if he was he would not have accepted the money of anyone in the "richest" bracket he loves to decry..but this is not hypocrasy, and thats why it is not even a story on CNN yet, just a live blog post.

    February 28, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  5. Harbinger

    This practice is not new, but decrying particular people and thier institutions but letting oneself then be bought by said institution is a slap in the face to constituents.

    February 28, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  6. PaulCat

    .........and? Is this the field just for republicans? The GOP pay back the oil companies every day with your tax dollars.

    February 28, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  7. Archyle

    It is about appointing people from an institution one decries because of thier money, pure and simple. the practice is as old as politics, the difference is that you stand in front of poor people who feel good about the 10 bucks they can scrape together and tell them you hate the establishment and want to help the common man, but in the end you just do the same old political nonesense, the only news here is that liberal idealogues don't really notice the issue this should raise for his credability.

    February 28, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  8. jaw4

    In what way is this news? Doesn't every President do this- regardless of party affiliation? It's been that way since this country was founded- at every level of government.

    February 28, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  9. Archyle

    the difference between this and other politicians is that this very man is from an establishment the president decries, pure and simple, and has stood in front of the "common" man promising change and hope, and in the end delivering the same old politics as usual to those with money who can buy power.

    February 28, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  10. jaw4

    How is this news? Every President does this- regardless of party affiliation. That's been the case since the country was founded- at every level of government.

    February 28, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  11. Logic N LA

    Robert- well said. I had not though of it in those terms. But Ambassadorships have always gone to friends and donors. It's kind of what the job is for. Not sure hwere the change in this process would have needed to go.

    February 28, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  12. d slocum

    In other words, it's business as usual in Washington. Both parties do it. Only the GOP complains about it. If they worked as hard for the American people as they do criticising the president, maybe they'd get something done.

    February 28, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  13. Mittens Rmoney

    If I had won I wouldn't be appointing any of my rich friends or supporters to plum positions like this. No way! If I had won, I also wouldn't have to pump my own gas either.

    February 28, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  14. PaulCat

    If he didn't pick them the headlines would read: "Obama Turned On Donors"

    February 28, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  15. Dave

    I guess is payback time, Barack. This is the typical behavior of a fifth world country. But we voted for this, so let's enjoy...

    February 28, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  16. Joe Smith

    So, what else is new? Presidents have been doing this since I first voted ... and that was back in 1954, so I've seen plenty of presidents from both parties.

    February 28, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  17. Fubarack

    It's not just that Obama is the most corrupt President ever, it's that he was the guy who was going to change all that, remember?

    February 28, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  18. WIMPY38

    Since I gave a 5.00 donation, does that mean I'm up for the ambassadorship for Mircronisia?

    February 28, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  19. TWM

    This is not only typical and normal but just proves that this President is NO different than every single one that came before him.

    February 28, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  20. Meki60

    Obama has been great at giving taxpayer money to political supporters, super-star

    February 28, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  21. Mrelin Gentry

    I can confirm here that I have NOT been nominated or vetted for any ambassadorial post by the White House.

    February 28, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  22. southernwonder

    why would the rich donors want to quit their high paying enterprise to work in low paying govt jobs?

    February 28, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  23. mike

    for all you apologist of this guy, what happened to hope and change? i thought thing were going to be different when he got elected! he is just another politician and you have been fooled. he is no different than bush, carter, clinton, etc.... wake up.

    February 28, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  24. Shiva

    I am from India, and I see this type of corruption in India. What is happening here is they are funneling tax payer money. For example, If I pay 500K to Obama, he hires me as an ambassador. Then the tax payer will pay my salary of 150K per year, there by paying back the money I paid Obama by the middle class.

    February 28, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  25. b

    Obama is going to get the money out of politics. he campaigned on change. now he sells access to himself. rewards his doners, invest our money in his friends failed green energy companies. nothing new here but exactly opposite of his word. he can't be trusted. but we all know this and it doesn't matter to his supporters. but sure enough. they will all cry about it when the republican president does it. and the media makes it front page news for weeks.

    February 28, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
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