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Many Obama Donor$ Headed to U.S. Emba$$ie$

By Ed O'Keefe

Fresh from a European vacation, Al Kamen is back at it today with a column on the fact that President Obama has been naming campaign donors to desirable ambassadorships in some of the most important and sensitive overseas posts.

"Despite some early signals that merit -- knowledge of the local language, culture or region, or perhaps foreign policy experience -- might play a role in determining who gets those jobs, big donors and bundlers seem to have grabbed the lion's share of the most coveted spots," Kamen writes today.

Though Obama will likely fill about 30 percent of envoy positions with political appointees (the rest going to Foreign Service veterans), "a comparison of Obama's early picks with President Clinton's...indicates substantial differences between the two Democrats."

As Kamen points out (and is represented in the graphic below by Kamen and The Post's Karen Yourish), Clinton tended to pick people with experience in public policy for the important embassies. Big donors got jobs in smaller countries in eastern or northern Europe "where they could do little lasting harm," Kamen notes.

Obama has done things differently:

[Clinton]
CLINTON
[Obama]
OBAMA
Britain William J. Crowe Jr. ($0)
Admiral, former Joint Chiefs chairman
Louis B. Susman ($735,000)
Businessman, lawyer, Obama fundraiser
France Pamela Harriman ($99,000)
Democratic fundraiser
Charles H. Rivkin ($883,000)
Entertainment company head, Obama fundraiser
Japan Walter F. Mondale ($12,500)
Former senator and vice president
John V. Roos ($545,000)
Silicon Valley lawyer, Obama fundraiser
China Jim Sasser ($2,000)
Former senator
Jon Huntsman Jr. ($0)
Utah governor, McCain campaign co-chair
India Frank G. Wisner ($0)
Career Foreign Service
Timothy J. Roemer ($0)
Former congressman
South Africa James A. Joseph ($700)
Former Interior undersecretary
Donald H. Gips ($553,000)
Communications executive, former Gore policy adviser
Canada James J. Blanchard ($11,175)
Former Michigan governor
David Jacobson ($85,600)
Chicago lawyer, Obama fundraiser
Mexico James R. Jones ($8,000)
Former congressman
Carlos Pascual ($1,000)
Former career Foreign Service
Brazil Melvyn Levitsky ($0)
Career Foreign Service
Thomas A. Shannon Jr. ($0)
Career Foreign Service
Spain Richard N. Gardner ($6,300)
Former ambassador to Italy
*Alan D. Solomont ($1.4 million)
Communications executive, former Gore policy adviser
Italy Reginald Bartholomew ($0)
Career Foreign Service
*David Thorne ($17,650)
Boston area investment advisor
Germany Richard C. Holbrooke ($25,050)
Former assistant secretary of state
*Phil Murphy ($627,000)
Former investment banker, DNC finance chair
* Leading contenders

By Ed O'Keefe  | June 10, 2009; 12:52 PM ET
Categories:  Administration, Revolving Door  
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Comments

If Obama has done things differently from Clinton; how do they compare to their predecessors?

I would like to see the parallel postings for Bush Senior and Junior.

Posted by: OneOccasionalObserver | June 12, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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