Tue January 22, 2013
NYT: Kentuckian Matthew Barzun Frontrunner for U.S. Ambassadorship to Britain
Kentuckian Matthew Barzun will be the U.S. to the United Kingdom if he wants the job, The New York Times has reported, citing donors and adviser to President Obama.
Barzun, a former tech executive and major Obama fundraiser, has been the front-runner for the prestigious post since November, The Times reported. If the reports are true, he'd beat out for the job the famed editor of Vogue magazine, Anna Wintour.
The Times story focused on the time-tested route of major campaign donors and bundlers into ambassadorships:
As Mr. Obama begins his second term in the White House, the donors and bundlers who raised more than a billion dollars to get him there are pressing hard for appointments. The sheer scale of Mr. Obama’s fund-raising machine has led to an especially intense scramble for plum ambassadorships, with as many as 300 people vying for just 30 or so positions, according to several people involved in the process.
Since the Reagan administration, about 30 percent of ambassadorships have gone to foreign services professionals — usually, the tough jobs in states where U.S. relations aren't so great — and the rest have gone to top donors and bundlers, The Times reported.
Barzun served as U.S. ambassador to Sweden from 2009 to 2011 after being a top Obama fundraiser in 2008. In the 2012 re-election campaign, Barzun served as national finance chair for the Obama campaign. Barzun has also been suggested as a potential Democratic challenger to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell in the senator's 2014 re-election bid.
Last week, The Washington Post also reported that Barzun was the favorite — among bettors at the Irish bookmaking site PaddyPower.com. (By the way, PaddyPower.com had Rand Paul's odds of being the 2016 Republican presidential nominee at 22/1.)
Here's a video of Barzun speaking in 2012 at the TEDxUofL conference: