Rufus Gifford, former Democratic National Committee finance chair and more recently President Obama’s near-legendary 2012 campaign fundraising chief, is said to be the leading pick for ambassador to Denmark.
Gifford, an indefatigable — some beleaguered donors have said maybe too indefatigable — fundraiser, was the key person behind the campaign’s $1 billion war chest.
The longtime Democratic fundraiser and activist in the gay community would be the second openly gay ambassador named to a NATO ally. The first, James Hormel, served in the latter part of President Bill Clinton’s second term as ambassador to Luxembourg.
Gifford’s ex-partner Jeremy Bernard — also a formidable fundraiser and major Democratic pol — is the first man and the first openly gay person to be White House social secretary. Gifford and Bernard, who remain good friends, had been called one of Washington’s top “power couples.”
The gay community had been pushing since the election for an openly gay appointee to a “top-tier” ambassadorship. While Denmark may not rank with places like Britain, Germany or France, its 5.6 million population is more than 10 times that of Luxembourg. And Denmark has sent hundreds of troops to support U.S.-led campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Gifford would succeed prominent Washington lawyer and Obama bundler Laurie Susan Fulton, who left earlier this month after a somewhat uneven tour.
Loop Fans may recall a 2011 item about an inspector general’s report that criticized her for not delegating authority and “being harsh” when she finds fault with her staff. “Where she perceives lapses,” the report said, “her response has been sharp and, to those affected, frequently unpredictable.”