The Washington Post

Obama’s ambassadors: bookies lay odds

Anna Wintour is among the candidates for an ambassadorship. (Jason Kempin/GETTY IMAGES)

Care to make it interesting?

Irish book-making site Paddy Power is laying odds on the diplomatic lineup, and the numbers favor Washington attorney and baseball booster (and reportedly pal of Vice President Biden) Mark Tuohey for Ireland (with a 4 /7 chance at last check) and businessman Matthew Barzun for the United Kingdom (a practically sure bet, with a 10 /11 shot).

The Irish press identified Tuohey — an Irish citizen with roots in old Tipperary who’s married to the sister of former White House chief of staff Bill Daley — as a front-runner for the job, which is vacant after Dan Rooney announced he was stepping down.

Barzun, a former executive at CNET and a longtime Obama supporter, has diplomatic experience already — his loyalty and largesse were rewarded with an ambassadorship to Sweden from 2009 to 2011.

But the front-runners are hardly the only candidates, at least according to the bookies. One could back Vogue editor Anna Wintour (6/4) for the London post, a possible appointment that’s had even the Prada-wearing set suddenly interested in foreign diplomacy.

But a betting man could make more by gambling on someone with far steeper odds: among the long-shot contenders for the Irish job are former President Bill Clinton and former Sen. Chris Dodd ( both 10/1); and former DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe (14/1).

There’s even the wee-est glimmer of a chance for two guys who, let’s face it, would probably make lousy diplomats: conservative talk-show host Bill O’Reilly and late-night comedy maven Conan O’Brien each have 500/1 odds.

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.


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