Obama’s new picks for top jobs

October 30, 2013
President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

There may not be an ambassador nominated for that fine post in France, but incumbent Charles Rivkin, fresh from being cuffed about in Paris over NSA eavesdropping, is expected home shortly. President Obama announced Tuesday evening that Rivkin, a major 2008 Obama bundler who’s close to Secretary of State John Kerry, is the pick to be assistant secretary of state for economic and business affairs.

Other announced nominees include:

  • Obama mega bundler and former Chicago White Sox baseball player Mark D. Gilbert to be ambassador to New Zealand;
  • Major campaign contributor and Boston attorney Robert Barber to be ambassador to Iceland;
  • Jonathan Elkind, who’s principal deputy assistant secretary for policy and international affairs at the Department of Energy, to move up to be assistant secretary for international affairs;
  • Career Foreign Service officer Tina Kaidanow, most recently deputy ambassador in Kabul, to be the State Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism;
  • Ted Mitchell, former president of Occidental College and now CEO of NewSchools Venture Fund, to be under secretary of Education;
  • Massie Ritsch, deputy assistant secretary for external affairs and outreach at the Department of Education, and before that at OpenSecrets.org, to move up to be assistant secretary for communications and outreach;
  • William A. LaPlante, Jr., now principal deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, to move up to assistant secretary for acquisition;
  • Rhea Suh, assistant secretary for policy, management and budget at the Interior Department, to be assistant secretary for fish and wildlife;
  • Bathsheba Crocker, now principal deputy director in the State Department’s office of policy planning to be assistant secretary for international organization affairs.
Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.
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Emily Heil · October 30, 2013