This week, the White House released a list of the 2013 summer interns. The list of 147 college and graduate students is full of bright young things — dozens from Ivy League schools — and (surprise, surprise) several with connections to the administration.
There’s Harry Summers, a student at Bowdoin College and son of former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers. Michael Klain from Harvard, the son of Ron Klain, former Chief of Staff to Al Gore and Joe Biden. Adam Baer, at student at Dartmouth and son of former Clinton senior adviser Don Baer. James “Izzy” Rattner of Brown University, the youngest son of New York financier and major Democratic fundraiser Steve Rattner. And Madeline Broas, another Dartmouth student and daughter of D.C. lawyer and Democratic donor Timothy Broas.
But it’s not all about politics: Consider Grant Tanenbaum, a student at Wesleyan University and grandson of Washington Nationals owner Ted Lerner.
Like most Washington internships, the process is highly competitive: Applicants need to submit a resume, two essays and two letters of recommendation for the full-time, unpaid jobs in the West and East wings. After months of deliberation, interns are selected based on their public service, community leadership and “commitment to the mission of the Obama Administration,” according to the White House web site.
It’s fair to assume these future leaders are already accomplished and savvy about high-powered networking, whether learned at the family dinner table or in the trenches of student government. Plenty of the names on the list have no obvious link to the White House but do have a dazzling resume, such as Rhodes Scholar Rhiana Gunn-Wright who grew up in inner-city Chicago or Haywood Perry from Penn, who served on the Prince George’s County Board of Education as a teenager.
So it’s unclear how far a good word from a VIP parent goes. “What I liked most about this is that Adam pursued it himself,” said Don Baer, who told us he deliberately stayed out of the process.
Still, knowing a power broker or two can’t hurt. We asked the White House if any intern slots are reserved for “legacies” — kids of former administration officials. They didn’t get back to us for comment.
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