The Washington Post

Obama pick for ambassador to Canada still on track

canadianflag--508x314 (Brent Lewin/Bloomberg)

The Canadian media has been most upset recently by President Obama’s failure to name anyone  to be ambassador in Ottawa.

“Is this any way to treat a best friend?” one report wondered. Another article, noting that nominees had been submitted for various other countries — not to mention confirmed for places like the Dominican Republic — asked “What’s wrong with Canada?”

And then came the usual references to “largest trading partner,” “longest border,” NATO ally and so on. Even Vogue editor and artistic director for Condé Nast Anna Wintour’s name popped up again in a list of possible nominees..

The presumed nominee, Chicagoan Bruce Heyman, an Obama mega-bundler and wealthy Goldman Sachs partner, leaked out back on April 3. And then nothing. He wasn’t even in the July flood of nominees confirmed before the Senate recessed. The Canadian speculation was that Heyman had dropped out of the running perhaps because of some vetting issues.

So we checked into this. Sources said Heyman’s financial situation — we’re talking a very wealthy guy — was indeed complex and it took substantial time to sort things out before he could be nominated.

In addition, Heyman apparently just graduated last month from “charm school,” the State Department’s diplomatic training course. That’s obviously not something he would be doing if he’d withdrawn from consideration.

People tend to forget that, unlike in most every other country in the world, these things take a lot of time here in Washington.

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 · August 23, 2013

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