The Washington Post

Not all Obama bundlers blunder at Senate hearings

Suzi Le Vine campaigning for President Barack Obama. (Photo: (Ken Lambert /The Seattle Times) Suzi Le Vine campaigning for President Barack Obama. (Photo: (Ken Lambert /The Seattle Times)

The recent faltering (trying to be kind here) performance of some Obama ambassadorial nominees at their Senate confirmation hearings doesn’t mean major fundraisers can’t hack it.

Take, for example, a smooth-as-silk performance last week  by former Microsoft executive Suzi LeVine, who reportedly raised about $2.3 million for Obama and the Democrats since 2007  ($1.5 million of it  in the last presidential cycle ) and, by sheer coincidence, was nominated to be ambassador to Switzerland.

LeVine cruised  through a series of questions about energy, trade, immigration, banking, the environment and other issues at her March 6 hearing. She even tossed off the names of Swiss clean technology companies, the number of people employed by those companies, noted that Switzerland generates “over 400,000 U.S. jobs,” and mentioned the country’s chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

And while certain other Obama  nominees were blasted recently by the media in Norway and Argentina after some deplorable miscues, the Swiss media credited Levine with doing her homework and for deftly handling a question about a narrowly backed referendum last month to cap immigration from European Union countries.

She said it was “internal Swiss matter” and too early to assess the “implications,”  though she raised a few eyebrows in Switzerland when she spoke of talking to the Swiss about how “the American story about immigration is an incredible one.”

See, just ’cause they are bundlers doesn’t mean. . .

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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