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Bundler to Ambassador 101?

(REUTERS/Larry Downing) (Larry Downing/Reuters)

So you’ve bundled lots of money for the president, and you’re about to be sent to a country you know nothing about. But before you pack your bags and ship off, you have to clear one hurdle: A Senate confirmation hearing.

As you may recall, this didn’t go so well for a few recent political bundlers who completely blundered at their hearings. But the State Department is not about to make that mistake again.

Welcome to “Bundler to Ambassador 101.”

Last month, State put out a notice it was looking to hire contractors to “deliver interactive, professional training seminars for senior-level officials on effective congressional testimony and briefing skills.” These contractors will teach, among other things, “building effective relationships with members of Congress and their staffers.” (h/t Diplopundit)

And, before you take the hot seat, the contractor will have prepared “one-on-one simulated congressional hearing sessions,” that we can only hope will include senator holograms.

The government-funded crash course on winning over Congress may assist in avoiding cringe-worthy moments like this:

Speaking of George Tsunis, someone in Norway started a brief rumor on Twitter Thursday claiming that the White House had pulled Tsunis’s nomination to be the United States’s top diplomat in Oslo. It was a misunderstanding, a source at the Norwegian embassy told the Loop, and the tweet has been taken down.

But the notion that the White House could take back its offer to send the hotelier and Obama campaign bundler to a country he knows little about isn’t far fetched. As of now, the Tsunis nomination is moving forward, but Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) made clear Thursday he won’t let it proceed quietly.

According to Congressional Quarterly, McCain, during a Foreign Relations Committee meeting Thursday, said of Tsunis, “The guy will be a joke. Everyone in Norway knows about him.”

Because Democrats invoked the nuclear option, infuriating Republicans, McCain cannot filibuster Tsunis’s nomination, but he swore that he would “object and continue to drag it out just as much as I can because you should pay a price.”

Colby Itkowitz is the lead anchor of the Inspired Life blog. She previously covered the quirks of national politics and the federal government.



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Colby Itkowitz · April 11, 2014

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