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Jane in Paris


We’d been hearing chatter that IBM heiress and philanthropist Jane Stetson , a former Democratic National Committee finance chair and Obama mega-bundler, was a strong candidate to be the next ambassador to France.

But a couple of other Janes are in the mix for that job — which opened up unexpectedly when the first choice, New York financier (and, naturally, Obama mega-bundler) Marc Lasry, withdrew in April amid reports that he played poker in an alleged Russian-mob-run gambling ring that was laundering money through a Carlyle Hotel art gallery.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993. View Archive

One other Jane mentioned is Jane Hartley, a top bundler and chief executive of the Observatory Group, an economic and political advisory firm. Hartley also worked as an aide in the Carter White House and at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. She’s married to another Obama supporter, investment banker Ralph Schlosstein, who had been CEO of BlackRock, the huge asset-management operation, and now holds that position at Evercore.

Oddly enough, Hartley and Lasry — as well as Felix Rohatyn, former ambassador to France — were spotted at a dinner for Wall Street wheeler-dealers for Obama 2012 back in March of last year. (Truly a small world.)

Another Jane whose name has popped up is Jane Harman , a nine-term congresswoman from California who was the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee and chairman of the Homeland Security subcommittee on intelligence.

Harman left the House in 2011 to be director and CEO of the Wilson Center, a foreign policy think tank.

Mais oui! Les trois Jeannes!

‘Slouch’ may be a stretch

During last week’s rare presidential news conference, President Obama described Russian President Vladmir Putin as having a “slouch looking like that bored schoolboy in the back of the classroom.”

Perhaps the president was trying to infer something about Putin’s intentions or public posturing based on his — well, actual posture. Something about Putin seems to invite scrutiny of his physiology by U.S. presidents trying to divine his inner workings (remember how George W. Bush looked into his eyes and saw his tender soul?).

But we couldn’t find much photographic evidence of Putin slouching. In fact, his carriage appears to be pretty upstanding. Find any evidence of Putin slouching? Send it our way at

There’s always Bikeshare

Just how dysfunctional is Congress? Even its parking lots are fouled up.

An e-mail went out from the Senate parking operations office Monday, alerting folks that some of the spaces in one of its lots would be unavailable — for a reason that would be familiar to observers of the legislative process of late: human error. “Due to the delivery of the wrong asphalt mix for the Lot 16 berm, paving operations are temporarily suspended,” the e-mail read.

That means that perimeter parking spaces in the lot along First Street NE will be out of commission for two more days, the office announced. Displaced cars will be accommodated elsewhere.

It’s unclear who’s responsible for the incorrect asphalt mix. A spokeswoman for the Architect of the Capitol, which is overseeing the paving project, didn’t return our calls.

Doesn’t sound like the biggest of deals — nothing, in Senate parlance, to go nuclear over — but perhaps another sign of the times? Ah, but here’s where the parking problems differ from some of those inside the building: The ­
e-mail was effusively polite. “We apologize for any inconvenience this may be causing,” it read. “Your cooperation and patience are greatly appreciated.”

An inside pitch

With all thanks to the Nashville Scene, whose idea we are blatantly lifting (that’s called research in this town), and Mark Leibovich’s “This Town,” which provides the inspirational milieu, we present the Loop’s latest contest.

For the chance to win a coveted Loop T-shirt, simply finish the sentence “You are so ‘This Town’ if . . . ” with an example of the kind of credential that immediately identifies one as a denizen of a certain class of Washingtonians.

You know them — or you are them — those inhabitants of green rooms, book parties and Tammy’s brunches (if you have to ask who that is, you aren’t among them).

Send your entries to Be sure to provide your name, occupation, mailing address and T-shirt size (M, L or XL), in case you’re a winner. You must include a phone number to be eligible. Entries must be submitted by midnight Aug. 20.

Be creative, be snarky, have fun — and just think how many compliments you’ll get on that
T-shirt around this town.

With Emily Heil

The blog:
. Twitter: @InTheLoopWP.


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