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Obama appoints big money fundraisers to diplomatic posts

- The Washington Times - Friday, June 14, 2013

Three fundraisers who helped to raise millions for President Obama's reelection were appointed to coveted diplomatic posts by the president Friday.

Rufus Gifford, who was Mr. Obama's chief fundraiser in 2012 and was the campaign's liaison to the gay community, was appointed ambassador to Denmark.

John B. Emerson, who was cochair of the Democratic National Committe's southern California finance committee, was nominated by Mr. Obama to become ambassador to Germany, the White House said in a statement.

And HBO executive James Costos was nominated to become U.S. ambassador to Spain.

If Mr. Costos and Mr. Gifford are confirmed by the Senate, they would be only the second and third openly gay U.S. ambassadors to NATO countries. The only other gay ambassador to a NATO country was James Hormel, who served in President Bill Clinton's second term as ambassador to Luxembourg.

"It gives me great confidence that such dedicated and capable individuals have agreed to join this administration to serve the American people," Mr. Obama said in a statement. "I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come."

Mr. Gifford served most recently as finance chair of the president's inaugural committee.

Mr. Costos' partner is White House decorator Michael Smith, who was responsible for the makeover of the Oval Office in 2010.

Mr. Emerson was a top fundraiser for Mr. Obama in 2012 who helped to organize events that raised more than $4 million from entertainment industry celebrities such as George Clooney.

Mr. Costos and Mr. Smith raised well over $500,000 from other donors for Mr. Obama's reelection.

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