But Monday morning they were spotted chatting amiably over breakfast at tony Bistro Bis, down the Hill on the Senate side, doing media strategerizing.
It’s the magic of the private sector — not, of course, the money — that drew the two together. Grenell , based in Palm Springs, Calif., with Capitol Media Partners, is a Fox News contributor. (He spent eight years as the Bush administration’s U.N. spokesman.)
LaBolt, a former Obama White House spokesman, recently teamed with former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs to form the Incite Agency, a PR strategy firm.
Unclear what client brought them together Monday morning. Also unclear who picked up the tab.
Further proof that, in Washington, no matter how it may look to outsiders, politics is just politics. Business, on the other hand . . .
Recent news has it that the Embassy in Paris is going to one of the three Janes — Jane Hartley, a top bundler and head the Observatory Group — and that Dublin is going to one of the Missouri Carnahans — in this case, Tom, brother of former Missouri representative Russ Carnahan (D).
There are still some fine spots — such as Costa Rica, the Bahamas and Switzerland — without official nominees, but most likely there are candidates penciled in for the jobs.
This is troublesome, especially for Obama mega-bundlers — and there were so many — looking for their due. After all, it’s hard to create new countries. But maybe jobs previously filled by non-bundlers can go to worthy contributors?
For example, one of those nominees left on the floor when the Senate recessed was Los Angeles lawyer Michael A. Lawson, a major Democratic contributor and Obama mega-bundler (up to $500,00o in both 2008 and 2012 according to the Center for Responsive Politics) who was in line to be the U.S. representative to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), headquartered in Montreal.
Traditionally, the job (cold up there but comes with an apartment) has been given to someone skilled in aviation safety and security matters, said Kenneth Quinn, a former Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) chief counsel and now general counsel of the Flight Safety Foundation. ”It’s never been considered an outpost for financial contributors.”
President Bill Clinton’s envoys to ICAO, a U.N. organization that deals with air safety and security, were Carol J. Carmody, a former FAA official and vice chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, and Edward Stimpson, the longest-serving head of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (and later head of the Flight Safety Foundation).
Bush II’s picks were Donald Bliss, a career aviation lawyer and former general counsel to Transportation Secretary William Coleman. Obama’s first rep, Duane Woerth, is an international pilot who headed the Air Line Pilots Association.
Lawson is the former head of law firm Skadden Arps’ executive compensation and employee benefits group in the Los Angeles office, according to a 2008 firm directory.
It should be noted, however, that he is, in fact, well-versed in some aviation issues, having been, the White House noted, the immediate past president of the Los Angeles World Airports’ Board of Airport Commissioners and has been on the board since 2005.
And raising all that money shouldn’t be held against him.
Correction: A previous version of this post misidentified the last name of Kenneth Quinn. This version has been corrected.
Secretary of State John Kerry deals with some pretty tough stuff on the job (Iran nukes, anyone?), so it’s no wonder that he appreciates after-hours companions who mostly want to play fetch and take long walks.
When he returns to Washington after the holiday this week, we hear that Kerry will be bringing back more than some turkey leftovers -- he’ll have a newly adopted yellow lab in tow. The pup’s name is Ben, as in Franklin, the American icon whose credits include “Father of the Foreign Service,” an institution over which Kerry now presides, and creator of the Great Seal of the U.S., over which the secretary of state is a custodian.
Franklin’s namesake, though, has less lofty interests -- toys and treats, mainly (yeah, about that turkey ).
We’re told Kerry and his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, have long been dog people (they already have two Schnauzers named Stache and Clousseau), and Ben is their first lab.
And if the little pup wants to fit in here in Washington, perhaps he could lobby his new master for an impressive title. Undersecretary for Biscuits? Canine Ambassador?
The typical post-Congress gig for retired lawmakers is in lobbying -- maybe join a firm, or find a nice post at the head of an association. Former Rep. Bill Delahunt is blazing a new trail, though, looking to greener pastures in the field of medical marijuana.
Delahunt (who has already done the hang-your-own-shingle thing by opening government affairs firm The Delahunt Group) has formed a nonprofit that is applying for licenses, set to be distributed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, to open three medical marijuana dispensaries.
The Bay State Democrat formed a nonprofit, Medical Marijuana of Massachusetts Inc., that’s looking to open dispensaries in Mashpee, Plymouth and Taunton, a move first reported by the Boston Business Journal. He told the Boston Herald that he doesn’t touch the stuff himself (so no plans to sample his own wares), and after taking a tough stance on pot dealers when he was a prosecutor and a congressman, came around to the idea that medical marijuana was a different beast.
“No one has ever died of a marijuana overdose,” Delahunt told the Herald.
Lots of buzz in the Irish media about Tom Carnahan as President Obama’s choice to fill the long-empty slot for ambassador to the Emerald Isle.
Yes, you read that correctly -- that’s Tom, the brother of Russ Carnahan, the former Missouri congressman who was first reported to be the leading candidate for the job. Tom Carnahan is a businessman and a top Obama bundler (also the son of former Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan, who posthumously defeated John Ashcroft for a Senate seat).
Younger brother Russ was thought to be in line for the job, but he had reportedly removed his name from consideration.
Russ didn’t return our calls, and we couldn’t immediately reach Tom.
And even if Tom Carnahan winds up being Obama’s pick, the nomination could take a while. IrishCentral says Tom Carnahan’s name has “begun to circulate in White House circles.” The Irish Times reports that he’s “emerged as the leading candidate,” though he’s yet to go through the vetting process.
Any delay isn’t likely to sit too well with the Irish, who have been growing impatient with Washington as the embassy in Dublin collects cobwebs. The job has been sitting open since former envoy (and another big Obama donor) Dan Rooney left nearly a year ago.
But we hear it’s not a done deal yet -- for Tom Carnahan or anyone. There are other candidates in the mix, including, we hear, Washington lawyer Mark Tuohey.