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The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Ambassadors Tony Hill and Allan Katz?



We're past President Barack Obama's 50-day mark, so it's time for America's biggest battleground state to be crassly parochial: Where are the plum political jobs for Floridians? Florida delivered 27 electoral votes and more than $16 million to the Obama campaign. Probably more important, Florida Democrats so thoroughly botched their unsanctioned presidential primary that Hillary Rodham Clinton's early Sunshine State primary win turned out to be utterly worthless. You'd think some political rewards would be in order.

Sure, there's Craig Fugate taking over the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but Fugate earned that with competence, not politics. Doesn't count. And there's former Florida Department of Environment Protection Secretary Carole Browner serving as Obama's climate czar. But she's been in Washington so long she no longer qualifies as a Floridian.

So far only Miami lawyer and top Obama fundraiser Max Holtzman has landed a significant job in the administration, senior adviser to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. That's it!?

Probably not. Some other key Florida Obama supporters are up to their ears in vetting, and several are in line for ambassadorships. You read it here first — Floridians  under serious review for major political payback, er, administration appointments:

---State Sen. Tony Hill, D-Jacksonsville, an early and influential early supporter of Obama when most African-American leaders were jumping aboard team Clinton. The Buzz is an ambassadorship in the Carribbean or Bahamas.
 ---Tallahassee City Commissioner Allan Katz, a major fundraiser, former DNC member and the campaign's top negotiator on Florida's primary debacle. The Buzz is ambassador.
 ---Orlando developer Bob Mandell, another top fundraiser for Obama in the critical I-4 corridor. The Buzz is ambassador to Costa Rica.
 ---And don't forget Tampa's Frank Sanchez, the onetime Clinton administration staffer business consultant who backed Obama early, raised big bucks, and became a top Latino adviser nationally. For ages the word has been he's up for a senior Commerce Department job.
 Vetting can be a bear, though, so none of these folks is a lock. And a final note: No specific job we've heard, but nobody in the know rules out U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Boca Raton, for an administration post of some sort. Obama owes him a lot.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 7:33pm]


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