US ambassadorship to France opens up

One of the State Department's most prestigious diplomatic postings – ambassador to France – is opening up, fueling heightened speculation that a top Obama donor will soon officially get nominated for the plum assignment.

The White House announced late Tuesday that the current U.S. envoy to Paris, Obama donor Charles Rivkin, has been tapped to serve as Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs.

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The move leaves IBM heiress Jane Watson Stetson, the national finance chairwoman for the Democratic National Committee, as the rumored favorite for the post after speculation died down that Vogue editor Anna Wintour or hedge-fund manager Marc Lasry would get the job. Stetson has bundled close to $4 million for Obama since 2007, according to records obtained by The New York Times.

Other nominees announced this week include Bathsheba Crocker, the principal deputy director in the State Department's Office of Policy Planning to serve as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs; career Senior Foreign Service member Tina Kaidanow to serve as the State Department's Coordinator for Counterterrorism; and Jonathan Elkind to be Assistant Secretary of Energy for International Affairs.

“President Obama’s nominee to advance our nation’s multilateral engagement is a woman who knows her way around the UN and recognizes its value proposition to Americans,” the Better World Campaign's executive director Peter Yeo said in a statement calling for Crocker's “swift confirmation” by the Senate. “Crocker has seen the UN’s potential to strengthen American foreign policy from every vantage point — from the private sector in her work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to her leadership inside Turtle Bay on peace building issues.”

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