Obama rewards two big donors with plum diplomatic assignments

In this June 7, 2013 file photo, President Barack Obama gestures during a statement about the Affordable Care Act, Friday, in San Jose, Calif. President Barack Obama rewarded two major donors to his re-election campaign with plum diplomatic assignmen
In this June 7, 2013 file photo, President Barack Obama gestures during a statement about the Affordable Care Act, Friday, in San Jose, Calif. President Barack Obama rewarded two major donors to his re-election campaign with plum diplomatic assignments in Britain and Italy on Wednesday. -- FILE PHOTO: AP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - President Barack Obama rewarded two major donors to his re-election campaign with plum diplomatic assignments in Britain and Italy on Wednesday.

Mr Obama announced plans to send Kentucky businessman Matthew Barzun to London as the US ambassador to Britain. Mr Barzun was finance chairman for Obama's 2012 re-election campaign. He raised more than US$500,000 (S$632,200) for the Obama campaign in 2012.

In addition, Mr Obama said he would send Washington lawyer John Phillips to be the US ambassador to Italy. He raised between US$100,000 and US$200,000 for the Obama campaign last year.

Both nominations require Senate confirmation. They are the latest in a string of major donors who have been picked for US diplomatic assignments abroad. Presidents quite often choose major boosters for ambassador posts in friendly countries.