That, and other news, in today’s Roundup and Recap.
What is amazing about the release of names of donors to the Clinton Library Foundation is how few surprises there actually are.
There had long been suspicions that it would be made up of interests from Arab states and other foreign governments, as well as a smattering of entertainment and media moguls who are longtime backers of both Clintons. That is exactly what came out when former President Clinton’s foundation released a complete list for the first time, as part of an agreement with President-elect Obama to pave the way for Hillary Clinton moving into the role of Secretary of State.
Some of the names, like Steve Bing and Haim Saban, already had been revealed as donors, as well as a contribution from David Geffen’s foundation, interesting because he has had a very well publicized falling out with the Clintons after being one of their most prolific donors. No dates were given for any of the contributions, and the list of names only includes a range of contributions — a kind of transparency lite.
Bing topped the list of media figures, chipping in between $10 million and $25 million. Frank Giustra, a Canadian mining financier who formed Lions Gate Entertainment in 1997, also contributed that amount. His contribution already was the subject of a New York Times investigative piece during Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
In the $5 million to $10 million range were Haim Saban and the Wasserman Foundation. Donors in the $1 million to $5 million range included Eli Broad, the Elton John Foundation, BET founder Robert L. Johnson, Michael and Jena King and the Streisand Foundation.
In the $500,000 to $1 million category were James Murdoch, Paul Newman and the Newman’s Own Foundation, News Corp., Steven Spielberg, the Geffen Foundation and the Annenberg Foundation.
Google made a contribution in the $250,000 to $500,000 range, and Edgar M. Bronfman, MTV Networks, the Berry Gordy Family Foundation and Jonathan Tisch each chipped in $100,000 to $250,000.
More on Warren: Barack Obama defended the choice of Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his swearing in ceremony, as reports surfaced that the decision to choose the Saddleback Church pastor was his and his alone.
Obama said at a press conference, “There are going to be a wide range of viewpoints that will be presented, and that’s how it should be. . .That dialogue I think is part of what my campaign’s been all about.”
Karen Ocamb got ahold of a list of the Obama camp’s talking points on the choice of Warren, an indication that they at least recognize the controversial nature of the choice.
Reaction from some of the most prominent gay bloggers and supporters of Obama has moved from anger to dissecting the politics involved.
John Aravosis of AmericaBlog writes, “This is rather uncharacteristic of Obama, making some grand gesture from his gut, and not checking it with his brain, or the brains around him. Unless, of course, his brain trust thought this was a brilliant strategic move. I can easily imagine them thinking, what better than to make a nod to the religious right and the religious left, by having Rick Warren and Joseph Lowery, at his inauguration?”
Marc Ambinder, neutral observer of the flap, writes, “In his short political career, Obama has deftly manipulated political symbols to his advantage, but he’s never been one to pay homage to one of the most sacred regulations of identity politics, which is that one must take care of one’s own kind before turning outward. His mind operates differently. Obama does believe, as many of his supporters do, that there are uncrossable demarcation lines between the reasonable and the profane. But he doesn’t believe that Warren, someone he admires for reaching outside his (Warren’s) comfort zone on AIDS, is all that different from himself. Obama is simultaneously capable of admiring Warren while disdaining Warren’s oogedy boogedy appraoch to gay relationships and his uninformed response to torture. Warren’s views might be hurtful to gays; Obama does not think they are harmful.
“That said, his team bungled this a bit. Reaching out to gay groups to give them a heads up might have softened the edge of their reaction and given them internal confidence that they were valued members of Obama’s coalition. Dropping the list (like it’s hot), without pre-notice, must have seemed like a sharp slap in the face. The LGBT community is still very raw about Proposition 8, and one would assume that at least someone in Obama’s inner circle would be aware of this.”