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How to get a job in the Obama administration in a tough economy

June 22, 2009 |  1:24 am

A Ten Thousand dollar bill featuring Salmon P Chase

First, get a lot of money.

Second, get a lot of friends with a lot of money.

Third, all of you give a lot of that money to Barack Obama's Democratic presidential campaign.

A new research study by the Center for Responsive Politics confirms what a lot of Washington watchers expected all along: All that Obama talk about changing the way Washington works is also a whole lot of hooey, at least insofar as it relates to United States ambassadors to other countries.

The capitol's decidedly bipartisan tradition for generations has been: Want to live in a foreign place for a couple of years, probably not all that important a place but still foreign, get a nice title for life, luxurious government housing, staff, car and driver and more use for your tuxedo than back home?

Then help the winning White House entrant finance his/her campaign.

And no one throughout American political history ever had a better-financed campaign than Obama with his $750 million.

The CRP has found 19 of Obama's new ambassadors and their families bundled at least $3.4 million for Obama's campaign and an additional $1.4 million just for his inauguration festivities. And you thought the campaigns don't keep track of such generosity? Even some of now Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's donors are getting rewarded.

Yes, true, Obama did name Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman as ambassador to China. And Huntsman bundled $500,000 for Obama's defeated Republican opponent, old what's-his-name from Arizona who keeps popping up on the Sunday shows anyway.

But it's apparently worth at least a half-mil to Obama to get Huntsman tied to his Democratic administration, out of the country and far from Iowa in the run-up to 2012.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Hat Tip to Jake Tapper's must-read Political Punch blog.

Recognize the balding fellow on the $10,000 bill? We didn't either. Scroll down for his identity.

He's Salmon P. Chase, of course.

And who, you might ask, was he?

Governor of Ohio. Senator from Ohio. Ardent abolitionist who lost the new Republican Party's presidential nomination in 1860 to Abraham Lincoln, who made Chase part of his unity team of rivals as Treasury secretary back when $10G's was real money.

Chase was a most ambitious fellow, however. He often sought his way by threatening to resign from Lincoln's wartime Cabinet. The fourth time Abe said, "Fine." And a surprised Chase was gone.

To mollify the not-yet-Grand Old Party's radical wing and get him out of political circulation, Lincoln in 1864 named Chase as the sixth chief justice of the Supreme Court. There, Chase promptly named John Rock as the first African American attorney to argue a case before the nation's highest court. Chase also presided over the subsequent impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson.

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