Grapevine: Get to know your new ambassadors

What they lack in foreign policy chops they make up for in generosity to the president and his interests


Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine...

You're Hired

The Senate confirmed new ambassadors to Argentina and Hungary today.

As we have reported previously in the Grapevine-- what these two lack in foreign policy chops-- they make up for-- in generosity to the president.

Hungarian Ambassador Colleen Bell used to be a soap opera producer.
She admitted in her hearing-- she could not name the U.S. interests in the region.
That could be problematic-- given the recent unrest there.


Sen. John McCain: This is a very important country where bad things are going on. Miss Bell's experience has been largely relegated to producing TV soap opera “The Bold and The Beautiful.”


Today White House spokesman Josh Earnest reiterated-- Bell has the confidence of the president.

Also confirmed today-- Argentinean ambassador Noah Mamet.
He has never been to Argentina -- and does not speak Spanish.
Both have made sizable contributions to President Obama’s campaign and were said to be so-called bundlers for campaign cash.

Money for Nothing

Last month-- we told you -- your tax dollars have paid EPA employees more than a million dollars-- to stay home.
The eight workers have been on paid leave ranging from four months-- to four and a half years.

Now Fox News has obtained a memo that says they were not allowed to work-- because of allegations of quote -- "cases of alleged serious misconduct"-- meaning these people were paid not to work -- sometimes for years at a time-- because of disciplinary action.

Last year-- another EPA official was sentenced to 32 months in prison for pretending to be a CIA agent-- as an excuse for missing work for months at a time.

No one checked his claims for years -- and during that time he collected $800,000 in pay for work he did not do.

Hiding in Plain Sight

And finally-- a good reminder-- to always keep your eyes open.
An eagle-eyed art historian spotted a long-lost painting-- while watching “Stuart Little” with his daughter.
The Robert Bereny avant garde masterpiece disappeared from Hungary in the 1920’s.

Gergely Barki was shocked to see it hanging on a wall behind Geena Davis and Hugh Laurie.
He had only seen a faded black-and-white photo of the missing painting.

A set designer says she got it cheap at an antiques store in California.

It has now been returned to Hungary.