Monday, February 9, 2009

"Obama" for sale in Baku: cake=$12, lecture by campaign manager...

...$50,000 plus incidentals.

Azeri service of RFERL and Azeri-Press Agency (APA, their photo to the left) reported over the weekend that David Plouffe, Obama's presidential campaign manager, was coming to give a lecture in the Windy City. He did. The report has created a bit of storm cloud with the Post, Politico and Ken Silverstein at Harper's all taking note.

The White House is saying that he went as a "private citizen," although just this Saturday I and 13 million others received an e-mail from Plouffe about President's stimulus package or something or other.

Local media, including local branch of U.S.-funded RFE/RL, were reportedly kicked out from Plouffe's lecture in Baku which focused on democratic activism.

Plouffe is currently promoting his book about the campaign and generally cashing in on his otherwise well-earned celebrity. As part of that effort, he signed on with this Alexandria-based outfit that has a list of other heavyweight "lecturers for rent," including Bill Clinton and George W.

They have a "bargain list" of speakers under $15,000 and Plouffe is not on it. So it is safe to say Plouffe's trip cost Aliyev more than that plus first class roundtrip/hotel and incidentals - all in all closer to six digits.

UPDATE: According to Wall Street Journal Mr. Plouffee will be donating his speaking fee - now reported at about $50,000 - to "pro-democracy" groups. Let's see which ones.

On not much "lighter" (I really mean calories) note, reports that Baku residents can now buy their own "Obama" in the form of this rather bland looking cake prepared by a company called "Cudo Pecka."

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