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Obama rewards two big donors with plum diplomatic assignments

U.S. President Barack Obama makes a light reference to old movie special effects while speaking about award recipient George Lucas who creat
U.S. President Barack Obama makes a light reference to old movie special effects while speaking about award recipient George Lucas who creat

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

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

In addition, Obama said he would send Washington lawyer John Phillips to be the U.S. ambassador to Italy. He raised between $100,000 and $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 U.S. diplomatic assignments abroad. Presidents quite often choose major boosters for ambassador posts in friendly countries.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Eric Beech)

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