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As I reported here yesterday, David Plouffe, Barack Obama’s former campaign manager, jetted off to Azerbaijan to give a speech at a university. Plouffe claimed he went to the country simply to talk about democracy — though his trip was sponsored by a bogus front group tied to the country’s ruling despot and his speech to fifty people at a university in Baku was closed to the press. “Journalists were told to leave the auditorium at Gerb (Western) University before Plouffe gave a speech on the 2008 U.S. presidential election and ‘the power of democracy’,” radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported today.
Incidentally, Plouffe’s appearance in Azerbaijan looks to be his debut on the public speaking circuit. Check out his new listing at the Washington Speakers Bureau:
After winning the election on November 4, 2008, President Obama called his campaign manager, David Plouffe, “the unsung hero” who built the best political campaign in the history of the United States. Plouffe is widely credited with masterminding the winning strategy and building a team that delivered unprecedented results. With humor, passion and intelligence, Plouffe shares:
The inside story about how Obama was elected president.
How success hinged on a fundamental belief in the candidate and the strategy.
A look ahead to the administration’s next steps and the movement the campaign created.
Update from the Wall Street Journal:
President Barack Obama’s former campaign manager intends to give away the fee he received from a paid private speech he made Monday in the oil-rich but authoritarian nation of Azerbaijan.
The speech was arranged by lobbyists working with a group that has ties to the Azerbaijan government, according to people familiar with the matter. But a close associate of David Plouffe said he only learned of their involvement after he had already embarked for the Caspian Sea nation.
Mr. Plouffe now intends to donate his speaking fee, which the associate said is in the range of $50,000, to groups that advocate democratization in the turbulent post-Soviet states of the region around the Caspian and Caucasus mountain range. Mr. Plouffe also plans to share the contents of the speech with opposition groups.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Fleming awoke in the dark and his room felt loose, sloshing so badly he gripped the bed. From his window there was nothing but a hallway, and if he craned his neck, a blown lightbulb swung into view. The room pitched up and down and for a moment he thought he might be sick. The word “hallway” must have a nautical name. Why didn’t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet he’d failed to read. A glossary. A history of the boat, which would be referred to as a ship. Sunny biographies of the captain and crew, who had always dreamed of this life. Lobotomized histories of the islands they’d visit. Who else had sailed this way. Famous suckwads from the past, slicing through this very water on wooden longships.
A welcome packet, the literary genre most likely to succeed in the new millennium. Why not read about a community you don’t belong to, that doesn’t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isn’t too much of a downer on your vacation, as indifferent to one another as any set of co-employees at an office or bank? Read doctored personal statements from underpaid crew members — because ocean life pays better than money! — who hate their lives but have been forced to buy into the mythology of working on a boat, separated now from loved ones and friends, growing lonelier by the second, even while they wait on you and follow your every order.
Rank of Detroit among major U.S. cities whose residents give the largest portion of their income to charity:
A South Dakota researcher concluded that only scant blood spatter results when chain saws are used to dismember pigs.
Four people were arrested for using a remote-controlled hexacopter to fly two pounds of tobacco to prisoners inside the yard at Calhoun State Prison in Georgia.
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Our congratulations to Alice Munro, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature