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Washington – Peter Selfridge, a Minnetonka High School graduate, is on the verge of becoming a U.S. ambassador and the official link between the White House and visiting foreign dignitaries.
Selfridge, President Obama’s choice as chief of protocol for the State Department, faces his final Senate confirmation vote Monday.
While on paper the job is part of the State Department, its primary focus is White House diplomacy.
“Not only is this a great honor, it also provides remarkable opportunities to create an environment for successful diplomacy, to promote cross-cultural exchanges, and to build new bridges of understanding with leaders, governments and citizens throughout the world,” Selfridge told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in March.
Some big names have held the job, including the late Shirley Temple Black, who served under President Gerald Ford.
Most presidents appoint trusted aides to the post, and Selfridge appears to fit that mold. Selfridge has served as a deputy assistant to Obama and has led White House advance operations, which coordinates the president’s travel. He previously worked as special assistant to the president and previously led advance operations for Vice President Joe Biden.
Raised in Minnesota, the 1989 Minnetonka High grad landed his first job in the White House in 1995, sorting invitations in President Bill Clinton’s scheduling office. Selfridge has deep Democratic Party ties, having worked on presidential campaigns for Obama, former Vice President Al Gore and Secretary of State John Kerry.
If confirmed, Selfridge would succeed Capricia Marshall, who held the job from 2009 until her departure last summer.
VIPs on guest list for correspondents dinner
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former U.S. attorney for Minnesota B. Todd Jones and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, a Stillwater native, were among the scheduled guests at this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.
They were among the VIPs who scored invites to the star-studded gala, which was held Saturday night in Washington, D.C.
President Obama delivered remarks at the event hosted by comedian and actor Joel McHale.
Pawlenty, CEO of the D.C.-based Financial Services Roundtable, and Jones, director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, were guests of the Washington Post. They were to share a table with Stephanie Schriock, president of the Democratic fundraising group EMILY’s List and campaign manager for U.S. Sen. Al Franken in 2008, when he unseated Republican Norm Coleman.