A key member of Barack Obama’s past and future team of aides has learned the hard way that “transparency” cuts both ways when it comes to the potential for evidence of one’s moments of private revelry—or tomfoolery—to travel far and wide on the Internet in a flash. This would be Jon Favreau, Obama’s 27-year-old superstar speechwriter, who was featured in photos that briefly surfaced on the Web that showed him dancing with and groping a cardboard cutout of Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton.
President-Elect Obama’s well-coordinated transition team raised eyebrows shortly after the election by requiring super-rigorous background checks from anyone considering coming close to joining their squad—and their long application, as The Washington Post points out, specifically asked about any potentially embarrassing information from their past and for links to their Facebook and MySpace pages.
Needless to say, the pictures of Favreau were hastily taken down, but not before various meddling news outlets got their grubby paws on them. For their part, Clinton’s team did a good job taking the episode in stride (see Clinton aide Phillippe Reines’ amusing response at the end of the Post piece).
The Washington Post:
For a while there this afternoon, President-elect Barack Obama’s immensely talented chief speechwriter, 27-year-old Jon Favreau, might have been pondering how to address that question.
That’s when some interesting photos of a recent party he attended—including one where he’s dancing with a life-sized cardboard cut-out of secretary of state-designate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, and another where he’s placed his hand on the cardboard former first lady’s chest while a friend is offering her lips a beer—popped up on Facebook for about two hours. The photos were quickly taken down—along with every other photo Favreau had of himself on the popular social networking site, save for one profile headshot.
Asked about the photos, Favreau, who was recently appointed director of speechwriting for the White House, declined comment. A transition official said that Favreau had “reached out to Senator Clinton to offer an apology.”
Here we see Obama’s speechwriter, Jon Favreau, striking a more serious pose.