POLITICS: PennAve

White House: Obama has 'confidence' in pick for Norwegian ambassador

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Politics,White House,Barack Obama,PennAve,Meghashyam Mali,Norway,Jay Carney,Foreign Policy

President Obama has “confidence” in all of his ambassadorial picks, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Friday, amid a controversy over the qualifications of the nominee to be the next envoy to Norway.

“I can tell you that this president has confidence in all of the nominees he's put forward for ambassadorial positions as well as other positions in the administration, in the government,” Carney told reporters.

Carney was asked about George Tsunis, whom Obama has tapped to be the U.S. ambassador to Norway.

During a recent Senate hearing, Tsunis made several incorrect statements about the European country, claiming that it has a president and describing a member of the governing coalition as being part of a “fringe” party.

Norway is a constitutional monarchy, and executive power rests with a prime minister.

Tsunis was interrupted during his testimony and mocked openly by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

“I have no more questions for this incredibly highly qualified group of nominees,” McCain sarcastically said at the end of the hearing, according to reports.

Carney told reporters that he “didn’t see the hearing or the testimony.”

Tsunis, a top donor, contributed nearly $1 million to Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, according to reports. Presidents regularly tap top donors and loyalists for ambassadorial posts, a practice that has attracted criticism from those who question if the nominees are qualified to represent the U.S. abroad.

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