White House defends Norway pick

The White House on Friday said President Obama retained confidence in his nominee to be U.S. ambassador to Norway, despite his bungling of questions at a confirmation hearing last week.

George Tsunis, the hotel executive and Obama donor nominated to go to Oslo, incorrectly described Norway as having a president and characterized an anti-immigration party that is part of the ruling coalition government as being among “fringe elements.”

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“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,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said on Friday.

Tsunis’s performance had earned a sarcastic chiding from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who had questioned him. McCain closed his questioning by saying he had “no more questions for this incredibly highly qualified group of nominees.”

According to campaign disclosure documents reviewed by Yahoo News, Tsunis has raised $988,550 for the president, given $300,000 to Democratic super-PACs and donated $75,800 to the Obama Victory Fund.

Nominating top campaign donors to ambassadorships is a tradition among presidents from both parties. Last summer, The Hill reported Obama had rewarded at least 19 campaign contributors and political allies with nominations in 2013.