The Senate confirmed the nominations of two former Obama campaign fundraisers on Tuesday, despite objections.

The Senate voted 50-43 to confirm Noah Mamet’s nomination to be U.S. ambassador to Argentina and voted 52-42 to confirm Colleen Bradley Bell to be U.S. ambassador to Hungary.


Some criticized Mamet and Bell for showing a lack of knowledge during confirmation hearings about the countries they’ll be serving in. Neither are career diplomats, but each raised more than $500,000 for President Obama's 2012 reelection campaign.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said he was used to presidents in both parties appointing wealthy donors to plush ambassadorships in the Caribbean, but President Obama is now sending "totally unqualified" individuals to countries that need career ambassadors. 

“This is a very important country, where bad things are going on. Ms. Bell’s experience have been largely relegated to producing television soap opera, ‘The Bold and the Beautiful,’ ” McCain said ahead of the vote. “This nominee is totally unqualified for this position.”

McCain said Hungary is experiencing intense pressures from Russian President Vladimir Putin and confirming Bell to deal with the problem sends a message that the United States isn’t serious about its ambassadorships.

The White House on Tuesday said President Obama was confident Bell "will do an excellent job of representing the United States and maintaining the important relationship that the United States has with the government and the people of Hungary."

Press secretary Josh Earnest said she "obviously has succeeded in the business world" and hailed the soap opera producer's "distinguished private sector career."

The White House spokesman insisted that Bell "was not chosen" because of her fundraising on behalf of the president, adding that Obama did not take ambassadorial selections "lightly."

"The reason that she was chosen is because the president has complete confidence in her ability to represent the United States in that country," Earnest said.

Mamet and Bell’s nominations wouldn’t have had the votes in the Republican-controlled Senate.

With Republicans taking control of the upper chamber next year, Democrats are more motivated than ever to clear as many of Obama’s executive and judicial nominations as possible before adjourning for the year.

The Senate also voted to end debate on the nominations of Nani Coloretti to be deputy secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Robert Adler to be commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Their confirmation votes are expected at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

 This article was last updated at 3:37 p.m.

— Justin Sink contributed.