Carney: I Didn’t See Norwegian Ambassador Nominee Screw Up, But Obama Still Has Confidence in Him

• January 24, 2014 2:01 pm


White House spokesman Jay Carney said he hadn't seen the video of Obama donor and Norwegian ambassador nominee George Tsunis bungle several facts about Norway's government last week, but did say President Obama "has confidence in all of his nominees" nonetheless.

According to Yahoo! News, Tsunis, who raised nearly $1 million for Obama in the 2012 cycle, "described Norway as having a president ("apparently under the impression that the country is a republic rather than a constitutional monarchy," as the Local Norway's News notes dryly)." Under questioning from Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.), he characterized the anti-immigration Progress Party as being among "fringe elements" who "spew their hatred" and have been denounced by the government":

That prompted McCain’s disbelieving answer: "The government has denounced them? The coalition government — they're part of the coalition of the government."

McCain, already flummoxed by the apparent inability of Obama’s choice to be ambassador to Hungary to list strategic U.S. interests there, closed his questioning with a bit of sarcasm: "I have no more questions for this incredibly highly qualified group of nominees."

Carney didn't have a response beyond saying Obama believed in his nominees.

Full exchange:

Q: Wanted to ask you about a confirmation hearing recently that got some viral attention, and that is the president's nominee for ambassador to Norway, George Tsunis. He bungled the answer to a question from Senator McCain, seemed to not have a full understanding of the coalition government in Norway. I wonder if the president still has confidence in Mr. Tsunis' ability to represent the —

JAY CARNEY: I didn't see the hearing or the testimony. 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. But beyond that, I don't have a response.

Published under: Democratic Donors, Jay Carney