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Tags: colleen bell | hungary | ambassador | fundraiser | bundler

Dems Confirm Obama Fundraiser as Ambassador Over GOP Protest

By    |   Wednesday, 03 December 2014 10:55 AM EST

Without a single Republican vote, the Senate has confirmed the appointment of Colleen Bell, a big-money bundler for President Barack Obama's re-election and Hollywood soap opera producer,  to be next ambassador to Hungary.

The nomination and vote stirred a furor in Senate chambers and a rare moment of awkward stumbling from White House press spokesman Josh Earnest under intense grilling from Washington reporters, the Weekly Standard reported.

Story continues below video.

"I urge my colleagues to put a stop to this foolishness. I urge a no vote," said Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, ABC News reported.

"We're about to vote on a totally unqualified individual to be ambassador to a nation which is very important to our national security interest," McCain said.

"Her qualifications are as a producer of the television soap opera 'The Bold and The Beautiful,' contributed $800,000 to Obama in the last election and bundled more than $2.1 million for President Obama's re-election effort," he said.

"I am not against political appointees. I understand how the game is played, but here we are, a nation (Hungary) that is on the verge of ceding its sovereignty to a neo-fascist dictator getting in bed with Vladimir Putin and we're going to send the producer of 'The Bold and The Beautiful' as the ambassador," CNN quoted McCain as saying.

The ambassadorship is Obama's second nod to Bell — in 2010, he appointed her to the President's Advisory Committee on the Arts at the Kennedy Center, CNN noted.

Reporters put the pressure on Earnest at a daily press briefing and, while he insisted that Bell's financial contributions were "not the reason she was chosen," he was hard-pressed to come up with an explanation.

"She is somebody who retains the confidence that, well, let me say it this way. Ambassador Bell has the president's confidence that she will do an excellent job representing the U.S. and maintaining the important relationship the U.S. has with the government and the people of Hungary," the Daily Mail reported Earnest said.

Earnest also referred to Bell as "somebody, again, that is, has had her own distinguished private sector career," and "somebody who obviously has succeeded in the business world" the Daily Mail noted.

McCain's opposition stemmed from Bell's confirmation hearing earlier this year, when he pressed her on how she would handle ambassadorial duties differently than her predecessor.

Bell repeatedly fumbled her answer, leading McClain to comment, "Obviously, you don't want to answer my question," ABC News noted. She also was unable to name any strategic interest the U.S. has in Hungary.

Bell's appointment was confirmed by a vote of 52-42.

The Senate also confirmed the appointment of Democratic fundraiser Noah Mamet as ambassador to Argentina by a vote of 50-43, despite Mamet's stumbling admission during his confirmation hearings that he has never set foot in Argentina.

Mamet, the Daily Mail noted, raised more than $500,000 for Obama's re-election campaign.

The Daily Mail noted that Bell's confirmation came "without a single Republican vote in the last window of opportunity for Democrats to approve such 'patronage' appointments before the GOP takes over the Senate in January."

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Without a single Republican vote, the Senate has confirmed the "totally unqualified" appointment of Colleen Bell, a big-money bundler for President Obama's re-election and Hollywood soap opera producer, to be next ambassador to Hungary.
colleen bell, hungary, ambassador, fundraiser, bundler
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2014-55-03
Wednesday, 03 December 2014 10:55 AM
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