01:17 - Source: HLN
W.H. backs soap opera producer pick

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A soap opera producer was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Hungary by President Barack Obama

A White House spokesman says Colleen Bell's campaign fundraising role was not the reason she was chosen

Washington CNN —  

It’s not every day that White House has to defend its decision to nominate a soap opera producer to represent the country on one of the highest diplomatic levels.

But it was that kind of Tuesday.

Asked at the daily press briefing what makes “The Bold and The Beautiful” producer Colleen Bell qualified to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Hungary, White House spokesman Josh Earnest didn’t exactly have an explanation.

“(She’s) somebody who obviously has succeeded in, you know, in the business world,” Earnest said.

“And she is somebody that the President has confidence will be able to maintain our relationship with the government and the people of Hungary.”

Earnest also denied that Bell’s hand in raising millions of dollars for the President’s re-election campaign had anything to do with her appointment.

“Well, I can tell you that that’s not the reason she was chosen,” he said.

Earnest said the reason Bell was nominated for the post was because the President “has complete confidence in her ability to represent the United States in that country.”

But not everyone will be satisfied with that answer.

Just hours before, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, blasted Bell’s nomination on the Senate floor.

“We’re about to vote on a totally unqualified individual to be ambassador to a nation which is very important to our national security interests,” he said.

“I am not against political appointees … but here we are, a nation that’s on the verge of seceded its sovereignty to a neo-fascist dictator getting in bed with Vladimir Putin and we’re gonna send the producer of ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’ as our ambassador,” McCain said.

Bell was confirmed to the position Tuesday by a Democrat-led Senate. The chamber also confirmed Noah Mamet, another Democratic fundraiser, as the ambassador to Argentina.

This is not the first diplomatic position the President has selected Bell for. In 2010, Obama appointed Bell to the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts at the Kennedy Center. ​