Senate OKs 2 political ambassadors in tight votes

AP News
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Posted: Dec 02, 2014 1:13 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Democratic-controlled Senate has confirmed as ambassadors two top political fundraisers despite criticism from Republicans and career U.S. diplomats about their limited foreign policy experience.

The vote for the new ambassador to Hungary, Colleen Bell, was 52-42 along party lines. Independent Sen. Angus King, who caucuses with Democrats, voted no.

Bell has been a producer of the soap opera "The Bold And The Beautiful."

Noah Mamet, a longtime Democratic fundraiser, was confirmed 50-43 as ambassador to Argentina. Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico joined Republicans in opposition.

Mamet was criticized during his confirmation hearing for admitting he never visited the country.

Bell struggled to define U.S. strategic interests in Hungary.

In March, the union of U.S. diplomats demanded to see their qualifications for ambassadorships.