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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

Dutch frustration with Russia grows increasingly personal. Plus the latest on the Mideast conflict.

Dutch frustration with Russia grows increasingly personal. Plus the latest on the Mideast conflict.

February 7th, 2014
06:00 PM ET

Obama bundler nominated to be Ambassador to Argentina, has never been to the country

(CNN) – This week the President's nominee to be Ambassador to Argentina, Noah Bryson Mamet – who just happens to have raised a half a million dollars for President Barack Obama and the Democrats – testified before Congress.

And he got tripped up on what should have been an easy question: Have you ever been to Argentina?

"I haven't had the opportunity yet to be there. I've traveled pretty extensively around the world, but I haven't yet had a chance," Mamet told Congress.

Last month the President's pick for Ambassador to Norway, George Tsunis – who with his wife raised more than half a million dollars for the president's re-election bid – referenced Norway's president, even though the country has a prime minister, not a president, and said the government had denounced a fringe party, though that fringe party is actually part of the coalition government.

The State Department responded today, saying you can't judge someone until they've lived in the country and done the job.

But in January 2009, when President Obama introduced his national security team, he said he would promote more career State Department diplomats to high-level posts.

"I want to recruit young people into the State Department to feel that this is a career track that they can be on for the long term. And so, you know, my expectation is that high quality civil servants are going to be rewarded," Obama said then.

But Obama has passed over qualified career professionals in favor of political friends and fundraisers more than any president in the modern era, according to the American Foreign Service Association.

"You know, are there going to be political appointees to ambassadorships? There probably will be some," Obama said in 2009.

Some? Actually, the majority of Obama's second-term ambassadorial nominations have been political.

The Center for Public Integrity says Obama has nominated 23 major fundraisers who have collectively raised at least $16.1 million for Obama since 2007.

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