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February 24th, 2014
01:50 PM ET

Web exclusive: McFaul: Ambassadors must 'earn the respect' of host countries

(CNN) – While President Barack Obama's outgoing ambassador to Russia won't weigh in on the administration's recent choices for top diplomatic postings, Michael McFaul says it's every ambassadors job to "earn the respect" of the nations in which they serve.

"One does need to earn the respect of your interlocutors here," McFaul told CNN's Jake Tapper in an exclusive interview on Monday.

President Obama has come under fire for passing over career diplomats to nominate prominent campaign bundlers for important - and often cushy - overseas jobs. The President's pick for the next U.S. Amb. to Argentina, Noah Bryson Mamet, admitted to a Senate panel that he had never been to the country. This came after Obama's nominee to lead the U.S. embassy in Oslo, George Tsunis, testified he did not know Norway was a constitutional monarchy and denounced one of the ruling coalition's political parties as a "fringe-element."

While McFaul, a well-regarded political pick that came from the world of academia, told Tapper he was unfamiliar with those cases, he said that each diplomat must be judged by how well he upholds American values abroad.

"You need to be true to executing the policy of our government and our people, because sometimes I do things here not just on behalf of the executive branch, but on behalf of all Americans," McFaul said. "And that's the most important thing to remember."

Watch CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper" Monday at 4 p.m. ET to see the rest of our interview with Amb. McFaul.

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