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Franken opposes Obama's Norwegian ambassador pick


Sen. Al Franken has joined Sen. Amy Klobuchar in opposing President Barack Obama's pick to serve as ambassador to Norway.

Franken says he agrees with Minnesota's Norwegian-American community – the largest in the nation – on their doubts over whether New York businessman George Tsunis would be an effective ambassador, according to a news release.

Franken sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday telling him that he won't vote in favor of Tsunis "because of broad and deep concern about the administration's nominee" within the state's Norwegian-American community, News in English Norway says.

Tsunis faced a lot of criticism for his lack of knowledge about Norway's government during a hearing in front of the Senate Foreign Relations committee earlier this year.

“What I have heard from Minnesotans is that Mr. Tsunis’ performance at his confirmation hearing and the controversy that followed it will make it impossible for him to serve effectively as our ambassador to Norway,” Franken wrote in a letter to Kerry. “Many Minnesotans have expressed concern that Mr. Tsunis’ remarks during the hearing have deeply damaged his credibility with the government of Norway, the people of Norway, and the American people.”

The Norwegian-American community in Minnesota has been very outspoken against Tsunis. T. Michael Davis, a longtime member of Minnesota's Norwegian-American Chamber of Commerce, expressed his concerns about Tsunis in an editorial in the Star Tribune in February.

Franken said he'd vote against confirming Tsunis if it came to a vote in the Senate. Klobuchar told the Obama Administration earlier this year that she opposed the nomination, the Associated Press reports.

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