President Obama's Campaign Donors Turned Ambassador Nominees Stumble in the Spotlight

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki dodged question from ABC News' Jon Karl about the qualifications of some Obama nominees.
3:00 | 02/07/14

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Transcript for President Obama's Campaign Donors Turned Ambassador Nominees Stumble in the Spotlight
And our Alitalia this -- -- straight to be back OK all right. A few questions on the president's. Nominees to be ambassadors around the world what what -- not -- The central qualifications. To be named US -- Well unfortunately. The United States has diplomatic relationships with. Many many countries around the world as you know. And we had ambassadors who are from political backgrounds who -- from financial backgrounds that front companies large and small. But are process has continued to be -- are. Approaches continued to be approximately a 7030 balance of career employees so people have been working through the foreign service and and serving around the world building that level experience and then about 30%. From outside. The private sector over the course of history. There have been many many ambassadors who have come from outside of the of the career path. Who have been very successful. And night just a point 222 to a few Sargent Shriver. Former vice president Mondale. Parent Pamela Harriman there are many who have been very successful. Serving in these roles and in and countries around the world and and and that's a part of the reason why this this will continue. So as you know there's been some criticism that of the specific qualifications and with the recent nominees I mean George serious. Didn't seem to even know what. Type of government Norway has called one of the members of the ruling coalition fringe element so I'm wondering. It doesn't -- ambassador have to have at least some basic knowledge of the country that he is going to. Well I think and -- go to countries obviously that's the goal Libyan ambassadors go to countries to represent the United States to be a resource to. People on the grounds. We've seen those reports we've all read them but I would I encourage people to give. Those who have. Had tougher hearings a chance to go to their countries and and -- what they're tenure will will. Will and tail and that judgment can be made about how effective -- be or how how appreciated they'll be by the government until we. We have that happen. -- right right now we you have did the percentage is 37% which is. Considerably more political appointees to George Bush had considerably more than Bill Clinton had -- -- -- going through a list. Most of these -- hundreds of thousands of dollars were raised hundreds of thousands dollars for the Obama campaign. How much does it cost to become an ambassador to be named ambassador in the Obama administration. Jonathan Karl always TV question. We we don't determine series -- I have not I'm not it is a serious question. We don't name ambassadors from the State Department the White House names ambassador so I would certainly played too. My old colleagues across the street for that. What I was conveying is that from the State Department point of view there have been many many political ambassadors. People who had. Come from a range of of histories and backgrounds have been very successful and worked -- very effective. And Israelis but president -- -- just -- mourns the President Obama when we need. Came in office he said that were ever possible. He went James civil servants. Can from the civil service so is it really impossible to find. A civil servant who could serve as ambassadors -- Argentina. Well again -- -- there are civil servants who are effectively and proudly serving around the world as ambassadors. More than 60% are -- obviously every ambassadorship hasn't been named yet. And IA and know that the secretary and the president and others we'll continue to strive for that type TS vintage. Did you know if we learned that. No amendment the and nominee to be -- -- Argentina has never even set foot in the country of Argentina -- -- -- he speaks Spanish. -- -- had his personal biography in front of me but what I will convey is that. You know I think as I said before judging somebody's effectiveness or what role they'll play -- how how strong of an ambassador -- -- can do until they've spent some time. Working in the job in the country. -- -- it is just her very last question -- executives explain it may wind. Despite president Obama's promise that he would wherever possible -- civil servants why is it that President Obama is naming more. Political. Appointees than his predecessor. I would point you to my good buddy Jay -- for that question but let me just be clear and just reiterate that. There are ambassadors to come from all different backgrounds whether that is and political is not even the right definition because these are. Business leaders these are people who worked in the private sector an incredibly impressive roles who are going to -- -- service public servants overseas.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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