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Franken opposes nominee for ambassador to Norway

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WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Al Franken announced Tuesday that he opposes President Barack Obama’s nominee for U.S. ambassador to Norway.

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In a letter Monday to Secretary of State John Kerry, the Minnesota Democrat said he agrees with the Norwegian-American community's doubts about George J. Tsunis’ ability to serve effectively as ambassador.

Minnesota is home to the largest Norwegian-American population in the United States.

“On the basis of my constituents’ concerns about Mr. Tsunis’ ability to serve effectively as our nation’s ambassador, I am writing to inform you that I oppose his nomination and will vote against confirmation should it come up for a vote," Franken wrote. "The United States and Norway share strong political, economic, security, and cultural ties. … The U.S. ambassador to Norway plays a very important role in sustaining and strengthening those ties, and we need someone who will be effective in that role."

Franken cited concerns that have been raised over Tsunis’ performance at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this year, which included calling a party in Norway’s governing coalition a fringe group.

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