Samantha Power, Sometimes Blunt, May Face Confirmation Battle for U.N. Job

Bounced From '08 Campaign for Calling Hillary Clinton 'Monster'

getty images

By Reuters

Published June 05, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

President Barack Obama has selected as his nominee for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and academic who in 2008 called Hillary Clinton - at the time a political rival of Obama - “a monster.”

The White House is due to name Samantha Power to replace current ambassador Susan Rice, who Obama plans to nominate on Wednesday as his national security adviser.

Power, a former White House aide and Harvard professor, is a strong advocate for human rights at a time when the Obama administration is grappling with its response to the civil war in Syria as well as human rights issues in countries such as China and Sudan.

Power caused a stir during the tense contest between Obama and Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination in the 2008 election. She was serving as an adviser to Obama at the time.

“She is a monster, too - that is off the record - she is stooping to anything,” Power was quoted as telling The Scotsman, a British newspaper, referring to Clinton.

“But if you are poor and she is telling you some story about how Obama is going to take your job away, maybe it will be more effective. The amount of deceit she has put forward is really unattractive,” Power was quoted as saying.

The remarks prompted her resignation from Obama’s campaign team. Obama edged Clinton for the Democratic nomination, won election that November and named Clinton as his top diplomat, a post she held until earlier this year.

The “monster” comment illustrates the close scrutiny that Power’s discretion and diplomatic skill will face as the U.S. envoy to the world’s leading diplomatic body. It also underscores the power of words for an accomplished former writer who has made other offhand comments likely to draw a second look from critics.

Republicans in the Senate, which must approve her nomination, are likely to give her a rough confirmation hearing.

If confirmed, Power’s return to government service would be a comeback after having left the White House earlier this year as senior director for multilateral affairs and human rights on the national security staff.

While that job was relatively low profile, Power was widely reported to have argued for the U.S. decision to intervene militarily in 2011 to support the rebels who eventually toppled long-time Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

No stranger to the power of words, her earlier work as a journalist sent her covering the Balkan wars of the 1990s and conflicts in other countries such as Rwanda, according to her biography on the White House website.

She later won the Pulitzer Prize for her book “A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide,” a study of U.S. policy responses to genocide during the 20th century.

Power is married to legal scholar Cass Sunstein, who until last year headed the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. He was a friend of Obama dating back to their days on the University of Chicago Law School faculty.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "Selma. Nearly 50 years ago it was violent Selma, impossibly racist Selma, site of Bloody Sunday, when peaceful civil rights marchers made their first attempt to cross the Pettus Street Bridge on the way to the state capitol in Montgomery, Alabama." http://jd.fo/r50mf With the 50th anniversary approaching next spring, a new coalition is bringing together blacks, Jews and others for progressive change.
  • Kosovo's centuries-old Jewish community is down to a few dozen. In a nation where the population is 90% Muslim, they are proud their past — and wonder why Israel won't recognize their state. http://jd.fo/h4wK0
  • Israelis are taking up the #IceBucketChallenge — with hummus.
  • In WWI, Jews fought for Britain. So why were they treated as outsiders?
  • According to a new poll, 75% of Israeli Jews oppose intermarriage.
  • Will Lubavitcher Rabbi Moshe Wiener be the next Met Council CEO?
  • Angelina Jolie changed everything — but not just for the better:
  • Prime Suspect? Prime Minister.
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.