Samantha Power's Nomination Stirs Up Past Controversial Comments

Image: Samantha Power's Nomination Stirs Up Past Controversial Comments U.S. President Barack Obama listens as Samantha Power, his nominee to be the next UN Ambassador, speaks in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, June 5, 2013, where Obama made the announcement.

Thursday, 06 Jun 2013 09:26 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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Samantha Power, President Barack Obama's pick to replace Susan Rice as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has made of career out of being outspoken, particularly in the realm of foreign policy.

Power, 42, is a human rights expert and longtime Obama aide who got her start as a journalist covering the Balkan wars in the 1990s. She later earned a law degree from Harvard, was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for her book on the U.S. foreign policy response to genocide, and worked on Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.

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If confirmed, Power will take over as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations while Rice will move over to serve as Obama's national security adviser.

Now that she's back in the public spotlight, Power must confront her past head-on, as bloggers and political pundits stir up some of her most controversial comments.


Power is often criticized for being anti-Israel, a reputation she got in 2002 after suggesting the United States step in to ease the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Power, then serving as the executive director of Harvard University's Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, spoke at Berkeley and seemed to suggest that she thought sending U.S. troops to impose a "meaningful military presence" in Israel was a good idea.

In the past, Power has also recommended cutting financial ties to the Israeli military and investing billions in a new Palestinian state, further fueling the speculation that she is quietly hostile to Israel.

In 2008, Power backpedaled from her previous comments on Israel.

"This makes no sense to me," she said. "Even I don’t understand it… The quote seems so weird."

But the damage was done, and those opposed to Power's policies are still holding on to her supposed anti-Israel stance.

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Power was forced to resign from Obama's 2008 campaign after calling the president's opponent, Hillary Rodham Clinton, a "monster."

"We f—ed up in Ohio. In Ohio, they are obsessed and Hillary is going to town on it, because she knows Ohio's the only place they can win," Power said in an interview with The Scotsman. "She is a monster, too — that is off the record — she is stooping to anything."

Power later apologized for the verbal attack but soon earned a reputation for being outspoken, something Americans have not forgotten.

John Kerry

Power further proved her place as a polarizing figure in politics in 2008 when she unleashed on now-Secretary of State John Kerry and downplayed his past military service.

Speaking about Kerry's failed 2004 campaign for president in an interview with the New Statesman, Power said it was a mistake to assume Kerry's military record gave him any credibility.

"The lesson we got was that the only thing worse than John Kerry being Swiftboated was his being slow to respond," Power said. "God love him, he must have thought that having got shrapnel in his a— out there bought him some credibility. It didn't."

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Related stories:

Dershowitz: Samantha Power Will Stand Up for Human Rights

Gen. Vallely: Inexperience of Susan Rice, Samantha Power 'Unbelievable' 

Obama's UN Nominee Has Controversial Past 

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