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Turning up the Power. Samantha Power, that is.

Damon's picture

I swear someone on here called this just a few days ago, but it appears that the infamous Samantha Power has turned back up after a seeming hiatus:

WASHINGTON | Samantha Power is back as an adviser to Barack Obama.

Power, the Harvard professor who was forced to resign from Obama’s presidential campaign last spring after calling Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton “a monster,” is now advising the president-elect on transition matters relating to the State Department — which Clinton is expected to head.

Now, she is known in the media for her calling Hillary Clinton a monster because it's so sensational, but her real claim to fame is for revealing the Obama campaign as more political than it portrayed itself to be.

And, though he's denied it, she's much like Austan Goolsbee, who was also too good a truth-teller about the campaign he was/is working for.

Somehow, I think this is going to be more awkward for Ms. Powers than it will be for Senator Clinton...

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Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

That one of Clinton's conditions was total control over hiring at State, so she wouldn't have to work with members of the campaign whose treatment of her was especially egregious. Powers would definitely seem to qualify, but Clinton is, in her own words, impervious, so perhaps this is one of those instances where Powers' abilities and qualifications outweigh any perceived slights.

I mean this is the woman that met with Scaife, and won him over.

Iridescence's picture
Submitted by Iridescence on

Most people in Obama's campaign (including Obama himself) are guilty of making false negative statements about Sen. Clinton and not treating her with proper respect during the campaign. I always thought they kind of used Powers as a scapegoat to try to distance themselves from their negative message. Very Rovian...

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

Because, she was one of the more prominent members of Obama's campaign team out Obama on his Iraq plan. Really, I'm not much interested in what she said about Hillary, besides the fact that she was one of the few that got caught saying it on the record. To me, that was hardly news. Sorry if my quip at the end, though, made people think otherwise. I probably should have been more careful, because there is definitely a "cat-fight" angle in how they bring up Power. But, again, she was very key in revealing Obama's positions for what they really were.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

and the media made a big deal out of the "monster" stuff--a bigger deal than they made Goolsbee's NAFTA comments, for sure.

And Obama himself threw her under the bus and had her resign, which made it a big deal too--something he didn't do w/Goolsbee, i don't think.

Submitted by lambert on

... also backtracked Obama's Iraq policy (can't find the link, sorry). My theory is that she was fired for that. Heck, nobody else got fired for smearing Hillary. Now that Obama has himself backracked Iraq into Afghanistan is the right war, all is forgiven.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

and she only got a week or 2 off tv, then was back--and now has a job.

Obama himself backtracked on it early--remember that debate, where only Hillary swore "no matter what" she'd withdraw, and he didn't?

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

The very link I posted (one of three in my original blog entry) is of her walking back Obama's Iraq policy. Take a closer look. In fact, I went out of my way to bring it to Iraq:

Now, she is known in the media for her calling Hillary Clinton a monster because it's so sensational, but her real claim to fame is for revealing the Obama campaign as more political than it portrayed itself to be.

I feel a bit disappointed that that's being lost among the "monster" comment. I specifically tried to highlight what I think to be her biggest claim to fame: her walking back of the Iraq policy.

Historiann's picture
Submitted by Historiann on

I'm a little wary of the whole "State Department catfight" angle that could result. I'm not blaming you Damon--I don't think that's your goal. But, both women are pros who understand that politics is politics. Former rivals work together all of the time in government and in other lines of work. If Powers has something to offer Clinton, she'll take it, just as Obama has recognized that Clinton has something to offer his administration.

Either they'll work something out, or Clinton will cashier Powers, or Powers will resign to return to academia.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

she may be advising him now and part of the transition, but first--we don't know for sure Hillary is SoS, and second--she'll pick her top staff--especially the close and important people.

he will prob bring her in on his side in the WH (as liaison or somethng, or just "advisor" like Goolsbee--and Summers and Volcker, etc--and prob Brennan too), but she won't be in Hillary's inner circle.

maybe a position like they gave Susan Rice? something international but not really inside State? (and Rice has lots more real experience than Powers, too)

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

powers and monster and clinton -- tons of hits...it was a big deal.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

it directly fed the media's storyline, and gave them an actual quote to endlessly repeat-- and added direct conflict and drama at a time Obama himself wasn't so openly doing so.

whether Obama's camp purposely told her to or not is a good question, i'd say--it brought all the "evil Hillary" stuff to whole much more prominent level and cemented the narratives.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

If I remember correctly, she was doing an interview with a Scottish newspaper or magazine and thought she was off the record. What made this news was that the paper wouldn't let her retract the comment, and they kind of made a big deal about her requesting that the "monster" comment be retracted. So, no, I don't think it was planned, and that really makes it worse if anything.

Submitted by gob on

but tried to pull the remark off the record immediately, according to the WaPo:

As the story recounted:

" 'She is a monster, too -- that is off the record -- she is stooping to anything,' Ms. Power said, hastily trying to withdraw her remark."

Technically, any agreement to put comments off the record -- meaning they can't be reported -- must be worked out in advance between journalist and source. But many reporters say it is common to grant such requests if they are made right after an inflammatory remark.

Reached in Edinburgh, Mike Gilson, the Scotsman's editor, said he did not think the paper had been unfair to Power. "This was clearly an on-the-record interview that was taped," he said.

Gilson said he could not allow a situation "where any subject can edit after the fact. I don't think Ms. Power has made an issue of that herself. We were confident we were making the right decision."

I think her behavior was unprofessional at best. If it's really common to grant requests to take remarks off the record after the fact, I consider that just another symptom of the cozy bed our political reporters are sharing with the people they're supposed to "cover".

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

She slipped up. She caught herself as she was saying it, and they wouldn't let her retract it. Regardless, the point is that there is nothing to even imply it was stagged.

Submitted by gob on

I'm so tired of imputations of deep design to every act or utterance witnessed by the media -- e.g. Hillary's "tears" -- that I didn't even register the suggestion that Power's remark was planned. Our political discourse is crazy enough already without constructing these bizarre images.

My focus was on some people's idea that it was somehow unethical to publish what she said, which was entirely beside your point.

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