Huffpost Politics

Samantha Power Returns: Professor Who Slammed Clinton Will Be Obama Aide

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WASHINGTON — Samantha Power, the Harvard University professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning author who earned notoriety for calling Hillary Rodham Clinton a "monster" while working to elect Barack Obama president, will take a senior foreign policy job at the White House, The Associated Press has learned.

Officials familiar with the decision say Obama has tapped Power to be senior director for multilateral affairs at the National Security Council, a job that will require close contact and potential travel with Clinton, who is now secretary of state. NSC staffers often accompany the secretary of state on foreign trips.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because Power's position, as well as that of other senior NSC positions, have not yet been announced. One official said the announcements would be made in the near future.

White House officials would not provide details of Power's new role.

Power was an early and ardent Obama supporter until the "monster" comment forced her off his campaign, but she was rehabilitated after the election when she made a gesture to apologize to Clinton and was included in the transition teams for both the State Department and the U.S. mission to the United Nations.

At the time, an official close to the transition said Power's "gesture to bury the hatchet" with Clinton had been well-received. Power and Clinton have met at least once since Clinton's confirmation last week when they both appeared at a State Department ceremony at which Obama announced the appointment of special envoys to South Asia and the Middle East.

Reporters at the event saw Power and Clinton chat briefly at the end, although the conversation was inaudible.

Power, a noted human rights expert who won the Pulitzer for her 2008 book "Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World" about the late U.N. diplomat, made headlines last March during the height of the fierce fight for the Democratic presidential nomination when she called Clinton "a monster" in an interview with a Scottish newspaper. Her remarks set off angry exchanges about the tenor of Obama's campaign.

Power told the Scotsman newspaper that Clinton would stop at nothing to defeat Obama. "She is a monster, too," Power said in the interview. "She is stooping to anything." Power added that "the amount of deceit she has put forward is really unattractive."

A few hours after her comments were published, Power announced her resignation, saying the remarks were inexcusable and contradictory to her admiration for Clinton.

She said Obama had rebuked her for the comment and "made it absolutely clear that we just couldn't make comments like this in his campaign."

Clinton's campaign seized on the remark, sending an e-mail to supporters telling them about the "monster" comment and asking for contributions to "show the Obama campaign that there is a price to this kind of attack politics."