Samantha Power approved by Senate as ambassador to United Nations

August 1, 2013

The Senate approved President Obama’s pick for ambas­sador to the United Nations, ­Samantha Power, by a vote of 87 to 10 Thursday afternoon.

Power is a former foreign correspondent and foreign policy columnist who has written at length about human rights issues, genocide and war. She is the author of four books, one of which was awarded a Pulitzer Prize, and has worked as the founding executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University. She was an early supporter of Obama and has been a White House adviser.

During a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on her nomination last month, Power said her priorities would include shielding Israel from unfair political attacks, fighting U.N. corruption and waste, promoting human rights causes, and standing up to repressive regimes.

Power has sharply criticized the world’s reaction to the mass killings in Syria. During the hearing, Power said the failure of major nations to intervene is a “disgrace that history will judge harshly.” But she also said she recognized that it would be difficult to convince China and Russia that decisive action in Syria is needed.

Like many nominees, Power faced challenging questions from Republican senators who largely focused on comments she made in 2002 about the roles of the United States and Israel in the world, and the influence of the pro-Israel lobby. Power has disassociated herself from those comments, saying it was an incoherent response to a hypothetical question that she should not have answered.

Senators from both parties largely supported Power. The 10 votes against her were all cast by Republicans.

Late Thursday, the Senate also approved a number of the president’s nominees by voice vote, including Gen. Martin Dempsey for another two-year term as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Adm. James Winnefeld as the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs; Jason Furman as chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers; and ambassadors to several countries, including Australia, Spain and Germany.

Jenna Johnson is a political reporter who is covering the 2016 presidential campaign.
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