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Samantha Power steps down as negative campaigning steps up

Posted by: Helen Walters on March 8, 2008

I already mentioned that Samantha Power was one of the few people at the TED conference to make a political statement of any kind, in support of the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama. It didn’t go down particularly well with the TED crowd, and now some subsequent words have got her into trouble. After The Scotsman newspaper quoted her calling Hillary Clinton “a monster”, she has resigned as an advisor to Barack Obama.

She clearly made a terrible error of judgement and frankly it’s a shame. Her perspective and experience are so important and it seems so strange for her to resort to name-calling. She clearly has opinions, but she’s a seasoned professional, familiar with the media and the ways of “off the record”, so I’m somewhat confused by the gaffe.

In her talk, she talked about the flourishing anti-genocide movement, and was fascinating in putting it into perspective as an “endangered people’s movement” that had been missing from humanity at the end of the 20th century. She flagged the “genocide rating” system, prompted by the many student-driven organizations that have focused on the issue, as a fresh way of driving governmental innovation.

“The lesson of the anti-genocide movement is that if we want to see change, we have to become the change,” she said, echoing the mantra of her then-employer as she concluded her talk. “We can’t rely on institutions, [or simply] talking to adversaries. We have to bring a combination of humility and an emboldened sense of responsibility.”

Seems like in this instance, her boldness got the better of her. Shame.

Reader Comments

Mike Reardon

March 8, 2008 2:18 AM

Remember Fed Chief Bernanke started his tour with a casual conversation with Maria Bartiromo, and found himself on the wrong side of an ‘off the record’ quote that caused the market to give up a few hundred points.

I think shame is the wrong view of her interview/conversation. In this case what I've read she was throwing ‘off the record’ into the conversation after some of her better stuff and the British press did not honor what it wanted to use. Sorry but.. It is a lesson.

Totally in her defense, if you and your team had been wrestling with a 1800 lbs. political alligator that was your mortal enemy and had already turned and bit off a few parts with just ‘my bad’ as a disclaimer, and cut loose some of there offending staff as payment. Well you should have a hard view of there hypocrisy. Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin used to say ‘She is a beauty isn’t she!’

And Obama defending Samantha Power as being that valuable to the cause he want to put forward would be a better test of leadership than being too political correct in her case. Obama could reconsider the mistake he made in not seeing this, and give her more power by supporting her as an effective voice he will use in the world if gets into power.

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