What a difference three years make

In March 2008, as Hillary and Barack battled it out in the presidential primaries, Samantha Power, a top foreign-policy adviser to then-Sen. Obama (D-Ill.), gave an interview to The Scotsman in which she called then-Sen. Clinton (D-N.Y.) “a monster” who “is stooping to anything” to beat Obama and capture the Democratic nomination.

The knives were out, and Power, a Harvard professor and author of the book A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide (2002), resigned the same day. Once elected, President Obama quickly hired her back and she is now a senior aide at the National Security Council.

Over the last few days, as Hillary Clinton rejected the warnings of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon that the U.S. should stay out of the mess in Libya, and pushed for the U.S. to participate in the French, British and Arab-led no-fly zone/military strikes to stop Moammar Gadhafi, one of the voices influencing Clinton was that of Samantha Power.

Power and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice argued that if the U.S. didn’t act in Libya it could have the blood of a Rwandan genocide on its hands — as Hillary’s husband Bill knew full well, having gone to the country post-presidency to apologize and having said that not dispatching U.S. troops there was the most painful mistake of his presidency.

Clinton and Power had reconciled earlier — Clinton accepted Power’s apology a couple of years ago — but still, Hillary gets credit for showing maturity, character, the right stuff.