Obama calls on Senate to confirm replacement for Rice at UN quickly

President Obama on Wednesday called on the Senate to confirm Samantha PowerSamantha Jane Power8 signs pointing to a counterintelligence operation deployed against Trump's campaign 115 former US ambassadors write Senate opposing Gina Haspel Trump expected to remove US from Iran nuke deal MORE, his pick to replace Susan Rice as ambassador to the United Nations, “without delay.” 

The remarks are an exhortation to Senate Republicans not to block Power as payback for elevating Rice to the position of national security adviser. Rice had long dreamed of being secretary of State but withdrew from consideration after Republicans blocked her because of her role in delivering inaccurate talking points on the attack in Benghazi, Libya, last year.

“To ensure that we have the principled leadership we need at the United Nations, I would strongly urge the Senate to confirm her without delay," Obama said.

Obama offered effusive praise for Power during a press conference announcing the reshuffling of his national security team. He called her “one of our country's leading journalists” and “leading thinkers on foreign policy,” and joked that she had won the Pulitzer Prize at the age of 15 or 16. (She won at the age of 33, for a book on the U.S. response to genocide.)

Obama described Power, who headed the National Security Council's Office of Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights until March, as the “lead White House staffer on issues related to the United Nations” and a leader in waiting to take over from Rice. Power, a strong advocate for U.S. intervention in Libya two years ago, was a campaign staffer for Obama's 2008 presidential run but stepped down after calling Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHouse Judiciary Committee subpoenas FBI agent who sent anti-Trump texts Clapper: Trump was serious when he said he wants citizens to act like North Koreans do for Kim Hillary Clinton: Fundamental rights are 'under assault like never before' MORE a "monster."

“To those who care deeply about America's engagement and indispensable leadership in the world, you will find no stronger advocate for that cause than Samantha," Obama said.

Please send tips and comments to Julian Pecquet: jpecquet@thehill.com

Follow us on Twitter: @TheHillGlobal and @JPecquetTheHill