US PRESIDENTIAL contender Barack Obama needs Senator Hillary Clinton in some capacity, his former Irish-born foreign policy adviser said yesterday.
“The image of Senator Clinton, President Clinton and Barack Obama on stage together is going to go an enormous way to thrilling the Democratic base and hopefully healing some of the wounds left after a long and difficult race,” Professor Samantha Power said.
The Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, writer, and academic was speaking in Cork before being conferred with an honorary degree from University College Cork.
Ms Power, whose mother is from Cork, and who left Ireland aged nine, worked as an unpaid foreign policy adviser to Obama for 14 months, before she was forced to resign in March after calling Senator Clinton “a monster”.
But Ms Power heaped praise on Clinton, yesterday, ahead of an expected announcement today that she is withdrawing from the Democratic nomination process: “If anybody was confused about how extraordinary Senator Clinton was before the race started, I think what she displayed throughout this process has been unbelievably impressive in terms of her resilience and policy agenda,” Ms Power said.
“Obama has said she’d be on anybody’s shortlist. But it’s time to step back and see what the best ticket is and how they can work productively.
“This is a decision that’s made on the basis of so many factors — it’s not one you make three days after securing the nomination.”
Ms Power said she would be willing to work again for Obama in the run-up to November’s presidential election.
“I was just a volunteer before my mistake in March. If he wanted me to volunteer in some capacity and I could be useful that would be terrific,” she said.
“Bringing Clinton and Obama supporters together is the priority. It will take time and healing.”
When asked if her possible return could be divisive, she said: “I have tried to make it clear as best I can and as consistently as I can how highly I think of Senator Clinton and always had prior to losing my temper.
“I hope that long record of supporting her and so many of her policy plans speaks for itself.
“I’ll convince my taxi drivers about his merits and try to get them registered to vote, if that’s what’s required, if I’m not a formal part of his campaign, that’s how strongly I feel about this person.”
Ms Power was one of five leading figures in the world of education, philanthropy, health and human rights to receive honorary degrees at UCC yesterday.
Youghal-born educator Dr Patrick Fottrell, the chairman of Science Foundation Ireland, was presented with a Degree of Doctor of Science, consultant geriatrician Dr Michael Hyland, the chairman of the Clinical Research Ethics Committee of the Cork Teaching Hospitals and a leading authority on geriatric medicine, was conferred with Degree of Doctor of Medicine, philanthropist Niall Mellon and Argentina-based human rights activist Pat Rice, from Fermoy, were conferred with Degrees of Doctor of Laws.
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