I very much look forward to working with Susan Rice, whose counsel, judgment, and expertise I’ve come to know over many years since we first worked together in 2004. Susan is brilliant, and I particularly appreciate her activist spirit. She’s an indefatigable advocate, a first-rate diplomat, and she has an incredibly sharp mind. When I was a Senator, we collaborated seamlessly to help promote peace in an independent South Sudan, and I particularly admired her dogged determination to take on that enormous humanitarian challenge. We’ve worked very closely since I’ve been here at the State Department, whether it was working long distance by phone on Syria, as I’ve traveled, or in our regular meetings here at Foggy Bottom, where we’ve collaborated on everything from Middle East peace to the Congo. Teresa and I have particularly enjoyed getting to know Susan and Ian as friends in Washington.
Samantha Power is also a kindred spirit and a fierce advocate. I’ve known her well from Massachusetts and last year we worked especially closely in an important effort to advance the cause of the CRPD to help lift other countries to American standards in protecting and promoting the rights of the disabled. I saw firsthand then that, much like Susan, and like the best of Red Sox fans, Samantha doesn’t have even an ounce of quit in her, and I love that about her. She’s as smart as she is skilled, and she will head to the United Nations to ably advance America’s interests on national security challenges best addressed by unified multilateral action.
Tom Donilon has been and remains a very close friend and partner for many years throughout his long and remarkable career in public service. He’s as smart and hard-working a person as I’ve ever met, and I will always be grateful not just for his friendship and candor, but for his counsel. We’ve traveled many roads together over many years, and he’s helped me personally navigate vexing diplomatic challenges, both as a Senator and as Secretary. It is impossible to overstate Tom’s contributions to the Administration’s accomplishments these last years, from Iraq to Afghanistan, and particularly in Asia where his strategic focus was absolutely essential. Tom has character and a terrific moral compass, and he and Cathy remain good friends and partners on so many issues we care about deeply.