President Obama Makes a National Security Personnel Announcement, 6/5/13

The President:

“At the same time, Tom [Donilon] has played a critical role as we’ve bolstered the enduring pillars of American power — strengthening our alliances, from Europe to Asia; enhancing our relationship with key powers; and moving ahead with new trade agreements and energy partnerships. And from our tough sanctions on Iran to our unprecedented military and intelligence cooperation with Israel — (baby cries) — it’s true — (laughter) — from New START with Russia to deeper partnerships with emerging powers like India, to stronger ties with the Gulf states, Tom has been instrumental every step of the way.

I’m especially appreciative to Tom for helping us renew American leadership in the Asia Pacific, where so much of our future security and prosperity will be shaped. He has worked tirelessly to forge a constructive relationship with China that advances our interests and our values. And I’m grateful that Tom will be joining me as I meet with President Xi of China this week….

Now, I am proud that this work will be carried on by another exemplary public servant — Ambassador Susan Rice. (Applause.) Susan was a trusted advisor during my first campaign for President. She helped to build my foreign policy team and lead our diplomacy at the United Nations in my first term. I’m absolutely thrilled that she’ll be back at my side, leading my national security team in my second term.

With her background as a scholar, Susan understands that there is no substitute for American leadership. She is at once passionate and pragmatic. I think everybody understands Susan is a fierce champion for justice and human dignity, but she’s also mindful that we have to exercise our power wisely and deliberately….

Now, normally I’d be worried about losing such an extraordinary person up at the United Nations and be trying to figure out how are we ever going to replace her. But fortunately, I’m confident we’ve got an experienced, effective and energetic U.N. ambassador-in-waiting in Samantha Power.

Samantha first came to work for me in 2005, shortly after I became a United States senator, as one of our country’s leading journalists; I think she won the Pulitzer Prize at the age of 15 or 16. One of our foremost thinkers on foreign policy, she showed us that the international community has a moral responsibility and a profound interest in resolving conflicts and defending human dignity….”

Mr. Donilon:

“Mr. President, to serve in this capacity where we’ve had the opportunity to protect and defend the United States, to improve the position of the United States in the world, has been the privilege of a lifetime. To serve during your presidency, however, is to serve during one of the defining moments in our nation’s history. This is because of your vision, your principled leadership, your commitment to defending our interests and upholding our ideals.”….

Ambassador Rice:

“Mr. President, thank you so much. I’m deeply honored and humbled to serve our country as your National Security Advisor. I’m proud to have worked so closely with you for more than six years. And I’m deeply grateful for your enduring confidence in me.

As you’ve outlined, we have vital opportunities to seize and ongoing challenges to confront. We have much still to accomplish on behalf of the American people. And I look forward to continuing to serve on your national security team to keep our nation strong and safe.

I want to thank my remarkable colleagues at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. I am so proud of the work we’ve done together under your leadership, Mr. President, to advance America’s interests at the United Nations.”….

Ms. Power:

“I moved to the United States from Ireland when I — with my parents, who are here — when I was 9 years old. I remember very little about landing in Pittsburgh, except that I was sure I was at the largest airport in the history of the world. I do remember what I was wearing — a red, white and blue stars and stripes t-shirt. It was the t-shirt I always wore in Ireland on special occasions.

Even as a little girl with a thick Dublin accent who had never been to America, I knew that the American flag was the symbol of fortune and of freedom. But I quickly came to learn that to find opportunity in this country, one didn’t actually need to wear the flag, one just needed to try to live up to it.”

Full text: http://1.usa.gov/11ZS9FY

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