TODAY   |  October 03, 2013

UN ambassador talks balancing diplomacy, diapers

Samantha Power is the new United States ambassador to the United Nations, as well as the youngest one ever. She tells TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie about her daily balancing act negotiating not only with international leaders, but her two kids under the age of 5. She also talks about her regret over calling Hillary Clinton a "monster" during  the 2008 presidential race.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> can prove challenging, imagine if that job challenge was with interfarm leaders and balancing young. samantha power is the recent ambassador to united nations . i recently sat down with her here in new york to talk about fighting for peace around the world and at home. the first test for america's new u.n. ambassador came early.

>> this is the largest chemical weapons attack in 25 years.

>> to close a deal that would take the u.s. from the brink of military action in syria to a landmark plan to rid the country of its chemical weapons .

>> you got the deal on syria . it does not have an automatic enforcement provision. so can you really say it's a resolution that has teeth that will bite?

>> this is the first revolution that has ever required syria to do anything. russia has been taking it by the hand. you know, putting it under its wing and shielding it from any international pressure of any kind. to your point, tow, we wrote into the revolution a series of benchpark what compleens would look like.

>> if syria doesn't comply, do you think the u.s. has the right and obligation to act militarily.

>> first of all, the president, we wouldn't be in this discussion of getting rid of syria 's nuclear weapons without the threat of military force . syria is aware that threat exists.

>> reporter: as for iran's new threat, caution is from the moderate sounding leader.

>> given the rhetoric the president felt it was important to probe and to test and to listen and see is there anything new substantively offered here. i think that's our posture, skepticism. there is a diplomatic window, but it won't remain opened forever.

>> reporter: diplomacy was not samantha power 's first pursuit.

>> i think she won the pulitzer prize at the age of 15 or 16.

>> reporter: the daughter of irish immigrants , she came to this country at 9. a graduate of yale. in her 20s, she went to bosnia a freelance journalist to document atrocity, winning a claim for her sharp pen, her book on genocide won the pulitzer. do you almost feel people are holding up that past life and say samantha power can't compromise.

>> i think they're entitled to do that. what helps is they bring to me constantly things that sometimes in the bubble of government one doesn't necessarily get exposure to. when i was a writer or a columnist or a loud mouth pundit, i was very, at the end of the day , say i have spoken my peace. now, you are getting to have these discussions with the president of the united states the secretary of state.

>> oh, look at that.

>> reporter: but at home, these are the discussions. at 43, she is the mother of two young. decklyn 4 and rian 1 with her husbandr husband a legal scholar. they live in the ambassador residence at the waldorf hotel . the dienging room now doubles as a baseball diamond .

>> to the plate.

>> is it difficult? is it harder than you thought it would be to be a mom, to two little kids and have this huge new job? zblets it .

>> it's you bring your a-ga imto everything at the same, something gives, those who say nothing gives have mastered cloning i think. i can feel, even when we leave in the morning, just a level of clingingness, are you really coming home ? the other day, he said, no more city council resolutions.

>> reporter: that passes for normal in this new life.

>> you want to read about syria ?

>> reporter: just like playing baseball with the president.

>> that's gone.

>> reporter: or commuting to school in an armored car , followed by a 14-hour day with mom. i called some colleagues, here are words they used admireingly relentless.

>> true.

>> path logically honest.

>> pathological in a lot of way, yes.

>> when you have a issue with a dog with a bone.

>> yes, that would, in the sense negotiations play to my strong suit. i never give up.

>> reporter: power was teaching at harvard when a young then senator barak obama read her book and invited her to dinner. you offered to inbrand.

>> i am a fanatic red sox fan. i had gotten a slice for the first time if years of seventeen tickets, which are impossible to get. at this dinner with him three hours in, i heard myself saying, why don't i move to washington and basically do whatever you'll have me do in your office. it was only when i left the dinner an hour or two later that i realize i was in effect giving up my season tickets claim for this man.

>> to say nothing of, weren't a harvard professor at that point?

>> red sox tickets, come on, savannah.

>> reporter: a die hard baseball fan, nothing could prepare power for the rough sports of politics. in the 2008 presidential race, she was banished from obama's campaign after she was quoted calling hillary clinton a monster.

>> it was beyond searing, you lose your them per, are you in a campaign, things go back an forth. it completely broke my heart there is a fair amount of negativity heaped upon her that i find massively unfair and the idea that i could have contributed in some way to that narrative, it was terrible. so, yeah, i regretted it pretty much every day since. we work together effectively over issues the last four years.

>> i know you apologized to her. i heard there were tears.

>> ah, certainly, it was very emotional for me and i was so grateful to be able to say that in person with something that i'm immensely grateful to her to give me that opportunity.

>> here you are, u.n. ambassador, a job i imagine you scarcely could dream of when you came to this country as a little girl . is there some greater ambition or have you arrived in.

>> oh, no, this is it, come on, i get to sit every day behind that placard that says usa, i couldn't have dreamed of anything like this. the world comes to you. nothing else, retirement after this. seriously.

>> very cool.

>> fascinating.

>> she is fascinating.

>> the youngest kids ever to live in the ambassador's residence at the waldorf hotel . nice hat. they came to this country wearing a stars and stripes tee-shirt. now she's ambassador.