Former Senator Carol Moseley-Braun won overwhelming confirmation as the new U.S. ambassador to New Zealand Wednesday in what President Clinton called “a strong endorsement of her outstanding experience and credentials for this position.” Moseley-Braun will also serve as ambassador to the South Pacific state of Samoa.
The bipartisan Senate vote of 96 – 2 marked another decided victory for Moseley-Braun over her old rival Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) who had opposed her nomination based on questions of ethical misconduct. The two negative votes were cast by Helms and Senator Peter Fitzgerald (R-IL), who replaced Moseley-Braun in 1998.
Supporters of Moseley-Braun accused Helms of attempting to block the nomination because of a grudge held over from their 1993 battle over the use of the Confederate Flag, a confrontation in which Moseley-Braun prevailed. Mosely-Braun responded to the vote with anticipation stating that “Everything I have heard about these countries confirms that they are beautiful places with lovely people. I look very much forward to getting to know them, getting to know their countries, and doing my best to represent America.”