Obama Appoints Ebola Czar. Is Ron Klain Right for Job?

By Grier, Peter | The Christian Science Monitor, October 17, 2014 | Go to article overview

Obama Appoints Ebola Czar. Is Ron Klain Right for Job?


Grier, Peter, The Christian Science Monitor


President Obama on Friday named veteran political operative and bureaucratic manager Ron Klain to coordinate the federal response to the threat of Ebola in the United States.

Mr. Klain served as chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden from 2009 to 2011. From 1995 to 1999, he held the same job for then- Vice President Al Gore. In 2000, he was lead Democratic counsel for the recount in Florida, which ultimately led to the election of President George W. Bush.

He got his start in politics as a Capitol Hill staff aide and counsel. He served as a campaign official during Bill Clinton's run for the presidency in 1992.

Currently, Klain is a top executive and general counsel for firms founded by Steve Case, the former chief executive of AOL.

In his new role as the nation's Ebola czar, Klain will report directly to Homeland Security Adviser Lisa Monaco and National Security Adviser Susan Rice. According to a statement from a White House official, issued on background, Klain's mission will to be ensure that US efforts to detect, isolate, and treat Ebola patients at home are properly integrated, but don't detract from the continued fight to stop Ebola at its source in West Africa.

That will be a tall order. But the administration thinks he has a unique set of skills that lend themselves to this emergency job.

"Klain ... comes to the job with strong management credentials, extensive federal government experience overseeing complex operations, and good working relationships with leading members of Congress, as well as senior Obama administration officials, including the President," says the background White House statement. …

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