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Friday, October 17, 2014

OBAMA APPOINTS BIDEN'S EX-CHIEF OF STAFF AS "EBOLA CZAR": HEAVY CRITICISM ON CHOICE

NEW EBOLA CZAR APPOINTED AMIDST HEAVY CRITICISM
October 17, 2014

The President has asked Ron Klain to coordinate the Administration’s whole-of-government response to Ebola. As a former chief of staff to two Vice Presidents, Klain has extensive managerial experience and has taken a lead role in coordinating large, complex efforts – including helping to oversee the implementation of the Recovery Act, a major interagency and intergovernmental project.

Republicans are pointing to Democratic operative Ron Klain's background in politics — rather than public health — as evidence that he isn’t up to the job as "Ebola czar."
The criticism comes after the White House announced Friday that Klain, a longtime aide to Democratic campaigns and a former chief of staff for Vice Presidents Joe Biden and Al Gore, would oversee the administration’s response to the virus.
“Installing yet another political appointee who has no medical background or infectious disease control experience will do little to reassure Americans who are increasingly losing confidence with the Administration’s Ebola strategy,” said Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Penn.), who convened Thursday’s congressional panel on the administration’s response to the threat posed by the deadly outbreak.
Critiques began shortly after Klain’s appointment was reported, and initially came from more conservative members of the House.
Some Republican members of Congress like Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) took to social media to sound off on the questionable appointment:

SO WHO IS THE NEW "EBOLA CZAR?"
Ronald A. "Ron" Klain is an American lawyer and political operative served as Chief of Staff to two Vice Presidents  Al Gore (1995–1999) and Joseph Biden (2009–2011).
Earlier in his career, he was a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Byron "Whizzer" White during the Court's 1987 and 1988 Terms and worked on Capitol Hill, where he was Chief Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee during the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination. He was portrayed by Kevin Spacey in the HBO film Recount depicting the tumult of the 2000 presidential election. On October 17, 2014, President Obama named Klain the newly created "Ebola response coordinator" (or, less officially, Ebola "czar").

Klain will report directly to the President’s Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco and his National Security Advisor Susan Rice in his work on our coordinated efforts to detect, isolate, and treat Ebola patients while protecting public safety.

KLAIN'S CAREER IN WASHINGTON (HIGHLIGHTS)

Klain's early experience on Capitol Hill included serving as Legislative Director for U.S. Representative Ed Markey. From 1989 to 1992, he served as Chief Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, overseeing the legal staff's work on matters of constitutional law, criminal law, antitrust law, and Supreme Court nominations. In 1995, Senator Tom Daschleappointed him the Staff Director of the Senate Democratic Leadership Committee.

Clinton Administration

Klain joined the Clinton-Gore campaign in 1992. He ultimately was involved in both of Bill Clinton's campaigns, oversaw Clinton's judicial nominations, and was General Counsel to Al Gore's recount committee in the 2000 election aftermath. Some published reports have given him credit for Clinton's "100,000 cops" proposal during the 1992 campaign; at a minimum, he worked closely with Clinton aide Bruce Reed in formulating it. In the White House, he was Associate Counsel to the President, directing judicial selection efforts, and led the team that won confirmation of Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Klain left the judicial selection role in 1994 to become Chief of Staff and Counselor to Attorney General Janet Reno. In 1995, he became Assistant to the President, and Chief of Staff and Counselor to Al Gore.

Gore Campaign

During Klain's tenure as Gore's Chief of Staff, Gore consolidated his position as the likely Democratic nominee in 2000. Still, Klain was seen as too loyal to Clinton by some longtime Gore advisors. Feuding broke out between Clinton and Gore loyalists in the White House in 1999, and Klain was ousted by Gore campaign chairman Tony Coelho in August of that year. In October 1999, he joined the Washington, D.C. office of the law firm of O'Melveny & Myers. A year later, Klain returned to the Gore campaign, once Coelho was replaced by William M. Daley. Daley hired Klain for a senior position in the Gore campaign and then named him General Counsel of Gore's Recount Committee.

Legal Career

In 1994, Time named Klain one of the "50 most promising leaders in America" under the age of 40. In 1999, Washingtonian magazine named him the top lawyer in Washington under the age of 40, and the American Bar Association’s Barrister magazine named him one of the top 20 young lawyers nationwide. The National Law Journal named him one of its Lawyers of the Year for 2000.

Lobbying

Klain helped Fannie Mae overcome "regulatory issues".

WASHINGTON, D.C. 2004-2008

During the 2004 US presidential campaign early primaries, Klain worked as an adviser to Wesley Clark. Later, during the General Election, Klain was heavily involved behind the scenes in John Kerry's campaign and is widely credited for his role in preparing Senator Kerry for a strong performance in the debates against President George W. Bush, which gave Kerry a significant boost in the polls.  He then acted as an informal adviser to Evan Bayh, who is from Klain's home state of Indiana.  Klain has commented on matters of law and policy on televised programs such as the Today Show, Good Morning America, Nightline, Capital Report, NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and Crossfire. In 2005, Klain left his partnership at O'Melveny & Myers to serve as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of a new investment firm, Revolution LLC, launched by AOL co-founder Steve Case.

Obama Administration

On November 12, 2008, Roll Call announced that Klain had been chosen to serve as Chief of Staff to Vice President Joe Biden, the same role he served for Gore.   Klain had worked with Biden previously, having served as counsel to the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary while Biden chaired that committee and assisted Biden's speechwriting team during the 1988 presidential campaign.

Klain was mentioned as a possible replacement for White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel,  but opted to leave the White House for a position in the private sector in January 2011.
Klain apparently signed off on President Obama's support of a $535 million loan guarantee for now-defunct solar-panel company Solyndra. Despite concerns about whether the company was viable, Klain approved an Obama visit, stating, "The reality is that if POTUS visited 10 such places over the next 10 months, probably a few will be belly-up by election day 2012."