Former Biden chief of staff to lead Ebola response

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Ron Klain - Obama names ebola response leader
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Former Biden chief of staff to lead Ebola response
NEW YORK - MAY 13: Ron Klain attends the HBO Films premiere of 'Recount' after party at The Four Seasons on May 13, 2008 in New York City. Klain will be appointed as the new Ebola Czar by President Obama on October 17, 2014. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)
Film subject Ron Klain and actor Kevin Spacey attend the after party for the New York premiere of HBO Films' 'Recount', at The Four Seasons Restaurant in New York City on May 13, 2008. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/FilmMagic)
TALLAHASSEE, UNITED STATES: David Boies (R), attorney for Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore, and advisor Ron Klain address a press conference at the Leon County Courthouse, 04 December 2000, in Tallahassee, Florida. Boies responded to the decision by the US Supreme Court on the Florida election results. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
TALLAHASSEE, UNITED STATES: David Boies (R) and Ron Klain, attorneys for the Democratic party, addresses the media, 09 December 2000, in Tallahassee, FL, after the US Supreme Court ordered a halt to the counting of US presidential election ballots in the state. AFP PHOTO/PETER MUHLY (Photo credit should read PETER MUHLY/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama talks with Ron Klain during debate preparations with Sen. John Kerry in the background playing the role of Gov. Mitt Romney October 2, 2012 in Henderson, NV.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama is naming Ron Klain, a former chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden and a trusted adviser at the Obama White House, as the point man on the U.S. government's response to the Ebola crisis, the White House said Friday.

Obama has been under pressure to name an Ebola "czar" to oversee health security in the U.S. and actions to help stem the outbreak in West Africa, where nearly 4,500 people have died from the virus.

Klain has been out of government since leaving Biden's office during the Obama's first term. The White House said that Klain would report to national security adviser Susan Rice and to homeland security and counterterrorism adviser Lisa Monaco.

Klain, a lawyer, also served as chief of staff for Vice President Al Gore and was a key figure during the 2000 Florida presidential election recount. He previously served under Attorney General Janet Reno in the Clinton administration.

The White House is calling the new post an "Ebola response coordinator."

White House officials had initially resisted congressional calls to name a lead figure on Ebola, arguing that various agencies had distinct responsibilities, including the Centers for Disease Control, The Department of Defense, and the Department of Health and Human Services.

But on Thursday, Obama conceded that such a point person might in fact be necessary even as he praised his adviser for doing "an outstanding job."

But he said that several of his advisers, including Monaco and CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden, are also confronting other priorities. He noted that Frieden is also dealing with flu season and Monaco and Rice are having to spend time on the Islamic State extremists in the Middle East.

"It may make sense for us to have one person ... so that after this initial surge of activity we can have a more regular process just to make sure we are crossing all the Ts and dotting all the Is," he said.

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.

In a statement, the White House noted that as Biden's chief of staff, Klain helped with the implementation of the White House stimulus package of 2009 created as a response to the recession and the financial crisis.

Klain is President of Case Holdings and General Counsel at Revolution LLC, a technology venture capital firm based in Washington, DC.


President Obama to Name Ron Klain as Ebola Czar

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