Praise, criticism for Obama’s Ebola czar pick

President Obama’s selection to lead the administration’s Ebola response drew both praise and criticism from guests on the Sunday morning political shows.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, pushed back at GOP opposition to Obama’s new czar, Ron Klain, calling him an “excellent manager.”

{mosads}Klain, a former chief of staff to Vice President Gore and later Vice President Biden, will take the reins of the administration’s Ebola strategy next week. He was named to the position on Friday.

When asked if a healthcare professional would be a better choice, Fauci said, “not necessarily.”

“You don’t need to be a healthcare person, you need to be somebody who’s a good organizer,” Fauci said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“And his experience is extraordinary. He’s been chief of staff to a couple of vice presidents; he has a lot of experience,” he added.

During another interview on Sunday with ABC’s “This Week,” Fauci called Republican’s scrutiny of Klain “misplaced criticism.”

He added that people should view Klain as an “Ebola response coordinator” not a czar.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) said on “Face the Nation” that she had hoped for a pick with experience in the medical community as well as emergency response.

“You know, Gen. [Russel] Honoré or former Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) would have been a much more appropriate type of appointee to address this,” she said. “Ron claims emergency response experience; maybe the Bush/Gore recount qualified in that.

“And I think talking to constituents, so many people have said, ‘You know, we didn’t want somebody to give us spin. We want somebody to give us the facts.’ And that’s what they were hopeful for,” she added.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) added to the criticism, calling Klain a “political operative.”

“Mr. Klain is not a doctor. He’s not a healthcare professional. He doesn’t have background in these issues,” Cruz said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “But what he is, is a political operative.”

“We don’t need another White House political operative, which is what Mr. Klain has been,” Cruz said. “What we need is presidential leadership. The person who needs to be on top of this is the president of the United States, standing up and leading and treating it as a public health emergency.”

— This report was updated at 11:47 a.m.

Tags Anthony Fauci Ebola National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases National Institutes of Health Ron Klain Sunday shows
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