Health Care

Obama praises Ebola czar despite ‘background noise’

President Obama on Thursday took a stab at the administration’s critics as he praised his embattled Ebola czar Ron Klain for taking on “a challenge that many called insurmountable.”

“There was more than a little skepticism from some corners at the selection of Ron to fulfill this function,” Obama said in a statement Thursday, one day before Klain officially leaves his post.

Obama tapped the former Biden adviser to coordinate the country’s Ebola efforts in October, at a time when the administration was seen as flubbing its response to the outbreak.

{mosads}Dozens of Republicans had called for an Ebola czar, though when Obama named his pick, the GOP immediately slammed the decision as partisan.

Republicans argued that Klain’s lack of public health background made him ill-fit for the job and were irked that Klain did his work behind the scenes, refusing to testify before Congress and making few public appearances generally.

In recent weeks, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has ebbed, prompting the Obama administration to withdraw nearly all troops and public health officers serving overseas.

“Background noise notwithstanding, I chose Ron for a reason,” Obama said, praising him as a “tireless manager and leader.”

“The results of that effort speak for themselves, so much so that we can now turn our focus to our ultimate goal of getting to zero cases in West Africa, which might have seemed unthinkable last fall.”

Fears about Ebola had gripped the nation for several weeks last fall. Days after the disease spread to two nurses in Dallas, mistakes by federal and state health officials forced Obama to cancel several days of campaign travel to get ahead of the response.

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