Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — Amid mounting pressure to name someone to spearhead the administration’s response to the Ebola crisis, President Obama announced on Friday that he plans to appoint Ron Klain, Vice President Joe Biden’s former chief-of staff, as his Ebola czar, ABC News has confirmed.
Klain, who also served as chief of staff for Vice President Al Gore, now works as general counsel at Revolution LLC.
The White House had previously already assigned Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco, a lawyer with a background in federal law enforcement, criminal prosecution and crisis response, to work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other government agencies responsible for addressing an outbreak on American soil.
But by Thursday evening, Obama signaled his openness to naming a czar.
“The truth is, is that up until this point the individuals here have been running point and doing an outstanding job in dealing with what is a very complicated and fluid situation,” Obama said.
However, “It may make sense for us to have one person, in part just so that after this initial surge of activity we can have a more regular process just to make sure that we’re crossing all the t’s and dotting all the i’s going forward,” he added.
Klain will report directly to Monaco and National Security Advisor Susan Rice, according to a White House official.
Here are five things you should know about Klain:
1. General Counsel: As general counsel for the Gore Recount Committee, Klain was at the forefront of the 2000 “hanging chad” controversy, aiding in the Gore campaign’s ultimately unsuccessful attempt to clinch Florida’s 25 electoral votes.
2. Chief of Staff: As Biden’s chief of staff, he helped oversee implementation of the Recovery Act, the stimulus package enacted in 2009.
3. Debate Prep Advisor: Klain also served as a top debate prep adviser for Presidents Obama and Clinton as well as Democratic presidential candidates Al Gore and John Kerry.
4. Private Sector: He left the White House in 2011 to become president of Case Holdings and general counsel at Revolution LLC, a technology-oriented venture capital firm founded by AOL co-founder Steve Case.
5. Education: He’s a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School and a former law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Byron White.
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