Ron Klain, who begins his job as the White House Ebola czar Wednesday, is being groomed to replace John Podesta as counselor to President Barack Obama after Podesta leaves the White House to work for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, Politico reported Tuesday.
President Barack Obama meets with Ron Klain, chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, and Cynthia Hogan, counsel to the vice president, in the Oval Office, May 21, 2009. (Official White House photo/Pete Souza)
“The president has been talking to Ron about different roles for a long time, and he wouldn’t accept the Ebola job unless there was a promise of something bigger,” a Klain colleague told Politico.
The White House announced last week that Klain – with a long political resume – would be the given the job of coordinating the government’s Ebola response from various federal agencies.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TheBlaze.
Klain has no medical or health care experience: “What we were looking for was not an Ebola expert but rather an implementation expert,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.
Klain has previously served as chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden and to Vice President Al Gore. He is leaving his position as president of Case Holdings to head up the U.S.' Ebola response.
Podesta's position as counselor to the president was previously held by former Obama Senate staffer Pete Rouse. The position is largely defined as a close adviser to the president without the same administrative responsibilities as a chief of staff.
The Politico report noted Klain's proficiency in locking down leaks. As Gore's chief of staff during the 1998 Monica Lewinsky scandal, Klain ordered staff in the Office of the Vice President that “not one drop was to leak out of the OVP,” a former Clinton administration official told Politico.