President-elect Barack Obama has approached CNNs chief medical correspondent, Sanjay Gupta, to be the countrys next surgeon general, the cable news network said.
CNN said it has kept Gupta from reporting on healthcare policy and other matters involving the incoming Obama administration since learning he was under consideration for the post.
A Democrat with knowledge of the discussions over the surgeon general spot cautioned that there was not yet a final decision on who would fill the post. The person spoke on a condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media on the matter.
Obamas transition office did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Gupta hosts House Call on CNN, contributes reports to CBS News and writes a column for Time magazine. He is a neurosurgeon and is on the faculty at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. During the Clinton administration, he was a White House fellow and special adviser to then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The surgeon general typically isnt heavily involved in shaping an administrations policy, but it can be a very effective bully pulpit. Past surgeons general have proved instrumental in battling tobacco and AIDS.
CNN said that Gupta would not comment on the discussions and released a statement that said, Since first learning that Dr. Gupta was under consideration for the surgeon general position, CNN has made sure that his on-air reporting has been on health and wellness matters and not on healthcare policy or any matters involving the new administration. -- by the Associated Press