The White House on Sunday brushed off questions about whether a lack of top health officials was making more difficult President Barack Obama's response to a swine flu outbreak.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the administration's response was competent even though the Senate has yet to confirm a secretary of human services, a surgeon general or a director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The absence of those officials left Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and an acting CDC chief to brief reporters on the swine flu outbreak.
"We are doing fine," Gibbs said.
Obama's first pick to run the Health and Human Services Department, Tom Daschle, withdrew amid tax problems. The second pick, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, has faced delays in her Senate confirmation because of her support for abortion rights.