While some Republicans were quick to criticize Klain's lack of medical expertise, Earnest said the administration sees Klain as the right man for the job. Klain's official title will be Ebola Response Coordinator.
“This is much broader than a medical response,” Earnest explained. “What we were looking for was not an Ebola expert, but rather an implementation expert.”
Klain brings management experience through his previous work with the White House and Congress, Earnest said.
Obama had said Thursday that it “may be appropriate” to appoint someone to oversee the federal government's response to the crisis. Klain will report to White House Homeland Security Adviser Lisa Monaco, who the White House had originally named last week to oversee the government's Ebola response.
Klain will draw on his White House experience to apply the full scope of the government's resources to fight Ebola, said Douglas Smith, a former Clinton administration aide who now heads the Washington office of public relations firm MWW. “The single most important thing is the ability to understand how the government works and how to harness all the assets at its disposal,” he said. “Ron is well-suited, having served at the highest level of government.”
Klain is likely to move quickly, he added. “He is a smart guy, highly capable at what he does and he will come in with the knowledge of the tools he has and an energy to dig in.”