The New Republic
If you had to conjure up the perfect official to advise President Obama about the swine flu outbreak, it'd probably be somebody who had a strong background in public health–say, somebody who had run the public health department for a vast, densely populated city like New York City.
It'd be better, still, if this person had experience in the federal government, as well, perhaps in the Department of Health and Human Servcies. And it'd be just perfect if this person's portfolio included crafting the federal pandemic response strategy.
Of course, you'd want this person to have a record of achievement. You'd be pleased to learn this person was the youngest ever to serve as that city's health commissioner–and that, in the job, that person had managed to increase the child vaccination rate while reducing the incidence of tuberculosis.
You'd also want to see evidence of this person's judgment and vision–like if, hypothetically, this person had testified to Congress about the threat of bioterrorism in 2001, months before the 9/11 attacks and anthrax scare.
As you've probably guessed by now, President Obama has already appointed just such a person to his administration. It's Maragaret Hamburg, who is in line to become commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration–one of the key agencies dealing with the swine flu outbreak.
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