I had originally posted this in the Hot Headlines section, but thought it deserved main page commentary:
[Annette] Nazareth’s withdrawal from consideration comes as critics say Geithner’s lacks the senior staff he needs to make critical decisions about the financial crisis. Not one of his top 17 deputies has been named, let alone confirmed.
Without senior leadership, lower-level Treasury employees can’t make decisions or represent the government in crucial conversations with banks and others.
At a Senate hearing Thursday about failed insurance giant American International Group Inc. — which has received four separate bailouts totaling more than $170 billion — Sen. Chris Dodd said he had asked Treasury for someone to appear, but that no one was available.
“I am not pleased that we don’t have someone here from Treasury to explain what their role in this is,” Dodd said.
Seconded. This department is boating upstream without any oars.
In related news, CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta will not be America’s next Surgeon General after all, as reported by the WaPo’s 44 blog:
Gupta, who had been described as the leading candidate for the public health post, withdrew his name even as President Obama hosted a health care summit at the White House today that Gupta did not attend.
The decision means that the often low-profile job will not get a mass-media jolt from appointing the well-known television celebrity. Gupta, a neurosurgeon who continues to practice medicine, has become ubiquitous on CNN, where he hosts a half-hour show called “House Call “and appears on numerous other programs.
Sources confirmed weeks ago that Obama had offered the position to Gupta and that the neurosurgeon intended to leave his network job for the government post. But no further moves were evident, especially after Obama’s first choice for secretary of health and human services, former senator Tom Daschle, was derailed by tax problems.
Gupta, who was once named one of the “sexiest men alive” by People Magazine, was never officially named to the post and continued to report on CNN. He did not issue a statement or explain his decision Thursday. Sources said the medical journalist told CNN executives that he wanted to devote more time to his medical practice and to his duties at the network.
But one source close to him said he was very disheartened by Daschle’s fate and fearful he was not going to get a prominent role in the health reform process. Gupta has built a lucrative media empire that includes appearances on CBS as well as CNN and book deals. He had expressed concern to friends about the financial impact on his wife and children.
Michelle Malkin quips that Dr. Phil is available. I was wondering if Obama’s pal, George Clooney – who played a doctor on TV once upon a time (and who will reprise his role on ER on 3/12, incidentally), was available. But then I remembered he’s already working in the Obama administration as a foreign policy advisor …