Newspapers Weigh In on Bush’s Nominees for Surgeon General, Director of NIH
Newspapers across the country are offering their opinions on President Bush's nominations of Dr. Richard Carmona for surgeon general and Dr. Elias Zerhouni for NIH director. The following encapsulates some of the opinions:
Austin American-Statesman: Zerhouni and Carmona are "two extraordinary men [picked] to serve in the nation's top medical posts at an extraordinary time." According to the American-Statesman, Carmona "sounds like someone dreamed up by Marvel Comics": a "colorful figure, perhaps fitting for [the] out-front office" of surgeon general. The paper calls the nomination of Zerhouni, an Algerian-born Muslim, "interesting, and ... American." The editorial concludes, "[O]n first blush, both men seem eminently qualified for their medical posts, and their personal stories show the wisdom in not mindlessly closing the nation's high posts to those with unconventional backgrounds" (Austin American-Statesman, 3/28).
Los Angeles Times: Carmona and Zerhouni "seem straight out of Central Casting" and "appear to be appealing, brave, up-from-nowhere nominees." The editorial expresses concern about whether Carmona "has the temperament to focus on public health, for instance as [former Surgeon General] Dr. C. Everett Koop did on tobacco." The Times adds, "Concerns raised about where Zerhouni stands on cloning and stem cell research are to the point," stating that while he has said that cloning and stem cell research should be "as unimpeded as possible," the White House has said that Zerhouni would "support constraints [on the procedure] favored by the far right." The editorial concludes that the confirmation hearings should be held as soon as possible in order to give the nominees a chance to "speak for themselves," because "the [full] pictures of their lives need to be filled in"(Los Angeles Times, 3/28).
New York Times: Zerhouni's colleagues have lauded his "sharp, analytical mind, his ability to build consensus and his managerial skills," the Times writes, adding, "These may be just the right attributes for [the NIH] ... whose management ranks have grown thinner in the absence of a director for more than two years." Carmona is "without doubt the most swashbuckling nominee in memory," with a resume including trauma surgery, law enforcement and "battlefield heroics." The editorial concludes, "Given that Bush wants the nation's top doctor heavily engaged in the fight against bioterrorism and in efforts to promote healthy living, Carmona's unusual background may be right for the times" (New York Times, 3/28).
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