Ron Klain

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Ron Klain
Ron Klain May 2009.jpg
Ebola Response Coordinator for the Executive Office of the President
In office
October 22, 2014 – February 15, 2015
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Chief of Staff to the Vice President
In office
January 20, 2009 – January 14, 2011
Vice PresidentJoe Biden
Preceded byDavid Addington
Succeeded byBruce Reed
In office
November 1, 1995 – August 3, 1999
Vice PresidentAl Gore
Preceded byJack Quinn
Succeeded byCharles Burson
Personal details
Born (1961-08-08) August 8, 1961 (age 58)
Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Monica Medina
EducationGeorgetown University (BA)
Harvard University (JD)

Ronald A. Klain (born August 8, 1961) is an American political operative and lawyer. He served as Chief of Staff to two U.S. Vice Presidents – Al Gore (1995–99) and Joe Biden (2009–11), and served as the United States Ebola response coordinator in late 2014 into early 2015.[1]

Early life[edit]

Klain was born on August 8, 1961, in Indianapolis, Indiana to Jewish parents,[2] he graduated from North Central High School in 1979 and was on the school's Brain Game team, which finished as season runner-up. He received his B.A. degree summa cum laude from Georgetown University in 1983. In 1987, he received his J.D. degree magna cum laude from Harvard Law School.[3]


Law clerk and Capitol Hill[edit]

Klain was a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Byron White during the 1987 and 1988 terms.[4] From 1989 to 1992, he served as Chief Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary,[5] overseeing the legal staff's work on matters of constitutional law, criminal law, antitrust law, and Supreme Court nominations, including the 1991 Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination. He served as Legislative Director for U.S. Representative Ed Markey (D-MA). In 1995, Senator Tom Daschle appointed him the Staff Director of the Senate Democratic Leadership Committee.[3]

Clinton administration[edit]

Klain joined the Clinton-Gore campaign in 1992 and was involved in both of Bill Clinton's campaigns,[5] he oversaw Clinton's judicial nominations, and was General Counsel to Al Gore's recount committee in 2000 election. Klain worked closely with Clinton aide Bruce Reed in formulating Clinton's "100,000 cops" proposal of his 1992 campaign.[citation needed] In the White House, Klain was Associate Counsel to the President, directing judicial selection efforts, and led the team that won confirmation of Supreme Court of the United States Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.[5] In 1994, he became Chief of Staff and Counselor to Attorney General Janet Reno and in 1995, Assistant to the President, and Chief of Staff to Al Gore.[6]

Gore campaign 1999-2000[edit]

During Klain's tenure as Gore's Chief of Staff, he was seen as too loyal to Clinton by some longtime Gore advisors, and in 1999, feuding broke out between Clinton and Gore loyalists. Klain was ousted by Gore campaign chairman Tony Coelho in August 1999. In October 1999, he joined the Washington, D.C. office of the law firm of O'Melveny & Myers.[7] In 2000, Klain returned to the Gore campaign, once Coelho was replaced by William M. Daley who hired Klain for a senior position in the Gore campaign and then named him General Counsel of Gore's Recount Committee.[citation needed]


Klain was signed up as a lobbyist for Fannie Mae until 2005 whom he helped overcome "regulatory issues".[8]


During the 2004 US presidential campaign early primaries, Klain worked as an adviser to Wesley Clark. During the general election, Klain was heavily involved behind the scenes in John Kerry's campaign.[9]

Klain served as an informal adviser to Evan Bayh, who is from Klain's home state of Indiana. In 2005, Klain left his partnership at O'Melveny & Myers to become Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Revolution LLC, a technology venture capital firm, launched by AOL co-founder Steve Case.[citation needed]. As of October 2014 he is General Counsel at Revolution LLC and President of Case Holdings.[10]

Obama administration 2008–2015[edit]

On November 12, 2008, Roll Call announced that Klain had been chosen to serve as Chief of Staff to Vice President Joe Biden, the same role he served for Gore.[11][12][13]

Klain had worked with Biden, having served as counsel to the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary while Biden chaired that committee and assisted Biden's speechwriting team during the 1988 presidential campaign.[14]

President Obama talks with Ron Klain during presidential debate preparations. Senator John Kerry, at podium, played the role of Mitt Romney during the preparatory sessions.

Klain was mentioned as a possible replacement for White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel,[15] but opted to leave the White House for a position in the private sector in January 2011.[13]

In 2011, amid concerns about whether the now-defunct solar-panel company Solyndra was viable, Klain approved an Obama visit, stating, "The reality is that if POTUS visited 10 such places over the next 10 months, probably a few will be belly-up by election day 2012."[16] On October 17, 2014, Klain was appointed the "Ebola response coordinator" or, less officially, Ebola "czar"[10] by President Barack Obama, to help coordinate the nation's response to the Ebola virus,[10][17][18][19] his appointment has been criticized because he "has no record or expertise in Ebola specifically or public health in general".[18]

Klain's term as Ebola response coordinator ended in February 2015, he is now an external adviser to the Skoll Foundation Global Threats Fund.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Klain and his wife, Monica Medina, a lawyer and environmental activist who served as Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, and is currently at the Walton Family Foundation, have three children.[21]

In popular culture[edit]

Klain was portrayed by Kevin Spacey in the HBO film Recount depicting the tumult of the 2000 presidential election.[12]


  1. ^ School, Harvard Law. "Ron Klain | Harvard Law School". Retrieved January 8, 2019. Cite web requires |website= (help)
  2. ^ Jewish Daily Forward: "Obama Appoints Ron Klain as Ebola 'Czar' - Former White House Official Is a Top Jewish Lawyer October 17, 2014
  3. ^ a b "Ron Klain". GU Politics. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  4. ^ "Ron Klain". Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service McCourt School of Public Policy. Retrieved August 3, 2016. Cite web requires |website= (help)
  5. ^ a b c "Ron Klain". Washington Post Politics. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  6. ^ Miller, Zeke J.; Rothman, Lily (December 5, 2014). "What Happened to the 'Future Leaders' of the 1990s?". Time Magazine. Retrieved November 2, 2018.
  7. ^ "Ronald A. Klain | Administrative Conference of the United States". Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  8. ^ Mosk, Matthew (November 15, 2008). "Some Former Lobbyists Have Key Roles in Obama Transition". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
  9. ^ Martin Kasendorf and Richard Benedetto (September 27, 2004). "Kerry, Bush Curtail Schedules as They Prepare for Duel". USA Today. Retrieved May 11, 2012.
  10. ^ a b c Kuhnhenn, Jim (October 17, 2014). "President Obama appoints Ebola 'czar'". AP News. Retrieved October 2014. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  11. ^ Koffler, Keith (November 12, 2008). "Sources: Biden Picks Klain to Be Chief of Staff". Roll Call; accessed October 18, 2014.
  12. ^ a b Allen, Mike (November 13, 2008). "Klain accepts job as Biden chief of staff". Politico.
  13. ^ a b Cooper, Helene C. (January 4, 2011). "Ron Klain Leaving Vice President's Staff". The New York Times.
  14. ^ Cramer, Richard Ben (1992). What It Takes: The Way to the White House. Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-74649-8. p. 482.
  15. ^ Henry, Ed (September 8, 2010). "Who might replace Rahm Emanuel?". CNN. Archived from the original on September 10, 2010. Retrieved September 9, 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help); Cite news requires |newspaper= (help)
  16. ^ Madhani, Aamer (October 3, 2011). "E-mails show White House worried about Solyndra deal". USA Today. Retrieved September 28, 2012.
  17. ^ Jake Tapper (October 17, 2014). "Obama will name Ron Klain as Ebola czar". CNN. Retrieved October 18, 2014.
  18. ^ a b Davis, Julie Hirschfeld; Shear, Michael D. (October 17, 2014). "Ron Klain, Chief of Staff to 2 Vice Presidents, Is Named Ebola Czar". New York Times. Retrieved October 17, 2014.
  19. ^ Lavender, Paige (October 17, 2014). "Obama To Appoint Ron Klain As Ebola Czar". The Huffington Post. Retrieved October 17, 2014.
  20. ^ Klain, Ron (August 2, 2016). "The Growing Zika Threat–and Congress's Inaction". WSJ. Retrieved August 3, 2016. Cite news requires |newspaper= (help)
  21. ^ "NOAA Leadership: Monica Medina". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website; retrieved August 14, 2013.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Jack Quinn
Chief of Staff to the Vice President
Succeeded by
Charles Burson
Preceded by
David Addington
Chief of Staff to the Vice President
Succeeded by
Bruce Reed