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  New drug czar gets lower rank, promise of higher visibility
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ContributorQbanito 
Last EditedQbanito  Mar 24, 2009 09:56pm
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News DateThursday, March 12, 2009 05:55:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionAs Joe Biden introduced the Obama administration’s choice for Drug Czar on Wednesday, he criticized what he said was the position’s lowered profile during the Bush presidency.

Disappointing attention

In a ceremony in the ornate Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door to the White House, Mr. Biden said he had been, “a little disappointed the last eight years it hasn’t gotten the attention that it should have gotten. But that’s about to change.”

One reason the Drug Czar will have a higher profile, in Biden’s view, is the administration’s nomination of Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske to be Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. In addition to his duties in Seattle, Kerlikowske is currently serving as president of the Major Cities Police Chiefs Association.

Mixed message on importance

But the administration is sending somewhat mixed signals on the position’s importance. For one thing, in the Obama administration the Drug Czar will not have Cabinet status, as the job did during George W. Bush’s administration. An unnamed official told the Washington Post the new drug czar would have “full access and a direct line to the president and the vice president.”
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