From Carrie Budoff Brown at Politico:
The Obama administration declared a “public health emergency” Sunday to confront the swine flu — but is heading into its first medical outbreak without a secretary of Health and Human Services or appointees in any of the department’s 19 key posts.
President Barack Obama has not yet chosen a surgeon general or the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. His choice to run the Food and Drug Administration awaits confirmation.
In an unusual Sunday briefing at the White House, acting CDC Director Richard Besser appeared on camera with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Obama homeland security adviser John Brennan to announce the emergency declaration in response to the swine flu outbreak. Napolitano is the former Arizona governor, and Brennan is a longtime CIA counterterrorism specialist once thought to be in line to run the agency.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs insisted the vacancies won’t hinder Obama’s response.