March 14th, 2009
01:03 PM ET
9 years ago

Obama nominates Food and Drug chief

President Obama announced Saturday his pick to lead the Food and Drug Administration.

President Obama announced Saturday his pick to lead the Food and Drug Administration.

(CNN) - In his weekly address to the nation Saturday, President Obama announced his choice of Dr. Margaret Hamburg to lead the Food and Drug Administration.

Watch: Obama's weekly address

"From her research on infectious disease at the National Institutes of Health to her work on public health at the Department of Health and Human Services to her leadership on biodefense at the Nuclear Threat Initiative, Dr. Hamburg brings to this vital position not only a reputation of integrity but a record of achievement in making Americans safer and more secure," Obama said.

According to the White House, Hamburg was one of the youngest people ever elected to the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine.

Hamburg's nomination now goes to the U.S. Senate for confirmation.

Full Transcript of address

Obama also made three other key announcements:

–Baltimore Commissioner of Health, Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, has been selected to serve as the FDA's principal deputy commissioner.

- A new Food Safety Working Group will coordinate with other agencies and advise the president on improving coordination throughout the government, as well as examining and upgrading food safety laws.

- The Agriculture Department is set to close a loophole to prevent diseased cows from entering the food supply - along with implementing new measures to increase the number of food inspectors and modernize food safety labs.

"In the end, food safety is something I take seriously, not just as your President, but as a parent," Obama said. "When I heard peanut products were being contaminated earlier this year, I immediately thought of my 7-year old daughter, Sasha, who has peanut butter sandwiches for lunch probably three times a week. No parent should have to worry that their child is going to get sick from their lunch."

Filed under: Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. fearful for my country

    With Obama's track record, we'll probably find out later she committed foodstamp fraud or something. He can't find an honest person amongst his select few.

    March 14, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  2. Marylander

    Thank you Mr. President for you continued great work on behalf of all Americans! In the end the naysayers will all be silenced by your incredible vision and positive results. I can hardly wait to work on your re-election!

    March 14, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  3. Lori

    How about feeding those good for nothing Republicans worms in Washington. They aren't doing a darn thing anyway but obstructing the President (can't they see their approval ratings have stayed the same low rate since they've been on the attack).

    Keep up the good work, Mr. President.

    March 14, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  4. Hall for Obama

    Fearful for my country, why do you have to be so down hearted? I hope you known President Obama is only human no matter what you and other may think. He can only do so much.

    March 14, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  5. Ray Fisher

    These are key appointments necessary to restore integrity to our government agencies particularly in the area of Food Inspections and Safety. Hopefully, we can reduce the number of recalls and food borne illnesses with a little oversight.

    March 14, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  6. Sanity has Returned

    Imagine having an actual Scientist to lead the FDA? This is the change we have been waiting for.. I'm loving it.

    March 14, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  7. Seth

    Fearful: You maybe right, the darling of the media, not to put the president down, has got to do this on his own, without telaprompters, or earphones to his advisors. He so far has had the worse in picks of staff. People who are questionable, or people who have just backed out or dont want the job in this administration. He has to be held accountable how he picks his people. On his own merit. He is so technology sauvy that its pitiful. He will use the media, and heaven forbid any of the media report any indiscretions about him. I am not sold on him yet. He has proven to have lied to his campaign promises. He is not transparent, in fact he hold little secret meetings, and always behind closed doors, and that pelosi woman man get her out.

    March 14, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  8. Simmy

    fearful for my country,

    There's a country with your name on it. Get in touch with your new president, Chuck Norris, ASAP. You and the rest of the 20 will be very happy in the Un-united States of Non-Americans. However, once you leave, you're not allowed to come back. Happy trails.

    God's continued blessings on President Obama, family, and administration. Peace.

    March 14, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  9. Kay, Florida

    Look, we have to fill these positions. But the republicans aren't obstructing anything. They are in the minority and Obama, Congress or the Senate do not need their approval to get anything done. So that would mean, that, they would have to come up with some ideas and solutions! So it could mean that 1. they have no ideas or solutions and/or 2. they don't want to take the blame if their ideas or solutions don't work. So let's just continue to blame the republicans and maybe no one will notice that we've run out of ideas on how to fix this country.

    March 14, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  10. Griff............... on The Truth...

    Your Dow is Faulse..... It will be down again next week.
    You may bluff, but not me.

    March 14, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  11. JBTower69

    Dear Democrats
    I am a simple man with some common sense my family is a traditonally Democrat family.During Clintons term he was told by the Army Corps of Engineer that the Levees in New Orleans needed to be updated he did nothing Then Bush did nothing then came Katrina Bush did not act because it is a State Problem unless they ask for federal help which Democrats of the state did with great delay.Now you would think President Obama's stimulus bill would have a earmark to rebuild these levees around the country but it does not but the outrage the liberals threw at Bush for doing nothing smells of hypocorism.Do you not get it America listen to the message the Liberals give you We are for the Poor we are for the minority We are for the Illegal Immigrants We are for Women Rights We are for Same Sex marriage They tell you what you want to hear they are for everyone untill it does not go there way see Joe Liberman see Hillary Clinton See Democrat James Carville say after Bush took office that he hopes he fails Dems should do everything possible to make him fail where was the outrage showed toward him? That Rush Now gets when he voices his opinion and says he hopes Obama socialists policies fail.

    March 14, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  12. Cromwell

    What a novel idea!
    President Obama is appointing people to head our regulatory agencies who will actually enforce the law.
    Hopefully, under the Obama Administration, our regulatory agencies will actually carry out their duty to protect the public.

    All of our regulatory agencies were established by Congress to protect workers and consumers from unscrupolous business practices. Whenever the Repubs get control of the White House, they simply put people in charge of the regulatory agencies who don't enforce the law.

    The Republicans love to quote Ronald Reagan's mantra: "Government isn't the solution, Government is the problem."
    When the Republicans are in control, Government really is the problem.

    March 14, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  13. Scott, Tucson

    I do believe that George Bush first term administration start up was far more competent than what we're witnessing by the former community organizer Obama. And he's going to fix the nation woes?

    March 14, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  14. Charlie in Maine

    Okay usually I write in with my positive comments about the best President in quite a while. As far as the pace of appointments go: If you set the bar higher fewer will be able to make it. Looking at the previous adminstration a can see the value in an extensive vetting process.

    NO this time I writing to ask if I am the only one who thinks it is punny to have the head of food safety named "Hamburg" I mean come on folks, You can't make this stuff up.

    March 14, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  15. Jim

    I'm an independent who has no problems with this pick unless she turns out to be in the pocket of the "big pharma" lobby. The problem I have with the FDA in general is that they are so understaffed that pharma companies run the clinical trials on new meds without true government supervision, then report only the good results back to the FDA for frug approvals. Years later, the bad "smoking gun" memos are discovered during litigation about the medicine. The the drug manufacturer tries to hide behind a federal doctrine called "preemption", where they say they are not at fault because the FDA approved the drug.

    We need more real independent supervision over the clinical trials and the testing process.

    March 14, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  16. gary

    dr. hamburg for goodness sakemake sure you have paid all your taxes if not just talk to geitner at the treasury unlike the rest of us hard working who have to pay evidently if you owe back taxes do not worry about it if offered a government job

    March 14, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  17. serah

    I am not a republican but now i think the way Obama and the whitehouse staff handle issues is worser than the republicans and Bush made only one major mistake, Obama is making too many too early. He and his staff do not care about those who voted them in, the clock is ticking and soon it will be election time. Obama cannot read thro a bill line by line and use his pen to veto pork as he promised. To know if the public approves of the bill is easy, run various polls and get the average surely they will give a clue. The afghan war, many people have spoken about it, It is another vietnam. Americans should concentrate reinforcing security at home rather than following the enemy to his home? I have never known of a war you fight on an enemies land and you win. Afghan reduced Russia to what it is today, Russia diverted its energies in what you know. If Bush was wrong about Iraq you may be underestimating the tactics and power of the enemy. This is the war that will blow out the final strength of America unless cautious about it. All those neighbouring countries to Afghan have something in common than is not in common with America other than we are all human beings. Tell me, If can canada really support an enemy who invades America right in her land?? I doubt. Those countries are interested in the financial gains they make by saying they are allied to u, the reality is Muslim will NEVER betray a fellow MUSLIM even when they treat each other in a way we may consider unfair, they follow the writing of the Quran. GET IT??

    March 14, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  18. Willy Brown

    Does she owe back taxes ?

    March 14, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  19. Annie

    Scott, of course you do, you're a Republican. Name me one competent Bush appointee who actually was qualified for the job and did the job well. Just for future reference, of course.

    March 14, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  20. Glennis

    I have zero faith in any of his selections. So far, he's batting zero.

    March 14, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  21. Bayousara

    Scott in Tucson

    I think maybe you were on a different planet for eight years when GW Bush was prez.

    If you don't have any IDEAS for change, why post at all?

    I am guessing you are a youngster, out of work, and still in your pajamas instead of looking for work?

    And to "Fearful for my country" – it is sad that your guy didn't win the election. At least Obama's problems are "up front" and not hidden like most of Bush's mess-ups. Like Cheney, for example, who seldom came out from hiding.

    March 14, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  22. RI moderate

    Hope they checked her tax records this time...

    March 14, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  23. Alan

    'fearful for my country" – that's because Obama is actually screening people

    March 14, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  24. JJ

    What a novel idea!
    President Obama is appointing people to head our regulatory agencies who will actually enforce the law.


    Are you on drugs?????? Most of his appointees have BROKEN the laws.

    March 14, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  25. Neutralizer

    I don't know what to say about Obambi Administration, but he's making previous administration looking like a bunch of genius. In fact Obambi never stop campaigning, he has committed a lot of blunders; lying to the American people, broken promises etc etc etc.

    He is expecting us to believe him? This man is like a boy crying for wolf, I know when Obambi lies, his lips move........

    Can't wait for 2012 to be here, we need a new President, someone who is COMPETENT, know what is FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY. I have enough of this American Idol in the WH.

    March 14, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
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