Video: Press Sec struggles painfully to say who is in charge of Ebola response

Taking pleasure in the discomfort or suffering of others certainly does not speak well of a person. (Good Lord, I hope my mother hasn’t figured out how to use that computer we got her.)

Of all the difficult questions that the White House could be getting these days (and there are many) you’d think that the last one on the list might be identifying who is in charge of the administration response to Ebola. Yet as you’ll see in the video below, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest struggles for several painful minutes while Jim Acosta tried unsuccessfully to get him to say who was the point person in this effort.

“Getting back to Lisa Monaco, you said she’s overseeing the response on Ebola.”

Earnest initially gave a “nitpicky” response.

“I hate to be nitpicky here. But she is coordinating the activities of all the government agencies who are themselves responsible for responding to specific areas of their own expertise,” Earnest said.

Acosta followed, “Who’s in charge?”

Earnest said, “She’s not overseeing construction of Ebola transmission units in West Africa. The Department of Defense is responsible for that.”

Acosta pressed, “I understand that. Who’s in charge?”

Earnest then talked about what Monaco is not doing.

“She’s not responsible for coordinating activities of the international community as they interact with local government in West Africa,” Earnest said. “U.S. AID is involved in that effort. They have an area of expertise. She’s not diagnosing people in the field.”

It finally draws near a close when Earnest gives what has to be the award winning line of this exchange.

“There are individuals who are directly responsible for their line of responsibility and you have an individual here at the White House responsible for coordinating the actions of those government agencies to make sure they are properly integrated,”

It’s important to have people who are directly responsible for their line of responsibility. I believe that came directly out of the original release of Who Moved My Cheese.

For the record, the White House already answered this question once, and the name given was indeed Homeland Security chief Lisa Monaco. I’m not sure how or why the Press Secretary was so totally flummoxed by this one. Let’s get to the video. I think this job may be getting to Earnest already.