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Top Kaine Aide Decamps for White House

Matt Mosk

By Michael D. Shear
and Anita Kumar

President Obama has named Virginia's Secretary of Technology, Aneesh
P. Chopra, to be the nation's first Chief Technology Officer.

The president announced the choice in his weekly radio and Internet
address today, adding Chopra to a small group of advisers whose aim it
to enhance and modernize the delivery of government services.

"Aneesh will promote technological innovation to help achieve our most
urgent priorities - from creating jobs and reducing health care costs
to keeping our nation secure," Obama said in the radio address.

Obama also named Jeffrey Zients, a former management consultant, to be
his chief performance officer, a position that was initially offered
to Nancy Killifer, who withdrew after questions were raised about her
failure to pay some taxes.

Appointed by Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine in 2006, Chopra had been
under consideration for months for a job in the Obama administration,
including technology chief at the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services.

Chopra had put in long hours in Washington helping Obama's transition
team get him ready for his first day as president job Jan. 20. He was
one of about 50 volunteers from across the nation serving on the
transition's technology, innovation and government reform policy
working group.

Chopra did not return messages for comment today. He is a former
managing director with the Advisory Board Company, a publicly-traded
health care think tank serving nearly 2,500 hospitals and health
systems,

Obama said Chopra and Zients will work with Chief Information Officer
Vivek Kundra, a former top District official, to streamline government
and make it work more efficiently.

"The goal is to give all Americans a voice in their government and
ensure that they know exactly how we're spending their money - and can
hold us accountable for the results," Obama said.

The president also announced that he will be asking each of his
cabinet members to provide specific proposals for how they plan to cut
their budgets in an attempt to trim the cost of government.

Obama is under pressure to reduce government waste as he leads an
unprecedented increase in overall federal spending in an attempt to
spark an economic recovery.

In his radio address, he reiterated his pledge to examine the federal
budget "line by line" in an attempt to find instances of waste. He
said that in the coming weeks, he will eliminate programs that are
deemed unnecessary.

"In this effort, there will be no sacred cows, and no pet projects.
All across America, families are making hard choices, and it's time
their government did the same," he said.

By Matt Mosk  |  April 18, 2009; 6:02 AM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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