WASHINGTON – Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, has told network officials that he will not leave his television career to become the U.S. surgeon general, according to sources familiar with his decision.
The decision means that the often low-profile job will not get the mass-media jolt from appointing the well-known television celebrity. Gupta, a neurosurgeon who continues to practice medicine, has become ubiquitous on CNN, where he hosts a half-hour show called “House Call” and appears on numerous other programs.
Sources had confirmed weeks ago that Obama had offered the job to Gupta and that the neurosurgeon had intended to take it. At the time, sources said Gupta would leave his network job for the government post. But no further progress was evident, especially after Obama’s first choice for secretary of Health and Human Services, former Sen. Tom Daschle, was derailed by tax problems.
One source close to Gupta said he was very disheartened by Daschle’s fate and fearful he was not going to get a prominent role in the health reform process.
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