The press office at the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has been sloppy lately. First, the ONDCP broke the embargo on the NSDUH story (the story wasn’t supposed to be published or aired until 9:30 a.m. September 16, but CBS, NPR and Associated Press released their stories -- all interviews with ONDCP director Gil Kerlikowske -- several hours in advance). A tongue-tied press officer at ONDCP was unable to explain this when we asked what happened. Then last week the ONDCP issued a press release with typos -- "prescription" was misspelled twice, and Kerlikowske’s name was misspelled. It may all be a coincidence, but the good news is Rafael Lemaitre, former press deputy at ONDCP and -- until today -- press officer at the Department of Homeland Security -- is going back to ONDCP as director of public affairs.
We asked Bob Weiner,who hired Lemaitre to work for him when he ran the press department at ONDCP, what he thinks. "I am thrilled for the office and the field," said Weiner, who said Lemaitre is "extremely effective," has the "aggressiveness" needed for the job, and is "knowledgeable on the issues facing the field and ONDCP."