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Ronald A. "Ron" Klain is the Chief of Staff to the Vice President of the United Statesmarker, Joseph Biden and the former Chief of Staff to the Vice President under Al Gore. He is an influential Democratic Party insider. Earlier in his career, he was a law clerk for Supreme Courtmarker Justice Byron White during the Court's 1987 and 1988 Terms and worked on Capitol Hill, where he was Chief Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee during the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination. He was portrayed by Kevin Spacey in the HBO film Recount depicting the tumult of the 2000 presidential election.

Early life and education

Klain was born on August 8,1961 in Indianapolismarker and grew up in a Jewish home. He graduated from North Central High Schoolmarker in 1979 and was on the school's Brain Game team. He graduated summa cum laude from Georgetown Universitymarker in 1983. In 1987, he graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law Schoolmarker, where he won the Sears Prize for the highest grade point average in 1984-85 and was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. Ron attended Camp Timberlane for Boys in Woodruff, WI as a child.

Capitol Hill career

Klain's early experience on Capitol Hill included serving as Legislative Director for U.S. Representative Ed Markey. From 1989 to 1992, he served as Chief Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, overseeing the legal staff's work on matters of constitutional law, criminal law, antitrust law, and Supreme Court nominations. In 1995, Senator Tom Daschle appointed him the Staff Director of the Senate Democratic Leadership Committee.

Clinton administration

Klain joined the Clinton-Gore campaign in 1992. He ultimately was involved in both of Bill Clinton's campaigns, oversaw Clinton's judicial nominations, and was General Counsel to Al Gore's recount committee in the 2000 election aftermath. Some published reports have given him credit for Clinton's "100,000 cops" proposal during the 1992 campaign; at a minimum, he worked closely with Clinton aide Bruce Reed in formulating it. In the White House, he was Associate Counsel to the President, directing judicial selection efforts, and led the team that won confirmation of Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Klain left the judicial selection role in 1994 to become Chief of Staff and Counselor to Attorney General Janet Reno. In 1995, he became Assistant to the President, and Chief of Staff and Counselor to Al Gore.

Gore Campaign

During Klain's tenure as Gore's Chief of Staff, Gore consolidated his position as the likely Democratic nominee in 2000. Still, Klain was seen as too loyal to Clinton by some longtime Gore advisors. Feuding broke out between Clinton and Gore loyalists in the White House in 1999, and Klain was ousted by Gore campaign chairman Tony Coelho in August of that year. In October 1999, he joined the Washington, D.C. office of the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers. A year later, Klain returned to the Gore campaign, once Coelho was replaced by Bill Daley. Daley hired Klain for a senior position in the Gore campaign, and then named him General Counsel of Gore's Recount Committee.

Legal career

In 1994, Time named Klain one of the "50 most promising leaders in America" under the age of 40. In 1999, Washingtonian magazine named him the top lawyer in Washington under the age of 40, and the American Bar Association’s Barrister magazine named him one of the top 20 young lawyers nationwide. The National Law Journal named him one of its "Lawyers of the Year" for 2000.


Klain helped the now-bankrupt Fannie Mae overcome "regulatory issues".


During the 2004 Presidential campaign, Klain worked as an adviser to Wesley Clark in the early primaries. Later, during the General Election, Klain was heavily involved behind the scenes in John Kerry's campaign and is widely credited for his role in preparing Senator Kerry for a strong performance in the debates against President George W. Bush, which gave Kerry a significant boost in the polls. He then acted as an informal adviser to Evan Bayh, who is from Klain's home state of Indiana. Klain has also commented on matters of law and policy on televised programs such as the Today Show, Good Morning America, Nightline, Capital Report, the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and Crossfire.

In 2005, Klain left his partnership at O’Melveny & Myers to serve as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of a new investment firm, Revolution LLC, launched by AOL co-founder Steve Case. Klain lives in Chevy Chasemarker, Marylandmarker, with his wife Monica Medina (an environmental activist, lawyer, and former General Counsel to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and their children Hannah, Michael and Daniel.

Role in Obama Administration

On November 12, 2008, Roll Call announced that Klain had been chosen to serve as Chief of Staff to Vice President Joe Biden, the same role he played for Gore. Klain had previously been close to Biden through his service as counsel to the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary while Biden chaired that committee.

External links


  1. Klain accepts job as Biden chief of staff
  2. A Holiday Medley, Off Key
  4. Statement of Monica Medina, July 21, 1999
  5. Sources: Biden Picks Klain to Be Chief of Staff

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