FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Steve Aaron, SRA Communications, (717) 554-8614, steve@SRACommunications.com
WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 29, 2018) – Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle will be a special guest on the next episode of The West Wing Weekly, the popular podcast that explores storylines from the NBC hit TV show, The West Wing. In No Exit, an episode from Season 5 of the series, the White House is placed in emergency quarantine after detecting the presence of a suspected biological agent. Podcast hosts Joshua Malina and Hrishikesh Hirway invited Sen. Daschle, a member of the bipartisan Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense, to share his experience as an elected official whose U.S. Capitol office received letters laced with deadly anthrax spores in October 2001.
“While fictional, this episode certainly rang true to me,” said Sen. Daschle. “Thanks to Josh and Hrishi for the opportunity to not only recount the challenges that we faced that day – including exposure, decontamination, and medical treatment, all without an established plan – but also the challenges that still remain. Many of the efforts to better our response over the past 17 years have come up short, and our nation is still largely unprepared for a large biological incident. We need to shore up our national biodefense – otherwise, the price we pay will be in American lives.”
The episode featuring Sen. Daschle will be available around midnight Tuesday, Oct. 30. Once live, you can access the podcast episode here.
About the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense
The Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense was established in 2014 to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the state of U.S. biodefense efforts, and to issue recommendations to foster change. The Panel’s 2015 report, A National Blueprint for Biodefense: Leadership and Major Reform Needed to Optimize Efforts, identified capability gaps and recommended changes to U.S. policy and law to strengthen national biodefense while optimizing resource investments. In September 2018, the White House released a National Biodefense Strategy, a top recommendation from the Blueprint. The Panel continues to assess biodefense challenges and to urge reform. Former Senator Joe Lieberman and former Governor Tom Ridge co-chair the Panel, and are joined by former Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, former Representative Jim Greenwood, and former Homeland Security Advisor Ken Wainstein. Hudson Institute is the Panel’s fiscal sponsor.