The Obama transition team approached Dr Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent, about becoming US surgeon general, according to sources inside the transition team.
The offer followed a two-hour Chicago meeting in Nov, 2008 with Obama, who said that Gupta could be the highest-profile surgeon general in history and would have an expanded role in providing health policy advice, the Washington Post quoted sources, as saying. Gupta later spoke with Tom Daschle, Obama's White House health czar and nominee for Health and Human Services Secretary, and other advisers to the president-elect.
Gupta has told administration officials that he wants the job, and the final vetting process is under way. He has asked for a few days to figure out the financial and logistical details of moving his family from Atlanta to Washington, but is expected to accept the offer. The Michigan-born son of parents who were born in India, Gupta has always been drawn to health policy.
He was a White House fellow in the late 1990s, writing speeches and crafting policy for Hillary Clinton. His appointment would give the administration a prominent official of South Asian descent and a skilled television spokesman.
Gupta, who hosts 'House Call' on CNN, has discussed the job offer with his bosses at CBS and CNN to make sure he could be released from his contractual obligations, the sources said.
His role as journalist and physician has sometimes overlapped. During the 2003 Iraq invasion, Gupta was embedded with a Navy unit called Devil Docs and, while covering its mission, performed brain surgery five times, the first of which was on a 2-year-old Iraqi boy.