Tags: Ebola Outbreak | Ebola | midterms | White House

With Ebola Emerging as Campaign Issue, White House Plays Defense

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Wednesday, 15 October 2014 09:10 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Amid growing signs that Ebola and how government deals with it are becoming issues in the midterm elections, the White House yesterday moved quickly to defend its performance in containing the epidemic. 

At the Tuesday briefing for reporters at the White House, Press Secretary Josh Earnest insisted that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is “working, consistent with the advice of our medical experts, to investigate exactly what happened in terms of the transmission of Ebola at that Dallas hospital. They’re reviewing infection control procedures, including the use of personal protection equipment. They are ensuring that hospitals and health care workers all across the country know and are actually following the protocols that are in place.”

Earnest added that “the President has directed the CDC to examine what more the CDC and their experts can do to support hospitals currently treating Ebola patients.”

The president’s top spokesman insisted, “because of the leveraging of these assets, we continue to believe that the risk of an Ebola outbreak here in the United States is exceedingly low.”

The news briefing, in which the number of questions about how the administration is dealing with Ebola rivaled those about ISIS, came days after a Washington Post/ABC News poll showed Americans concerned about the disease and divided over President Obama’s response.

According to the survey of likely voters nationwide, 43 percent disapprove of the way the president is handling the Ebola outbreak and 41 percent approve.

The same survey showed that 67 percent said they would favor “restricting entry to the United States by people who’ve been in affected countries,” while 29 percent oppose a travel ban. So far, the president has flatly ruled out any ban on visitors to the U.S. from Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia, where 4,000 have so far died from Ebola.

In the last week, Ebola also began to be discussed on the campaign trail. 

In New Hampshire, Republican U.S. Senate nominee Scott Brown has linked the spread of Ebola to border security. Sen. Rand Paul (R.-Ky.), one of his party’s most in-demand campaigners, has begun to raise questions about the administration’s recent decision to send troops to Africa to combat Ebola and warned that a troop ship could become infected with the virus.

National election-watchers have started to predict that this is only the beginning of Ebola as an issue in the twilight weeks of the campaign.

As Mark Kennedy, director of the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University and former Republican U.S. Representative from Minnesota, told Newsmax: “The evolving Ebola headlines of inaccurate forecasts and missteps echoes the Obamacare rollout and contributes to a sense that we are on the wrong track."

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John-Gizzi
Amid growing signs that Ebola and how government deals with it are becoming issues in the midterm elections, the White House yesterday moved quickly to defend its performance in containing the epidemic.
Ebola, midterms, White House
446
2014-10-15
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 09:10 AM
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