'It's not an outbreak or an epidemic here.'6:58 PM, Oct 20, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama discussed the Ebola virus in remarks at Democratic fundraiser in Chicago this evening. Ebola "has been the only story here in the United States for the last couple of weeks," Obama said.
But the commander in chief, who's called Ebola a national security threat, added, "It's not an outbreak or an epidemic here."
Obama also ticked off some of the world hotspots and said, "So you have this sense of uncertainty overseas."
He added, "And so all of this adds together to a sense on the part of folks that the institutions they rely on to apply common sense decisions and to look out for working families across the country, that those institutions aren't working the way they're supposed to."
Here's the pool report:
Fundraiser is inside a very nice rowhouse. Pool spotted a swimming pool when leaving the house. No big news but some color and fresh quotes on Ebola. Please check against transcript. And thanks to Katie Zezima for filling out the Malia and Sasha quote.
Host Barbara Manilow jokes: "you are the only person who has brought all three of my children home for a weekend" as she introduces POTUS. "We want to do what little we can to help" make sure he has a Senate that will work with him.
"When I look around I see folks who had my back very early on ... It's good to be home, especially when the weather is reasonable," he said. He's glad he was a reason to bring Manilow's kids home for the weekend and then talked briefly about his daughters. "We're starting to get to that point where Malia and Sasha are projecting out and thinking of their escape. And, you know, sometimes I start getting a little choked up when I look at them because they're growing up too fast."
Obama thanked DNC finance chair Henry Munoz for coming, noted his fashion sense and then joked, "I try a tan suit and that's like, folks go crazy." Maybe Munoz can offer him some post-presidency tips, he added.
He said that when he comes back to his house here, there's some stuff that's been sitting there since before he took office. "There's still some junk on my desk, including some unpaid bills," he said. "We always thought we'd be back every month and we'd get everything filed." But that didn't happen. Looking back at old newspaper articles, though, he's reminded of the great recession and other challenges he faced when taking office.
"Although the direct threats against us are not imminent ," they do have a "destabilizing effect we have to pay attention to," Obama said, mentioning ISIL and challenges in Iraq. Ebola "has been the only story here in the United States for the last couple of weeks. It's not an outbreak or an epidemic here."
"So far, we've only got one person dying of Ebola but people are understandably concerned in part because they've seen what's happened in Africa. This is a virulent disease and it is up to us to once again mobilize the world's community to do something about it, to make sure that not only we're helping on a humanitarian basis those countries but we're not seeing a continued epidemic and outbreak that can have a serious impact here." Obama added another concern to the list of global worries: "The situation in Ukraine and Russia's aggression, that has concerned people."
Summing it up, he said: "So you have this sense of uncertainty overseas"
3:28 PM, Oct 20, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Victorino Matus, writing for the Wall Street Journal:
Is Tito ’s Handmade Vodka really handmade? Would it taste any less good if it weren’t anymore?
Type “handmade vodka” into Google and the first two pages of results are about one brand: Tito’s Handmade Vodka from Austin, Texas. You could say the “handmade” descriptive is essential to its identity, along with small-batch, craft-distilled, folksy even. The ads and website images show founder Bert “Tito” Beveridge in jeans and a button-down, standing proudly next to his potstill, sitting atop cases of his product, or beside his faithful dogs. On the label, aside from “handmade,” are the words “Crafted in an Old Fashioned Pot Still by America’s Original Microdistillery.”
But in the summer of 2013, Forbes published “The Troubling Success Of Tito’s Handmade Vodka.” As its author Meghan Casserly explains, “Tito’s has exploded from a 16-gallon pot still in 1997 to a 26-acre operation that produced 850,000 cases last year, up 46 percent from 2011, pulling in an estimated $85 million in revenue.” She also describes “massive buildings containing ten floor-to-ceiling stills and bottling 500 cases an hour.”
So it was inevitable: On Sept. 15, lawyers representing Gary Hofmann in California filed a class-action lawsuit, alleging that Tito’s “manufactured, marketed, and/or sold . . . ‘Tito’s Handmade’ Vodka to the California general public with the false representation that the Vodka was ‘handmade’ when, in actuality, the Vodka is made via a highly-mechanized process that is devoid of human hands.”
Whole thing here.
2:59 PM, Oct 20, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
A new poll of the New Hampshire Senate race from Suffolk University finds Republican challenger Scott Brown within three points of Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen. According to the poll of likely voters, Shaheen has 49 percent support to Brown's 46 percent support. Shaheen's job approval/disapproval rating is an even split at 46 percent. Brown's favorable and unfavorbale ratings are 39 percent and 48 percent, respectively.
The poll shows a big bump in support for Brown, who in Suffolk's poll in June had just 39 percent support. Shaheen's support remains the same from that June poll, 49 percent. Overall, Shaheen has a 2.5-point lead in the Real Clear Politics average of polls. The race remains a toss-up.
This week's Suffolk poll also found that disapproval of Barack Obama's job as president among New Hampshire's likely voters at 56 percent, and 50 percent said they do not trust the federal government to handle the current Ebola crisis.
On Saturday Brown reiterated his support for a travel ban to and from those West African countries where Ebola virus inspection is widespread. The Republican wrote an open letter to Shaheen urging her to "reconsider" her opposition to such a ban.
Update: Shaheen reportedly says she now supports a ban:
2:35 PM, Oct 20, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The Democrats "are completely out of ideas." That line isn't from the head of the Republican National Committee; it's what the Democrats are saying in their latest fundraising pitch.
"We are completely out of ideas," reads the opening of an email from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
After President Clinton emailed you this morning to ask for help, we really thought we would be in a better place.But we aren't. The Koch Brothers, Karl Rove, and the other Republican outside groups are spending millions against us. It's the biggest spending spree of any midterm election EVER. So big -- it doesn't even look like President Clinton's email can dig us out of this hole.There is still time, though. Things are rough, but we’re not ready to accept defeat. If we can bring in 5O,OOO donations before tomorrow’s ad buy deadline, we can get back on track. Will you answer President Clinton’s call-to-action today?
Next the DCCC suggests a $5 donation.
12:22 PM, Oct 20, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Hospitals seeking guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on clothing and equipment to use to protect health care workers dealing with known or suspected Ebola patients may have to wait another day for official recommendations. As THE WEEKLY STANDARD noted this morning, hospitals are currently without guidance from the CDC on this issue after the old guidelines were deleted from the CDC website and replaced with a message that "PPE [Personal Protective Equipment] Recommendations are forthcoming." When questioned via email this morning regarding the new recommendations, the CDC's media office responded, "The PPE Guidelines will go out today or possibly tomorrow." The CDC did not respond to a question about what hospitals should do in the meantime.
The old recommendations can be found on an archived version of the website from last Friday and appear below:
11:44 AM, Oct 20, 2014 • By ELLEN BORK
Representatives of the student led democracy protests in Hong Kong are due to enter into a dialogue with the Hong Kong government on Tuesday. The prospects for success are not good. The two sides are far apart, with the government saying it will not even discuss the protesters’ chief demand – the democratic election of the chief executive of Hong Kong’s 7.2 million people and, specifically, the candidacy of individuals that Beijing would bar as insufficiently loyal to the Communist party.
A lot rides on the talks. If the government, and top officials in Beijing, are not willing even to discuss the reason for the protests, there is little chance that further disruption and violence, some of which has been engineered by pro-Beijing criminal elements, can be avoided.
The protests, known as the Umbrella movement, began a month ago with a student boycott of classes which then merged with a long planned civil disobedience campaign to “occupy” Hong Kong’s central business district, if as expected, Beijing blocked democratic elections for the chief executive. That indeed happened on August 31, when Beijing issued a ruling that only candidates acceptable to Beijing would be allowed to run for the top office. The future of Hong Kong’s half-elected legislature remains undecided, but it too will be affected by Beijing’s political litmus test and interference in Hong Kong affairs.
An earlier round of talks, scheduled for October 10, foundered when the Hong Kong government withdrew, claiming protesters’ efforts to rally support on the streets and cooperate with pro-democracy politicians constituted bad faith. That’s the pot calling the kettle black, considering that the Communist party mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, has published a steady stream of attacks on the protesters. On Sunday, a commentary impugned them again, this time for supposedly seeking independence, a dangerous accusation from a Communist party paranoid about threats to its territorial integrity and political control. As if on cue, Beijing’s appointed chief executive, Leung Chun-ying, said on television that the demonstrations are “not entirely a domestic movement,” raising the prospect that the protesters will be smeared as foreign agents.
Leung has asserted that the possibility Beijing will change its position is “almost nil.” Apparently, that’s what the leaders of the world’s democracies think too. There is no sign the Obama administration is serious about advancing democracy in Hong Kong. On October 17-18, Secretary of State John Kerry hosted talks in Boston with Yang Jiechi, a top Chinese envoy, to prepare for President Obama’s upcoming visit to Beijing in November for APEC meetings.
10:38 AM, Oct 20, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Rebecca Kaplan of CBS reports that the White House has an explanation for why Ron Klain was appointed "Ebola Czar.” It’s very simple. You see:
... the chief management credential that qualifies Klain for the job is his experience in helping to implement the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the 2009 stimulus package that poured about $800 billion into the troubled U.S. economy by way of tax breaks, investments and entitlements.
We’ll see if Ebola plays political favorites.
But would it be counterproductive?9:29 AM, Oct 20, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Amid increasing calls for a travel or visa ban on those trying to enter the United States from West African nations ravaged by the Ebola virus, the federal government continues to be steadfastly opposed. But why? Officials continue to argue that the travel ban would make it more difficult to track potentially infectious people who somehow enter the U.S. anyway.
On ABC's This Week Sunday, host George Stephanopoulos asked Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the public face of the NIH, why the U.S. shouldn't institute the ban. Stephanopolous pointed out that countries in Africa neighboring those Ebola-stricken nations have imposed travel restrictions with success. "If it was working in Africa, why wouldn't it work here in the United States?" he asked.
"Well, George, I think one needs to understand that, people who say that, we respect that opinion, and we understand that there's some rationale for that," Fauci says. "But when you look at what the possible side bad effects [sic] would be in the sense of counterproductive, is that when people come in from a country, it's much easier to track them if you know where they're coming from. But what you do if you then completely ban travel, there's the feasibility of going to other countries where we don't have a travel ban and have people come in."
Watch the video below:
Later in the program, the boss debated the issue with Tavis Smiley, Mary Matalin, and Stephanie Schriock. The panel also discussed the political implications of the Ebola outbreak.
Watch the video below:
8:55 AM, Oct 20, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
A day after President Obama appointed Ron Klain as Ebola czar to deal with the potential spread of the virus in this country, the Centers for Disease Control updated its website that contains recommendations for hospitals dealing with known or suspected cases of Ebola. In place of detailed recommendations for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for hospital personnel, the page was changed to say "PPE Recommendations are forthcoming." Here is a screen capture of the page from Friday, October 17, 2014:
Here is the same section the following day, Saturday, October 18, 2014:
Fox News reported this morning that "[n]ew guidelines for the treatment of Ebola expected to be issued Monday," but as of Monday morning, the website still lacked any PPE recommendations, and the page indicates it was last updated on October 18. The AP reported Sunday that "CDC guidance was expected as early as Saturday, but its release has been pushed back while it continues to go through review by experts and government officials."
An email Monday morning to the CDC, asking when the new recommendations would be out and what should hospitals do in the meantime, was not immediately returned.
Admits he lives in a "bubble."7:45 AM, Oct 20, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama does not want to be a Supreme Court justice. He calls it "too monastic" for his own personality. Besides, in an interview with the New Yorker, President Obama acknowledges that he needs to get out of the "bubble" after what will be eight years as president of the United States.
“I love the law, intellectually,” the president tell the New Yorker, which says he sounds "tempted" at the idea of being on the Court. “I love nutting out these problems, wrestling with these arguments. I love teaching. I miss the classroom and engaging with students. But I think being a Justice is a little bit too monastic for me. Particularly after having spent six years and what will be eight years in this bubble, I think I need to get outside a little bit more.”
Here's the full anecdote from the lengthy piece on Obama and the courts:
As Marine One thundered overhead, about to land on the White House lawn and take Obama to a series of political fund-raisers, I asked him if, like William Howard Taft, he entertained thoughts of serving as a judge later in his career. “When I got out of law school, I chose not to clerk,” he said. “Partly because I was an older student, but partly because I don’t think I have the temperament to sit in a chamber and write opinions.” But he sounded tempted by the idea.
“I love the law, intellectually,” Obama went on. “I love nutting out these problems, wrestling with these arguments. I love teaching. I miss the classroom and engaging with students. But I think being a Justice is a little bit too monastic for me. Particularly after having spent six years and what will be eight years in this bubble, I think I need to get outside a little bit more.”
7:52 PM, Oct 19, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Speaking to the overflow crowd at a campaign rally at Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. High School in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, President Obama urged the crowd to make sure "cousin Pookie" voted in November's election.
"[I]t’s not enough just for you to vote. You’ve got to get your family to vote. You’ve got to get your friends to vote. You’ve got to get your coworkers to vote. You’ve got to get that cousin Pookie sitting at home on the couch," Obama said to laughter from the crowd, "he’s watching football right now instead of being here at the rally -- you’ve got to talk to him and let him know it is not that hard to exercise the franchise that previous generations fought so hard to obtain. If we do that, then you’re not only going to be able to continue a great legacy here in Maryland, but you’re also going to have one of the finest young public servants leading the charge here in Maryland."
The rally was for Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, who's running to be the next governor of Maryland.
The overflow crowd was for those who weren't able to find an empty seat in the main hall where President Obama spoke. But inside, once Obama got going, some in the main crowd began to file out.
6:21 PM, Oct 19, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
As President Obama tried to rally Democrats in Maryland, the crowd began to leave. "Remarks are open press, but one unusual thing that fellow veterans of campaign rallies confirm: some in the crowd started leaving as soon as Obama started speaking and by the time he was about 10 minutes in, there was a traffic jam next to the pool's tables as folks tried to exit the gym," reports the White House pool reporter.
Via the pool:
Remarks are open press, but one unusual thing that fellow veterans of campaign rallies confirm: some in the crowd started leaving as soon as Obama started speaking and by the time he was about 10 minutes in, there was a traffic jam next to the pool's tables as folks tried to exit the gym. As that was going on, a young man started shouting. Pool couldn't tell what he was saying but as he was taken out of the room, we could see his sign, which read "#not1more," a reference to the deportation of immigrants. As the man screamed, the crowd drowned him out, chanting, "Obama! Obama!"
8:20 AM, Oct 19, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Democrat Mark Udall may be trying to have it both ways on the issue of Common Core standards in education. In an interview with ABC-7 News in Denver, the senator from Colorado was asked a series of questions designed to elicit simple, one-word answers. Reporter Marc Stewart asked this: "Is Common Core good or bad for Colorado students?"
"Yes," replied Udall. Watch the video, from Friday, below:
It's not clear from Udall's campaign website what his position is on Common Core.
The interview did show Udall confirming his support for Obamacare, a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, and "placing restrictions for gun buyers." The Democrat also struggled to name the three most influential books he's read.
Udall is up for reelection against Republican challenger Cory Gardner, who has led in the last four polls and has a 3-point lead in the Real Clear Politics average of polls.
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