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"
"Here at home," though the economy has gotten better, "wages and income have not gone up." There's also "a sense that things simply don't work in Washington and Congress in particular seems to be completely gridlocked."
"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. Now, here's the good news: first of all, progress is well within our reach, continued progress" with increased minimum wage, fair pay for women, building infrastructure, investing in early education. "We also know that the challenges overseas, as tough as they are, are ones that can be solved if we just apply the steady leadership and build the coalitions that are necessary" as we're doing in Iraq and with Ebola.
Gridlock in Washington, meanwhile, "is solvable by making sure that people actually vote in midterm elections," he said. "It's not true that we have this complete dysfunction in both parties. There's no false equivalence here. Democrats are for things the majority of the american people are for. You don't see the Democratic Party captive to some wild ideological faction."
For all that his party has going for it, in his view, "Democrats do have one congenital defect and that is that we do not vote in midterms. That's what happened in 2010 and that's what could happen this year unless we're mobilized, organized and focused."