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WHITE HOUSE VIDEO MESSAGE: Fighting against Ebola

Barack Obama's White House Presidential Office (D) posted a Press Release on October 25, 2014 | 1:05 pm - Original Item - Comments (View)

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 25, 2014

WHITE HOUSE VIDEO MESSAGE: Fighting against Ebola

WASHINGTON, DC – In this week’s address, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz discussed the measures we are taking to respond to Ebola cases at home, while containing the epidemic at its source in West Africa.  This week we continued to focus on domestic preparedness, with the creation of new CDC guidelines and the announcement of new travel measures ensuring all travelers from the three affected countries are directed to and screened at one of five airports. 

The audio of the address and video of the message will be available online HERE.

Remarks of Cecilia Muñoz

Spanish Weekly Address

The White House

October 25, 2014

Hi everyone, my name is Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy. I want to share some basic data about Ebola. First, Ebola cannot be contracted easily. It cannot be contracted through casual contact with someone, or solely riding the metro or bus. The only way to contract this virus is to come into direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone who is experiencing the symptoms. That’ the science. Those are the facts.

It’s important to remember that of the seven Americans treated so far for Ebola—the five who contracted it in West Africa, plus the two nurses from Dallas—all seven have survived. Let me repeat this again: seven patients were treated; and all seven lived. Now we are focused on making sure that the patient in New York also receives the best medical attention.

This week we continue strengthening our efforts across the country. New CDC guidelines and outreach is helping hospitals improve training and protect their health care workers.

New travel measures are now directing all travelers from the three affected countries in West Africa into five U.S. airports where we’re conducting additional screening. Here at the White House, our new Ebola response coordinator is working to ensure a seamless response across the federal government. And we’ll continue to take whatever steps are needed as we work to ensure the safety and health of the American people.

Here’s the bottom line. Patients can beat this disease. We can beat this disease. But we have to stay vigilant. We have to work together at every level—federal, state and local. And we have to keep leading the global response, because the best way to stop this disease, the best way to keep Americans safe, is to stop it at its source—in West Africa.

And we have to be guided by the science—the facts, not fear. Yesterday, New Yorkers showed us the way. They did what they do every day—jumping on buses, riding the subway, crowding into elevators, heading into work, visiting the parks. That spirit—that determination to carry on—is part of what makes New York one of the great cities in the world. And that’s the spirit we can all learn as we meet this challenge together.

###

Weekly Address: Focused on the Fight Against Ebola

Barack Obama's White House Presidential Office (D) posted a Blog Post on October 25, 2014 | 6:00 am - Original Item - Comments (View)
President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Oct. 24, 2014.

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Oct. 24, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

In this week’s address, the President discussed the measures we are taking to respond to Ebola cases at home, while containing the epidemic at its source in West Africa. This week, we continued to focus on domestic preparedness, with the creation of new CDC guidelines and the announcement of new travel measures ensuring all travelers from the three affected countries are directed to and screened at one of five airports.

The President emphasized that it’s important to follow the facts, rather than fear, as New Yorkers did yesterday when they stuck to their daily routine. Ebola is not an easily transmitted disease, and America is leading the world in the fight to stamp it out in West Africa.

Transcript | mp4 | mp3

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Weekly Address: Focused on the Fight Against Ebola

Barack Obama's White House Presidential Office (D) posted a Press Release on October 25, 2014 | 6:00 am - Original Item - Comments (View)

WASHINGTON, DC — In this week’s address, the President discussed the measures we are taking to respond to Ebola cases at home, while containing the epidemic at its source in West Africa.  This week we continued to focus on domestic preparedness, with the creation of new CDC guidelines and the announcement of new travel measures ensuring all travelers from the three affected countries are directed to and screened at one of five airports.  The President emphasized that it’s important to follow the facts, rather than fear, as New Yorkers did yesterday when they stuck to their daily routine. Ebola is not an easily transmitted disease, and America is leading the world in the fight to stamp it out in West Africa.

The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. ET, October 25, 2014.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
October 25, 2014

Hi everybody, this week, we remained focused on our fight against Ebola.  In Dallas, dozens of family, friends and others who had been in close contact with the first patient, Mr. Duncan, were declared free of Ebola—a reminder that this disease is actually very hard to catch.  Across Dallas, others being monitored—including health care workers who were most at risk—were also declared Ebola-free.

Two Americans—patients in Georgia and Nebraska who contracted the disease in West Africa—recovered and were released from the hospital.  The first of the two Dallas nurses who were diagnosed—Nina Pham—was declared Ebola free, and yesterday I was proud to welcome her to the Oval Office and give her a big hug.  The other nurse—Amber Vinson—continues to improve as well.  And in Africa, the countries of Senegal and Nigeria were declared free of Ebola—a reminder that this disease can be contained and defeated.

In New York City, medical personnel moved quickly to isolate and care for the patient there—a doctor who recently returned from West Africa.  The city and state of New York have strong public health systems, and they’ve been preparing for this possibility.  Because of the steps we’ve taken in recent weeks, our CDC experts were already at the hospital, helping staff prepare for this kind of situation.  Before the patient was even diagnosed, we deployed one of our new CDC rapid response teams. And I’ve assured Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio that they’ll have all the federal support they need as they go forward. 

More broadly, this week we continued to step up our efforts across the country.  New CDC guidelines and outreach is helping hospitals improve training and protect their health care workers.  The Defense Department’s new team of doctors, nurses and trainers will respond quickly if called upon to help. 

New travel measures are now directing all travelers from the three affected countries in West Africa into five U.S. airports where we’re conducting additional screening.  Starting this week, these travelers will be required to report their temperatures and any symptoms on a daily basis—for 21 days until we’re confident they don’t have Ebola.  Here at the White House, my new Ebola response coordinator is working to ensure a seamless response across the federal government.  And we have been examining the protocols for protecting our brave health care workers, and, guided by the science, we’ll continue to work with state and local officials to take the necessary steps to ensure the safety and health of the American people.

In closing, I want to leave you with some basic facts.  First, you cannot get Ebola easily.  You can’t get it through casual contact with someone.  Remember, down in Dallas, even Mr. Duncan’s family—who lived with him and helped care for him—even they did not get Ebola.  The only way you can get this disease is by coming into direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone with symptoms.  That’s the science.  Those are the facts.

Sadly, Mr. Duncan did not survive, and we continue to keep his family in our prayers.  At the same time, it’s important to remember that of the seven Americans treated so far for Ebola—the five who contracted it in West Africa, plus the two nurses from Dallas—all seven have survived.  Let me say that again—seven Americans treated; all seven survived.  I’ve had two of them in the Oval Office.  And now we’re focused on making sure the patient in New York receives the best care as well. 

Here’s the bottom line.  Patients can beat this disease.  And we can beat this disease.  But we have to stay vigilant.  We have to work together at every level—federal, state and local.  And we have to keep leading the global response, because the best way to stop this disease, the best way to keep Americans safe, is to stop it at its source—in West Africa.

And we have to be guided by the science—we have to be guided by the facts, not fear.  Yesterday, New Yorkers showed us the way. They did what they do every day—jumping on buses, riding the subway, crowding into elevators, heading into work, gathering in parks.  That spirit—that determination to carry on—is part of what makes New York one of the great cities in the world.  And that’s the spirit all of us can draw upon, as Americans, as we meet this challenge together.

Weekly Address: Focused on the Fight Against Ebola

Barack Obama's White House Presidential Office (D) posted a Audio Clip on October 25, 2014 | 5:00 am - Original Item - Comments (View)
In this week's address, the President discusses the measures we are taking to respond to Ebola cases at home, while containing the epidemic at its source in West Africa.

Weekly Address: Focused on the Fight Against Ebola

Barack Obama's White House Presidential Office (D) posted a Video on October 25, 2014 | 5:00 am - Original Item - Comments (View)
In this week's address, the President discusses the measures we are taking to respond to Ebola cases at home, while containing the epidemic at its source in West Africa.

Weekly Address: Focused on the Fight Against Ebola

Barack Obama's White House Presidential Office (D) posted a Video (YouTube) on October 25, 2014 | 4:30 am - Original Item - Comments (View)
In this week's address, the President discusses the measures we are taking to respond to Ebola cases at home, while containing the epidemic at its source in West Africa. October 25, 2014.
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Mensaje De La Casa Blanca

Barack Obama's White House Presidential Office (D) posted a Video (YouTube) on October 25, 2014 | 4:00 am - Original Item - Comments (View)
En el mensaje de esta semana, Cecilia Muñoz habló sobre las medidas que estamos tomando para responder a los casos del Ébola en el país, mientras trabajamos para contener la epidemia en...
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Time: 03:19 More in News & Politics

Remarks by the First Lady at a Grassroots Campaign Event with Democratic Candidate for Senate Mark Udall -- Denver, Colorado

Barack Obama's White House Presidential Office (D) posted a Press Release on October 24, 2014 | 10:39 pm - Original Item - Comments (View)

Exdo Center
Denver, Colorado

1:13 P.M. MDT
 
MRS. OBAMA:  Hey!  (Applause.)  How are you guys doing?  Are we ready to get this done?  (Applause.)  Good.  I’m really thrilled to be here today.  Can you all hear me?
 
AUDIENCE:  Yes!
 
MRS. OBAMA:  All right, I can’t tell.  You can hear me?  (Applause.)  I’m very excited to be here today to support your outstanding Senator, Mark Udall.  (Applause.)
 
Now, as I’m sure you all know by now, Mark is the real deal.  In fact, I think it says a lot about Mark that years ago, he served as Executive Director of Colorado Outward Bound, and he’s spent his life scaling some of highest, hardest mountains here in this state and around the world.  And that tells you that he knows what it means to run a business, which is why he’s fought so hard to support clean energy, aerospace, and high-tech businesses here in this state so they can create good jobs here.
 
Mark’s background also tells you that he’s practical and tenacious, which is why he’s never gotten caught up in the bickering and partisanship back in Washington.  Instead, time and again, Mark has reached out across the aisles to get things done for this state.  And Mark is focused on real solutions -- that’s why I’m here -- whether it’s getting the best services for our veterans, or working to balance our budget, or ensuring that folks here in Colorado had the relief they needed after those devastating floods and the wildfires.
 
And as a fifth generation Coloradan, Mark understands what makes this state special.  He understands the values of independence and fairness -- all the things that folks here believe in.  And that’s why Mark has fought so hard to make sure women get equal pay for their work.  (Applause.)  It’s why he will always stand up for women’s right to make our own decisions about our bodies and about our health care.  (Applause.)  
 
So make no mistake about it, if you all want a Senator who truly shares your values and will keep on standing up for you and your families every day out there in Washington, then you need to do everything in your power to reelect Mark Udall as your Senator.  We’ve got to get this done, and I know that we can.  (Applause.)  
 
Now, while he couldn’t be here with us today, I also wanted to say a few words about your outstanding Governor, John Hickenlooper.  (Applause.)  Because there are a lot of good facts around your Governor.  During his time in office, Colorado’s unemployment rate dropped from 9.1 percent to 4.7 percent -- (applause) -- and Colorado went from 40th in the nation for job creation to 4th, with more than 200,000 new jobs here in this state.
 
John has balanced your budgets.  He’s invested in education.  He’s helped veterans and military spouses -- something near and dear to me -- helped them get good jobs.  And he’s done so much more.  So I think John’s record speaks for itself.
 
So when you vote to reelect Mark as your Senator, be sure to also reelect John Hickenlooper as your Governor, as well.  Let’s get it done.  (Applause.)
 
I also want to recognize a few of your outstanding Colorado leaders.  I know that Senator Michael Bennet was here earlier, and we’re going to do some more rallying it up after I leave here.  And Representative Diana Degette is here, as well.  (Applause.)  She brought me a really cool candle; I’m going to take that home.  (Laughter.)  So we’re so grateful for their leadership and for their service, as well.
 
But really, I’m here because I want to thank all of you.  Really.  So many of you have been with us from the very beginning -- (applause) -- back when we were talking about hope and change, and getting fired up and ready to go.  (Applause.)
 
And then so many of you were with us when Barack first took office, and he got a good look at the mess he’d been handed and wondered what on Earth he’d gotten himself into.  (Laughter.)  I want to take us back a little bit, to remember how bad things were back then.  See, because sometimes when things get better, we forget how bad they were.
 
But we were in full-blown crisis mode.  And I know there are young people here too young to even know.  Our economy was literally on the brink of collapse.  Wall Street banks were folding.  Businesses were losing 800,000 jobs a month -- 800,000 jobs a month.  People were panicking about whether we were headed for another Great Depression -- and that wasn’t just talk, that was a real possibility.  I could go on.  Things were bad.  And this is what Barack walked into on day one as President of the United States.
 
Now think about the way things look today, less than six years later, under your President.
 
AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Thank you, Obama!  (Applause.)
 
MRS. OBAMA:  By almost every economic measure, we are better off today than when Barack first took office.  And while, yes, I’m his wife -- I love him, I am proud of my husband, he’s doing a phenomenal job -- I say this because I have some facts.  So let me share some facts with you, because sometimes we don’t deal in facts.
 
Our businesses have created more than 10 million new jobs since 2010.  (Applause.)  This would constitute longest uninterrupted run of private sector job growth in our nation’s history -- do you hear me?  In our nation’s history.  The unemployment rate has dropped from a peak of 10 percent back in 2009 to 5.9 percent today.  (Applause.)
 
Your President has cut taxes for tens of millions of working families across this country.  (Applause.)  And last year, the number of children living in poverty decreased by 1.4 million, which is the largest drop since 1966.  (Applause.)
 
Our high school graduation rate is at a record high.  More of our young people are graduating from college than ever before, and we’re so proud of them.  Education is key for our young people.  And because of the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans have finally gotten health insurance.  (Applause.)
 
I could go on and on and on.  But I want you to just think about how different our country looks to children growing up today.  Think about how they take for granted that a black person, a woman -- anyone -- can be President of the United States of America.  (Applause.)  They take for granted that their President will end hurtful policies like “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and speak out for equality for every American.  (Applause.)
 
So while we still have plenty of work to do, we have truly made so much of that change we were talking about.  But here’s what I want you to remember, especially now -- all this didn’t just happen because we elected Barack Obama.  It happened because we also elected outstanding leaders in states across this country -- leaders like Mark Udall, who stand up for our jobs, for our kids’ education; leaders who fight to raise the minimum wage and get women equal pay for their work.  (Applause.)  
 
So it’s important for you all to be just so clear that if we want to finish what we all started together, then we need to reelect Mark Udall as your Senator.  That has got to happen.  (Applause.)
 
And we know this won’t be easy.  We know that there is too much money in politics.  Special interests have way too much influence.  But remember, they had plenty of money and plenty of influence back in 2008 and 2012, and we still won those elections.  (Applause.)  You want to know why we won?  We won because we showed up and we voted.  And at the end of the day, the folks running those special interest groups, the folks pouring millions of dollars into those elections, guess what?  They each just have one vote -- and so do all of us.
 
And ultimately, the only thing that counts are those votes.  That’s what decides elections in this country.  And that’s why Barack Obama is President right now.  (Applause.)  He’s President because a bunch of people who never voted before showed up in 2008 and 2012.
 
And a lot of people were shocked when Barack won, because they were counting on folks like us to stay home.  But, see, we proved them wrong.  Barack won because record numbers of women and minorities and young people showed up to vote.  (Applause.)  Remember that.
 
See, but then what happened is that when the midterms came along, too many of our people just tuned out.  And that’s what folks on the other side are counting on this year.  Because when we stay home, they win.  So they’re assuming that we won’t care.  They’re hoping that we won’t be organized and energized.  They’re praying that we just stay put.  And only we can prove them wrong.
 
So make no mistake about it, this race is going to be tight.  We know that races like this can be won or lost by just a few thousand, even a few hundred votes -- understand this.
 
Just think back to the Senate race here in Colorado in 2010.  The outcome of that election was decided by about 14,000 votes.  And while that might sound like a lot, when you break that number down, that’s just five votes per precinct.  I want you to really take that in.  Because I go around the country and break these numbers down, and the margin of difference of victory and defeat, the numbers are countable.
 
So I want people to think before they forget to mail in their ballot, or when they’re thinking about the calls that we need you to make -- that every call that you make, every person that you turn around will absolutely make the difference.
 
And I know that everyone here in this room alone -- every single one of you -- knows five people that you can get to vote for Mark Udall, right?  You know five people who didn’t bother to vote in the last midterm elections.  You know these folks.
 
So understand that this one is on us.  These are our folks that we’re talking about getting to vote.  These are people who support Mark, who support this President, who support the issues.  And it’s up to us just to get them out there.  We can’t wait around for anyone else to do this for us.
 
If we want to keep on making change here in Colorado, then we need to take responsibility, and to work to make it happen.  Because we all know that the real problem isn’t that people don’t care.  Or course we care, right?  We care deeply about what’s happening in our communities.  We care deeply about justice and equality.  We care deeply about giving our kids opportunities they never dreamed of.
 
But the fact is that sometimes folks get busy.  Folks are juggling demands at home, the needs of their families.  Sometimes people just aren’t informed about the issues at stake in this election.  Sometimes they just don’t know how to make their voices heard on Election Day.  Some people don’t even know that election is happening.
 
So that’s why you all are here.  It’s up to us to educate folks and make sure they know how to cast their votes in this election.  That’s your job.  That’s what we’re counting on.  (Applause.)  That’s why I’m here.  It’s up to us to get out and, first, to vote ourselves.
 
So first of all, I want to know how many people here have already voted.  (Applause.)  All right, that’s still not everybody.  (Laughter.)  So that starts with voting, here in this room.  And voting by mail, voting early, in person -- all that -- it’s the easiest thing you can do.
 
If you vote by mail, be sure to put your ballot in the mail today, or as soon as possible, with two stamps.  Two -- do you -- two stamps.  Or you can just bring your early-voting ballot to the voting location nearest you.  You can also vote early in person from now until Election Day.
 
However you decide to vote, don’t wait another minute.  Do it today.  Just promise me that everybody in this room will vote today.  In fact, do it as soon as this event is over.  (Applause.)  Think about those five people as you do it.
 
And that’s really my key message today:  to vote as soon as you can, and get everyone you know to vote with you -- everyone.  Call your friends, your family.  You -- everybody knows somebody who’s sitting on the couch right now who’s not even focused on this.  Find that person in your lives, just shake them up -- (laughter) -- and make sure they put those ballots in the mail, or they get out to the polls.
 
And then we need all of you, every one of you to volunteer.  That’s how it happens.  That’s how we get votes done.  That’s how we did it in the past elections -- making those calls, knocking on those doors.  I know so many of you are already doing that, but we’ve just got a few more days to go.
 
So this isn’t a lot of time.  So everybody here can be a part of pulling another five people in just by calling them on the phone and saying, hey, did you know an election was coming up, get your ballot.
 
AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Yes, we can!
 
MRS. OBAMA:  Yes, we can do this!  (Applause.)  See, that’s the thing:  We absolutely can do this.  And we need you to go to MarkUdall.com -- MarkUdall.com.  And I know there are enough young people here who can help the technologically challenged of us to do that -- right, young people?  (Applause.)
 
But better yet, you can sign up with one of the organizers that are here today.  There are clipboards all around, so don’t leave here until you volunteer.  It’s a few hours out of your time, and it will absolutely make a difference.  Don’t wait another minute to get started because we’ve got less than two weeks until Election Day.
 
And we all need to be as passionate and as hungry for this election as we were back in 2008 and 2012.  In fact, we need to be even more passionate and even more hungry, because these midterm races will be even harder and even closer than those presidential elections -- but they’re just as important.  Do you hear me?  They’re just as important.
 
And the stakes this year simply could not be higher.  Because if we don’t elect leaders like Mark who will put our families first instead of fighting for special interests, then we know exactly what will happen.  We will see more folks interfering in women’s private decisions about our health care.  We’ll see more opposition to immigration reform and raising the minimum wage for hard-working folks.
 
So let’s be very clear:  If you don’t think people who work 40 or 50 hours a week should have to live in poverty in the wealthiest nation on the planet; if you don’t want women’s bosses making decisions about their birth control; if you think women should get equal pay for equal work; if you want your kids to have quality preschool and the college education they need to fulfill every last bit of their God-given potential, then you all need to stand up and get everyone you know to stand up and vote for Mark Udall.  We can make this happen.  (Applause.)
 
That’s what’s at stake in these elections –- it’s the kind of country we want to leave for our kids and grandkids.  And those kids are counting on us to stand up for them.  If you want to know the thing that keeps me and Barack going, it’s thinking about our kids in this country.  Because we know these kids.  They’re everywhere, and they’re counting on us.
 
And I meet them everywhere -- kids like a young man named Lawrence Lawson, who worked with me on my Reach Higher initiative.  This young man’s father died when he was eight years old.  Then at the age of nine, this kid suffered a major seizure where he had to learn to read and walk and speak again.  Then at 12, his mother died, and this kid was passed from his aunt in Atlanta to his sister in Baltimore.
 
But see, the beauty of Lawrence is that no matter what was going on in his life, whatever chaos was surrounding him, this kid did his best in school.  He joined the marching bank.  He interned at Johns Hopkins Hospital.  And he graduated as the valedictorian of his high school class.  (Applause.)
 
And as I travel across this country, I meet so many kids just like Lawrence.  I know that right now in this crowd, there are kids like Lawrence -- these are our kids.  Kids who wake up early and take the long route to school to avoid the gangs -- these are our kids.  Kids who juggle afterschool jobs to support their families, stay up late to get their homework done -- these are our kids.  Kids whose parents don’t speak a word of English, but who are fighting every day to realize their dream of a better life.
 
This is what’s at stake.  These kids have every reason to give up, but they are so hungry to succeed.  They are so desperate to lift themselves up.  And that’s what we have to remember.  We’re here today because of them.  Because if those kids never give up, then neither will we.  We will never give up on these kids.
 
So between now and November 4th, we need to be energized for them.  We need to be inspired for them.  We need to pour everything that we have into this election so that they can have the opportunities they need to build the futures they deserve.
 
So that’s why we’re here.  That’s why we’re here.  That’s why those five votes just don’t make sense.  We cannot let this election go, because it will have an impact on our children that they will feel for a very long time.
 
So are you guys ready for this?  (Applause.)  We got two weeks of hard work, two weeks of knocking on doors, two weeks for voting, two weeks of calling.  We can get our people out, and we can get them to vote.  And when we do that, we will get Mark Udall into office.  We’ll reelect John Hickenlooper.  We will keep working for that change we believe in.  And we will keep building a better future for our children.
 
Thank you all so much.  (Applause.)
 
END  
1:30 P.M. MDT

Remarks by the First Lady at a Grassroots Campaign Event with Democratic Candidate for Governor John Hickenlooper and Democratic Candidate for Senate Mark Udall -- Fort Collins, Colorado

Barack Obama's White House Presidential Office (D) posted a Press Release on October 24, 2014 | 10:39 pm - Original Item - Comments (View)

Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado

:21 P.M. MDT
 
MRS. OBAMA:  This is a crowd!  Oh, my goodness!  Yes!  (Applause.)  Look at you guys.  You all are fired up, I love it.  Oh, my goodness.  You guys sound so good.  This sounds like a lot of work is going to be happening, right?  (Applause.)  Thank you guys so much. 
 
AUDIENCE MEMBER:  I see you, First Lady!
 
MRS. OBAMA:  I see you!  I see you -- see you!  (Applause.)  Now I want to see you vote.  (Applause.)  Well, if you haven’t noticed, I’m thrilled to be here at CSU with all of you guys.  And I’m thrilled to be here to support your Senator and Governor, our friends Mark Udall and John Hickenlooper.  Let’s give them a big round of applause.  (Applause.) 
 
Now, I just want to start with Mark, because I think it says a lot about Mark that, as you heard, years ago, he served as the Executive Director of Colorado Outward Bound.  And he’s spent his life scaling some of biggest, baddest mountains here in this state and around the world.  That’s pretty cool.
 
That tells you that he knows what it means to run a business, which is why he has fought to support clean energy, aerospace, and high-tech businesses here in this state so that they can keep creating good jobs.  Mark’s background also tells us that he is practical and tenacious, which is why Mark has reached out across party lines out in Washington.  And he’s focused on real solutions, like getting the best services for our veterans, working to balance our budget, ensuring that folks in this state had the relief they needed after those devastating floods and wildfires.  (Applause.)
 
So this is a man after my own heart.  And he’s a good family man, too, a decent man, man with good values. 
 
And as for your Governor, John, you heard -- his record as Governor speaks for itself.  (Applause.)  I want to repeat this, because during his time in office, Colorado’s unemployment rate dropped from 9.1 percent to 4.7 percent.  That’s what your Governor did.  (Applause.)  Your Governor took this state from 40th to 4th in the nation in the creation of jobs.  That’s amazing -- 200,000 new jobs in this state.  (Applause.)  That’s important work.
 
John has passed four balanced budgets with bipartisan support.  He’s started restoring funding in education, which is so important.  (Applause.)  Yes to education!  (Applause.)  It is absolutely the most important thing we can be doing in this country, without a doubt.
 
John has worked with businesses and environmental groups to adopt clean air standards.  He’s helped our veterans and our military spouses, which is near and dear to my heart.  He’s done so much for this state.  
 
And I just want to tell you that Mark and John both understand the values of independence and fairness that folks here in Colorado believe in.  That’s why they fought to raise the minimum wage; as you heard, get women equal pay for their work, and will stand up for women’s rights to make our decisions about our own bodies.  That’s what’s at stake.  (Applause.) 
 
So this is why I’m here.  This is why this race is so important.  If you all want a Senator and a Governor who share your values, and who will be there for you and your families every single day, then we’ve got to get this done.  You need to reelect Mark Udall as your Senator and John Hickenlooper as your Governor.  You guys, we can get this done.  We can get this done.  (Applause.) 
 
I just want to also recognize a couple of other outstanding Colorado leaders we have here today.  We’ve got Senator Bennet, of course, Congressman Jared Polis.  (Applause.)  And your next State Treasurer, former Congresswoman Betsy Markey.  They’re all here.  We’re so grateful for their leadership and for their service.
 
But I’m here also because I want to thank all of you.  Really.  (Applause.) 
 
AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you, Michelle!  (Applause.)
 
MRS. OBAMA:  And let me tell you, I love you guys.  Because the students here -- and while I love everyone, but -- (laughter) -- but I’m so proud of our young people, because you all are the next generation.  For you all, this is important.  And you all are important to us. 
 
And that’s why I’m so excited to see so many young people.  Because this election is really about you guys.  It’s about your hopes and your dreams, and the world that you want to pass onto your kids and your grandkids.  That’s why I get all passionate about this stuff.  (Applause.)  We’re handing this over to you.  And I know your President wants to make sure he doesn’t hand you a mess.  (Applause.) 
 
So these elections are important.  But here’s the thing:  Despite that fundamental truth -- that elections are important -- I know that too many young people feel that elections just don’t matter; that politics doesn’t really make a difference so why bother to show up and vote.  So if there’s anyone here who feels this way, or knows someone who feels this way, I just want you to consider some facts.  I want you to think about all the change that we’ve seen these past six years under President Barack Obama.  (Applause.) 
 
Now, some of you may be too young to really remember what things were like back in 2008 when Barack first took office, because you guys were young.  (Laughter.)  But let me just break it down, because sometimes when things are better, we don’t really have a sense of how bad things were.  But things were bad.
 
Our economy was literally on the brink of collapse, and that is not an exaggeration.  Wall Street banks were folding.  You can imagine -- folding.  We were losing 800,000 jobs every month -- every month.  People were worried about whether we were headed for another Great Depression -- can you imagine that?  And that wasn’t just talk, that was a real possibility. 
 
This was just some of the mess that Barack was handed on day one as President of the United States.  And I could go on.  (Laughter and applause.)  But I don’t want to dwell on the past, because we’re living in a better future.  (Applause.) 
 
So now I want you to think about how things look today, just six years later.  Think about this as you wonder whether politics matters, whether voting matters. 
 
By almost every economic measure, we are better off today than when Barack first took office.  Why?  Our businesses have created more than 10 million new jobs since 2010 -- do you hear me?  This is the longest -- this marks the longest uninterrupted run of private sector job growth in our nation’s history.  (Applause.)  The unemployment rate for young people is down from a high of about 10.6 percent in 2009 to 6.2 percent today. 
 
More young people are graduating from college than ever before.  (Applause.)  And here’s something that you might be feeling right now -- your President has helped to expand financial aid.  (Applause.)  Yes!  And for millions of students, we’re going to be capping federal student loan payments at no more than 10 percent of your income, because we believe that you shouldn’t be buried in debt when you’re just starting out in life, like me and the President were.  (Laughter.)  So we understand what this means for you. 
 
Under the Affordable Care Act, millions of young people have health care because they can now stay on their parents’ insurance until they’re 26 years old.  (Applause.)  So when you graduate from school, if you can’t find a job right away, if you’re trying to do something entrepreneurial, if you’re trying to do something creative, you won’t be left out in the cold just praying that you don’t get sick or hurt -- which was the case before the Affordable Care Act.  (Applause.)  
 
And for the last six years, we’ve had a President who shares our most fundamental values; a President who ends hurtful policies like “don’t ask, don’t tell;” a President who truly believes that everyone in this country should have a chance to succeed no matter what they look like, how much money they have, or who they love.  (Applause.) 
 
I could go on and on and on.  Who represents you matters.  So if anyone ever tells you that elections don’t matter, you tell them to look back at the last six years.  Tell them about those two elections that changed the course of history in this country.  And tell them that the same thing is true this year right here in Colorado.  It’s true right here.
 
As you heard, in this election, you all have the opportunity to vote for leaders who share your values; leaders who are going to fight to create jobs, make sure those jobs pay decent wages; leaders who will build good schools, make college more affordable.  That’s the kind of leader Mark is.  That’s the kind of leader John is.  And that’s why we need to do everything we can to get them reelected as your Senator and your Governor.  And you all can make that happen.  We are counting on you. 
 
So let’s talk about how we’re going to do this -- because it won’t be easy.  We know that there is too much money in politics -- that’s a given.  We know that special interests have way too much influence -- that’s a given.  But the thing, especially for young people, I want you to understand is that they had plenty of money and plenty of influence back in 2008 and 2012, and we still won those elections.  Remember that. 
 
And you want to know why we won?  Because young people like so many of you -- for years, folks had counted you out.  That was the conventional wisdom -- that young people don’t care, young people aren’t engaged, they won’t show up on Election Day, hoping you’ll oversleep, just forget.  But boy, did you all show up for Barack Obama.  (Applause.) 
 
Young people, so many of them, knocked on doors.  You all did the work of making the calls.  You used every kind of social media tool available -- things I’d never even heard of.  (Laughter.) 
 
And here’s the thing -- you inspired people across the country to get to the polls and to cast their votes.  And what happened in 2008 and 2012 reminded us of a simple truth:  that at the end of the day, the folks running those special interest groups and pouring all that money into campaigns, they each just have one vote -- and so do all of us.  And those votes are what decides elections in this country -- remember that.  And that’s why Barack Obama is President right now.  He’s President because a whole bunch of folks who never voted before showed up and voted in 2008 and 2012. 
 
And that’s why a lot of people were shocked when Barack won.  They were shocked.  Some people are still shocked, because, sadly, they were counting on folks like us to stay home.  But we proved them wrong.  Barack won because record numbers of women and minorities and young people showed up.  (Applause.) 
 
But here’s what happens, is that when the midterms came along, too many of our people just tuned out.  We’re still not in the habit of knowing that it’s every two years there’s something serious happening.  (Laughter.)  And that’s what folks on the other side are counting on this year, because they know that when we stay home, they win.  So they’re assuming that we won’t care.  They’re hoping that we won’t be organized.  They’re praying that we won’t be energized.  And only we can prove them wrong. 
 
So make no mistake about it, this race is going to be tight.  We know that races like this can be won or lost by just a few thousand, even a few hundred votes.  I just want to make this real for you -- just think back to the Senate race here in Colorado in 2010.
 
The outcome of that election was decided by about 14,000 votes.  And while that might sound like a lot, when you break that number down, that’s just five votes per precinct.  And this is where I want the young people to understand -- that’s five votes per precinct.  That decided an election.  And that could be the margin of difference this year; in all likelihood, it will be. 
 
And I know that every single person in this room knows five people that you can get to vote for Mark Udall and for John Hickenlooper.  I know you do.  (Applause.)  Just think of that five when you’re thinking about whether you’re going to mail your ballot in; when you think about talking to your peers and they’re like, I’m tired, I don’t know -- it’s five votes.
 
So let’s be clear:  This one is on us.  This is our votes.  This one is on us.  We can’t wait around for anyone else to do this.  It’s on us to get people organized and energized and out to vote. 
 
And you can start right now, today, by voting by mail, voting early in person -- Mark ran over it -- you vote by mail, be sure to put your ballot in the mail as soon as possible with two stamps.  Or you can just bring it to the early-voting location nearest you.  You can also vote early in person, as Mark said, from now until Election Day.  In this state it couldn’t be easier. 
 
However you decide to vote, just don’t wait another minute, especially for our students.  You guys, do this now.  Get this done.  Don’t put this off.  Just check it off your to-do list today.
 
I want a show of hands of how many people have already voted.  (Applause.)  All right, that’s not enough.  (Laughter.)  We’re very excited, but there’s a lot of potential just in this room. 

So in fact, if you live here in Larimer County, you can vote right in the Lory Center.  So just head down to the North Ballroom of this building and cast your vote.  Get it done now, and bring everyone you know with you.  Bring your roommate.  Bring your teammate.  Bring folks from your fraternity or your sorority.  (Applause.)  Bring that cute girl or guy that you met at the party last weekend -- and for the parents in the room, for you -- who met them at the library.  (Laughter.)  You’re studying very hard. 
 
And then, as Mark said, we need you to volunteer.  That’s really important, especially for students.  We need you to knock on some doors, make calls.  Do that hard work.  You can just go to MarkUdall.com, and that’s where you can sign up there.  Or you can find somebody here with the clipboards and sign up.  Don’t leave here without getting that done.  Don’t wait another minute.  Get started.  Because we’ve got less than two weeks until Election Day. 
 
And this year simply could not be more important.  Because if we don’t get folks out to vote, if we don’t elect leaders like Mark and John, then we know exactly what will happen.  We are going to see more folks interfering in women’s private decisions about our health care.  We’re going to see more opposition to immigration reform, to raising the minimum wage for hard-working folks.

So let’s be very clear:  If you think that folks who work 40 or 50 hours a week shouldn’t have to live in poverty in the wealthiest nation on the planet; if you don’t want women’s bosses making decisions about their birth control; if you think women should get equal pay for equal work; if you think that every young person in this country should have a chance to go to college and build a good life for themselves, then we need you to step up now and get everyone you know to vote for Mark Udall and John Hickenlooper.  (Applause.)   
 
That’s what’s at stake in this election -- it’s the kind of country that we want to leave for you all.  And I want us to remember, our kids are counting on us to stand up for them.  And there are wonderful kids all over this country who are counting on us.  I meet them everywhere I go.  I know there are many of these kids here today.
 
They’re kids like Rashema Melson, who is one of my mentees at -- in the White House program where we mentor kids.  Rashema’s father was murdered when she was a baby, and for years her family was homeless.  There were days when Rashema didn’t have clean clothes to wear to school. 
 
But here -- Rashema showed up every morning to school.  She threw herself into every class.  This girl’s brilliant, vibrant personality -- often waking up in the middle of the night to do her homework because that’s the only time it was quiet in the homeless shelter where she lived. 
 
And by senior year, Rashema had earned herself a 4.0 GPA.  She graduated as valedictorian of her class.  And right now, today, this minute, she is on full scholarship at Georgetown University.  I’m so proud of her.  (Applause.) 
 
But there are millions of Rashemas across this country.  There are thousands of them here.  There are hundreds of them in this room.  I meet so many kids like her -- kids who wake up early and take the long route to school to avoid the gangs.  Kids who juggle afterschool jobs to support their families and stay up late to get their homework done.  Kids whose parents don’t speak a word of English, but who are fighting every day to realize their dream of a better life.  
 
These kids have every reason to give up.  They have every reason to quit.  But they are so hungry to succeed.  They are so desperate to lift themselves up.  And that is why we do what we do.  That is what keeps Barack and I working hard, despite the mess.  We work hard because those kids never give up, and neither can we.  (Applause.) 
 
So this is what we need to do:  Between now and November 4th, we need to be energized for them.  We need to be inspired for them.  We need to pour everything we have into this election so that they can have the opportunities they need to build the future they deserve.
 
And if we all do that, if we keep stepping up -- just look at the power in this room.  You feel the energy right here.  If we keep stepping up and bringing others along the way, then I am confident that we can keep on making that change we believe in.  I know we will reelect Mark Udall as Senator.  I know we will reelect John Hickenlooper as Governor.  And I know that together, we can build that future worthy of all our kids.
 
You guys stay fired up.  Get it done.  I love you all so much.  (Applause.)
 
END  
3:44 P.M. MDT

Press Briefing by the Press Secretary Josh Earnest, 10/24/14

Barack Obama's White House Presidential Office (D) posted a Press Release on October 24, 2014 | 7:43 pm - Original Item - Comments (View)

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

1:08 P.M. EDT

MR. EARNEST:  Good afternoon, everybody.  I don't have any announcements at the top, so, Mr. Lederman, would you like to get us started?

Q    Thanks, Josh.  Let’s talk about Nurse Nina Pham’s visit to the White House this afternoon.

MR. EARNEST:  Sure.

Q    It seems like a pretty powerful image having her in the Oval Office really just hours after being discharged.  I assume this is designed to reassure people of the President’s confidence that there’s no danger to the public from people who are not symptomatic with Ebola.

MR. EARNEST:  That certainly is a medical fact.  That's what our experts tell us.  I think this also should be a pretty apt reminder that we do have the best medical infrastructure in the world, and certainly a medical infrastructure that's in place to protect the American public.  And the track record of treating Ebola patients in this country is very strong, particularly for those who are quickly diagnosed and admitted through the system.

So this is a testament today to a young woman who, over the course of doing her job and treating an Ebola patient, got sick.  And she was doing the work that many nurses do on a daily basis, and she did so even though it did put her at some personal risk.  And what she did, she didn’t do it because she was promised a raise; she didn’t do it because it was glamorous.  She did it because she’s committed to her profession and she was committed to treating an individual who was sick, and she was prepared to use her training to try to meet that person’s needs.

So the fact that she has been treated and released I think is terrific news and I think answers the prayers of many people across the country today.

Q    What can you tell us about the federal government’s response to the diagnosis of an Ebola patient in New York City?

MR. EARNEST:  Well, I can tell you a couple of things about that.  We certainly are pleased that so much of the planning that has been done in recent days has proved to be very useful.  As you know, there are -- earlier this week, medical professionals conducted a training for health care workers at the Javits Center in New York to ensure that they had all of the training that they needed to understand what was necessary to treat an Ebola patient in a way that was safe for them and safe for the broader community.  That certainly looks like prudent planning in hindsight.

The other thing that has been underway for some time is the President had designated five airports where individuals who were traveling from West Africa could enter the country.  By funneling these passengers to those five airports we were able to marshal the appropriate resources that were necessary to apply an additional layer of screening for those individuals who had traveled recently in West Africa.  In conjunction with that, state and local officials had worked to identify hospitals in the same region of each of these airports where patients who are sick could be directed.

So Bellevue Hospital in New York was the hospital that had been identified as the hospital where patients who -- or where passengers who were detected with a higher fever or otherwise sick would be sent as they’re coming off the airplane.  So Bellevue is a place where significant planning had already been done to ensure that protocols were in place to treat Ebola patients.  I understand that Bellevue had been designated both by the state and city as one of eight medical facilities in the state of New York that was prepared to treat Ebola patients.  So a lot of training and planning went into that.

In fact, I also understand that when Dr. Spencer was admitted to Bellevue Hospital yesterday, there actually happened to be a team of CDC experts already at the hospital evaluating that hospital, making sure that they were up to the needed standards to treat an Ebola patient. 

Consistent with the order that the President gave last week for CDC to organize a SWAT team of CDC experts to rapidly deploy to a hospital where an Ebola patient had been identified, I’m told that this SWAT team actually arrived in New York last night, the same evening that this individual was a confirmed Ebola patient.

We had experts on the ground in New York working side by side with hospital administrators and health care professionals at Bellevue Hospital to ensure that the strengthened protocols that the CDC announced earlier this week were in place so that this individual could get high-quality treatment, and that that treatment could be administered in a way that the risk to health care workers was not significantly elevated.

Q    You talked about Bellevue being one of these designated hospitals to treat Ebola.  Would you like every state to designate hospitals particularly to treat Ebola?

MR. EARNEST:  Well, this I think is an indication of the solid preparation that was put in place by state and local officials.  Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio I think deserve a lot of credit for the effort that they put into ensuring that New York was prepared to deal with a situation like this.

We certainly value the strong working relationship that already exists between federal officials and medical experts in the federal government and state and local officials across the country.  That working relationship has been important.  It will continue to be important as we deal with this situation.

So far, what we have worked with state officials to do is to ensure, as I mentioned earlier, that hospitals are in region -- in the same region as the airports where individuals traveling from West Africa are arriving in this country; that those hospitals are prepared and have the training and information and equipment that they need to receive patients that may test positive for Ebola.

So that is the kind of detailed planning that’s been done.  What you’ve also seen is the CDC offer up strengthened guidance to health care workers and public health officials all across the country to give them guidance about what they should do to prepare to treat an Ebola patient.

That all said, we continue to believe to this day that -- and when I say “we,” I mean our medical experts continue to believe to this day that the risk of a widespread Ebola outbreak in the United States continues to be exceedingly low.

Q    And Dr. Fauci this morning said that a mandatory quarantine for people returning from the Ebola hot zone in West Africa was something that’s under very active discussion.  Can you tell us a little bit about those discussions and what that might look like?

MR. EARNEST:  Well, I can tell you that the protocols that guide the restrictions that are placed on individuals that are returning from West Africa are driven by the best scientific advice that we can get.  We have our medical experts and our scientists looking carefully at how we treat Ebola patients and how we can do that in a way that protects the American public and in a way that protects health care workers who are rendering lifesaving aid.  So we’re going to continue to rely on that advice as we regularly update and review procedures as necessary to protect the American public. 

You’ll recall that one of the strengthened measures that was announced just this week was the intention of CDC to share contact information with state and local officials so that state and local officials could take the necessary steps to protect the public when it comes to individuals who have returned to the U.S. after having recently traveled in West Africa.  So that’s an example of the kind of beefed-up procedures that the CDC has put in place to ensure that we’re doing everything we can to protect the American public.

Q    And briefly, on the President’s plans next week to campaign really across the country for some Democratic candidates for governor, despite this push at the end for governors, the President only did one fundraiser this year for the Democratic Governors Association; I think it was back in February.  And really the focus of his fundraising has been for House and Senate.  I’m wondering, if governors’ races are so important to the President, to the party this year, why didn’t he do more earlier in the year to help raise money for them?

MR. EARNEST:  Well, as you point out, Josh, the President has done a number of things to boost the candidacy of Democratic candidates up and down the ballot all across the country.  And the President has worked to try to boost the candidacy of Democratic governors who are running for reelection or candidates for governor who are Democrats. 

In terms of the exact fundraising strategy that’s deployed by the DGA, I’d refer you to them about what sort of requests they made.  I, frankly, don’t have off the top of my head about whether or not the President signed the emails to help raise money via the Internet for candidates for governor.  I can tell you that certainly Democratic candidates, like others, benefit from the kinds of resources that the President raised for the Democratic Congressional Committee.  We have the party working very aggressively to benefit Democrats up and down the ballot, and that’s one way in which they’ll benefit from the President’s involvement.  But we also anticipate that the events that the President will be hosting over the course of next week will also significantly benefit those campaigns as well.

Roberta.

Q    So does the administration feel that the post-arrival monitoring that the CDC announced earlier this week is enough?  Or how much thought is being given to people also needing to agree to stay in some kind of self-isolation or self-quarantine once they arrive back from the hot zone?

MR. EARNEST:  Well, we do anticipate that -- we do expect that these active monitoring procedures that are in place for individuals who have recently traveled in West Africa will be in place on Monday.  So those measures are being ramped up.  But we do continue to have confidence -- as I believe Mayor de Blasio and the public health commissioner in New York stated yesterday -- that the risk facing the people of New York continues to be exceedingly low. 

We understand from reports that subway traffic today was typical for a Friday.  I think that’s an indication that the people of New York are feeling confident, as they should, about their safety as they go about their daily business.  They should, because Dr. Spencer, as we discussed, is somebody who upon return from West Africa was screened at the airport.  And when he was screened at the airport, it was determined that he did not have a temperature.  And that’s significant because we know that the only way that you can contract Ebola is by coming into contact with the bodily fluids of an individual who is exhibiting symptoms of Ebola.  Dr. Spencer, when he flew on a plane, did not have any symptoms of Ebola.  That’s why we’re not concerned at all about the risk facing people who may have been on that airplane.

Since he returned, Dr. Spencer was regularly taking his temperature and monitoring his health.  And as soon as it became clear that his temperature was elevated, he contacted medical authorities.  These were medical authorities who, as I mentioned to Josh, had recently been trained in the protocols that are necessary to detect and isolate an Ebola patient.  So those medical authorities responded promptly in accordance with protocols.  He was transferred to Bellevue Hospital, a hospital that had been preparing for weeks to receive a possible Ebola patient.  He was appropriately isolated, and he started receiving treatment while he was being tested for the Ebola virus.

So this is an indication that this kind of planning and preparation will be very important to the successful treatment of Ebola patients and the continued safety of the people of America and, in this case, the people of New York City.

Q    Right, so he did all those things as you laid out, but what he didn’t do, it seems that he didn’t self-isolate.  He went out into the community to the limited degree that we’ve all been reading about.  So is that something that the administration is considering requiring people who come back to do?  To self-isolate, to stay indoors or stay in their homes, or some additional measure?

MR. EARNEST:  Well, we’re always reviewing and assessing the protocols that are in place.  But the fact of the matter is the CDC is doing the necessary contact tracing, but our experts tell us that -- and as a result of that contact tracing I think that there are a couple of people that have been isolated.  But the fact is that the risk facing the average New Yorker is exceedingly low, and the reason for that is that this is an individual who was monitoring his health very closely.

And again, what we know about Ebola is very clearly about the way that it’s transmitted.  It’s only transmitted when an individual comes in close contact with the bodily fluids of an individual who has symptoms of Ebola.  That is why I think it is instructive for people to take note of the fact that we only have two instances where the Ebola virus has been transmitted inside the United States, and those are instances where you had health care workers who were treating a very sick Ebola patient.  And that obviously is very different than the kind of day-to-day encounters that people have as they go about their business in public.

So that is why the risk that is facing the people of New York and people of America continues at this point to be exceedingly low according to our medical experts.

Q    Just briefly, is the administration considering requiring people who have been in a hot zone to complete a quarantine before coming back to America?

MR. EARNEST:  Well, I’m not going to get into sort of the ongoing deliberations of our public health professionals.  What I can tell you is that these kinds of policy decisions are going to be driven by science and by the best advice of our medical experts, and by our scientists that have four decades of experience in dealing with Ebola outbreaks in West Africa.

So we’ve got teams on the ground at Bellevue Hospital that have experience in infection control, that have experience in limiting infection control inside medical facilities.  These are individuals that have an expertise in treating the Ebola virus.  We’re going to make sure that they’re taking the necessary steps that they can treat Dr. Spencer in a way that will protect the public and the health care workers who are rendering him aid.    

Olivier.

Q    Josh, one question and one housekeeping item.  The question is, when someone who has beaten Ebola comes to see the President in the Oval Office, are there additional layers of precautions taken?  Do they undergo -- is there a White House overseeing medical checkup to double -- just to make sure that they’re, in fact, clear of this?

MR. EARNEST:  No.  As Dr. Fauci noted in his news conference that I caught part of earlier today, Ms. Pham was tested five different times to confirm that she no longer had the virus.  So all the necessary testing that allows her to safely return home with a clean bill of health is the same guidance that she has gotten in terms of meeting the President.

Q    And then the housekeeping item -- I would like to ask the White House, through you, to open the 1:30 event -- obviously, I think we’re very, very close now -- open this event to the full complement of print, television and radio reporters who would typically cover an event like this.

MR. EARNEST:  In this case, we’re just going to do the still photographers.

Q    Could you explain why?  I mean, is it out of concern for her?  To me, it seems like it reduces the magnitude of this event a little bit.  Nothing against our stills brethren, obviously.

MR. EARNEST:  Right.  I think in this case we determined that the still photographers would provide the access that was necessary to ensure that you and the American people were informed about this event.

Juliet.

Q    Hi.  I know you can’t get into great details about the policy deliberations on quarantining returning medical personnel, but can you talk about some of the balancing act that you’re trying to do when you’re looking at, for example, whether a quarantine upon return to the United States would affect the ongoing international effort to stop Ebola at its source?  Could you just -- there’s a lot of concern among folks that between cutting commercial traffic, changes in insurance policies and something like this, that there aren’t -- it’s becoming more difficult to get volunteers to go to the region.

MR. EARNEST:  Well, Juliet, you, as usual, raise a really important point, which is Dr. Spencer is somebody who, as I alluded to earlier, volunteered his time to treat people with Ebola in West Africa.  It doesn’t exactly sound like a luxurious vacation.  But this is somebody who was prepared to use his skills as a doctor to try to meet the needs of those who are far less fortunate than we are.  And that is I think a pretty astounding display of generosity and charity and goodwill.  It certainly reflects the spirit of the American people that we are willing to selflessly try to meet the needs of those who are less fortunate.

At the same time, it’s not just charity, though, because we know that the only way that we can entirely eliminate the risk to the American people from the Ebola virus is to stop this outbreak at the source.  And in order to stop this outbreak at the source in West Africa, we’re going to need to surge personnel and supplies to stop this outbreak.

So we are certainly appreciative of what Dr. Spencer has done, not because it respects -- not only because it reflects the true spirit of America, but also it reflects the commitment that’s required to stop this Ebola outbreak at the source.

And I guess to answer your question more directly, we do want to ensure that whatever policies we put in place takes as the first priority the protection of the American public.  But at the same time, we don’t want to overly burden those individuals who are going to great lengths to try to serve their fellow man and stop this outbreak at the source, which ultimately is in the best interest of the American people.

Julie.

Q    Can you tell us a little bit about how this visit came together?  Did the President invite her?  Or how it came to fruition and sort of what was the impetus for that?  And then also, separately, I’m sure you’re aware there’s a hearing on the Hill today where the administration’s response to Ebola has come under some fair degree of criticism.  So can you tell us what Ron Klain has been doing and will be doing in the days to come to sort of get that into a better place and respond to some of the criticism that you’ve been getting that the response has been inadequate?

MR. EARNEST:  Well, let’s first talk about the visit of Nina Pham today.  The White House learned early today that she was going to be released from the National Institutes of Health medical facility that had been treating her for the last week or so.  Of course, the NIH is just a few miles from the White House. And White House officials contacted the NIH to let her know that the President was interested in meeting her if she felt up to it. We were certainly pleased to see that she accepted the invitation and all look forward to her arrival here at the White House shortly.

As it relates to the hearing today, I didn’t see much of it. It does seem that most of the criticism was registered by somebody who struggled to pronounce the name of the virus at the hearing, so I think we might not be too concerned about some of the partisan criticism that was on display I think in the hearing.  But there was representation from the administration at the hearing.  It does reflect our commitment to working with Congress to ensure that the country is working together and pulling in the same direction to respond to this situation, and we’ll continue to do that in the days ahead.

Q    What’s Ron Klain doing?  And can you tell us anything about how he’ll be spending his time?  I know he is supposed to go to Atlanta, to the CDC next week.  What else is he doing?

MR. EARNEST:  Today is his third day on the job, so I’m pleased that there has been a lot of interest in the work that he is doing here.  He is somebody who has been convening meetings and regularly working closely with officials at the CDC and HHS as they put in place some of the protocols that have been announced over the course of this week. 

He also was in touch with New York officials last night and over the course of today to ensure that the state and local officials were feeling the kind of support that they’re receiving from the Obama administration as they deal with this latest Ebola case.  He is planning to travel to Atlanta next week, where he’ll have the opportunity to meet in person with some of the CDC officials that he has been on the phone with a lot over the course of the last few days.

Jon.

Q    Josh, can you give us some details on the SWAT team that was sent to New York last night -- how many people, what exactly they’re doing?

MR. EARNEST:  I don’t have specific details about the members of the SWAT team.  I know as a general matter, when they are -- members of the SWAT team who are assembled are individuals who typically have an expertise in the area of infection control in hospitals.  It typically will include individuals who have dealt with Ebola patients in the past.  There has also been talk about the importance of individuals who can be closely monitoring health care workers as they’re donning and doffing personal protection equipment. 

There also has been the designation in these circumstances of a site manager, somebody who can be in charge of ensuring that the protocols are very closely followed. Those are the kinds of people that are typically part of a SWAT team.  And so I’d refer you to CDC about how many individuals and which individuals fit the profile that I just described. 

I can give you a little bit more color on one other aspect of this, which is that there was -- in order to quickly transport the team from the CDC to New York, the President ordered that a Department of Defense aircraft be commissioned to fly them from Atlanta to New York so they could be in place as soon as possible.  I do understand that weather briefly delayed their arrival because there was a pretty bad storm in New York last night.  But it is because we were able to draw on some DOD resources and because this team was prepared, that they were on the ground within hours, just a couple hours of this individual being -- testing positive for Ebola.  And I think that indicates the kind of commitment that CDC has to taking very seriously the responsibilities of acting quickly to support local health care professionals when they’re dealing with an Ebola patient.

Q    So how soon after news of the confirmation that that individual in New York had Ebola did the President make that order?

MR. EARNEST:  I don’t have the exact tick-tock of all of this.  I know that there was a -- because of his travel history and because of his close contact with Ebola patients in West Africa, there was a strong suspicion that he would test positive for Ebola.  So I think that some of the wheels were put into motion a little earlier than they otherwise would have been because of the specifics of this individual case.

Q    And I know you haven’t wanted to comment on the specific plans, whether or not you’re considering quarantine -- forcing a quarantine here in the United States or before folks travel.  But as a general matter, does news of the fact that we have another case of Ebola, this time in New York, indicate that something more needs to be done, that more steps need to be put in place?

MR. EARNEST:  I think the answer to that is, not necessarily.  Because we continue to believe that the risk facing New Yorkers from the Ebola virus today continues to be exceedingly low.  There are a small number of individuals who did have close contact with Dr. Spencer upon his return from West Africa who have been isolated.  But for the average New Yorker who is riding the subway today or taking a stroll along the High Line, presuming the weather there is better than it was yesterday, those individuals do not face a significantly elevated risk in this situation. 

And the reason is -- and this is important -- the reason is that Dr. Spencer was very closely monitoring his own health.  And as soon as he noticed that he might be displaying symptoms that are consistent with Ebola, he contacted health care professional who are trained and prepared to respond quickly, and that’s exactly what they did.

Q    So the President wouldn’t have any qualms about riding the subway today in New York, or going bowling at the bowling alley, or hitching a ride with Uber?

MR. EARNEST:  The President is a big fan of bowling.  (Laughter.)

Q    He’s not the best bowler, but --

MR. EARNEST:  He is an accomplished bowler.  (Laughter.) 

Q    Josh, I think we may need a fact-check on that.

MR. EARNEST:  He’s been practicing.  I can tell you that the President would have no qualms about riding the subway in New York or taking a stroll on the High Line, which is, I know, something that he would love to do -- or even bowling a few frames at this bowling alley in Brooklyn.

The risk that is facing the average New Yorker, the average person going to those places remains today exceedingly low.

Q    And can you just, just one more time -- this is quite an extraordinary event that Nina Pham has just been released, just been cleared of Ebola, and then she’s coming right here to the Oval Office.  What is the significance, the symbolic significance of the President’s meeting today with Nina Pham?

MR. EARNEST:  Well, I think it is an opportunity for the President to, first of all, to thank her for her service.  Again, this is an individual -- this is a nurse who used her training to treat somebody who was really sick with Ebola.  And she dove into treating this individual without regard for her own health.  This is somebody who -- she didn’t get a raise because she did it.  She certainly didn’t do it for the glory.  There are a lot of individuals who treated that first Ebola patient in Dallas who we don’t know about.  So this is somebody who displayed the kind of selfless service to her fellow man that I think is worthy of some praise. At the same time, we’re also certainly relieved that she has been successfully treated and has recovered from Ebola.  I think that reflects, as I mentioned earlier, that the prayers of countless of Americans have been answered today.

So we’re certainly celebrating alongside her.  And the President is looking forward to meeting her.

Q    And then just to follow up lastly on what Olivier was asking about.  I mean, this is an important meeting.  Why ban reporters from this meeting?  Why ban video cameras?  I mean, countless other events in the Oval Office under this President and other Presidents, there are reporters present, there are television cameras present.  Why does this White House decide on a meeting this important to say, no, reporters are not allowed at this event?  Why?

MR. EARNEST:  The good news is that reporters will be allowed at the event.  The photo -- your colleagues, the photojournalists will be in there to take a photograph of the President greeting her.

Q    You know what I’m saying.  There are no print reporters allowed.  There are no television reporters allowed.  There’s no editorial presence.  You’re only allowing still photographers.  Why?

MR. EARNEST:  Many of you did have the opportunity to see her deliver remarks at the NIH upon her departure from the hospital. 

Q    That’s not an answer to my question.  Why was this decision made?

MR. EARNEST:  Because reporters did have the opportunity to see her speak already.  And this is an opportunity for the President to greet her at the White House.  And we did want to make sure that photographers could see her do so, but the President, nor Ms. Pham plans to make any comments today.

Laura.

Q    Now, just to follow up on what Olivier and this gentleman is saying, if you had a foreign camera, this is a worldwide story.  This is a huge symbol for all of us.  I mean, American press or foreign press, to see the President welcoming here this nurse.  Yes, why, is the first question. 

MR. EARNEST:  It’s certainly good news, and I do understand that there will be wire photographers that will be in the Oval Office taking this picture and that image will be beamed around the world.

Q    But it’s not a video thing.  I mean, for people in Africa at this moment, it would be quite important to see this footage of the President welcoming this woman.

MR. EARNEST:  And the good news is that they will see a photograph of the President greeting this woman in the Oval Office.  So it will be a really nice event I think.

Q    My second question is, was the President briefed on the attack in New York against the police officers yesterday?

MR. EARNEST:  The President was informed of the situation by Lisa Monaco last night.

Q    And what’s the White House reaction?

MR. EARNEST:  This is a situation that is under investigation by the New York Police Department, local law enforcement authorities.  Officials here at the White House and other federal law enforcement officials have been in touch with local law enforcement on this matter, but it’s still under investigation so I don’t have too much to say about it at this point.

Ed.

Q    Josh, I wanted to go back to Ebola.  You’ve said several times Dr. Spencer was monitoring himself very closely.  Why was a doctor who just came from treating Ebola patients in West Africa allowed to monitor himself as opposed to having the government keep a closer eye on whether or not he was getting sick?

MR. EARNEST:  He is a highly trained medical professional, certainly had the capacity to take his own temperature.  He had been advised by the government that --

Q    Right, and he still got Ebola, obviously.

MR. EARNEST:  He had been advised by the government about what steps he should take should he notice that symptoms like a high fever, or at least an elevated fever, were evident.  And he followed those steps.  And because of the preparation of state and local officials in New York, he is receiving treatment already.

Q    The President has told the public again and again we don’t need a travel ban because we have these very tough restrictions in place, which include taking people’s temperatures when they come in.  And so we did that, and he didn’t have a temperature at that point.

MR. EARNEST:  That’s correct.

Q    Doesn’t that suggest there is a gap there in the system?

MR. EARNEST:  There is not a gap in the system, Ed.  And it goes back to the fact that the only way that an individual can contract the Ebola virus is by coming into close contact with the bodily fluids of an individual who is already displaying symptoms of Ebola.  You can’t catch Ebola through the air.  You can’t catch Ebola by drinking food -- or drinking water or eating the food in the United States.

Q    I understand that.  You said that earlier.  I guess I’m not trying to raise a question about the people on the plane -- you made that point earlier.  I get that.  But I’m saying there’s somebody who was interacting with people who had Ebola in West Africa, so we knew he was high-risk for this.  He did heroic work trying to help those people.

MR. EARNEST:  Well, he was not high-risk for this, Ed.  It’s important for people to understand that there --

Q    So how did he get it?  He’s a doctor treating Ebola patients.

MR. EARNEST:  Yes, there are dozens of health care workers who have treated Ebola patients in West Africa and did that without contracting the Ebola virus.  He is at an --

Q    A higher risk than you or I.

MR. EARNEST:  -- an elevated risk, but not a high risk.  And it’s important for people to understand the difference.

Q    So then why isn’t he stopped from coming to America until we know for sure he does not have Ebola since he was interacting with people and treating people who had Ebola?

MR. EARNEST:  Again, he was somebody who was screened before he returned to the United States.  He was screened in West Africa before he boarded an aircraft and he was screened upon arrival in the United States.  In both indications -- or in both situations, he did not exhibit any symptoms of Ebola.  That means that he was not at all contagious.  So anybody who was flying on the plane, anybody who happened to be in the airport at the same time that he was there does not face --

Q    He got it later.  I understand.  I’m just saying but then he still got Ebola later and went out -- we don’t know whether he infected anyone else.  Hopefully he did not.  But the point is he got through there because he was not showing symptoms.  Doesn’t that suggest that you can’t catch everyone on their way in because they might not be showing symptoms?

MR. EARNEST:  But what it shows is it shows that people can’t catch Ebola unless they come into the close contact with the bodily fluids of somebody who is already displaying symptoms of Ebola.  And because he -- shortly after he started displaying symptoms of Ebola, he contacted public health officials who safely transported him to a hospital where he was isolated and where he was being -- where he started treatment.  And that is an indication that the American people and the people of New York City do not face a significant risk from this situation.

Q    Okay.  I want to go on to another subject.  The conservative group, Judicial Watch, has just put out a statement yesterday, I believe, saying when the President, months ago, evoked executive privilege on Fast and Furious, it included 20 emails between the Attorney General, his wife and his mother.  And I was wondering, did the Attorney General talk about this sensitive gunrunning operation with his wife and his mother and that’s why you have to invoke executive privilege?

MR. EARNEST:  Well, Ed, I’d refer you to the Department of Justice about this.

Q    It wasn’t Justice privilege; it was executive privilege.  It was invoked by the President, not the Attorney General.

MR. EARNEST:  But I can tell you that it’s the Department of Justice that can discuss those emails with you.  What is clear is that this lawsuit that has been filed by Judicial Watch actually doesn’t have anything to do with the actual Fast and Furious operation.  It has to do with emails and documents related to the operation.  More than 7,500 pages of those documents have already been turned over to Congress, which has obviously thoroughly reviewed this situation and they’ve conducted countless interviews.  The Inspector General has as well.  This is something that has been thoroughly investigated.

Q    But if there was nothing sensitive in the emails that the Attorney General sent to his wife and mom, presumably they could have been turned over.

MR. EARNEST:  Well, I know that, again, 7,500 pages of documents were turned over both to the Inspector General as well as to Democrats and Republicans in Congress who are investigating this issue.  So we have demonstrated I think a pretty clear commitment to a legitimate oversight on this matter and others.    

Q    Okay.  Last one, on ISIS.  There were reports that the administration is investigating allegations that there have been chlorine attacks by ISIS on the ground in the Middle East.  Can you tell us whether that's been in Iraq?  Was it also in Syria?  And how concerned are you that these terrorists are also using chemical weapons?

MR. EARNEST:  Well, Ed, we've seen those reports and we're continuing to investigate them.  We, obviously, as we have in the past, take seriously allegations of chemical weapons use, and so we'll have staff on the ground and other places analyze what exactly happened and try to get to the bottom of these reports.  But I'm not in a position to confirm them at this point.

Kristen.

Q    Josh, just to follow up, if they are true, how would it change the equation in Iraq?

MR. EARNEST:  Well, we're going to investigate those reports.  I've seen them, but I don't have any comment beyond saying we're looking into them.

Q    Would it potentially change the U.S. strategy?

MR. EARNEST:  We're going to review those reports before we draw any conclusions.

Q    Okay.  And during the hearing today, several doctors said to Congressman Issa when he asked if there’s a larger overall failure when it comes to being prepared to fight infectious disease, several doctors said yes.  So my question is are there steps being taken beyond Ebola to tighten the system to make sure the U.S. is prepared for these types of eventualities?

MR. EARNEST:  Well, there obviously have been a lot of steps that have been taken already to ensure that we are doing everything we can to protect the American public.  And there has been a significant commitment by this administration even before this latest Ebola outbreak in West Africa to ensure that we're taking the necessary steps here in the U.S. but also around the world to try to protect the American people from diseases like this.

What we are typically concerned about are situations that exist in countries like those in West Africa that don't have a modern medical infrastructure, and the ability of an outbreak of a contagious virus is something that we've been focused on for quite some time.  I know this was actually the focus of attention in the previous administration as well.

I'll tell you that as recently as September, the United States convened a major global event to garner international commitment and resources for the global health security agenda.  So this is something that has drawn the attention of the Obama administration and medical professionals here in this country even before the headlines were filled with reports of Ebola.

Q    So just to be clear, does the administration disagree with what those doctors were saying?  Do you have confidence right now --

MR. EARNEST:  I haven't seen the specific testimony of those individuals.  But what I can confirm for you, and what is evident from anybody who takes a close look at the track record here is that the United States, under the leadership of this President, has been focused on ensuring we're doing what we can to protect the American public from diseases that may break out anywhere in the world.

Q    I want to take one more try at this question that I know you’ve gotten a number of different ways, but Congressman Jason Chaffetz said today, “You can't have someone who’s had direct contact with Ebola patients and allow them to go bowling.”

Isn't there -- do you agree that on some level there is a problem with that, that that exposes a gap in the system?

MR. EARNEST:  Well, I think the problem it's exposed may be related to Mr. Chaffetz’s knowledge of actually how Ebola is transmitted. 

Q    He was treating Ebola patients, though. 

MR. EARNEST:  He was.  But it sounds like I should go through this again.  The only way that you can contract Ebola is by coming into the close contact with the bodily fluids of an individual who is displaying symptoms of Ebola.

Q    I understand what you're saying, Josh.  But now there are two other people who were quarantined because this individual -- and again, this is not to place the blame on him at all, but because this individual was obviously exposed to the disease and then came back here. 

MR. EARNEST:  Well, let me try to answer this a slightly different way, which is to present an illustration.  There are only two known instances in which the Ebola virus has been transmitted inside the United States, and those were to two health care workers in Dallas who were treating a patient who was very sick with Ebola.  These are ostensibly individuals who, because of their commitment to serving this individual and because of their commitment to their profession, probably came into close contact with the bodily fluids of this individual who was very sick with Ebola. 

The exact details or the exact circumstances that were in place that allowed them to contract the disease is still under investigation, but we know why they were at a higher risk.  I think what people should understand is the people who are in Mr. Duncan’s family and living with him even after he was sick with Ebola recently were cleared from monitoring because it had been more than 21 days since they had last been in contact with him.

So that is an indication of the circumstances under which someone can contract Ebola.  The fact is that Dr. Spencer is somebody who was closely monitoring his health and at the first indication that he might have the symptoms of Ebola, therefore at the first indication that he might at all be even the slightest bit contagious with Ebola, he contacted health care professionals who responded quickly to his residence, and they transported him under existing, strengthened protocols to the hospital that was prepared to receive him.  They quickly isolated him and began giving him treatment. 

So, again, I'm not sure if there are people who, for whatever reason, think that it might be in their interest one way or another to try to agitate or provoke anxiety among the American people, but I would strongly encourage anybody who is concerned about this situation to focus on the facts and to focus on exactly what we know about how this virus is transmitted, about how limited the circumstances have been where individuals have contracted Ebola in this country. 

It's also important for people to understand that there are circumstances where people did appear to be at an elevated risk of contracting Ebola but they didn’t.  And I think that that is a useful illustration that people should keep in mind if they’re concerned about how this disease is transmitted.  And I guess that's advice I wouldn't just share to average Americans, I'd even share it with politicians on Capitol Hill as well.

Mr. Plante.

Q    You said a moment ago that the reason the President wanted to see Nurse Pham was to thank her for her service.  That being the case, wouldn't you want to have him do that in front of a television camera so that the rest of the country could see it?

MR. EARNEST:  I think in this case, in order to offer his gratitude the President wanted to do that in person with Ms. Pham, and that's what he'll do in the Oval Office.

Q    Let me ask you this.  Was there a White House TV camera in that meeting?

MR. EARNEST:  I don't know.  The meeting has taken place since I walked out here, so I don't know.

Q    If there was, would you then put that on the net?

MR. EARNEST:  If you're interested in it, we can work with you to get that.

Q    No, we're interested in knowing why, if you do, you’d make it available, bypassing us.

MR. EARNEST:  We can engage in this hypothetical discussion after the briefing and after I've determined whether or not there was a television camera in there.

Q    Let me ask you about the nuclear deal.  There’s a report that the White House is pushing a particular deal with Iran with the rest of the P5-plus-1 in order to get something done by the deadline of the end of next month.  What can you tell me about that?

MR. EARNEST:  Well, discussions continue to be underway between the -- I guess among the members of the P5-plus-1 and Iranian representatives about steps that can be taken to resolve the international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.

Q    But are we pushing a particular solution -- we, the U.S.?

MR. EARNEST:  Well, generally speaking, we’re pushing a solution that would allow the international community to have clear insight into Iran’s ability to resolve everybody’s concerns about their nuclear program.  In terms of the details of that agreement, I’m not going to get into that from here.  This is something that obviously is being discussed in a very detailed fashion by the United States and our P5-plus-1 partners and the representatives of Iran.

Justin.

Q    I wanted to ask about the President’s meeting this afternoon on ISIS over at the State Department.  I guess my first question is why he’s going to the State Department, especially since he’s -- according to the guidance you guys have given us, he’s meeting with his National Security Council, which he routinely meets with here.

MR. EARNEST:  He typically does meet with them here.  You’ll recall that just a week or two ago the President convened a National Security Council meeting at the Pentagon to discuss these issues.  The Pentagon obviously has a very important role in our strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL.  The State Department also has an important role in terms of working through our diplomatic channels to build this broad international coalition in support of this broader effort.

So the President is going to convene the meeting there.  I think the meeting will sort of run the gamut of all of the elements of the strategy that’s been put in place, but we’ll have a readout of that meeting when it concludes.

Q    Do you anticipate him giving diplomats there guidance on this meeting that’s coming up in Kuwait on kind of combating extremism -- extremists -- extremism and sort of Internet recruitment, especially in light of what’s been going on?

MR. EARNEST:  I’m not aware of the specific meeting in Kuwait that you’re referring to.  But there are a lot of elements to our strategy.  Certainly stopping the flow of foreign fighters is an important part of that strategy.  I don’t know whether it’s on the agenda for this meeting, but we’ll try to get you a readout afterwards, and if it’s discussed we’ll try to let you know.

Q    And then, one last thing on a totally different topic. Politico had a story yesterday that said Denis McDonough was asking top staff members to say whether or not they’d stay through the remainder of the President’s term after the midterms. I was wondering if that’s true, if that’s a conversation you’ve had with him or that you’re aware that other staff members have had with him.

MR. EARNEST:  It’s not a conversation that I’ve had with him.  I can’t speak to all the conversations that senior staffers have had with the Chief of Staff.  But I don’t know of any regimented schedule of conversations that the Chief of Staff is planning to have.

Steven.

Q    Josh, there were reports today in Israel and now here in the U.S., as well, that the administration rejected the suggestion or the ask of a meeting between the Israeli Defense Minister and the Vice President and the Secretary of State, that it was punitive.  Do you have any comment on these reports?

MR. EARNEST:  I’ve seen those reports.  I do understand that the Israeli Defense Minister met with his American counterpart, our Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel.  I can’t speak to any of the meetings that -- so I can speak to the meeting that did occur, and I understand the Department of Defense put out a readout of that meeting.  I can’t speak to any meetings that didn’t occur.

Q    Do you know if it’s true that the U.S. and the White House rejected the ask for these meetings with the Vice President and the National Security Advisor?

MR. EARNEST:  Like I said, I’m not aware of -- I don’t have much information to share with you about meetings that did not occur.  I do know that there was a meeting that occurred between Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and his Israeli counterpart. 

As you know, the United States values the strong security relationship that we have with Israel.  It is arguably as strong with Israel as anybody else.  And so those kinds of meetings between the Israeli Secretary of Defense and his American counterpart are obviously an important priority; they take place pretty frequently.  But you can contact the Department of Defense for a readout of that meeting.

Jim.

Q    If I can just be a contrarian for one moment about the President’s meeting with Nurse Pham.  Is it a good idea for the President to meet with Nurse Pham given the fact that she just got out of a specialized hospital being treated for Ebola?

MR. EARNEST:  She is somebody who has tested negative five times for the Ebola virus.  Her doctors, who are some of the foremost experts in the field, have confirmed that she is virus free.

Q    No risk to the President whatsoever?

MR. EARNEST:  No.  And, in fact, I think the only question that people had was whether or not she would be up for making the trip down here to the White House.  And we were pleased to see on television that she looked very healthy when she was delivering her statement, and pleased that she accepted the invitation of the President.

Q    And according to the print photographers who went inside the President’s meeting with Nurse Pham, the President did hug Nurse Pham.  And is that -- should he maybe just hold off on that a little bit just to be cautious?  He is the President. 

MR. EARNEST:  Yes, he is the President, and he was not at all concerned about any risk that would be associated with him showing his gratitude to her by hugging her.

Q    And getting back to Dr. Spencer, his case, does it not present a sort of an interesting discussion about personal responsibility?  Because he came back, he was taking his temperature, he was monitoring his own health conditions and so forth.  But I mean, I think it could be argued that not every doctor would be as diligent coming back from West Africa, and perhaps some doctors might take more risks than others.  Aren’t you sort of leaving it up to the personal responsibility of each and every health care worker who comes back from West Africa to do the right thing, to make sure that you don’t have exposures like what could have happened in New York and may potentially still happen?

MR. EARNEST:  Well, I would just posit, Jim, that individuals who have spent time in West Africa certainly understand the seriousness of this disease.  And I think that they would take seriously their responsibility to ensure that they weren’t responsible for transmitting it to others intentionally.  And so I think it’s not at all surprising that somebody like Dr. Spencer, who was so dedicated to stopping the spread of this disease, that he’d be monitoring his own health very closely, which apparently he was.

It’s also not at all surprising that somebody was so steeped in the details of the treatment of this disease, that he would respond the appropriate way once it became clear that he was experiencing an elevated body temperature and he did contact the medical professionals in New York who were trained and ready to deal with this particular situation.  And we were pleased that he was transported so quickly to the hospital and isolated and began receiving treatment quite early.

Q    And there’s been some discussion about whether or not an Ebola vaccine has been developed quickly enough.  And I know Dr. Fauci talked about that earlier today down at the NIH.  Has the President mentioned it at all as a priority to the people meeting in these Ebola gatherings that you’ve had here at the White House?  Is Ron Klain prodding the scientists who are developing this vaccine to get things moving?  Is the President prodding people to get this moving?

MR. EARNEST:  Well, again, a lot of these kinds of decisions are driven by science, and there obviously is a sense of urgency associated with dealing with this Ebola outbreak in West Africa. And again, the only way that we can entirely eliminate the risk to the American people from the Ebola virus is to stop this outbreak at the source, and certainly a vaccine could play a key role in doing exactly that.

As a general matter, I can tell you that the President has, on countless occasions, spoken about the value of medical research in this country, both the value in terms of enhancing the safety of the American people, but also the value in strengthening our economy; that this kind of research often leads to important innovations that can be very good for our economy, can lead to elements of job creation.  And we have been disappointed that some Republicans in Congress haven’t shared the President’s commitment to this kind of issue that would be good for the American people, but also good for our economy.

Jim.

Q    Josh, how does our current system protect us from a psychopath coming from Africa who would want to do us harm, who would want to infect people?  Because it sounds like somebody who is infected could pass through into the United States and then develop a fever later.  How do we stop those people?

MR. EARNEST:  Well, we stop them in a couple of ways.  One is, we certainly do have in place screening measures at the airport both in West Africa and in the United States to ensure that individuals who’ve recently traveled in West Africa do not have symptoms of Ebola.

You’ll recall that just earlier this week, the CDC announced a regimen for the active monitoring of all travelers who have recently been in West Africa.  What the CDC will do is they will share information with state and local public health authorities so that those authorities have the information that they need to monitor the health of those individuals who have recently traveled to West Africa.  And that certainly would account for what I think is probably even the far-fetched hypothetical scenario that you’ve laid out.

Chris, I’ll give you the last one and then we’ll do the week ahead.

Q    Thanks, Josh.  After the U.S. Supreme Court last struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, the administration worked to extend the federal benefits of marriage to same-sex couples to a great extent throughout the country, regardless of the state in which these couples lived.  The exception to that is Social Security and veterans benefits, the Justice Department showing that it could not grant those benefits to couples living in non-marriage-equality states.  But now there are some LGBT advocates who say that those benefits can be extended and there’s been multiple lawsuits, including one filed this week to compel the administration to do so.  And Senator Dianne Feinstein, herself wrote a letter to the President saying that those benefits should be extended.  Is there any consideration at the White House to making a policy change to extend those Social Security and veterans benefits?

MR. EARNEST:  I have to admit, Chris, I’m not steeped in the details of this particular case or particularly as it relates to this lawsuit, so I’d refer you to the Department of Justice that may be able to share some more information for you on that.

So let’s do the week ahead.

On Monday, the President will meet with the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Steering Committee at the White House.

On Tuesday, the President will travel to --

Q    What committee is that?

MR. EARNEST:  This is the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Steering Committee. 

Q    What’s that?  (Laughter.)

MR. EARNEST:  We’ll have some more details -- this is a steering committee that’s interested in partnering on issues related to advanced manufacturing.  (Laughter.)

Q    Thanks for the guidance.  (Laughter.)

MR. EARNEST:  Please tip your waitresses on the way out.  (Laughter.) 

On Tuesday, the President will travel to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to attend a DNC roundtable and a campaign event for Mary Burke and other Wisconsin Democrats.  As you may know, Ms. Burke is running for governor in the state of Wisconsin.  Further details about the President’s trip to Wisconsin will be made available over the weekend.

On Wednesday, the President will be here at the White House and will attend some meetings.

On Thursday, the President will travel to beautiful Portland, Maine to attend a DNC roundtable and a campaign event for Mike Michaud and other Maine Democrats.  Mr. Michaud, as you guys all know, is a Democratic congressman from Maine who is running for governor there.  Additional details about the trip to Maine will be available soon.  After those activities in Maine, the President will travel to Providence, Rhode Island, where he will remain overnight.

On Friday, the President will wake up in Providence, Rhode Island, and deliver remarks at Rhode Island College.  His remarks will focus on the economy and the importance of pursuing policies that help women succeed.  Additional details about the Rhode Island trip will be available in the coming days as well.

The President will return to the White House on Friday after that event.  And then in the evening, the President and the First Lady will welcome local children and children of military families to a trick-or-treat on the South Portico of the White House.  I know that’s something that a lot of people are looking forward to.

On Saturday -- we’ve got some additional details about the President’s activities next weekend.  So this is next Saturday, the President will travel to Detroit, Michigan -- or the Detroit, Michigan area to attend a campaign event for Gary Peters and Mark Schuauer.  Additional details on the President’s travel to Michigan will be available soon.  Obviously Mr. Peters is a candidate for the Senate and Mr. Schauer a candidate for governor in Michigan.

On Sunday, the President will travel to Bridgeport, Connecticut for an event with Dan Malloy and other Connecticut Democrats.  Mr. Malloy is the sitting governor of Connecticut and he is running for reelection.  You’ll recall that this w

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