- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Along with offering his usual straightforward take on the nation, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson was warning health officials and the Obama administration about containing Ebola over two months ago. It is no wonder, then, that he continues to garner the attention of the voting public.

The National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee, an independent political action committee organized 14 months ago, now reports it has raised over $3.3 million in the third quarter of 2014 alone - bringing their total to $10.5 million this year. It is authentic and spontaneous grass-roots stuff: the funds came from 100,000 donors, with 20,000 volunteers poised to hit the campaign trail should the occasion arrive.

Ready for Hillary, a superpac devoted to the potential campaign of Hillary Clinton, raised about $2 million in the third quarter - with a grand total of $10.25 million.

“Thousands of Americans believe that Dr. Carson is the best hope for our country, and are showing overwhelming support for him to run for the GOP nomination in the 2016,” says campaign director Vernon Robinson. “Legions of supporters are signing the petition for him to run for president and are contributing to the effort because they want a president who is principled, honest and caring.”

About 4,000 Carson fans sign the petition each week, found at RunBenRun.com.

“The tremendous support for Dr. Carson is even more important as we near the mid-term elections,” said John Philip Sousa IV, national committee chairman. “Dr. Carson has said he will listen to the clamor of those who want him to run, and is closer to making a decision about running for the GOP presidential nomination. We hope that our continued efforts will achieve that goal.”


SEE ALSO: Fear factor: Ebola, Islamic State hurt Democrats’ chances of keeping Senate


THE BLAME GAME SPUTTERS

Progressives have launched some noisy accusations that Republicans are ultimately responsible for the Ebola threat due to budget cuts; the outcry has now been considerably dampened. None other than the Washington Post “Fact Checker” Glenn Kessler — who meticulously went over the claims — declares, “On many levels, this line of attack is absurd.”

Still, Agenda Project — the advocacy group which produced the controversial video — is already fundraising off the idea, intending to make some major broadcast buys in Kentucky and other states.

“We have added Joni Ernst of Iowa to our top tier list. Wonder how much of the CDC she would have castrated if she had been in office?” asks Erica Payne, director of the organization, in her email pitch for donations. She is also eager to target Thom Tillis in North Carolina.

“Let’s stop him and the rest of these Republican fanatics who consciously and purposefully cut critical programs that our country needs,” Ms. Payne observes.

Of note to all: Mrs. Ernst now leads Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley, 47 to 43 percent in the race for U.S. Senate in the Hawkeye State, according to a Suffolk University/USA TODAY poll released Wednesday. Mr. Tillis just tops his Democratic rival Sen. Kay Hagan, 46 percent to 45 percent, according to a Survey USA poll issued Tuesday.

CONGRESS: A LOVE/HATE THING

Just the mere idea of the U.S. Congress is enough to rile Americans, who likely imagine those lawmaker either sitting on Capitol Hill doing nothing, currying favor with lobbyists in an elite steakhouse or out fundraising. But what about those individual representatives and senators? Well, they aren’t so bad. No, really. There are new numbers reflecting a phenomenon that Gallup names “My member’s OK, most members are not”.

The pollster found that 81 percent of Americans say Congress is out of touch with the nation — but only 47 percent say the same of their local elected official. Another 69 percent say Congress is solely focused on the “needs of special interests’; 46 percent say that of their local member. More telling, 54 percent say Congress as a whole is “corrupt”; only 27 percent say that of the local variety.

This tolerance is not necessarily a good thing.

“All in all, Americans’ relatively positive attitudes about their local representatives, spread out across 435 congressional elections, help explain why so many members of Congress return to Washington year after year — even while these same Americans so negatively assail the institution to which these members belong,” says Gallup director Frank Newport.

FOR THE LEXICON

“Ebola Breaking News Channel”

— Information division launched Wednesday by Newswise, a newswire and information source

THE EVOLVING EBOLA ETHICS

Even Ebola-themed Halloween costumes are being questioned as the threat of the disease becomes ever more complicated. Medical ethics experts are speaking up. “The initial line of defense has to be public health officials in the countries most effected,” says Mark A. Rothstein, director of the University of Louisville’s Institute for Bioethics, Health Policy and Law, who recommends that the U.S. support these officials with equipment and consultation, but ultimately concludes that “responsibility at the first instance” belongs to them.

“Our people need to step in on our end” Mr. Rothstein says, to ensure infected people don’t enter the U.S. “We need to be on top of it. We need to find those people, to identify them, if necessary to isolate or even quarantine.”

There is another side, though.

“Ebola has become the leprosy of the 21st century,” says Aaron Buseh, a Liberia-born associate professor of global health at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee College of Nursing. “Today it is Ebola in West Africa. Tomorrow it could be another disease in another sub-Saharan country or Latin America, Asia or even the U.S. How can we risk not caring about what is happening in these developing countries?”

It is visceral fare. NBC News now reports that the Liberian Ministry of Health needs 79,940 more body bags as of Wednesday.

HERE COME THE SCAMS

A side effect of the Ebola crisis: investment scams.”Many times when a well publicized story is in the news, scammers come out of the woodwork to take advantage of investors. Pitches related to Ebola effective drugs will likely be made to investors so they must be on guard to prevent being taken advantage of,” warns Andrew Stoltmann, a Chicago-based securities attorney.

“Only deal with well-known charities, such as the Red Cross, when donating money,” he adds.

POLL DU JOUR

76 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the way our political system works; 80 percent of Republicans, 66 percent of Democrats and 80 percent of independents agree.

65 percent overall blame President Obama and Congress equally for their dissatisfaction; 56 percent of Republicans, 48 percent of Democrats and 82 percent of independents agree.

58 percent say they are “inclined to look around” when voting in the midterms; 57 percent of Republicans, 52 percent of Democrats and 66 percent of independents agree.

50 percent would likely vote for the Republican candidate; 94 percent of Republicans, 6 percent of Democrats and 51 percent of independents agree.

43 percent would vote for the Democratic candidate; 5 percent of Republicans, 92 percent of Democrats and 32 percent of independents agree.

24 percent will re-elect their current representative in Congress; 25 percent of Republicans, 34 percent of Democrats and 17 percent of independents agree.

Source: A Washington Post/ABC News poll of 1,006 U.S. adults conducted Oct. 9-12.

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