- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 16, 2014

It took the Ebola crisis to dampen White House enthusiasm for relentless fundraising. After a previous week filled with six moneymakers around the nation, President Obama canceled three similar events this week to tend the growing public distress over the disease and its threat. But prudence, perhaps, has ended. Come Sunday, Mr. Obama will whisk off to Chicago for two days, bound for a pair of Democratic campaign events for Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and the party itself.

So fire up Air Force One, as things are going to get a lot windier in the Windy City: The president’s schedule includes a mammoth rally at Chicago State University that will emphasize the idea of early voting. Then there’s a $10,000-per-plate private dinner for the Democratic National Committee on Monday.

Mr. Quinn is in a particularly contentious and expensive race against Republican challenger Bruce Rauner, who calls the governor the “outsourcer in chief” and has publicly declared him full of “baloney,” among other things. Between them, the pair has spent $21 million on broadcast ads in the last three months alone.

Hillary Rodham Clinton is also in full fundraising mode, meanwhile. After hosting a splashy ladies’ luncheon in San Francisco with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Monday, Mrs. Clinton will hop on down to Hollywood to headline a swank Hollywood event for Democratic “grass-roots” senators at a famed Brentwood restaurant. She’ll be joined by producers Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg, among many Tinseltown elite, along with Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer of California and Michael F. Bennet of Colorado.

Tickets, of course, are $32,400 each; some close observers say this might be the time and place when Mrs. Clinton will clarify her 2016 plans — and quite possibly according to script.


“I would strongly encourage the Department of State to immediately institute a temporary suspension of consular services — particularly the issuance of visas — for non-U.S. nationals in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the West Africa countries most heavily impacted by this outbreak. This is a reasonable and immediately implementable containment measure,” writes House Committee on Foreign Affairs chairman Rep. Edward R. Royce, California Republican, in an open letter to Secretary of State John F. Kerry.

Proactive concern has heightened. Multiple polls now reveal that the public is keen on restricting travel to West African nations burdened with the disease — and an increasing number of lawmakers agree with them, mostly from the Grand Old Party. An ongoing analysis from The Hill finds that 39 Republican members of the House and five senators now urge President Obama to approve a travel ban. Among Democrats, six representatives and a single senator agree.

“A temporary ban on travel to the United States from countries afflicted with the virus is something that the president should absolutely consider, along with any other appropriate actions, as doubts about the security of our air travel systems grow,” says House Speaker John A. Boehner.

“The administration must be able to assure Americans that we will stop the spread here at home. We will continue to press the administration for better information about what steps will be taken to protect the American people, including our troops, from this deadly virus. And we will work with the administration on appropriate policy options that will help stop the spread of this horrific disease both here in the United States and around the globe,” Mr. Boehner added.


“Banning travel to and from West Africa — most importantly, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, where Ebola is epidemic — is a commonsense measure,” notes an editorial from the National Review. “The White House, or the White House working with Congress, could quickly and easily establish a blanket ban on travel. They could also provide for appropriate exceptions to ensure that aid continues to reach afflicted areas. Travel to West Africa should be restricted to approved military personnel and monitored aid and medical workers, while travel from West Africa to the U.S. should be handled on a case-by-case basis.”

The publication adds, “No, the ban would not work perfectly. But an inability to eliminate all risk whatsoever should not disqualify efforts that would reduce it, and restrictions would substantially curtail travel from high-risk nations and minimize the risk of Ebola-infected patients reaching American shores.”


The press has its undisputed presidential favorites. In the last nine months, Hillary Rodham Clinton and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have received more coverage than any other hopefuls in the White House derby. They are, in fact, neck and neck, each the subject of 82 stories — this according to a Pew Research Center study of national news coverage from Jan. 1 through the end of September. The pair outdistances their rivals plenty.

Mitt Romney is in third place, with 74 stories, followed by Sens. Ted Cruz (68 stories) and Rand Paul (67), and Jeb Bush (53). The only Democrat besides Mrs. Clinton to even register in the rating is Sen. Elizabeth Warren, with 22 stories.

“Although we’re still two years out from the presidential race, there’s more coverage this time around than in previous election cycles,” the analysis says, noting that 541 stories were written about the 2016 presidential campaign so far this year — double the number of stories generated during the same time period in 2010. Why the GOP-centric coverage? Only a second analysis judging the actual content and slant of the stories can answer that one.


Weekend viewing of note: Fox News presents a one-hour special titled “Payday in America,” on Friday evening hosted by Bret Baier; the program meticulously analyzes how income inequality affects the United States, the fate of the middle class and whether or not all this will sway the midterm elections. And a nice touch: The network has actually bothered to interview Americans across the country about what their payday signals as far as contentment or defeat. Airtime is 10 p.m. ET, with repeat broadcasts on Saturday and Sunday.


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27 percent of Americans say inequality between rich and poor is the “greatest global threat”; 21 percent of Republicans, 35 percent of Democrats and 25 percent of independents agree.

24 percent of Americans overall cite religious and ethnic hatred as the greatest threat; 35 percent of Republicans, 15 percent of Democrats and 23 percent of independents agree.

23 percent overall cite nuclear weapons as the gravest threat; 25 percent of Republicans, 22 percent of Democrats and 23 percent of independents agree.

15 percent overall cite pollution and the environment as the highest threat; 8 percent of Republicans, 17 percent of Democrats and 19 percent of independents agree.

7 percent cite “AIDS and other diseases” as the top concern; 7 percent of Republicans, 8 percent of Democrats and 7 percent of independents agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center survey of 1,002 U.S. adults conducted April 22-May 11 and released Thursday.

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