OBAMACARE IN ACTION!
Those frustrations spilled over when Mr. Obama convened his top aides in the Cabinet room after canceling his schedule on Wednesday. Medical officials were providing information that later turned out to be wrong. Guidance to local health teams was not adequate. It was unclear which Ebola patients belonged in which threat categories.
“It’s not tight,” a visibly angry Mr. Obama said of the response, according to people briefed on the meeting. He told aides they needed to get ahead of events and demanded a more hands-on approach, particularly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “He was not satisfied with the response,” a senior official said.
Obama Names Democratic Operative to Coordinate Ebola Response OCT. 17, 2014
Before Ebola, New Czar Handled Political CrisesOCT. 17, 2014
Health Scare in Texas Also Sends Political RipplesOCT. 17, 2014
Waste From Ebola Poses Challenge to HospitalsOCT. 17, 2014
Lax U.S. Guidelines on Ebola Led to Poor Hospital Training, Experts SayOCT. 15, 2014
C.D.C. Will Offer More Ebola Training to Health Care WorkersOCT. 12, 2014
As U.S. Steps Up Fight, J.F.K. Begins Screening Passengers for EbolaOCT. 11, 2014
The difference between the public and private messages illustrates the dilemma Mr. Obama faces on Ebola — and a range of other national security issues — as he tries to galvanize the response to a public health scare while not adding to the sense of panic fueled by 24-hour cable TV and the nonstop Twitter chatter.
On Friday, Mr. Obama took a step to both fix that response and reassure the public, naming Ron Klain, a former aide to Vice President Joseph R. Biden, to coordinate the government’s efforts on Ebola.
The appointment followed the president’s statement Thursday that the job was necessary “just to make sure that we are crossing all the t’s and dotting all the i’s going forward.”
“Part of the challenge is to be assertive, to be in command, and yet not feed a kind of panic that could easily evolve here,” said David Axelrod, a close adviser to the president in his first term. “It’s not enough to doggedly and persistently push for answers in meetings. You have to be seen doggedly and persistently pushing for answers.”For two turbulent weeks, White House officials have sought to balance those imperatives: insisting the dangers to the American public were being overstated in the news media, while also moving quickly to increase the president’s demonstration of action.
Senior officials said they pushed Mr. Obama to name an Ebola coordinator as a way of easing pressure on the staff at the National Security Council.
At the meeting on Wednesday, officials said, Mr. Obama placed much of the blame on the C.D.C., which provided shifting information about which threat category patients were in, and did not adequately train doctors and nurses at hospitals with Ebola cases on the proper protective procedures.
Is the U.S. Prepared for an Ebola Outbreak?
A look at the government agencies and private entities that were involved in the case of the first person found to have Ebola in the United States.
On Thursday night, in televised remarks, Mr. Obama sought to reassure the public about the dangers from Ebola. But the sense of crisis that emanated from the White House was in sharp contrast to Sept. 30, when Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian who had traveled to Dallas, tested positive for Ebola. Mr. Obama received a telephone briefing from Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the director of the C.D.C., after which the White House issued a sanguine statement that concluded: “We have the infrastructure in place to respond safely and effectively.”
In the days that followed, Mr. Obama carried on as usual while his aides gamely added Ebola to their bulging portfolios. On Oct. 1, Mr. Obama met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, and later had dinner with friends at the RPM Steakhouse in Chicago, where he had traveled for fund-raisers and to deliver an economic speech.
By early October, as questions about the Dallas hospital’s treatment of Mr. Duncan mounted, federal officials began reassessing their response, even as they continued to express confidence.
C.D.C. officials publicly dismissed the effectiveness of screening for Ebola at airports in the United States. But Jeh Johnson, the secretary of Homeland Security, found a way to make it work over the weekend of Oct. 4. Mr. Obama announced the screening protocol the following Monday.
Even after Mr. Duncan’s death on Oct. 8, officials betrayed little sense of a change in approach. Mr. Obama traveled to California for campaign fund-raising and on his return to Washington, received a briefing from his secretary of health and human services about the announcement that a nurse who treated Mr. Duncan had contracted Ebola.
FUND RAISING …
“This Frontier thing took it out of the abstract thing and to this level where people could identify with and made them scared,” a senior official said. Within hours, White House aides canceled a planned trip by Mr. Obama to Connecticut and New Jersey. Hours later, Thursday’s trip to Rhode Island and New York City was also scrubbed.Continue reading the main story
In their place, officials quickly scheduled two frenetic days of presidential activity: meetings, phone calls, statements to the press. All other subjects were shelved — at least publicly — to allow Mr. Obama and his senior advisers to confront the management of the Ebola response directly and to demonstrate the administration’s resolve publicly.
Susan E. Rice, the national security adviser, has been leading the effort to prod Britain, Germany, France and other countries to do more to respond to the outbreak. One of Ms. Rice’s deputies, Lisa Monaco, who is responsible for homeland security and counterterrorism issues, has been coordinating the domestic response, which involves working with the C.D.C., state and local health authorities, and the Transportation Security Administration on issues like scanning of incoming passengers.
Administration officials insist the president has been deeply engaged since late August, when he played host to African leaders, in prodding them to ramp up the fight against Ebola in West Africa. Last month, he warned world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly to do more.
“It’s not that people aren’t doing anything,” a senior official said. “It’s that they’re not yet doing enough.”
Complicating the administration’s international push, it is also pressing European allies to contribute military resources to the campaign against the Islamic State. Officials said they were satisfied with Britain and Germany, but that France had been dragging its heels.
WHO'S WHO AT WHO …
On Friday afternoon, even before Mr. Klain started, the White House showed signs of returning to normal. FUND RAISING!!!