The head of the NIH said years of budget cuts have hampered the government's ability to fight Ebola, but luckily politicians' ability to grandstand remains strong. Scott Brown waded into a crowd of Republican frat boys and somehow managed not to do a kegstand. And facing criticism for going after Greg Abbott's disability in an ad, Wendy Davis held a press conference to say that some of her best friends are in wheelchairs. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, October 13th, 2014:
TODAY IN EBOLA POLITICS - Aaron Blake: "On Monday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched banner Web ads against Republicans, hitting them for voting to cut funding for the Centers for Disease Control. The ads echo an August TV ad from Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) hitting Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) for voting against the reauthorization of public health and emergency programs that included pandemic response." [WashPost]
WENDY DAVIS STANDS BY HER AD - Paige Lavender: "Texas governor candidate Wendy Davis (D) stood by her controversial campaign ad attacking her opponent, calling Texas Lt. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) a hypocrite at a Monday event. The ad, released Friday, attacks Abbott for opposing litigation on behalf of disabled victims. In 2002, Abbott, who is partially paralyzed, successfully sued for, and won, a large reward due to the accident that led to his paralysis. The ad was criticized as 'ridiculous' by a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, and Abbott's campaign said it showed a 'disturbing lack of judgment.' Davis appeared on stage with several people in wheelchairs during a press conference on Monday, at which she doubled down on the ad's message." [HuffPost]
CAN THE FARM BILL SAVE MARK PRYOR? Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) sharply criticized GOP challenger Rep. Tom Cotton on Monday for voting against the farm bill. The farm bill has been a key issue in the Arkansas Senate race, in which Cotton holds a slight lead, according to HuffPost Pollster. In a Monday debate at the University of Central Arkansas, Pryor said that out of all of the bills Congress passes, the farm bill was the most important for Arkansas residents. He sought to draw a stark contrast between himself and Cotton, who voted against the bill earlier this year. "He is the only member of the Arkansas delegation to do that," Pryor said. "Every indicator I have ever seen says we should vote for this because it is good for Arkansas." HuffPost
Pryor also mentioned Cotton's absurdly false TV ad, then followed that up by saying, of Cotton, that "his rhetoric is good" and "he talks a good game." Heh.
JONI ERNST: I DON'T WANT TO DEPORT DREAMERS...MAYBE - Iowa Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst said Saturday that she wouldn't try to do away with a policy that helps young undocumented immigrants, even though she's previously criticized her Democratic opponent for opposing efforts to end the program. During a debate with Democratic candidate Rep. Bruce Braley on Saturday, Ernst was asked whether she would vote to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a policy that allows undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children to stay for two years or more. "No, I would not," replied Ernst, who is currently an Iowa state senator. [HuffPost]
SCOTT BROWN PARTIES WITH FRAT BOYS - Amanda Terkel: "New Hampshire GOP candidate Scott Brown ditched the usual campaign trail stops on Saturday and instead attempted to bond with a younger, rowdier set of voters at the University of New Hampshire homecoming tailgate….In video posted by the New Hampshire Democratic Party, as Brown walked through the sea of tailgaters, there were shouts of 'F**k Jeanne Shaheen!' and 'Elizabeth Warren sucks!" referring to the Democrat from Massachusetts who unseated Brown from his Senate seat in that state in 2012. The language became even more graphic at points, with one man shouting 'F**k her right in the p***y' (00:04 in the video above), although it wasn't clear if he was referring to Shaheen or Warren. At 01:07 in the video, a man also appears to refer to Shaheen as a c**t. ... Brown spokeswoman Elizabeth Guyton distanced the campaign from the insults and denounced the language. 'As the video clearly shows, Scott Brown obviously did not hear these comments and certainly does not condone this language,' she said." [HuffPost]
Whatever happened to the fun-loving Barack Hussein Obama we once knew and loved? Howard Fineman has some ideas.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the government would change its response to Ebola after officials confirmed Sunday a Dallas health care worker had been infected with the virus. "We have to rethink the way we address Ebola control," CDC director Tom Frieden said at a press conference in Atlanta. The government confirmed Sunday that a hospital worker who had cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, who died from Ebola at a Dallas hospital last week, had contracted the virus from Duncan. Though more than 8,000 people have been infected in West Africa, the Dallas hospital worker -- identified by local TV station WFAA as 26-year-old Nina Pham -- is the first person to have contracted the virus on U.S. soil. [HuffPost]
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BUDGET CUTS HAMPERED EBOLA FIGHT - Sam Stein: "As the federal government frantically works to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and as it responds to a second diagnosis of the disease at home, one of the country's top health officials says a vaccine likely would have already been discovered were it not for budget cuts. Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, said that a decade of stagnant spending has "slowed down" research on all items, including vaccinations for infectious diseases. As a result, he said, the international community has been left playing catch-up on a potentially avoidable humanitarian catastrophe. 'NIH has been working on Ebola vaccines since 2001. It's not like we suddenly woke up and thought, 'Oh my gosh, we should have something ready here,'' Collins told The Huffington Post on Friday. 'Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would've gone through clinical trials and would have been ready.'" [HuffPost]
NEW PUSH TO BOOST BIO-DISASTER HOSPITAL PREPAREDNESS FUNDS - Sam Stein: "Amid panic over the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and a second diagnosis in the United States, lawmakers are renewing efforts to bolster biomedical research funding and disaster preparedness. On Monday, Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) joined the chorus, urging for more money to be spent on a federal program designed to improve hospital care in the case of a pandemic. In a letter to the chair and ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Casey called for reinforcing the Hospital Preparedness Program, a state-federal cooperative administered by the Department of Health and Human Services." [HuffPost]
STATE LAWMAKER IS JERK - Laura Bassett: "A Republican state lawmaker wrote in a blog post last week that U.S. Rep. Ann McLane Kuster (D-N.H.) will likely lose her re-election race in November because she is 'ugly as sin' and 'looks matter in politics.' The New Hampshire blog Miscellany Blue first reported that New Hampshire state Rep. Steve Vaillancourt (R) compared Kuster to a 'drag queen' in his lengthy post and said she will probably lose to Republican challenger Marilinda Garcia, who is 'truly attractive.'" [HuffPost]
THOM TILLIS EXPOUNDS ON RACE RELATIONS - Daniel Strauss: "House Speaker Thom Tillis, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in North Carolina, once released a statement that said federal and state governments had 'redistributed' 'trillions of dollars over the years' -- amounting to 'de facto reparations.' That argument by Tillis, who is running to replace Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC), came during an explanation he offered on his website for why he supported a joint resolution expressing the North Carolina general assembly's regret for slavery.... 'A subset of the democrat [sic] majority has never ceased to propose legislation that is de facto reparations and they will continue to do so as long as they are in the majority,' Tillis said. 'Federal and State [sic] governments have redistributed trillions of dollars of wealth over the years by funding programs that are at least in part driven by their belief that we should provide additional reparations.'" [TPM]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Enjoy the existential despair of Redskins beat writers.
- The Seattle city council replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day. http://huff.to/1t0TZo6
- How is Columbus Day still a thing? John Oliver seeks answers. http://bit.ly/1syRBTv
- Teacher quits teaching, twerks instead. http://huff.to/ZoIMzI
- One of those lists of "foods you might be eating wrong." http://huff.to/1sIFhAq
- How to gird your loins http://huff.to/1qkarsM
@alanbeattie: "Columbus leveraged his skill in murderous plunder to add value across a wide range of innovative genocidal projects." #columbusMBA
@eliotnelson: What's the matter with Kansas? This weather! ...amirite?!?
I'm so sorry [drives into tornado]
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