Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., died this week. The U.S. is now stepping up efforts to keep the virus out of the country, screening passengers arriving from Ebola-stricken countries at five major American airports. The Supreme Court decides not to take up gay marriage cases, potentially opening the door for legal same-sex unions in 11 states. But resistance remains, with lawmakers in at least three states vowing to keep their bans in place. And with the midterms just weeks away, Republicans may be facing a closer race than previously expected. Latest polls throw into question expected GOP victories in several key states. A panel of journalists joins Diane for analysis of the week’s top national news stories.
- Jeanne Cummings Deputy managing editor, Bloomberg Politics.
- Perry Bacon Senior political reporter, NBC News. Former national political reporter at Time and The Washington Post.
- John Stanton Washington bureau chief, BuzzFeed.
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MS. DIANE REHMThanks for joining us. I'm Diane Rehm. Ebola screening begins at five U.S. airports, a new Gallup Poll suggests a low turnout for November's elections and same-sex marriage is now legal in a majority of states. Joining me for the domestic hour of the Friday News Roundup, Perry Bacon of NBC News, Jeanne Cummings of Bloomberg News and John Stanton of BuzzFeed. And since it's Friday, you can watch a live video stream of the program at our website, drshow.org.
MS. DIANE REHMAnd, of course, you can join the program. Give us a call at 800-433-8850. Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us at Facebook or Twitter. And thank you all for being here.
MS. JEANNE CUMMINGSGood morning.
MR. PERRY BACONGood to be here.
MR. JOHN STANTONMorning.
REHMGood to see you. And Perry, welcome.
BACONThank you. Appreciate that.
REHMThomas Eric Duncan died this week in Dallas. One keeps hearing questions about whether he was given the same kind of treatment that others were given, questions about race have been raised. What are your thoughts?
BACONThe two questions that were raised have been, one, did his race and, two, the fact that he wasn't an American citizen, also three, he didn't have health insurance and he was sent home rather than being kept at the hospital and the question is why that happened and should that have happened. And my sense is his family's gonna keep asking those questions because they seem like they're the right ones.
BACONYou know, Jesse Jackson has been down there raising the same concerns and it does seem like he was treated differently and not as aggressively as the other Americans who've had ebola, who've come back.
REHMJeanne Cummings, what's your thought?
CUMMINGSWell, I think, you know, there could be questions raised and clearly his case was not handled properly from the get-go. But it also is a testament to how deadly the disease is and how dangerous that disease is. People are dying from it over in Africa, in Spain and in many places where they are getting treatment. And they're not going to save every single one of these people, even if you go in with the experimental drugs because, A, they are experimental and, B, the point of the disease and where it's at in each person is different and how their bodies are reacting are different.
REHMJohn Stanton, is there any clear indication that aside from some computer misfire or misreading, that his case was mishandled?
STANTONI mean, I think, clearly, the fact that they sent him home is a good sign that there was some kind of mishandling there. I don't know that it was anything other than just sort of a bad decision.
STANTONA mistake, right. You know, and as Jeanne says, this is a disease where even if they'd kept him in the hospital, it's not clear that he would've survived regardless and, you know, I think the problem is is that it's Dallas. It's the South. He is black. He is, you know, from Africa. There are all these sort of issues that surround it that are never going to go away no matter what, I think.
STANTONAnd it's unfortunate because, you know, his family is now suffering and he's gone and it's gonna maybe potentially make people less likely to go to the hospital if they feel like they're not going to get treated the same way and that could really be a very bad problem and I think they're gonna have to deal with that.
CUMMINGSThere were lessons learned, though, and 'cause you could see in other cases here in D.C., I believe there was one New York, when people came in and they had symptoms, they were quarantined. Now, they turned out, the one in D.C. turned to be not ebola, but clearly, the medical community learned lessons fast from what happened down in Dallas.
REHMI hope you're right. I hope you're right.
CUMMINGSAnd that, I think, you know, should give people some comfort that they're on the ball now and, you know, if you go in and you mention where you've traveled, if you go in and you have certain symptoms, they're gonna take it seriously.
REHMSo now, Perry, we've got screenings at five major U.S. airports. How effective could that screening be?
BACONIf you look at what the officials from the CDC and so on and the White House have said, they've kind of broadly hinted that this is a little bit about PR and not as much about -- this is not necessarily going to prevent completely the disease from happening. This is a little bit about can we make sure people -- this is a security show of sorts. Can we make sure that people know that we're trying to do as much as we can, but it's not clear this is gonna really prevent any kind of ebola cases from going.
BACONAnd it's not also -- we should mention as well, 4,000 people have died in Africa, almost 4,000. We're still talking about one person in the U.S. The outbreak has not happened here yet and this is a way to stop that from happening.
REHMExactly, a way to stop it from happening, but considering how the screening process is going to work, how effective do you think it could be, Jeanne?
CUMMINGSWell, clearly, it's a net. It's not a floor. It's not a wall. People can slip through. Because of the 20-day incubation period of the disease, you can be, as the man in Dallas was, without symptoms when he left and then developed them later. The same could be true of someone coming in from Liberia, which is one of the three countries where the heavier screening will be taking place, taking temperatures and that sort of thing. It's not perfect.
CUMMINGSAnd what my question is, why didn't they do that in the beginning.
REHMWell, and the other questions now raised by LaGuardia Airport employees who are tasked with going in to clean airplanes, to do everything that has to be done to ready it for the next flight, some of them have already walked off the job.
STANTONYeah. Well, I think this is the interesting thing about these screenings. I mean, I think, as Perry said, this is very much a way to try to keep the public from panicking, right? People were immediately starting -- once this gentleman in Dallas was sick, you started seeing people go to the hospital and saying, I might have ebola and they had to start quarantining people.
STANTONAnd I think the, you know, the administration is trying very hard to keep this from becoming a national kind of a panic, but, you know, these are questions that people are going to have. You know, even though, frankly, unless they're showing signs while they're on the plane, there's no real risk to anybody that is working at, you know, LaGuardia or any of these other airports. It's still going to be something that you're going to worry about, you know.
REHMAnd you're gonna have to convince these employees, Jeanne.
CUMMINGSWell, and that is one of the examples of why the White House is trying to stop it in Africa and why they're moving aggressively to contain and eradicate the disease because that's just one small economic impact, having workers walk off the job at an airport -- in one airport.
CUMMINGSThat's one tiny thing. If this gets out of control, there could be big economic impacts.
REHMBut you're talking about stopping it in Africa. Here's the Pentagon tasked with setting up these 17 new area hospitals and you've got Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma blocking funds to pay for it, John Stanton.
STANTONYeah, he has argued that he's concerned about the military readiness and that this is going to affect the broader mission of the military.
REHMBecause of money.
STANTONRight. This is not new money. This is -- what they're doing is they're taking money from other parts of the Pentagon and they're shifting it into the ebola fight. Everybody else, expect for Senator Inhofe, has sort of signed off on this. The appropriations committee now have said it's okay, but he's a ranking member, like I said, armed services and he has said that he is not comfortable with it yet.
STANTONIt's a little unclear exactly why he is still unhappy with it, but...
REHMWell, can he put the kibosh on this and for how long, considering that this is, as you've all said, really a serious situation?
STANTONWell, this is, you know, if you talk to folks at, like, USAID or the Pentagon, one of their biggest concerns is that, first, the domestic cases have taken away some of the focus on the international, which is where they really see the big problem and they really are looking at this as a humanitarian crisis that needs to be addressed quickly. And I do think that that kind of pressure is going to be too much for anyone to bear at some point.
STANTONAt some point, he's going to sort of lift his hold on this.
REHMDo you agree, Perry?
BACONI completely agree. This is an issue where both parties, every politician agrees, this is a real problem. I just don't think one senator can hold this up too long. Also, you also have other people beyond the U.S., the World Bank is involved.
BACONThey're getting -- money can come from other places, I think, beyond the U.S. government if it needs to be.
REHMAll right. And let's talk about exactly how those soldiers in those countries are going to be protected themselves.
BACONWhat we've seen so far, the U.S. is very focused on this issue of making sure that whoever goes there is protected, is not -- you know, we had an NBC cameraman who actually got ebola while he was there.
BACONThis is the big concern is how do we make sure people who are going over there to help don't come back and get the same kind of symptoms as well.
REHMAnd where is he now?
BACONYou know, I think -- he's in a hospital. I believe it's in -- I've forgotten where he is. He's back in the U.S. now and he's under good care.
REHMAll right. But we don't know which hospital. Okay.
BACONYeah, I've forgotten now, yes.
REHMBut they're going to have to provide all these soldiers, even though they will not be in contact with ebola patients, with some kind of protective gear.
CUMMINGSI'm sure that they will provide them with protective gear. Many of them are going to go over there and build things. They're gonna build clinics and that sort of thing and not be interacting with patients. But there could be medical personnel as well on these missions and, you know, I'm sure that the Pentagon's gonna equip them with all the kind of body gear that they have to have to protect themselves from contracting it and, you know, having that...
REHMBut surely, they couldn't wear the same kind of protective gear that medical personnel do because it's too hot, it's too heavy, they could not move.
STANTONAnd too restrictive, right? I mean, if you're doing construction, there's no way you could wear that stuff.
REHMYeah, absolutely. Right, yeah.
STANTONBut, I think, they definitely will give them some -- because, again, I think, you know, if a soldier were to contract ebola, it would 'cause irreparable damage to the U.S. effort to try to deal with this crisis right now in Africa. I think people would just stop being able to support it.
REHMJohn Stanton, Washington bureau chief of BuzzFeed. Short break here. We'll be right back.
REHMAnd welcome back to the Domestic Hour of our Friday News Roundup this week with Jeanne Cummings. She's deputy managing editor of Bloomberg Politics. John Stanton is Washington bureau chief for BuzzFeed. Perry Bacon is senior political reporter for NBC News. And if you're just joining us you can also watch live at drshow.org. Let's talk about midterms, Jeanne. Latest movements in some key races?
CUMMINGSOh, it's been a wild week. It has been a wild week. This is turning out to be a fairly fun midterm season with the Senate fight, you know, so close, razor thin. All of the races just about are within the margin of error. This could come down to ground game which usually would advantage the Democrats. But the Democratic base is pretty depressed. So it's been a great year to watch.
CUMMINGSThis week, big changes. South Dakota suddenly comes onto the map, a sleep race that the Republicans thought they had in their pocket. But it's got four candidates in there and there's an ex-senator, Senator Pressler, who is now -- was a Republican, then he voted and endorsed Obama twice. What a strange trip he's been on. He actually is rising in the polls to challenge and get close to the Republican who was supposed to walk away with this.
CUMMINGSSo suddenly the Democratic Senatorial Committee is dropping money in there. Some of the rich Super PACs on the Democratic side are -- you know, they're starting to pour money into it. And we suddenly have a new race that's in the mix, which is not good for Republicans because they already had to run the table. And this one they had counted as being in their pocket.
CUMMINGSSo -- and then the other wonderful story that's going on in Kansas at Bloomberg Politics, we just brought Lisa Lerer back from there. I mean, talk about the cavalry coming to save Senator Roberts. Everyone is suddenly in. The U.S. Chamber throwing money at, again, a race they weren't supposed to spend a penny.
REHMWhat happened there, John Stanton?
STANTONPat Roberts became part of Washington, I think is what happened there, right. I mean, I think -- and he's had a lot of difficulty getting away from that. You know, he had this -- that very difficult primary. He won it in the end but it did such damage to him that this independent is now able to sort of step in there and really hurt him. He's been also hurt, frankly, by Sam Brownback being very unpopular and having a lot of difficulty within the Republican Party.
STANTONThere are a lot of members of the Republican Party that do not like him that have been pushing against him at the governor gubernatorial level. I think all this is coming together to create sort of a perfect storm of an incumbent who could lose almost regardless of what happens.
REHMOn the other hand, Perry, we heard this morning on NPR that in one of the Virginia congressional races, Democrats are pulling their money and forces out because it looks like a clear victory for Republicans.
BACONIn Virginia you mean?
REHMIn the Wolf Race.
BACONOh, in the Wolf race, yeah.
BACONThe Democrats, more broadly, are not going to do very well in the House. I think that's become pretty clear. And I think they -- looking at the Republicans gaining seats in the House, six to eight seats, something in that range for sure. I think in South Dakota and in Kansas what's been really interesting to see is that the Democrats have essentially backed these independent candidates here. That's one thing you're seeing. And I wonder if this will happen in other places soon too as well.
BACONThese are very red states, South Dakota, Kansas. Hard for a Democrat to win those states but Greg Orman, an independent, Pressler an independent, maybe there's something new that maybe is not just this year, don't have a D beside your name but being an independent don't really say what you're for because I can't tell what Greg Orman's for at all. But he's done a great job.
REHMAnd don't say who -- which party you're going to caucus with.
CUMMINGSRight. Exactly. Well, you know, I have to admit, I kind of admire the guy's candor. He does say -- you know, on positions he says I'm a fiscal conservative and I'm a moderate on social issues. And I think that's where most independent voters are, and he's reflecting that. And then when it comes to which side would you pick, he says he'd pick the winning side. He'd pick the power side. Well, you know, so would everybody else.
CUMMINGSHe's telling the truth. And he says it's better for Kansas if I do that. Getting back to Virginia though, that House race, that would be the Comstock race in Northern Virginia. What's interesting in Virginia this week was the state Supreme Court rule that they're redistricting the map is illegal. And that's the map that drew the House districts. And the one that the Democrats had been hopeful about was definitely turned to become a more Republican district to make it safer for Republicans.
CUMMINGSNow, the court ruling does not apply to 2014 but it -- after they draw a new map with a Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe there to check the Republican legislature, it's going to be a different looking map. They ruled it illegal because they packed the black voters all into just one district.
CUMMINGSSo it is conceivable, if you look at the stats and you look at the possibilities of how the maps might change and you look at '16 as a presidential year, the Democrats could pick up as many as six seats in Virginia if that map is reshuffled.
REHMSo at the same time we're hearing from Gallup that this may be an even lower voter turnout than other previous midterms, which are always lower voter turnout.
STANTONYeah, oh, you know, I think there is a serious amount of, I think, apathy frankly with the political system right now in the United States. I think people look at, you know, following 2012 there was a full solid year, I think, of people being very interested in politics. You had the government shutdown, you had these fiscal fights. You know, there was this talk of potentially doing an immigration bill. And what the public saw was a congress and a Senate that were unable to do anything in a White House that was constantly fighting with them but really getting nowhere.
STANTONAnd I think that they look at that and they say -- they sort of wash their hands a bit of -- with everybody. And I think it -- you know, Republicans are more energized than Democrats, but that's still not that great, it seems like, you know. I think people are just sort of tired of politicians, which I can't blame them.
REHMWhat about voting rights, Jeanne, in Texas and Wisconsin?
CUMMINGSRight. Can I give you one little stat before then...
CUMMINGSIt's just a -- it's a fun one that we did with a graphic and it's shocking also at the same time. You take the number of races in play, about eight Senate races, you take the turnout in the last midterm and you count those people up. And the number of voters who will decide who controls the Senate is less than the population of Florida. That's how bad turnout is.
CUMMINGSAnd that's how high the stakes are.
CUMMINGSYeah, it's fascinating. Yeah, we had -- North Carolina and Wisconsin had some voting rights cases this week. Frankly, it's getting so confusing.
REHMIt truly is. I agree with you.
CUMMINGSIt truly is. I mean, in Wisconsin, if you voted early and didn't show an ID, you now have to go back and try to make your vote count, which seems really odd and kind of unfair to change the rules in the middle of the voting process. North Carolina's ruling came before the voting began and so at least the rules are clear. The Democrats claim they were disadvantaged by it, that this will hurt -- depress minority turnout. At the same time they say, we got it under control. We're going to get our people to the polls.
REHMSo North Carolina is going to be upheld but not Wisconsin.
BACONSo North Carolina, the idea -- the Democrats like same-day registration. Democrats tend to use that more and the courts ruled this week that the Republicans want to get rid of that now, that will not be allowed. So that's not helpful for Democrats overall. They say they've adjusted to it. Texas also had a voting rights -- a voter ID law struck down last night. So we're also seeing as the voting has become this new kind of partisan divide as much as any issue is.
BACONIn all these states, Democrats say voter ID laws are racist and discriminating against people and to prevent the young and minority voters. Republicans say the opposite. And that's become like a war -- we're having a war in voting essentially every election. And there was a GAL report this week, it's probably the first independent study I've seen on this, and it actually -- it made the case that they compared states with voter ID laws and states without voter ID laws and they found states with voter ID laws there is a drop in turnout for 18- to 25-year-olds and for minorities. So it basically shows the Democratic case is correct. It's hard to know -- it makes the case for the Democrats' argument.
BACONIt is hard to know, in this election cycle, how big of a difference this will make because Democrats have won states with voter ID laws in the past. They have a huge organization in North Carolina to turn out these kinds of voters. It's hard for me to imagine they don't have a plan to deal with this in North Carolina particularly.
REHMBut you've got this very strong Republican legislature in North Carolina, Republican governor in North Carolina who's trying to straddle both fields, if you will. It'll be fascinating to see how these are affected.
STANTONIt will and I think, you know, that this is definitely a big boost to Mr. Tillis' campaign against Kay Hagan in North Carolina. I think, you know, he was struggling -- Democrats -- you know, because of South Dakota and Kansas being an area where Republicans have to spend money, Democrats were able to keep their attention away from places like North Carolina. And this is very much a big help to Republicans because they aren't -- you know, the national Republicans aren't able to spent the kind of money that they would like to and have the kind of game going there because they've had to suddenly focus on places they thought they weren't going to have to before.
REHMAll right. And let's talk now about same-sex marriage. You had the new Supreme Court term saying they will not take on any same-sex marriage cases. Why not and what does it mean for same-sex marriage throughout the country, Perry?
BACONSo essentially the court said five different states can't ban gay marriage. And that affected those five states, but in reality it affected eleven states because these federal court rulings affected -- will, in effect, also matter for states that are covered by the same circuit. So we had five official states, we'll probably end up with eleven states who now are required to allow gays to marry.
BACONThe important thing, I think, here to think about is I really think Monday we didn't think about it this way because the court didn't say what their reasoning was and they didn't have an opinion listed. But Monday was a little bit of a Roe v. Wade kind of moment, I think, in terms of the court basically legalized gay marriage in lots of places in the country...
REHM...by doing nothing.
BACON...by doing nothing. That was a -- we know the court -- and they've said this at times, they don't want to be too far out on this issue. They want to let the states and ultimately the public decide this issue. The court, it seems to me, is controlled by a conservative majority. I don't think they want necessarily right now to put out a, you know, gay marriage is legal everywhere kind of ruling. But they basically are doing that by doing nothing and allowing the decision to be rule.
BACONAnd I think -- and conservatives I've talked to are very worried. They view Monday as a big day in which the Supreme Court essentially said, gay marriage is legal in America.
CUMMINGSI think Perry's definitely onto it. Ruth Bader Ginsburg has talked about how she felt they -- the court acted too soon in Roe v. Wade and that they should have allowed states to continue to have the political fight over abortion rights and let the nation come closer to a consensus and then the court weigh in. Clearly they're letting this political fight to take place everywhere. And one reason a lot of people think it's game over is because, you know, it's what are they waiting for. Are they going to weigh in a year from now when 40 states have approved it and say it's illegal?
BACONThat's what it looks like to me.
CUMMINGSYeah, how do you go back?
STANTONWell, this -- and I think, you know, the problem for them is that if any of the other circuits come out with a contrary ruling and then they have a split in the circuits, then they are going to be forced to deal with this. And I think they're probably hoping that none of the other circuits are going to -- the idea that the circuit won't uphold a gay -- or, you know, a marriage equality ban is to me sort of unrealistic. I do think that the fifth circuit will eventually rule against marriage equality and force their hand and probably in the next year or two, which is...
REHMBut you've now got it legal in 27 states. How in the world do you reverse that? How in the world do you undo adoptions by gay couples? How in the world do you say, well, you may have thought you were married but you're really not?
BACONI think the interesting question will be, will the Republican nominee in 2016 be for gay marriage?
REHMInteresting. And you're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." We've got lots of callers. Let's open the phones, 800-433-8850. As I suspected, we've got lots of callers on Ebola, but first let's go to Oren in Miami, Fla. Hi, you're on the air.
ORENHi, good morning. My question is this. Would the United States have a more effective or better coordinated response to ebola if we had a surgeon general in office?
REHMHence we have had a surgeon general nominee but not one who's been approved, John.
STANTONYou know, I don't know that the surgeon general would necessarily do anything better or worse with this. But there is a question a number of members of congress have asked and a number of activists, particularly activists that worked on the HIV-AIDS crisis when it really first started in the '80s and early '90s in Africa, which is that there is no ebola czar, right. There's no one person that is in charge of this. In theory USAID is coordinating all of this but it's this office that is very professional and they do a very good job with disasters. But this has become a thing that is much bigger than that.
STANTONAnd there are a lot of folks that believe they need one person that has political cloud, not only within the White House and the administration but with the public that can go out and talk about this and be the public face of it and to rally support for it. And that is the question.
REHMAnd we should say that the nominee for surgeon general had his nomination blocked by the gun lobby, Perry.
BACONExactly. That's what the issue has become is why can't -- this is another example of Republicans and particularly the gun lobby blocking people from being nominated to things. That said, I don't know that the world is missing more czars. Ultimately Barack Obama is in charge of making sure, you know, stop -- you know, making sure the U.S. response to Ebola is appropriate. It's not entirely clear to me with people I talk to that having the surgeon general, maybe they'd be a good spokesman on the issue but it's not entirely clear to me Barack Obama's in charge of the response in the U.S.
REHMBut how long can Inhofe hold up money for the Pentagon to build these hospitals?
CUMMINGSWell, I agree with John and Perry when they said earlier that he can't hold out forever and...
REHMBut, I mean, time is of the essence.
CUMMINGSWell, that's absolutely true. And, you know, he's had his say. He's had his moment. He's all alone. That's not sustainable in politics. And so, you know, he eventually...
REHMHe's got no other supporters in holding up the money, is that correct?
STANTONMore or less. There are a few Republicans that do support him. I think he -- you know, right now he's in a big of an okay position because they've only spent about $38 million of the 50 that they've already agreed to give them. So he still has probably another few days or a week or so of wiggle room. But, you know, this additional $700 million is going to have to come online soon and I think that will be too much pressure.
REHMEvery single day more people are dying. We'll take a short break here. When we come back, more of your phone calls, your email. I look forward to hearing from you.
REHMAnd welcome back to the domestic hour of our Friday news roundup this week with Perry Bacon of NBC, Jeanne Cummings of Bloomberg Politics, John Stanton of BuzzFeed. And if you're just joining us, you can give us a call, 800-433-8850. You can join us at Facebook or Twitter. You can also watch the show online at drshow.org.
REHMHere's an email from Joe who says, "What about recent calls from some GOP to stop all travel from African countries? Seems like Republicans are beginning to use this as a voter issue, suggesting it's another demonstration of an ineffective administration. Is there any truth to that argument? Was the CDC caught sleeping or moving too slowly?" What do you think, Perry?
BACONIt was probably unwise for the president to suggest, you know, he's used the phrase, you know, it's very unlikely ebola will come to the U.S. I've forgotten his exact phrasing on that, but it was probably unwise for him to say that. And you can see the Republicans are adding it up, ebola, Secret Service...
BACON...Syria, every issue, ISIS. Every issue that comes up, they want to create an environment where America's, you know, things are going badly and the administration can't fix basic problems. The administration is incompetent, hence vote against Democratic candidates, vote Republican candidates. I think there's some evidence that that is actually working. If you go to most of these campaigns -- I wrote a piece this week and I called it like the campaign about nothing.
BACONBecause what you're seeing is, Republicans are very wary and Democrats for that matter too about really talking much about climate change or income inequality or like detail...
BACONThe issues. But the issue -- one of the biggest things Republican ads are about -- you look at their commercials -- is they're called anti-Obama ads. The ads are about anything except that Obama is bad. And that is something you're seeing everywhere.
CUMMINGSThey definitely have chosen than as their theme. And I wonder how it will look when we go backwards, when we can, you know, see what the outcome of this is, because the Democrats, by any measure, because largely of the mistakes of -- that the White House has made over the last year and they have made mistakes and that's why that argument can stick in terms of competence. But they aren't running against Barack Obama.
CUMMINGSThey're running against real candidates. And the Democrats, by all measure, should be, like, totally gone by now. The Democratic control, we should be able to see they've lost it. But they're still hanging in there.
CUMMINGSIt is remarkable that they are still hanging in there. And I think part of it is they -- the Republicans aren't running effectively against their opponents and that their names are Kay Hagan and Mary Landrieu and not Barack Obama.
REHMAll right, but take on the last part of Joe's email. Was the CDC caught sleeping or moving too slowly?
STANTONNo, I don't think so. I think, you know, they -- the CDC has been, I think, very engaged on this issue. And actually, they've had people in Africa, you know. You know, I think, as Jeanne said earlier, there is no way to really make sure that no one comes back into the country that might have Ebola. And it's -- someone was eventually going to get through. This guy got through. There were lapses at the local hospital, I think certainly. But, you know, the CDC has been, I think, very much engaged on this. So, you know...
CUMMINGSAnd the idea of a travel ban is tricky.
CUMMINGSIt's very tricky.
CUMMINGSYeah, because it affects commerce. It affects economies. It makes it harder for the aid to get to the people who need it.
REHMOr get out again.
CUMMINGSSo it sounds easier…
BACONAnd also I would say it creates a panic that I don't think we are at that moment yet. It creates a sense of, yeah, of panic that shouldn't be there.
REHMLet's go to Winston-Salem, NC. Hi there, Robert, you're on the air.
ROBERTYes, good morning. I just wanted to account, concerning the election in North Carolina, the changes in the voter laws. I was a poll worker in the 2012 election in a local precinct. Actually it was an observer, official observer of the voting in 2012 and a precinct that's serves a historic black university as well as a liberal arts college in a black neighborhood. I'm white. And during the election, a number of people from both the -- from the black historic university and from the area showed up.
ROBERTTwo things happened. A lot of the students had registered on campus. People had come on to register on campus, few at the time. I don't think anyone knew exactly who they were.
REHMOkay. All right.
ROBERTThe registrations were never turned in and the students were not able to vote at that -- they wouldn't be able to vote now. They did same-day registration voting -- registration and then were able to go back and vote in the correct precinct. The other thing that happened is a large number of people showed up who had been told by people who they did not who they were, they went to the wrong precinct because they were told correctly where to go. I find the changes in the law about not being able to vote on the precinct level -- if you're in the wrong precinct in North Carolina, you can't vote at all.
STANTONWell, that's, you know, that is one of the bigger concerns, I think, that the people have about this law is that, you know, making it so that, you know, same-day registration, I think, there are some places that you can do that and some places you can't do that. It's that -- I think there is -- the people are able to, I think, accept that argument a little bit more. But this notion that if you find yourself in the wrong precinct, you know, well, that's just too bad, you don't get to vote. It is troubling, I think, to people.
CUMMINGSAnd there -- it could be thousands of votes...
CUMMINGS...that are affected. And that race, like every one of these Senate races is going to be very, very tight and those votes could matter.
BACONExactly. I mean, these changes and particularly the caller made the point that college students are going to the kind of people affected who might use same-day registration who might not know where their precinct is because they don't vote all the time. This is definitely going to affect the kinds of people who are more likely to vote Democratic.
REHMAll right. And let's go to Jason in Smithfield, Va. Hi there.
JASONI like your show.
REHMThanks. Go ahead.
JASONHey, I don't understand -- well, I mean, I see it as an act of terrorism for a man who knew that he had contact with someone who is sick in Liberia and he lied about it to come into the United States. I mean, you know...
JASON...the response to 9/11 was pretty drastic and severe. I mean, this could potentially infect and kill a lot of people within the United States. So...
REHMYou know, there are some people who are questioning whether he actually knew that the young woman who died who was pregnant had Ebola. And, therefore, may not have lied.
BACONI just don't think we know that. It's just like we're too early in the stage to know...
BACON...exactly what did he know when he came here. I assumed coming to the U.S. probably is, in general, a better way to get better care. But so that may be motivated him. But I don't think we know any of that. So I would want to avoid it a little bit...
CUMMINGSWell, he did but he had no symptoms, he had no fever.
REHMHe had nothing.
REHMThat would have any...
CUMMINGSAnd we will never know because he's dead.
CUMMINGSAnd so we will never know these answers.
REHMLet's go to Bill in Flint, Mi. Hi, you're on the air.
BILLThank you. My comment was with regard to the Supreme Court decision having -- or being seen as something that letting the people decide or letting the states take charge of the issue really only six or maybe seven states have the people ever voted in favor of same-sex marriage. The rest of the states, it's been imposed on them by one judge or a panel of judges. So, really, the -- it's not being rolled out and accepted by people across the country in a democratic way.
BILLPublic opinion polls notwithstanding because that's really not the same thing as an election. And when you get down to elections, the results have been overwhelmingly that people have voted to traditional marriage. So...
REHMThat's a good point.
BACONThe caller is absolutely right. Very states have actually legalized gay marriage on their own. I don't -- either the legislation or the referendum, I forgotten the number here. But I think what the courts -- it is -- it is being decided by local courts as opposed to this U.S. Supreme Court. What I think that the judges in these places are saying is that this is a protection of kind of minority rights. It's the gays should have the right to marry whether or not the majority agrees to them or not. They're making a case that this is what courts are for on some level.
STANTONWell, there's also -- there hasn't been another referendum that's successful to block equality in several years, which -- and every state people are constantly trying to do it. So it's not like people have, you know, opponents to this have stopped their efforts. They have just been unsuccessful in getting it on the ballot or getting anybody interested.
REHMAnd what about the three states who say they're not going to accept it anyhow no matter what the Supreme Court has or has not done?
CUMMINGSAnd that -- and that, I think, shows that this is unsettled, it still is. And in North Carolina, for instance, they're going to try to fight it. And South Carolina is trying to fight it. And despite what the local courts and the state courts have said and the circuit -- the federal circuit courts. So we're not done. This is still, you know, they're going to try even though they -- the legal experts say they don't have much of a chance, they're going to keep fighting because there are people, you know, perhaps reflecting the caller's view who still don't agree with it.
BACONYeah, the polling has not showed, you know, I guess -- the polling has showed that about 40 percent of Americans are still opposed to same-sex marriage. So this is not settled in terms of the law. When you look at polling among Republicans, there's even lower support for same-sex marriage, so we still are having a debate publicly about this.
REHMAll right. And here's an email from Vi responding to the concept of voter apathy that you all raised earlier. Vi says, "It's not apathy, it's discouragement and disgust, the sense that your vote accomplishes nothing once the candidates get into office.
CUMMINGSWell, many voters feel that way.
CUMMINGSAnd it's -- well, and that's unfortunate because your votes -- their votes do matter.
REHMBecause what they see is that once they vote, money is the only vote that really talks after they get into office.
CUMMINGSTell that to Eric Cantor, right?
STANTONWell, right, right.
CUMMINGSI mean, votes matter, votes matter.
STANTONI would say -- I would say that -- actually I sort of agree, frankly, with the emailer. You know, I do think that increasingly, you know, people end up voting for members that they think that are going to come here and they're going to do something and instead they do...
REHMRepresent their ideas.
STANTONBut they end up doing nothing, right? They're not even voting anymore for the moneyed interest, they're doing absolutely nothing now. They just sort of come and they fight with each other and they are looking for themselves, in some cases, or just trying to, you know, sort of burn the house down because they feel like that's what they should be doing.
REHMHow do you all react to the proposition that if Republicans take the Senate, it's really going to be good news for President Obama?
BACONI think that's a ridiculous idea. The Republicans have been blocking everything he's done for six years. I don't think they're going to change their mind on that. Also, very important issue connecting these two things. We've been talking about court rulings in favor of gay marriage. Most of those rulings have been by Democratic judges. So if the Senate is controlled by Republicans, it's going to be harder for Obama to appoint these kinds of judges in the future.
BACONI mean, that's one of the key things. People keep saying election has no consequences. It really does because if you look at the judicial nominations, judges are striking down Obamacare. Those judges are almost all Republican. The judges who are defending Obamacare, almost all are Democrats. If you look at the judicial nominations as being an important part of -- Obama did a lot in his first two years in office actually in terms of bills.
BACONAnd those things are all going to courts now. And who is in control of the courts is going to make a big difference in how his initiatives go through or don't go through.
REHMAnd you're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." Let's go to Ellen in Bayonet Point, Fl. Hi, you're on the air.
EILEENWell, hello, and thank you to all the panel who's there. And it's Eileen. One leg is shorter than the other so I lean. It's a bad joke.
EILEENI'm a nurse for 40 years. I find the comments that the gentleman who died of ebola was somehow not taken good care of or that his care was affected by the lack of insurance, his color, that he wasn't an American citizen, I find this highly insulting and bigoted. When patients walk in the door, he has to deal with the front office. But once they walk into the door and health care workers have their hands on patients, we don't care.
EILEENWe don't know what their insurance is or whether they have it. We don't know what their immuniza -- their immigration status is. We don't care. I'm not going to eject my care on how I take care of someone based on anything other than this is what my patient needs, this is what I'm going to take care of. I don't care. And I find it very insulting that people assume that somehow health care workers make these generalization.
EILEENThe only people who have ever given me a hard time had actually throw it my face you're not taking good care of me because I have XYZ insurance are people who have poor insurance and I'm probably bending over backwards trying to take care of them.
REHMAll right, Eileen, thank you for your call. And I really do respect her point of view that nurses, doctors reach out to take care. That's not to say that mistakes are not made. And it was a mistake. He went back home because this computer, which accurately reflected where he had been, namely Liberia, somehow did not get passed on. Mistakes are going to continue to be made.
STANTONWell, and the unfortunate thing is that, you know, I think the caller is right. I think most doctors probably, you know, statistically all of them, frankly, are good people. They take the Hippocratic oath.
STANTONThat is part of their job. But there is, unfortunately, going to be this notion out there. And it is part of the problem of race in this country and of class in this country that we don't really deal with that well. And it's going to become part of that mythology and it could, you know, right or wrong, it is going to have an impact, I think, in how people react.
REHMLook at what's happened in Ferguson, and now in St. Louis another shooting by a white policeman of a young black man.
BACONShe's raising a point that I think is a good one about intent. Did they -- was the mistake intentional? Intentional -- was the lack of care, in some ways, intentional or not? I think that's something we don't know the answer to. And I think she made a good point that we should not, you know, go over assuming that the hospital did less because...
BACON...this person was not the right color or the right insurance or the right income.
CUMMINGSHere's -- do we know...
REHMLast word, Jeanne.
CUMMINGSAll right. Do we know the race of the nurse?
CUMMINGSSo how do we know?
REHMHow do we know.
CUMMINGSShe could very easily have been an African American nurse.
REHMCould have been, quite right. We don't know.
CUMMINGSWe don't know.
REHMAnd perhaps we will eventually. Jeanne Cummings, Perry Bacon, John Stanton, thank you all so much.
REHMAnd have a great weekend, everybody. Thanks for listening. I'm Diane Rehm.