Udall Gardner

UPDATE: This is just so darn awkward.  So, Cory Gardner comes out in favor of a travel ban from ebola affected countries.  Udall parrots President Obama’s talking points that a travel ban will just make it worse (a talking point that Peggy Noonan destroyed today).

But, here’s the curious thing.  All day, Democrats from across the country have been coming out in favor of this travel ban.  Earlier today, even liberal poster child Wendy Davis, who is running for Governor of Texas (yeah, good luck with that) backed the plan.  Here’s where it gets tricky.  If Udall comes out in favor of the ban, we get to say that Gardner led Udall on this issue (and we will say that…because he did).  If Udall sticks to Obama’s talking points and doesn’t back it, we can allege that he’s choosing Obama over Colorado (and we will say that…because he is). Of course, if he doesn’t come out for it and Obama does, it will be like the assault weapons ban all over again – where Udall backed something and his “friends” (you might need new friends, Sen.) yanked the bill leaving him looking like a fool.

We don’t envy the Udall campaign at all today.  He’s painted himself into a corner on an issue that 67% of Americans support. But, this really isn’t about ebola.  This could have been about myriad issues.  It’s about leadership and it’s about standing up for Colorado.  All we can say is, “sucks, buddy”, you hitched your cart to the wrong policy horse on this one.

Ready to lead where Mark Udall and Barack Obama cannot decide on any course of action, Cory Gardner was back on Capitol Hill yesterday demanding answers from Obama Administration bureaucrats flailing in the face of the Ebola crisis hitting our shores.

Fumbling a 2014 reprise of the legendary 3:00 AM phone call, Obama Administration officials, including embattled CDC Director Tom Frieden, struggled through direct questions that Gardner posed about flights entering and leaving West African hot spots and procedures to deal with travelers from affected areas on the ground at U.S. airports.  See the video.  Here’s the exchange:

Frieden: That’s my understanding, yes.

Gardner: Mr. Wagner you admitted we’re screening 94 percent of those people?

Wagner: As of today that covers about 94 percent.

Gardner: So if 94 percent are being covered, that means somewhere between two and three thousand people a year are coming into this country without being screened from the infected areas?

Wagner:  Well, they would undergo a different form of screening. We’re still going to identify that they’ve been to one of those three affected regions, and we’re still going to ask them questions about their itinerary. We’re going to be alert to any overt signs of illness and coordinate with CDC and public health if they’re sick, and we’re also going to give them a fact sheet about Ebola, about the symptoms, what to watch for, and most importantly, who to contact?

Gardner:  Will you be checking their temperature?

Wagner: We will not be checking their temperatures or having them fill out a contact sheet.

Gardner:  There’s 2,000 to 3,000 people their — entering this country a year without checking their temperature, without having a contact sheet.

This reminds us of an exchange between our Senate candidates the day prior, with Udall’s indecisiveness on display as his confused thought process was painfully juxtaposed against Gardner’s decisive remarks about what the President should be doing to protect Americans.

“We ought to listen to the doctors and the health-care professionals,” Udall said. “If they believe we ought to close our borders, we ought to restrict flights to and from West Africa. Let’s listen to them.

“But senators and congressmen shouldn’t be making those decisions. We should be supporting the resources that are necessary to meet the Ebola challenge.”

Gardner called for an immediate traffic ban on all travel from West African countries where the Ebola virus is spreading. “If the president’s not willing to put into a place a travel ban, then we should have 100 percent screening of the people who are coming from those affected areas,” Gardner said.

For those of you who think this idea seems aggressive, 67% of Americans support a travel ban from affected countries, according to a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll.  In addition, there are many countries that have put a ban in place, including those in Europe, South America, and the Caribbean. Even Democrat Mark Warner suggested we should enact a travel ban.  Why is Udall so far behind on this issue?

Today the Gardner campaign is at its peak as ballots hit mailboxes across the state.  He’s stated his case over the past six months, weaving a compelling personal narrative with common sense policy, while connecting with thousands of Coloradans at an individual level.  It’s now in the hands of the voters, who clearly understand what is at stake in this election.