Ebola Blame Game Takes The Stage At Midterm Election Debates

First there was ISIS. Now there's Ebola.

The Ebola health crisis is the latest global issue to become a fixture this campaign season, spilling into debates, campaign rhetoric — and even a few ads.

Political arguments about Ebola can roughly be divided into three groups.

Democrats argue that budget-cutting Republicans have deprived the government of the resources it needs to keep Americans safe from the threat of Ebola. That's the argument Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado made at a recent debate.

His opponent, Rep. Cory Gardner, offers argument No. 2. Republicans are tying the issue to larger questions about President Obama and his competency. Gardner specifically pointed to priorities at the CDC.

Third, some Republicans link the Ebola crisis to border security.

Exchanges like these are playing out in campaigns across the country and in local and cable news interviews.

"It's a terrible thing to say, but fear is a heck of a motivator," says Republican strategist Ford O'Connell.

Even though the elections are just a few weeks away, O'Connell says it's almost impossible for candidates to break into this news cycle unless they're talking about one of two things: ISIS or Ebola.

O'Connell says that strategy has already proven successful for some candidates. Just look at Republican Scott Brown in New Hampshire.

"He started talking about ISIS ... then he started weaving in Ebola, and all of a sudden [Sen.] Jeanne Shaheen's lead was cut in half," O'Connell said. "What's going on here is Republicans are making a national security leadership argument, if you will, and Democrats are making a governing agenda/budgets argument."

Read more from Juana Summers at NPR

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