Speaking with NH1 after a campaign event Wednesday for New Hampshire Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown, Romney criticized the Obama administration for what he called its inability to manage the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the public health agency coordinating the Ebola response in the U.S.
“Look, this administration couldn’t run the IRS right, and it apparently isn’t running the CDC right,” the 2012 Republican presidential nominee said, a reference to the IRS targeting scandal. “And you ask yourself, what is it going to take to have a president who really focuses on the interests of the American people?”
The former Massachusetts governor has been a tough critic of the president during his second term, and he continued to take shots at Obama on Wednesday for failing to take the Ebola situation seriously.
“I’m glad he’s stopping campaigning for a couple of days and finally focusing on this,” he said, alluding to the president’s fundraising trips on Wednesday and Thursday that he canceled to focus on Ebola. “This is the lives of the American people, and we have to treat this with real seriousness and sobriety and I don’t see that yet.”
Romney also joined many Republicans in calling for the administration to institute a travel ban from Ebola-stricken countries in West Africa.
“I haven’t been briefed on all the reasons not to close down the flights, but my own reaction is we probably ought to close down the border with nations that have extensive Ebola spreading and that means not bringing flights in from that part of Africa,” he said. Romney added that the U.S. could provide special visas for health workers to travel to and from West Africa, pushing back against an argument made by the White House and the CDC that a travel ban would prevent health workers from rooting out Ebola completely in West Africa.
The former governor also questioned why Obama hadn’t given a major address to the country on Ebola. “Why hasn’t the president addressed the nation and talked about what we can do to keep ourselves safe?” he said to WMUR after the campaign event.
Romney was on the stump for Brown, the former Massachusetts senator locked in a close race with incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. Romney, who won the New Hampshire presidential primary in 2012, remains popular in the state, partially due to his New England roots and more moderate views. A June poll showed that the state’s GOP voters strongly support Romney for president in 2016 over all other Republican contenders.
When asked whether he had any thoughts on a potential 2016 bid, Romney largely threw cold water on the idea. “I’m not running. I’m not planning on running. I’ve got nothing to add to that story at all,” he told WMUR.