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Oct 24, 2014 3:59 PM

Paul Steinhauser: Marco Rubio tells NH1 Obama wrong on Ebola visa ban

NH1 Political Director - NH1.com

CONCORD - Sen. Marco Rubio says President Barack Obama's got it wrong when it comes to limiting travel to the U.S. from Ebola stricken countries.

The Republican from Florida and potential 2016 presidential contender, who was in New Hampshire Thursday to campaign for GOP candidates running in next month's elections, has said he'll soon propose a ban on travel visas for people from countries in the hot zone in West Africa.

Asked by NH1 if the President and his administration's position is wrong, Rubio said "They are wrong. They argue against the travel ban. That's not what I'm proposing. We don't have from Guinea or Sierra Leone or Liberia and that's not what I'm proposing that we do. I actually think it could be counterproductive."

"But I do think a visa ban is wise. Why would we issue new visas to citizens of countries that have a widespread problem with Ebola at this time. It makes no sense. Now we would make an exception for people who are coming here to be trained on Ebola prevention or treatment. We could certainly send Americans who want to go over abroad and provide aid and resources over there. But we should not be issuing new visas to people from these countries until such time that Ebola in those countries is under control," Rubio added.

Health and security experts have cautioned against an outright ban, saying it could drive patients underground, which would make efforts to halt the spread of the virus more difficult. The White House says the President, for now, has concluded that a travel ban would not be helpful. But this week the administration tightened the restrictions it had already implemented, announcing it would funnel those arriving from Ebola stricken nations to five U.S. airports.

Rubio in 2016?

Rubio stopped by NH1's studios in Concord before campaigning in Manchester with Granite State gubernatorial nominee Walt Havenstein. Rubio also teamed up in Amherst with state Rep. Marilinda Garcia, at a fundraiser for the Republican challenger in the race for the 2nd Congressional District.

The visit was Rubio's second trip to New Hampshire this month. He joined GOP Senate nominee Scott Brown at a foreign policy town hall in Derry at the beginning of October. And Rubio made a swing through the Granite State in May as well.

Rubio's three stops this year in the first-in-the-nation primary state and his frequent flights to Iowa, who's caucuses kick off the race for the White House, are sparking speculation that he's seriously thinking of making a bid for the 2016 nomination.

Asked about his timetable, Rubio offered that he'll make a decision in "the next few weeks or months. By the early part of next year if you want to be President of the United States, you better start running."

And what will be one of the key factors in making that decision on running for President?

"I have an agenda that I really believe in. Making us the best economy in the world to do business in. Giving people 21st century skills that our current education system doesn't do. Helping people that are trapped in low paying jobs by giving them the skills for better paying jobs and reinvigorating America's role in the world. That's the agenda that I truly believe will lead us to that American century. So the question is where is the best place for me to further that agenda. Is it in the U.S. Senate where we will hopefully have a Republican majority or is it as a presidential candidate. And that's what my decision will come down to," Rubio explained.


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