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Oct 15, 2014 8:53 PM

Paul Steinhauser: Romney criticizes President Obama over Ebola response

NH1 Political Director - NH1.com

HUDSON - Mitt Romney came back to New Hampshire Wednesday to lend Granite State GOP Senate nominee Scott Brown a helping hand.

But in an interview with NH1 following Romney's event with Brown, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee had some strong criticism of how President Barack Obama is responding to new Ebola cases in the United States.

"Look this administration couldn't run the IRS right, and it apparently isn't running the CDC right. And you ask yourself what is it going to take to have a president who really focuses on the interests of the American people," Romney told NH1.

After being informed that the President had cancelled plans Wednesday to attend Democratic fundraisers in New Jersey and Connecticut so that he could meet with administration officials leading the federal government's response to the Ebola virus, Romney said "I'm glad he's stopping campaigning for a couple of days and finally focusing on this this is serious stuff. 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."

Asked if he agrees with those who call for a ban on U.S. bound flights from Ebola stricken countries, Romney said "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. And people say then we wouldn't have health care workers going there. Well we could give special visas to health care workers to allow them to go there and when they come back we put them in quarantine until we are sure they don't have Ebola."

Familiar site for Romney

This is the second time the former Massachusetts governor has teamed up with Brown on the campaign trail this year. In July, Romney endorsed the former senator from Massachusetts, who moved to New Hampshire last year and in April launched a GOP challenge to Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. That event took place at Doug and Stella Scamman's Bittersweet Farm in Stratham. That's the same spot where in June 2011 Romney formally announced his 2012 bid for the White House.

Wednesday's rally was also at a familiar site: Gilchrist Metal Fabricating in Hudson. Romney held a rally at the plant during his 2012 presidential bid, and the owner of the company appeared in a Romney campaign commercial.

In a lighter moment, Romney made a small verbal fumble as he introduced Brown's wife Gail.

"Would you please welcome the next wife of the next senator, excuse me," Romney said to laughter from Gail Brown and the audience.

Romney in 2016?

Romney's New Hampshire stop comes just days after he campaigned in Iowa for GOP Senate nominee Joni Ernst. Visits to the two states that kick off the presidential primary and caucus calendar are sparking more speculation that Romney may make a third bid for the White House.

In his interview with NH1, Romney shot down talk of 2016.

"You know I'm not going there. I've got nothing new to add on that topic. I'm not running, I'm not planning on running, and that's all I got on that topic," he said.

But moments later he kept the door open ever so slightly, saying "who knows what's going to happen down the road but we've got good people and I'm going to be watching this race and hopefully encouraging these candidates to take positons that will really help the American people."

What Romney did want to talk about was his new role as a GOP elder statesman.

"After the midterms when I hope we have a Republican House and a Republican Senate, one of the things I want to do is make sure the Republican House and Republican Senate pass legislation which reaches the President's desk for him to either veto or not. But I want legislation to come through to know what we stand for and so we can get this country going again. I'm also going to be working with the 2016 contenders to try and encourage them to take positions with regards to the economy and jobs and wages and schools and poverty and also foreign affairs."


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