TIME 2016 Election

Jindal Joins Democrats in Criticizing Christie Outburst

Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana speaks during an address to delegates at the Conservative Political Action Conference, National Harbor, Maryland, March 6, 2014.
Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana speaks during an address to delegates at the Conservative Political Action Conference, National Harbor, Maryland, March 6, 2014. Trevor Collens—Alamy

Little love lost between the two 2016 Republican contenders

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s “bully” image is coming under bipartisan attack this week, as the likely 2016 hopeful is crisscrossing the nation this weekend in a final campaign to help elect Republican governors before Tuesday’s midterm elections.

An incident Wednesday when the outspoken governor told a protester to “sit down and shut up” at an event marking the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy quickly became cable news fodder and fed into Democratic attacks. But it has also exposed a gap on his right flank, with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal distancing himself from Christie on Fox News Friday. “I do things differently,” Jindal, another likely presidential candidate said. “Look here in the South we do things maybe a little differently.”

As host Neil Cavuto pressed, Jindal continued his critique. “Chris can explain his own words,” he said. “I did say after the last presidential election, if we want voters to like us, we have got to like them first.”

There is little love lost between the two ambitious governors, who clashed over the chairmanship of the Republican Governors Association, and Christie’s brash persona has been essential to his political identity on the national stage. His clashes with public employees as he pushed through pension reform legislation in his first term made him a household name across the country.

Meanwhile, Democratic opposition research group American Bridge released a video Thursday collecting many of Christie’s outbursts.

TIME #TheBrief

#TheBrief: Ebola Quarantines Get Political

While the federal government works to contain Ebola in the U.S., states are taking matters into their own hands—and butting heads with the White House and the CDC in the process.

The attempt to contain the spread of Ebola in the United States is becoming political, with governors imposing varying, stringent, and sometimes unclear quarantine rules that are hard to enforce across state lines.

President Barack Obama spoke out against these policies Wednesday, saying, “We don’t want to discourage our health care workers from going to the front lines. They are doing God’s work over there, and they are doing it to keep us safe.”

Here’s your brief on the science and politics of Ebola.

TIME health

Quarantine Is Being Used to Manage Fear, Not Ebola

Andrew Cuomo, Chris Christie
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo listens as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie talks at a news conference ON Oct. 24, 2014 in New York. Mark Lennihan—AP

Arthur Caplan, PhD, is the Director of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center.

Not only is quarantine not needed for responsible people and health workers who self-monitor, if enforced it will do far more harm than good

Nervous government officials who seem more interested in appearing tough rather than letting science actually defeat Ebola in the United States are misusing quarantine.

Prominent governmental officials such as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and potential presidential candidate Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey have succumbed to pandering in the face of Ebola. In fact, the Governor has now doubled down on his unscientific and ill-thought through policy of quarantining those exposed to someone with Ebola. He practically begged to be sued for summarily quarantining a heroic nurse, Kaci Hickox, upon her return from West Africa, even after she tested negative for Ebola. “Whatever. Get in line…I’ve been sued lots of times before. Get in line. I’m happy to take it [the decision to quarantine] on.”

The line is already forming. Hickox, a nurse who wil not be bullied, is at the head of it. The Governor will lose. And he should. State-mandated quarantines make little sense as a weapon against Ebola in the United States.

Christie tried to imprison Hickox without any explanation or even a hint of legal due process in a tent with no running water or TV at a Newark, New Jersey, hospital after she came back from a harrowing volunteer visit to fight Ebola in West Africa. She was tossed into the tent despite the fact that she exhibited no symptoms and was not infectious. She protested her confinement, scared New Jersey officials into letting her go and headed back in a limo to her husband and hometown in Maine.

Governor Paul R. LePage now says that Maine requires health care workers such as Hickox, who return to the state from West Africa, remain under a 21-day forced home quarantine. Hickox says no way.

“Going forward, she does not intend to abide by the quarantine imposed by Maine officials because she is not a risk to others,” her attorney, Steven Hyman, told reporters. “She is asymptomatic and under all the protocols cannot be deemed a medical risk of being contagious to anyone.” Hickox will, however, do what is right and appropriate. She plans to abide by all the self-monitoring requirements suggested by the Centers for Disease Control.

Self-monitoring is the accepted, scientifically validated way to handle non-symptomatic people exposed to those with Ebola. Craig Spencer, the doctor who is now the only Ebola patient in America in a hospital, self-monitored while moving around New York City. When he got symptoms, he went to the hospital. Number of people he infected while self-monitoring? Zero.

Not only is quarantine not needed for responsible people like Hickox and Spencer, if enforced it will do far more harm than good.

Amber Vinson was the second nurse from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas to get the virus while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man who began showing Ebola symptoms after arriving in Texas and died under her care when he was finally admitted to that hospital. When she was discharged from the isolation unit at Emory University Medical Center in Atlanta, there were at least 30 doctors and nurses gathered around her as she joyfully thanked them for saving her life. I saw a room of heroes.

But if you are the Governor of New Jersey or New York or Maine, you must have seen something very different—30 people who ought to be immediately quarantined as a result of exposure to a person with Ebola. The same holds true for everyone who had any interaction with Hickox in her short stay in the isolation tent in Newark. This will include everyone in the courtroom in Maine if she shows up there, as is her right to fight mandatory quarantine.

Quarantine is a very intrusive tool in fighting disease. Our legal system permits it, but only when there are no other less restrictive ways to control an outbreak. There are less restrictive ways to contain Ebola, for example, self-monitoring and voluntary isolation at home. Those things work. The only people in America who got Ebola are health care workers who cared for Ebola patients. And to date, all but one who have been treated in America have survived. Ebola is not the lethal disease in the U.S. that it is in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, making quarantine even harder to justify.

The way to manage Ebola is with strict monitoring for symptoms. The way to manage fear and ignorance is with quarantine. The way to defeat Ebola in West Africa is to treat volunteers as responsible, moral heroes. The way to allow the epidemic to spread is to lock-up those who offer the only chance for treatment and eradication.

Arthur Caplan, PhD, is the Director of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME ebola

Chris Christie Defends Controversial Ebola Quarantine

"They don't want to admit that we were right and they were wrong"

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie defended his heavily criticized decision to forcibly quarantine a nurse returning from West Africa for Ebola on Tuesday morning, saying the state’s policy of mandatory quarantining of returning health workers will remain in place.

“I don’t think it’s draconian,” Christie, appearing on the Today show, said of New Jersey’s mandatory 21-day quarantine on health care workers returning from Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Guinea. “The members of the American public believe it is common sense, and we are not moving an inch. Our policy hasn’t changed and our policy will not change.”

Nurse Kaci Hickox was discharged and allowed to go home to Maine Monday after being held in isolation for three days at University Hospital in Newark over protests from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), members of the Obama administration, and her lawyer. “Governors ultimately have the responsibility to protect the public health and public safety,” Christie said, noting that when Hickox tested negative she was sent home.

Christie denied he had acted out of political expediency, arguing that mandatory quarantines are a nonpartisan issue, having been adopted by at least six red and blue states. “I will not submit to any political pressure in doing anything less than I believe is necessary,” he said.

The governor also said the CDC has been too slow to change its policies, and is now “incrementally taking steps to the policy we put in effect in New Jersey.” The CDC announced on Monday new guidelines for people traveling from West Africa, but still recommends voluntary at-home isolation rather than state-mandated quarantines.

“What’s the difference of telling someone who has been a health care worker at high risk that they can’t go in public places, public transportation and we want them to work from home, what’s the difference between that and a quarantine?” he said. “They don’t want to admit that we’re right and they were wrong.”

Read next: Ebola Quarantines ‘Not Grounded on Science,’ Say Leading Health Groups

TIME ebola

Why Christie’s Ebola Quarantine Gambit Backfired

His attempt to force a nurse to stay under a 21-day quarantine didn't work out as expected

It’s never a wise move to pick a fight without knowing your opponent. When Chris Christie ordered a mandatory quarantine for health-care workers returning from West Africa, he might have thought his foil was a lethal virus or an unpopular president or some feckless federal bureaucrats who failed to keep Ebola from arriving in the U.S. Instead the New Jersey Republican found himself battling a brave nurse, who captivated the country as she skewered the policy from behind the plastic screen of an isolation tent in a Newark hospital.

Kaci Hickox won the fight. By Monday morning, she was on her way to a cozier confinement at home in Maine. And Christie was scrambling to explain why he had penned her up against the advice of medical experts, who said she posed no threat, and the wishes of Obama administration officials, who argue a forced 21-day quarantine could deter the nurses and doctors who are desperately needed to stamp out the outbreak in West Africa.

Christie’s decision capped a head-snapping weekend of walk backs from the New Jersey governor and New York Democrat Andrew Cuomo, his counterpart from across the Hudson River. On Friday night, the bipartisan pair held a hastily planned press conference to decry federal safety guidelines as insufficient and order high-risk travelers to submit to mandatory quarantine.

Now both governors have flipped, or at least softened a stance whose goal in the first place was to project toughness. Christie’s move to send Hickox home on Monday came mere hours after Cuomo’s own change of heart, announced at a strange Sunday night news conference in which the governor and New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio referred to each other as “doctor” with barely veiled passive-aggression.

Left to scrambling to explain the decision, Christie denied it was a reversal at all. He said Hickox was kept in the sad tent with the portable toilet and no shower simply because she had no residence in the state. “Our preference always is to have people quarantined in their homes,” he explained Monday morning, “but you can’t take chances on this stuff and allow people who may, in fact, be contagious to be able to travel.”

The shift may have been more tonal than substantive. But it seemed like Christie and Cuomo had let politics trump policy, only to find the politics of the quarantine weren’t great after all. What’s more, the shift followed pressure from the Obama Administration, which warned the governors over the weekend of its “concern with the unintended consequences of policies not grounded in science,” according to a senior administration official. Hours earlier, Christie had slammed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), calling its safety protocols for Ebola “a moving target.” Now he is letting doctors and federal officials determine that Hickox, who threatened to sue over the forced confinement, can be sent home.

The episode illustrated the unpredictable risks of playing politics with a lethal virus. In a campaign season that has been more fear than hope, Ebola becme the boss villain in the parade of horribles—from the rise of the Islamic State to the rocky economy to the “war on women.” Politicians from both parties have pandered to the anxieties of the electorate, jockeying to position themselves as tough leaders capable of keeping voters safe in the absence of presidential leadership.

The impulse must be particularly tempting when you face a referendum on leadership yourself. Cuomo, who is thought to harbor national ambitions, first faces a re-election test on Nov. 4. So does Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, another Democrat fighting for re-election who followed suit by imposing his own quarantine policy.

For Christie, the panic wrought by the lethal virus may have seemed a prime opportunity to run his favorite play: the one where the tough leader takes a common-sense stand in the face of federal dithering. This is the move that drew bipartisan plaudits after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the Jersey shore in 2012, and one Christie may hope will propel a possible presidential candidacy in 2016. The play has worked swimmingly when run against teachers’ unions, or bungling bureaucrats, or “idiots” loitering on a stretch of beach in the face of an oncoming storm.

It doesn’t wear as well when the target is a nurse who risked her life to fight a deadly disease.

Read next: Ebola Quarantines ‘Not Grounded on Science,’ Say Leading Health Groups

TIME ebola

Christie Says Nurse Quarantined for Ebola Can Go Home

Governor had been criticized for quarantine measures

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Monday that a nurse being quarantined for Ebola despite testing negative for the disease can complete her isolation period at home in Maine, reversing course after his mandated quarantine drew criticism from health officials and a legal threat from the nurse.

Kaci Hickox was being discharged Monday morning, the New Jersey Department of Health said.

“Since testing negative for Ebola on early Saturday morning, the patient being monitored in isolation at University Hospital in Newark has thankfully been symptom free for the last 24 hours,” the department said in a statement. “As a result, and after being evaluated in coordination with the CDC and the treating clinicians at University Hospital, the patient is being discharged.

“Since the patient had direct exposure to individuals suffering from the Ebola Virus in one of the three West African nations, she is subject to a mandatory New Jersey quarantine order,” the department added. “After consulting with her, she has requested transport to Maine, and that transport will be arranged via a private carrier not via mass transit or commercial aircraft. She will remain subject to New Jersey’s mandatory quarantine order while in New Jersey. Health officials in Maine have been notified of her arrangements and will make a determination under their own laws on her treatment when she arrives.”

Hickox had been confined to a tent outside a New Jersey hospital for the past three days, after she returned from a trip to west Africa where she treated Ebola patients. Hickox publicly condemned the state for holding her under conditions that she described as inhumane. She also singled out Christie for blame for overstating her status as “obviously ill” when she had no fever-like symptoms upon landing, and her lawyer threatened to sue.

Christie defended his actions Monday.

“The fact of the matter is we’re going to protect the people of our state,” he told reporters in a video posted to YouTube by his office. “…I’m not going to step away for a minute from protecting the people of my state and our region. So I understand that she didn’t want to be there. She made that very clear from the beginning but my obligation is to all the people of New Jersey and we’re just going to continue to do that. So the critics are the critics no matter what you do there will be critics and you don’t worry that, you worry about doing what’s right for the people you represent and that’s what we’ve done.”

TIME ebola

Governors Spar With Feds on Ebola Quarantine Policy

Andrew Cuomo, Chris Christie
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, left, speaks as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie listens at a news conference, Oct. 24, 2014, in New York City Mark Lennihan—AP

Quarantine decision prioritizes politics over policy

The decision to impose a mandatory quarantine in New York and New Jersey for health care workers arriving from Ebola-stricken nations has opened a rift between the Obama Administration and the governors of those states.

Governors Chris Christie of New Jersey and Andrew Cuomo of New York on Friday ordered doctors and nurses returning to be isolated for 21 days, the incubation period for the lethal pathogen that has killed nearly 5,000 in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. That was just a day after New York City physician Dr. Craig Spencer, who had been volunteering at a Doctors Without Borders clinic for Ebola patients in Guinea, was diagnosed with the virus. He is in isolation at a Manhattan hospital. The first health worker quarantined under the new provision was the nurse Kaci Hickox, who landed at Newark Liberty International Airport on Friday and is being monitored at a Newark Hospital. She has tested negative for Ebola.

To the White House, the governors’ decision represents politics trumping public-health policy. With voters spooked by the specter of Ebola and supportive of tougher measures to prevent its spread, Cuomo and Christie say they are trying to assuage panic and protect the citizens of their states. But health officials say that health care workers who follow federal guidelines pose no threat to the public. And they worry that a mandatory quarantine will dissuade desperately needed medical personnel from volunteering to battle the virus at the source of the epidemic in West Africa.

The dispute simmered over the weekend, as Administration officials pressed the states to reverse the decision. “We have let the governors of New York, New Jersey, and others states know that we have concerns with the unintended consequences of policies not grounded in science may have on efforts to combat Ebola at its source in West Africa,” a senior Administration official tells TIME.

Christie and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, sparred over the policy on Fox News Sunday. Fauci, a top federal health official, defended the government’s existing protective protocols and argued that a forced quarantine for health care workers who pose a “vanishingly small” risk of transmitting the virus could be a disincentive to volunteers.

“The best way to protect us is to stop the epidemic in Africa, and we need those health care workers. So, we do not want to put them in a position where it makes it very, very uncomfortable for them to even volunteer to go,” Fauci said. “If we don’t have our people volunteering to go over there, then you’re going to have other countries that are not going to do it, and then the epidemic will continue to roar.”

But for the governors, science may be secondary to politics. Polls show that many voters, in the grips of Ebola panic, favor measures to restrict the possible spread of Ebola, even those — like a ban on travel to and from virus-stricken nations — that medical experts say would make things worse.

As a result, Christie and Cuomo stand to benefit from going beyond the safety guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So does Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, an embattled Democrat embroiled in a tough re-election fight, who also ordered a mandatory quarantine of health workers flying into that state.

Like Quinn, Cuomo is up for re-election on Nov. 4. His Republican opponent, Rob Astorino, has sought to harness the panic to gain ground, pummeling Cuomo’s preparation for the virus as “gross negligence.”

Christie is positioning himself for a possible White House run next year, and his advisers believe that his confrontational style of crisis management underscores his appeal to voters. Picking a fight with the feds over Ebola, even when the science doesn’t support his position, may be a way to resurrect the tactics that earned him bipartisan plaudits after Hurricane Sandy.

Appearing on the same program as Fauci, Christie defended the mandatory quarantine. “I don’t believe when you’re dealing with something as serious as this that we can count on a voluntary system,” he said. “The government’s job is to protect the safety and health of our citizens.”

Hickox, the nurse quarantined in New Jersey, wrote an essay for the Dallas Morning News on Saturday that slammed the decision. “We need more health care workers to help fight the epidemic in West Africa,” she wrote. “The U.S. must treat returning health care workers with dignity and humanity.” She has hired a lawyer, who has been cleared to visit her in the hospital. The American Civil Liberties Union has also inquired about the state’s legal right to quarantine her given her negative Ebola diagnosis.

In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio called the way that Hickox has been treated “inappropriate.”

— With reporting by Zeke J. Miller

TIME ebola

White House Pressures States to End Ebola Quarantine Orders

Andrew Cuomo, Chris Christie
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, left, listens as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie talks at a news conference, Oct. 24, 2014 in New York. Mark Lennihan—AP

One nurse who has no symptoms but has been kept at a New Jersey hospital says she will legally challenge her quarantine

The White House made a push Sunday against a mandate ordered by several states over the last three days that requires all health care workers returning from West Africa who had any contact with Ebola patients to be put in quarantine for 21 days, regardless of symptoms or test results.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced the mandatory quarantine policy, which far exceeds Federal guidelines, on Friday, a day after New York doctor Craig Spencer was diagnosed with Ebola after returning from Guinea, where he contracted the disease. Illinois and Florida have followed suit and put similar policies in place.

The New York Times reports that the Obama administration is now levying pressure on both New York and New Jersey to roll back the new rules, after the detainment practice received widespread criticism from the health community.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, denounced the 21-day quarantines on Sunday, saying they are unnecessary and discourage health workers from volunteering to stop the outbreak.

Nurse Kaci Hickox, who was forced into a quarantine facility even after she displayed no symptoms and tested negative for the virus, said Sunday that she was prepared to legally challenge her enforced isolation. Hickox spent time in Sierra Leone and has been kept involuntarily at a New Jersey hospital since she landed in Newark Friday.

“I also want to be treated with compassion and humanity, and I don’t feel I’ve been treated that way in the past three days,” Hickox told CNN on Sunday. “I think this is an extreme that is really unacceptable. I feel like my basic human rights have been violated.”

Ebola is only spread through direct contact with bodily fluids. People with the disease are only at risk of infecting others when they are showing symptoms.

The ACLU said Sunday that Hickox’s quarantine raises “serious constitutional concerns about the state abusing its powers.”

According to Fauci, active self-monitoring is a sufficient alternative to the quarantines policies in place. “If we don’t have our people volunteering to go over there, then you’re going to have other countries that are not going to do it and then the epidemic will continue to roar,” he said. “The best way to protect us is to stop the epidemic in Africa, and we need those health care workers so we do not want to put them in a position where it makes it very, very uncomfortable for them to even volunteer to go.”

In response to criticism, however, Christie said Sunday that he believes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will “eventually come around to our point of view on this.” “I don’t believe, when you’re dealing with something as serious as this, that we can count on a voluntary system,” Christie said.”If anything else, the government’s job is to protect the safety and health of our citizens.”

[NYT]

TIME ebola

Federal Health Official Says Mandatory Quarantines Aren’t Helping Ebola Fight

Anthony Fauci Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a news conference in Maryland on Oct. 24, 2014.
Anthony Fauci Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a news conference in Maryland on Oct. 24, 2014. Bao Dandan—Xinhua Press/Corbis

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie thinks the CDC will eventually side with him

A top health official said Sunday that mandatory quarantines for health workers returning from treating Ebola in West African countries won’t help stop the spread of the disease.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that he does not recommend 21-day quarantines for returning high-risk travelers — like those instituted this week in Illinois, New York and New Jersey — because they discourage volunteers, the Associated Press reports.

“The best way to protect us is to stop the epidemic in Africa, and we need those health care workers so we do not want to put them in a position where it makes it very, very uncomfortable for them to even volunteer to go,” Fauci said.

He also said that active self-monitoring can be just as effective as quarantining, as those infected with Ebola are not contagious until they begin showing symptoms. Ebola is spread through direct contact with body fluids.

“If we don’t have our people volunteering to go over there, then you’re going to have other countries that are not going to do it and then the epidemic will continue to roar,” Fauci said.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie defended his state’s quarantine policy following Fauci’s criticism, saying that he thinks the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will “eventually come around to our point of view on this.” In addition to Fauci’s remarks, Christie has also been criticized by the ACLU, which says the state’s quarantining of a nurse who tested negative for Ebola gives the organization “serious constitutional concerns about the state abusing its powers.”

“I don’t believe, when you’re dealing with something as serious as this, that we can count on a voluntary system,” Christie said of self-monitoring and reporting.”If anything else, the government’s job is to protect the safety and health of our citizens.”

[AP]

TIME ebola

Christie and Cuomo Announce Mandatory Ebola Quarantine

State health department staff will be on the ground at state airports

Healthcare workers returning to New York or New Jersey after treating Ebola patients in West Africa will be placed under a mandatory quarantine, officials announced Friday, one day after a Doctors Without Borders doctor was diagnosed with the virus in New York City. Illinois announced a similar policy Saturday, meaning it will be enforced in states with three of the five airports through which passengers traveling from the Ebola-stricken West African countries must enter the United States.

N.J. Gov. Chris Christie and N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement as part of a broader procedural plan to help protect the densely packed, highly populated area from any further spread of the disease.

“Since taking office, I have erred on the side of caution when it comes to the safety and protection of New Yorkers, and the current situation regarding Ebola will be no different,” Gov. Cuomo said. “The steps New York and New Jersey are taking today will strengthen our safeguards to protect our residents against this disease and help ensure those that may be infected by Ebola are treated with the highest precautions.”

New York and New Jersey state health department staff will be present on the ground at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey. In addition to implementing the mandatory quarantine of health care workers and others who had direct contact with Ebola patients, health department officials in each state will determine whether others should travelers should be hospitalized or quarantined.

The announcements mark a dramatic escalation in measures designed to prevent the spread of Ebola in the United States. Previously, only individuals with symptoms of Ebola would be quarantined upon entry to the U.S. under a federal rule from the Centers for Diseases Control and the Department of Homeland Security.

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