Democratic senator can't judge Obama's Ebola handling

Story highlights

  • Judging Obama's handling of the Ebola crisis? "Hard to know" for Sen. Mark Pryor
  • Pryor is locked in a tight contest against Republican Rep. Tom Cotton
  • Pryor ran an attack ad against Cotton this summer that spotlighted the Ebola crisis
Is the President doing a good job handling the Ebola crisis? That's one question the Democratic senator running for reelection in Arkansas said is hard to answer.
When faced with the question, Sen. Mark Pryor couldn't come up with an answer because, well, "it's hard to know."
"Umm ... I would say that ... it's hard to know, uh, because I haven't heard the latest briefing on that to know all the details -- I mean, I read the paper and all, but," Pryor said in an interview that aired Tuesday on MSNBC.
Pryor, who is locked in a tight contest this fall, said he is of course aware of the efforts by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to contain the virus and the efforts of medical and engineering professionals fighting Ebola in West Africa.
So what gives? Has Obama done enough?
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"Umm ... again I'd have to see the latest numbers," Pryor said.
Pryor's nonresponse comes just over a month after he attacked his opponent, Rep. Tom Cotton, in an August ad that gave the Ebola crisis a starring role.
After rolling news clips about the crisis, the ad claims Cotton "voted against preparing America for pandemics like Ebola" and "cut billions from our nation's medical disaster and emergency programs."
Pryor's hesitation on judging Obama falls in a state where support for the President could hurt any Democratic candidate, as just 33% of Arkansans approve of the President's job performance overall.
No poll has shown what Arkansans think of Obama's handling of the Ebola crisis.
But maybe Pryor will get some sympathy from voters. They haven't made up their mind yet on whether to give him another term.
A CNN/ORC poll last month showed the race a dead heat, with Cotton holding a 2-point advantage that didn't break the margin of error.