- Rand Paul said in an interview with CNN that Ebola is "not like AIDS."
- He criticized the Obama administration for "downplaying" the disease's significance.
Sen. Rand Paul said Ebola is "not like AIDS," offering what he says is a stark contrast from the White House's message on the disease.
"[The Obama administration] has downplayed how transmissible it is," Paul said in an interview with CNN on Thursday morning. "They say it's the exchange of bodily of fluids. Which makes people think, 'Oh, it's like AIDS. It's very difficult to catch.'"
"If someone has Ebola at a cocktail party they're contagious and you can catch it from them," Paul continued. "[The administration] should be honest about that."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Thomas Frieden said last week at a World Bank meeting in Washington that "we have to work now so that this is not the world's next AIDS."
Paul said he doesn't fault administration officials from learning more information about the disease as time goes on. But he argued that downplaying Ebola's health risks is the wrong course of action.
"They say all it takes is direct contact to get this," he said. "If you listen carefully, they say being three feet from someone is direct contact. That's not what most Americans think is direct contact.
"You start to wonder about a basic level of competence," he said.
Paul, who is widely believed to be considering a 2016 presidential run, touched on the race in the interview. When asked why Romney might be considering running, he said it was likely because of "nostalgia."
"But I think if you talk to Ann Romney you'll get quite a different story," he said.