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October 20, 2014 11:40 AM UTC

Politifact Condemns Gardner CDC/Ebola Fearmongering

  • by: Colorado Pols


A "flip" statement from Republican U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner in last week's 9NEWS debate is coming in for harsh criticism from Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checker Politifact:

As fears over Ebola reached a crescendo, Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., took a shot at the federal government’s handling of the disease during a debate with Democratic Sen. Mark Udall.

Gardner has been gaining ground in the closely watched Colorado Senate race, and that contest is just one of many around the country in which Ebola has become an issue.

Gardner, referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, "Perhaps the CDC should quit spending money on things like jazzercise, urban gardening and massage therapy and direct that money to where it's appropriate in protecting the health of the American people."

We wondered if it was true that the government is spending money on jazzercise, urban gardening and the like at the expense of funding for Ebola…

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).
Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

And yes, dear reader, the idea that the Centers for Disease Control is blowing its Ebola budget on "Jazzercise" is as ridiculous as it sounds. The funds in question pay for a whole lot of things the public values–including prevention of hospital-acquired infections.

Like Ebola.

Does Gardner’s focus accurately describe what the fund does?

No, it’s pretty misleading…

[E]ven within the $300 million-plus spent on items such as preventing obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer, experts are certain that items such as jazzercise represent a tiny fraction of what CDC is spending.

The plan’s critics have chosen the silliest-sounding items — an effective rhetorical tactic, but not a very honest one…

[A]s it happens, there’s really no need to switch money out of the fund, since the fund can be used directly to pay for Ebola expenses. [Pols emphasis] Remember that $12 million we noted above that’s targeted for "infection prevention in health care facilities" for 2014? That’s relevant because, "right now in the United States, Ebola is exclusively a hospital-acquired infection," Mays said.

Bottom line?

Gardner said the CDC is "spending money on things like jazzercise, urban gardening and massage therapy" that could be redirected Ebola.

We weren’t able to document such expenditures, but given the agency’s spending parameters, it’s certainly possible they’ve been made. However, by cherry-picking three chuckle- (or outrage-) inducing spending items, Gardner presents a misleading description of what the fund does. Those efforts almost certainly represent a tiny fraction of spending from the prevention fund, which is dominated by efforts to attack diseases that kill more than 1.4 million people every year…

The only thing we have to add is that it's objectively not cool, or at least it shouldn't be cool, to mislead people about the government's response to the Ebola outbreak. The CDC funding a couple of insignificant–and cast in a more truthful light, perfectly reasonable–health programs does not render the agency less able to respond to public health threats like Ebola. It's one thing to invoke these kinds of "$500 toilet seat" myths and misleading anecdotes in the abstract. To make these bogus claims in the midst of a public health crisis that is genuinely scaring people in order to win an election is, in our view, deplorable. It's the sort of thing that the Denver Post editorial board used to condemn, not endorse.

We're glad Politifact at least agrees it's bogus.


33 thoughts on “Politifact Condemns Gardner CDC/Ebola Fearmongering

  1. can man cory is a scumbag. A one day trip to DC for a photo op. the republican party is nothing but liars, fearmongerers, and scam artists oh and trolls like achole.

  2. Someone please remind the Congressman that every 10 minutes, 50,000 Americans each and every year, dies from an epileptic seizure.  Also remind the Congressman that he opposed Amendment 64, the very public policy vehicle that enabled the largest acreage of industrial hemp in the United States to be grown in his home county.  A crop that will give relief to thousands of children on the waiting list for the oil.

    Like his sponsorship of the LIfe at Conception Act, he has also signed on to H.R. 525, the 2013 Industrial Hemp Farming Act; legislation that would make the cultivation of industrial hemp a state's rights issue nationwide and move the oversight from DEA to USDA.  Yet, beyond his sponsorship and his touted House leadership, nothing has happened.

    Perhaps his sponsorship of this bill is simply a 'statement' … for something or other.  But yes, by all means, let's talk about Ebola.

  3. Udall and Gardner had this same discussion when they debated in Pueblo. Gardner's base yelled and booed over his "CDC funds  jazzercize and massage" theme.

    Udall hit him back with: Why cut $300 mil from CDC? and support for airport security, supporting the troops sent to West Africa, and the need for an international coordinating body. His response was excellent, I thought.

    Gardner merely restated for the 7th time that Udall voted with Barack Obama 99% of the time, and called for bringing in the experts,  and called for a ban on all flights from West Africa. He calls this "using every tool at our disposal".


  4. So far the governments response to Ebola has been incompetent.

    First they issue protocols for hospitals that if followed exposed healthcare workers to Ebola, which have now been updated after 2 nurses who treated an Ebola patient became ill.

    Second when a nurse who treated an Ebola patient had an increased temperature they advised her it was OK for her to get on a commercial airline flight.

    It is the government's incompetence in handling the Ebola situation which is causing the concerns, not the fault of those that point out the outrageous ineptitude of those charged with protecting the public's health.

    1. Perhaps achole, if the teabaggers in congress had not cut funding to the  CDC, we might have a vaccine – seems like the deaths are at the feet of the right wingers like yourself. Maybe though the CDC can come up with something to help with that rash.

    2. Go do me a favor, go to West Africa, and start kissing every Ebola person… then stick around for 14 days… then *TRY* to get a flight home…

      Your passport should be revoked by then….

          1. This is the ole "I'm not actually lying but I'm going to be as dishonest as I possibly can be".   They hold up the confirmation of the Surgeon General over "freedom guns", sequester the government with forced budget custs across the board cuts then are such dishonest hypocrites that they are outraged that government services aren't adequete to the crisis.  What fucking dishonest clowns.

  5. A couple of things: First the US Government does fund research for many things that the weak minded and Fox News viewers, would call wasteful. These are often small studies that the NIH funds and they are a favorite target for wingnuttery mostly because they dont understand animal models for research or they feel you prevent disease by going to the ER or stopping flights from West Africa, not by proactive action. But the truth of the matter is that every major medical discovery is the result of a scientist somewhere doing the baseline research that the weak minded and Fox News viewers would never understand, nor can they connect the dots from a guy working in a wet bench lab somewhere in Colorado to a cure for cancer. It just takes too much to think that through for our Fox News friends so we are left with the Corey Gardners of the world to score cheap political points.

    1. Yep, something like this:

      "Where's your desk, you ask? Uh, you won't need a desk right now . . . "

      "When do you report for work, you ask? Uh, we won't need you today . . . or tomorrow. Call us at the end of the week . . . But hey, we want you to know you're a very important part of the campaign team. Thanks, fella."



    1. And by the way, can we see that super policy that he was waving around? The one that supposedly gave his whole family great coverage for under $700?  Or did he just say that to make statement that he doesn't approve of AC? The way he's only keeping his name of on federal personhood, the same as the state personhood that he doesn't support (now that he's running state wide), because he's got to support one of them to make a statement that he's pro-life. Or like he really didn't want to screw people, like our flood victims, by shutting down the government but called for it to make a statement that he was unhappy with the legislation the legitimately elected majority passed and the legitimately elected President signed.

      I've got an idea for Corey. Become an op-ed writer. Then making statements will be your real job and nobody will have to suffer the consequences of your statement making votes for bad legislation. One draw back. You'll be expected to back up  your opinions with something concrete. Oh well. Maybe you could get a nice job at a burger stand.

      1. Not qualified to flip burgers. At best, he should picking up every cigarette butt/ash…. with his anus…. for minimum wage.

        (100 quatloos if you guys know what reference I'm getting at)

      2. Tabby, I don't think he ever actually used the policy.  He got just before it expired as a prop for his unholy jihad against poor people getting affordable health care.   The last thing in the world the little shit wants known is when he bought his "bestest coverage ever" policy.  You know he is just outright lying about his when he got is and how he used.  I bet he never did.

        1. If he did have terrific coverage for the whole family at under $700 I'd sure like to know where he got it. So you're saying you don't think he'd tell me?wink

          1. If I'm remembering correctly, $700 was about what Gardner would have had to pay for family coverage under the Federal Employee Health Benefits package, which he refused. The Feds subsidized that about 80%, so it could have been that low.

            Then when the ACA came online, all the Fed employees had to go to the health exchanges….which Gardner refused. So it's still a mystery, and he's still getting right wing cred for waving around a piece of paper and whinng about "Mark Udall said I could keep my plan!"

            1. This whole piece is disgusting.  He and his oil-industry-employed wife pull in six figures: he signs climate pledges, promotes tax breaks for billionaires and attempts to gut food assistance for the least amongst us; her mission is to make sure we all know the evils of regulation on the oil industry.  He IS the 1% in CD4; his latest commercial with his smiling, lily-white family with every known privilege possible is quite a contrast to the nightmare that a vast majority of his constituents face each and every day.  While he lives in abundance – for far too many, it's 'scarcity' for them.  

              Let 'em eat cake.   The expired kind you find in a dumpster behind the deli.

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