Pete Souza / The White House(WASHINGTON) — President Obama is trying to lead by example as he works to calm public fears about Ebola in the U.S.

Obama has come into contact with more American Ebola patients, and the doctors and nurses who treated them, than just about any other American.

For weeks, the president has repeatedly assured the American people that the risks of a widespread outbreak are “very, very low.” To hammer home the point, the president has gone beyond words to hugs, kisses, and hand-shakes.

“I want to use myself as an example, just so that people have a sense of the science here. I shook hands with, hugged and kissed not the doctors, but a couple of the nurses at Emory, because of the valiant work that they did in treating one of the patients. They followed the protocols, they knew what they were doing, and I felt perfectly safe doing so,” Obama told reporters last month.

From meeting with health care professionals who have come in close contact with the deadly virus to hugging survivors, Obama is using these images to show the public that his administration’s response to the Ebola crisis is working.

Obama greeted the first ever American Ebola patient, Dr. Kent Brantly, in the Oval Office less than a month after he was declared virus-free. He then flew to Emory University Hospital to hug and kiss the nurses and doctors who treated Brantly.

In late September, Obama hosted at the White House leaders of Ebola “hot zone” countries and embraced a Liberian who contracted the disease.

Dr. Tom Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who has toured the Ebola wards in West Africa, gets a prime seat next to Obama for Oval Office briefings.

And the same day she was released from a high-level containment unit for Ebola treatment, nurse Nina Pham gave Obama a bear-hug in the Oval Office.

The public seems to be getting the message. The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll shows an eight-point increase in the president’s approval rating for his handling of the issue.

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Pete Souza / The White House(WASHINGTON) — President Obama is trying to lead by example as he works to calm public fears about Ebola in the U.S.

Obama has come into contact with more American Ebola patients, and the doctors and nurses who treated them, than just about any other American.

For weeks, the president has repeatedly assured the American people that the risks of a widespread outbreak are “very, very low.” To hammer home the point, the president has gone beyond words to hugs, kisses, and hand-shakes.

“I want to use myself as an example, just so that people have a sense of the science here. I shook hands with, hugged and kissed not the doctors, but a couple of the nurses at Emory, because of the valiant work that they did in treating one of the patients. They followed the protocols, they knew what they were doing, and I felt perfectly safe doing so,” Obama told reporters last month.

From meeting with health care professionals who have come in close contact with the deadly virus to hugging survivors, Obama is using these images to show the public that his administration’s response to the Ebola crisis is working.

Obama greeted the first ever American Ebola patient, Dr. Kent Brantly, in the Oval Office less than a month after he was declared virus-free. He then flew to Emory University Hospital to hug and kiss the nurses and doctors who treated Brantly.

In late September, Obama hosted at the White House leaders of Ebola “hot zone” countries and embraced a Liberian who contracted the disease.

Dr. Tom Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who has toured the Ebola wards in West Africa, gets a prime seat next to Obama for Oval Office briefings.

And the same day she was released from a high-level containment unit for Ebola treatment, nurse Nina Pham gave Obama a bear-hug in the Oval Office.

The public seems to be getting the message. The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll shows an eight-point increase in the president’s approval rating for his handling of the issue.

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Alex Wong / Scott Olsen / Getty(WASHINGTON) — The Iowa Senate race on Wednesday isn’t just a contest between State Sen. Joni Ernst and Rep. Bruce Braley — it’s also turning into an endorsement battle between two former secretaries of state.

As Braley, D-Iowa, prepares to campaign with Hillary Clinton at an early voting rally taking place later in the day, his Republican opponent released news of an endorsement from Condoleeza Rice.

In a statement, Rice, who served under President George W. Bush, touted Ernst’s military service and urged Iowan voters to seize the opportunity to elect the “first female combat veteran to ever serve in the U.S. Senate.”

Both Senate candidates can use the added help with just six days to go before Election Day.

A new Quinnipiac University poll out Wednesday morning shows Ernst ahead of Braley 49 to 45 percent, with 5 percent still undecided.

Among likely voters in the state, 91 percent say their mind is up, while 9 percent say they may change their mind.

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Inset: (t) Office of the Governor / (b) US Congress(WASHINGTON) — Rep. Bob Beauprez, the Republican challenger in the Colorado governor’s race, has pulled ahead thanks to male voters, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll out Wednesday.

Beauprez is leading Democratic incumbent Gov. John Hickenlooper 45 to 40 percent, with a libertarian candidate receiving 4 percent, a green candidate getting 2 percent, and another 9 percent still undecided.

A poll last week showed Hickenlooper up by just one point, 45 to 44 percent.

Men are backing Beauprez 54 to 33 percent, up five points from last week. Women are backing Hickenlooper 47 to 37 percent, while independent voters are split between the two at 38 percent.

Six days before Election Day, 12 percent of Colorado voters say their mind is not made up, while 88 percent say they are certain about who they are voting for.

As for favorability, Colorado voters have a mixed opinion of their governor, giving him a split 46 to 46 percent rating, compared to a positive 51 to 42 percent last week. Beauprez gets a positive 47 to 34 percent favorability rating, up two points from last week.

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Inset photos: (t) Office of the Governor / (b)State Dept.(WASHINGTON) — The Connecticut governor’s race remains neck-and-neck, with Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy and his Republican opponent Tom Foley still tied at 43 percent, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll out Wednesday.

Six percent are still undecided and another 7 percent are for Independent candidate Joe Visconti.

Last week, the poll had Malloy at 43 percent to Foley’s 42 percent — still a statistical tie.

The gender gap is wide in this race with Malloy leading among women voters 52 to 35 percent and Foley leading 51 to 34 percent among men.

And with less than a week to go before Election Day, 86 percent of likely voters in Connecticut say they’ve made up their mind while 13 percent could still be persuaded.

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Inset: US Senate(WASHINGTON) — Sen. Pat Roberts achieved a key, albeit late, endorsement from the Tea Party Patriots on Tuesday, a group the Republican from Kansas previously had to fend off in his surprisingly brutal primary back in August.

With the prospect of Independent Greg Orman being the first non-Republican to win Roberts’ seat since 1932, big-name GOPers of all stripes have flooded Kansas to appeal to voters that the very balance of the Senate could rest in their hands.

In attack ads that ran against Roberts during his primary, the Tea Party Patriots led the charge in attacking the three-term incumbent for his coziness with the Washington establishment. But the group appears to have joined the ranks of Republicans like Sen. Rand Paul, who said in a Tuesday rally, “we’ve been counting on you, Kansas!”

Orman has made a point of celebrating endorsements from more moderate members of the Republican party in recent ads, despite Roberts’ attempts to paint him as a liberal Democrat in disguise.

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Pete Marovich/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Sarah Palin seems to agree with Taylor Swift’s sentiment that “the haters gonna hate, hate, hate.” But that very fact, according to the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, is what might drive her to seek political office once more.

Palin, now a paid contributor to Fox News, told host Stuart Varney of the Fox Business Network that rather than discourage her, “Those haters out there, they don’t understand that it invigorates me, it wants me to get out there and defend the innocent.”

In fact, Palin says she welcomes the abuse from the haters because “I’m going to bug the crap out of them by being out there with a voice, with the message, hopefully running for office in the future, too.”

She left it open as to what her aspirations are. Palin had the opportunity to run for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate from Alaska this year but opted instead to support Tea Party candidate Joe Miller, who lost to GOP challenger Dan Sullivan.

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Pete Marovich/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Sarah Palin seems to agree with Taylor Swift’s sentiment that “the haters gonna hate, hate, hate.” But that very fact, according to the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, is what might drive her to seek political office once more.

Palin, now a paid contributor to Fox News, told host Stuart Varney of the Fox Business Network that rather than discourage her, “Those haters out there, they don’t understand that it invigorates me, it wants me to get out there and defend the innocent.”

In fact, Palin says she welcomes the abuse from the haters because “I’m going to bug the crap out of them by being out there with a voice, with the message, hopefully running for office in the future, too.”

She left it open as to what her aspirations are. Palin had the opportunity to run for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate from Alaska this year but opted instead to support Tea Party candidate Joe Miller, who lost to GOP challenger Dan Sullivan.

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ABC/ LOU ROCCO(NEW YORK) — Never one to back away from a fight, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie Tuesday essentially challenged nurse Kaci Hickox to sue him following her forced quarantine last week when health officials believed she might have been displaying symptoms of the Ebola virus.

Hickox, who had just returned from West Africa, appeared to have a fever but it was eventually determined that she wasn’t infected, prompting her release Monday from an isolation tent at a Newark hospital. Her attorney says she plans to file a lawsuit as a result.

However, when asked about the possible lawsuit, Christie snarled, “Whatever. Get in line. I’ve been sued lots of times before. Get in line. I’m happy to take it on.”

As for her treatment while in quarantine, the governor, a possible candidate for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, told reporters, “She was inside the hospital in a climate-controlled area with access to her cell phone, access to the Internet and takeout food from the best restaurants in Newark. She was doing just fine.”

Although the White House disagrees with the mandatory quarantining of health care workers who show no signs of Ebola, Christie maintained the administration did not pressure him to release Hickox from the isolation tent.

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Joe Ravi/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The White House confirmed on Tuesday night that hackers breached the unclassified computer network in the Executive Office of the President in recent weeks.

A senior administration official said in a statement that “activity of concern” was identified on the unclassified network. Immediate measures were taken to evaluate and mitigate that activity. The results of the actions taken to mitigate the breach resulted in some temporary outages and loss of connectivity for users.

No computers or systems were damaged. Still, “some elements of the unclassified network have been affected.”

The Washington Post reports that the activity that concerned the administration was first noticed by a U.S. ally.

An investigation involving the FBI, U.S. Secret Service, and National Security Agency is under way. There was no immediate word as to whether any classified systems were impacted in the breach.

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