GOP candidate Joni Ernst to Charles Pierce's factual Ebola question: That’s ‘your opinion’
State Senator Joni Ernst speaking at a campaign rally outside Gilmore Hall at the University of Iowa (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Republican senatorial candidate Joni Ernst, who cancelled a full slate of interviews with Iowa papers last week, came face to face with a reporter this morning only to dismiss his assertion that there is only one victim of Ebola in the US, calling the fact, "your opinion."


At a campaign stop in Newton, Iowa, Ernst complained that President Obama isn't leading America, calling him "apathetic."

Following the event, Ernst came face to face with Charles Pierce from Esquire magazine who pressed her over her claims about the president in an exchange also documented by Ben Terris of the Washington Post.

“He is just standing back and letting things happen, he is reactive rather than proactive,” Ernst told the crowd. "With Ebola, we see he's very hands-off. He's not leading. He's not leading.”

“What should he have done about Ebola?” Pierce asked her. “One person in America has Ebola.”

“OK, you’re the press, you’re giving me your opinion,” Ernst replied.

"But that's not an opinion. It's a fact. Only one person in America has Ebola,” Pierce countered.

“But he is the leader,” Ernst attempted to explain, drawing out the word 'leader'. "What he can do is make sure that all of those agencies are coordinating together and make sure that he is sharing that information with the American people, that he cares about their safety."

Pierce asked, "So he doesn't care about the people with the disease?"

“I don’t know that he does, he hasn’t demonstrated that,” Ernst asserted after which she dismissed Pierce with "I'm sorry. I'm done. Anybody else?"