Obama Instructs Ebola-Free Nurse To Hug Him ‘For The Cameras’

Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
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Departing from an unofficial policy that has been in place since the summer, President Barack Obama instructed Nina Pham – newly free of Ebola – to pose with him for a photo op in the Oval Office on Friday.

“Obama hugged Pham after the president said something to the effect of “Let’s give a hug for the cameras” – according to two photographers allowed into the Oval,” reported CQ Roll Call’s Steven Dennis, who was covering pool duty for the day, Mediaite reported.

“Photos show Pham with a radiant smile. Photographers say they didn’t see a kiss but said hug was a full embrace.”

Pham contracted Ebola while treating Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian hospital in Dallas, Texas last month. The 26 year old was transported to a hospital in Bethesda, Md., where she made a rapid recovery before being declared virus-free on Friday.

The staged White House hug was a drastic departure from Obama’s previously-stated stance on photo ops which he laid out at a July 9 press conference held to discuss the child immigration crisis.

“This isn’t theater. This is a problem,” Obama said. “I’m not interested in photo ops; I’m interested in solving a problem.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest declared on Friday that only pool photographers – and not print, television or editorial reporters – would be allowed to attend the Pham meeting. The announcement frustrated many reporters at the White House press conference. (RELATED: WH Press Corps Cries Foul At Censorship Of Obama Meeting With Nina Pham)

Earnest defended the decision, saying “I think in this case, we determined that the still photographers would provide the access necessary to ensure that you and the American people were informed of this event.”

[h/t Mediaite]

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