WASHINGTON (AP) -- Under pressure to select an Ebola "czar" to lead the U.S. response against the disease, President Barack Obama conceded Thursday it "may be appropriate for me to appoint an additional person" to head the administration effort.
Obama also said he is "not philosophically opposed" to a travel ban from the Ebola-afflicted region of West Africa "if that is the thing that is going to keep the American people safe." But he said experts tell him a ban would be less effective than measures currently in place.
He said his team of Ebola advisers is doing "an outstanding job." But he said several of them, including Centers for Disease Control director Thomas Frieden and Lisa Monaco, his top counterterrorism adviser, are also dealing with other priorities. He noted that Frieden is also dealing with flu season and Monac, with the Islamic State extremists in the Middle East.
"It may make sense for us to have one person ... just so that after this initial surge of activity we can have a more regular process," he said.
Calls for Obama to institute a temporary travel ban grew Thursday, mainly from Republicans who said the growing outbreak in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia are creating a greater traveling threat.
But Obama said a ban could increase the instance of travelers avoiding detection.
"They are less likely to get screened and we may have more cases of Ebola rather than less," he said.
Obama spoke at the end of a meeting with Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Thomas Frieden and top White House officials.
Obama on Thursday also authorized the Pentagon to call up reserve and National Guard troops if they are needed to assist in the U.S. response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
Obama signed an executive order that allows the government to call up more forces and for longer periods of time than currently authorized. There is no actual call-up at this point.
The U.S. has committed to send up to 4,000 military personnel to West Africa to provide logistics and humanitarian assistance and help build treatment units to confront the rapidly spreading and deadly virus.
Separately, Obama placed phone calls to House Speaker John Boehner, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to discuss the administration's response to the disease.
He also called Ohio Gov. John Kasich to discuss steps the administration took after a Dallas nurse traveled to the state over the weekend before being diagnosed with Ebola, a Kasich spokesman said. The nurse was one of two health care workers who became ill after treating a Liberian man with Ebola at a Dallas hospital.
Obama canceled a Thursday campaign trip to stay at the White House and focus on Ebola. It's the second day in a row he nixed a planned trip because of the outbreak.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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