U.S. President Obama says he will bring back nearly all of the troops deployed in West Africa to fight Ebola ''not to declare mission accomplished, but to mark a transition.'' Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) President Barack Obama announced on Wednesday (February 11) that he will bring back nearly all of the 1,300 U.S. troops deployed in West Africa to fight the Ebola epidemic by April 30. "Not to declare mission accomplished, but to mark a transition," President Obama said. "All but a hundred -- who will remain to support the ongoing response -- all but those hundred will also be able to come home," he said. Obama, who was excoriated last fall for a slow start to his Ebola outbreak response, held a White House event to showcase how U.S. leadership helped stem the epidemic, which has killed almost 9,000 people, mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. "We were a force multiplier. It wasn't just what we put in, it's the fact that when we put it in, people looked around and said 'alright, America's got our back so we'll come too'" Obama said. The number of new cases each week has dropped to about 150 in recent reports, down from more than 1,000 new cases per week in October, the White House said. "Today we move into the next phase of the fight. Winding down our military response while expanding our civilian response."