The Ebola situation is a major headache for the White House and an emerging subplot in the 2014 election next week.
It also is something of a public-relations success for President Obama -- at least for now.
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows Americans approve of Obama's handling of the situation, 49 percent to 41 percent. His approval rating is up eight points from just two weeks ago, mostly thanks to people moving from "undecided" column into the more favorable one.
Obama still doesn't have majority support on the issue, but it's his highest approval rating on any given issue since he hit 50 percent on combating the Islamic State last month. Prior to that, he hadn't hit 50 percent -- or even 49 percent -- on an issue since January.
In other words, it's a little shot in the arm for a struggling White House. And it reinforces the cliche that a crisis can become a opportunity -- both political and to show leadership. For now, Obama's response is winning pretty positive reviews, and we're sure "the hug" (see above) didn't hurt.
Of course, the situation is still highly volatile, and Americans are still pretty concerned about the spread of the disease. There is also a lingering desire for more of a response.
But even as lawmakers have called for increased travel restrictions from the West African countries where Ebola has taken hold and some governors have unilaterally instituted tough and sometimes controversial new safeguards, the White House has largely stuck to its guns and insisted that travel bans would counter-productive. Obama even hit back (indirectly) at those governors in remarks Tuesday, insisting that decisions shouldn't be made just because people are scared.
"We don’t just react based on our fears," he said. "We react based on facts and judgment and making smart decisions."
But those fears are still very real, and the White House's firm stance could still be tested in the days and weeks ahead.
The WaPo-ABC poll also shows 70 percent of Americans still want some kind of travel ban -- little-changed from 67 percent two weeks ago -- and 61 percent think the government can still do more to prevent the disease from spreading in the United States, while 37 percent say it is doing all it can.
The White House still has to contend with those very real feelings, which will only increase if Ebola continues to spread.
But for now, it's a C-minus student who is suddenly pulling a B with the American people in a very important subject.