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Wednesday Morning Political Mix

It's Day Two of the Federal Government Shutdown, 2013 edition with no end in sight.

So there's a heavy focus on shutdown-related items or themes today in this morning's political mix of items and themes that caught my eye:

  • Many in Washington now expect the government shutdown to last longer than a few days. That makes it increasingly likely that policymakers will link an agreement on a spending bill that reopens federal agencies to a resolution in the debt-ceiling dispute as well, Politico's Manu Raju, Jake Sherman and Carrie Budoff Brown report.
  • Congressional Republicans may, on the whole, be less sensitive to any widespread public backlash against the federal government shutdown than they were in the last one 17 years ago because more of them represent districts that are safer for Republicans than was true in 1995-1996, writes the National Journal's Ron Brownstein.
  • The group of hardline conservatives who are largely dictating the House Republican Conference's shutdown strategy believe they are winning, according to a New York Times piece by Jonathan Weisman and Ashley Parker. But they now face growing unrest from fellow Republican lawmakers who actually want to be part of a governing party that governs.
  • While most Americans might think that Washington D.C. is the metro area most dominated by federal workers as a percentage of its workforce, the winner in that category is actually Colorado Springs at 18.8 percent of its working population receiving paychecks from the U.S. government. An interactive Washington Post graphic provides details.
  • The Affordable Care Act's health-care exchanges had a noticeably glitchy unveiling Tuesday. But the heavy use of the websites by consumers suggested a pent-up demand for health insurance that supported the contention of Obamacare's backers that the law filled what had been a great unmet need, reported Jay Hancock, Phil Galewitz and Ankita Rao of Kaiser Health News.
  • President Obama has had a visit to Asia to begin Saturday on his schedule for months. But the government shutdown is raising pressure on the White House to reschedule partly because of the greatly reduced number of federal employees available to handle such an overseas trip's logistics, report David Nakamura and Julia Eilperin of the Washington Post. The Wall Street Journal reports that Obama phone the Malaysian prime minister to tell him that a visit to his country was postponed.
  • The nation's future military officers are being severely affected by the federal government shutdown which has forced severe disruptions at U.S. military academies that go far beyond the cancellation of some athletic events. The Air Force Academy's 4,400 cadets now have no library, and no media and tutoring centers, reports Politico's Libby A. Nelson.
  • A Washington outrage wasn't so outrageous after all, it turns out. The Washington Post's Erik Wemple runs us through how Politico made a legitimate attempt by Congress and the administration to fix an Obamacare problem affecting members of Congress and their aides look like chicanery.
  • Comedian Jimmy Kimmel attached some real faces to a recent poll result which indicated that support for the Affordable Care Act rises or falls depending on whether people are asked if they favor the ACA or Obamacare. One takeaway? We should all keep our critical thinking caps when it comes to polls in general and those on the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare in particular.
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