By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )
ABC's RICK KLEIN: Mind the middle. With half-empty negotiating tables and Rose Garden speeches replacing such quaint concepts as talking to each other, there's very little inside the Capitol that matters to the outcome of the government shutdown at the moment. But one dynamic that could shift the current equation is frustration among moderate Republicans about the current cost. So far, ABC News has counted 13 who are on record in support of a "clean" bill extending government funding. The un-magic number for House Speaker John Boehner - the number he can afford to lose without losing a vote - is 17, though conservative Democrats can tick that number up slightly. That's where the outside game comes back in: It's pressure on wavering Republicans, those who see the tea party course as folly or worse, that's likely to push Boehner where he's wanted to go all along.
ABC's JEFF ZELENY: With the critical debt-ceiling deadline of Oct. 17 circled in red on calendars across the Capitol, it's looking increasingly likely that the shutdown fight will be rolled into the larger and more consequential battle over raising the nation's borrowing limit. Many Republicans believe that could be the best way to get Democrats to negotiate. But this could only happen if Republicans stay unified. There is increasing anxiety over the shutdown among senior Republicans in the Senate, who desperately want to reopen the government and keep the two fiscal fights from becoming one war.
ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: Just hours after the shutdown showdown closed down the federal government, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was out with a gubernatorial campaign ad pushing his work across the aisle. Named "Bipartisan" it serves both his re-election goals and his possible 2016 presidential aspirations by pushing the message that not only does he work across the aisle he can get Democrats to support and vote for him. "I stand up strongly for principles and I speak bluntly and directly, and I say what I believe. But I also know that my job is to get things done for the people of the state," Christie says in the ad. "Every accomplishment we've had in New Jersey - cutting taxes, cutting spending, improving education, tenure reform, pension and benefit reform. Everything we've done has been a bipartisan accomplishment." Of course his opponents would disagree. Marcy Stech, national press secretary for Emily's List said Christie's act is a charade: "Chris Christie tries to project the image of a reasonable middle-of-the-road blue state governor, but his actions reveal him to be in lockstep with the same radical Republicans who shut down the federal government." Watch: http://bit.ly/1hi6uA6
WHAT WE'RE WATCHING
STALEMATE CITY: CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS MAKE CASE AGAINST OBAMACARE. Three conservative Republicans at the center of the budget showdown, who were elected in the tea party wave that helped the GOP win control of the House in 2010, say the government shutdown may be a necessary step to highlight the perils of Obamacare. "Delay of Obamacare's the right thing for America," said Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho. "I don't know why he couldn't delay Obamacare for one year." As the first government shutdown in 17 years intensifies, Labrador and his Republican colleagues, Vickie Hartzler of Missouri and Marlin Stuzman of Indiana, sat down with "The Fine Print's" JEFF ZELENY to discuss the shutdown - and the way forward. "In the western hemisphere, we try to find a win-win situation," said Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind. "And that's not the way Barack Obama and Harry Reid are negotiating right now." More of the interview with the three Republican lawmakers at the heart of the dispute in Washington: http://yhoo.it/18OobEn
SHUTDOWN POLITICS: WHO'S WINNING? The political consequences of a government shutdown are bad, and they're bad for everyone. But there's good evidence that it may be far worse for Republicans than for Democrats, ABC's ABBY PHILLIP reports. New polling shows that Republicans are not winning either on their strategy or the substance of the issue. Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to shutting down the government in an attempt to block the implementation of the health care law-72 percent of Americans oppose the strategy and only 22 percent support it according to a Quinnipiac Poll released yesterday. And they are basically split when it comes to how they feel about the law in general: 45 percent support the law and 47 percent oppose it. That's not exactly a sturdy branch for Republicans to hang an unpopular government shutdown.
-FROM THE LEFT: Democrats, believing they have the political upper hand, are doing what they can to make the political pain stick for Republicans for as long as possible. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee yesterdaylaunched a robo-call ad campaign targeting 63 vulnerable Republicans for voting to "shut down the government" with last night's votes. And the Democratic National Committee said that the last 24 hours of this shutdown debacle gave them the best fundraising windfall they've had all cycle.
-FROM THE RIGHT: Republicans, on the other hand, have adopted a message that hammers Democrats for pushing an "unfair" health care law on the public. "Democrats have slept through the ObamaCare alarm and the American people are paying the price," said Andrea Bozek, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. "Rather than wake up to the dangers of ObamaCare, Democrats are hell bent on forcing ObamaCare on everyone in America but themselves."
-BOTTOM LINE: On the other hand, the headlines, images and stories coming out of the current shutdown simply paint a damaging picture of Washington dysfunction that voters appear to predominantly blame Republicans for. When asked by Quinnipiac whether Republicans are doing enough to compromise with President Obama, 42 percent of Republicans say they are doing too little compared to 20 percent of Democrats think Obama is doing too little to compromise. Even when the question of funding for the government is taken out of the picture, voters say they don't believe lawmakers should try to defund the law to stop it. And an ABC News-Washington Post released yesterday showed that 63 percent of Americans disapprove of Congressional Republicans handling of the budget debate compared 50 percent who say the same of Obama.
EMPTY CHAIRS AT (HALF) EMPTY TABLES: Eight House Republicans were appointed to negotiate a budget deal with Senate Democrats ysterday and actually sat at a table to await some senators, ABC's JOHN PARKINSON and ARLETTE SAENZ note. When no one showed up, the Republicans said it was an example of the Senate Dems' refusal to negotiate to reach a deal. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, joining seven other conferees appointed by House Speaker John Boehner, said "there is a way" for Republicans and Democrats "to work through our differences" but complained that Democrats have refused to negotiate."As you can see, there's no one here on the other side of the table," Cantor, R-Va., said. "It's fair to say none of us want to be in a shutdown, and we're here to say to the Senate Democrats, come and talk to us. This is how we resolve our differences and can work our way out of this kind of situation." http://abcn.ws/1brjRNM
FURLOUGHED WORKERS CALL ON CONGRESS TO 'GET THEIR ACT TOGETHER.' Furloughed government workers are getting some unexpected time off, but the impromptu vacation is likely to be a period of increased anxiety for the roughly 800,000 federal employees who do not know when they will go back to work - or get a pay check, ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE reports. Among the nervous crop of government workers is Matthew Hoffman, a scientist with the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., who said he had to go to his office Tuesday for four hours to "close up the labs" and "shut down experiments" and then he had to "close up the shop and leave." Hoffman planned to spend the rest of the day with friends visiting on a two-day trip from Sydney, Australia. Outside of the White House he called the government shutdown "ridiculous." "In light of the previous two elections here where Obama's been elected on the premise of changing the health care system then with the Supreme Court decision to support the change in health care and so it's all good things happening, yet there's a vocal group that doesn't want it to happen and this is their way of holding everyone hostage," Hoffman said, adding he believes the "House should send a clean bill to the Senate to fund the government." http://abcn.ws/1dVHtei
SCENES FROM A SHUTDOWN:
ABC's Shushannah Walshe, Mary Alice Parks, Daniel Steinberger and Anneta Konstantinides contributed reporting from Washington and Gina Sunseri from Houston.
-CAITLYN BRIERE, A PROGRAM ANALYST AT THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, was spending her first furlough day at the Washington, D.C. synagogue Sixth & I, which opened their doors Tuesday to affected employees calling themselves "Shutdown Central." While watching episodes of "The West Wing," furloughed workers chatted, snacked, and even played "political ping pong" with the faces of both John Boehner and President Obama, while following news of the shutdown that affected their lives the most. "It's not a secure financial position to be in, not knowing when we're going to get paid again," Briere said. "D.C. is an expensive city to live in, so it does make me a little nervous to be uncertain about that. So, I would like it to be short." The EPA furloughed about 96 percent of its workforce and Briere said when she went to work Tuesday morning she went through what are called "shutdown procedures," which includes putting an out-of-office message on her voicemail and e-mail, submitting her time sheets for this week, and essentially walking out the door. "I think it's really dangerous and irresponsible for politicians to basically hold the economy hostage over a law and regardless of how controversial it might be, I think they're playing games with the economy, I don't agree with that tactic," Briere said. "So people need to get their act together over on the Hill." http://abcn.ws/1dVHtei
-AT THE NATIONAL ZOO, visitors were greeted with a sign telling them the attraction is closed because of the shutdown and employees told ABC News they had only four hours to come in, fill out paperwork, get organized and leave. Geri Dalick, who lives in the Woodley Park neighborhood where the National Zoo is located, said he thinks the shutdown is "idiotic." "It makes no sense at all," Dalick said. "It serves no purpose whatsoever and I feel badly for all the tourists who can't go to the Smithsonian when they're here." http://abcn.ws/171lIVc
-AT THE JOHNSON SPACE CENTER IN HOUSTON, where 3,200 of them are stationed but only 200 are deemed critical employees, were also being given four hours to pack up their office, power down non-essential systems and then depart. Several employees going to work yesterday told ABC News they don't care that the government is shutdown because they have a job and they are going to do it no matter what the government does. http://abcn.ws/171lIVc
-EVEN CYBERSPACE IS AFFECTED, with many government websites not fully operational. A message on the White House website says, "due to Congress's failure to pass legislation to fun the government, the information on this website may not be up to date. Some submissions may not be processed, and we may not be able to respond to your inquiries." NASA's and the Department of Agriculture's websites are completely down with only a message saying, "Due to the lapse in federal government funding, this website is not available. We sincerely regret this inconvenience." Same goes for anyone trying to access the Library of Congress' website. http://abcn.ws/171lIVc
WHAT'S A FURLOUGHED WORKER TO DO? (TRY POLE DANCING). A government shutdown has gripped Washington, D.C., and federal agencies across the country for the first time in nearly two decades. An estimated 800,000 government employees have been furloughed. So what's an out-of-work government employee to do to ward off the doom and gloom? Despair not, according to ABC's ANNETA KONSTANTINIDES and NICKI ROSSOLL. Dozens of businesses in and around Washington are showing their solidarity by offering furloughed employees free or discounted food, drinks and activities to keep their spirits high during the shutdown. From free cupcakes to $2 beer specials and free museum admissions to free pole-dancing classes, ABC News has compiled a list of some of the unexpected perks of being a "non-essential" government employee: http://abcn.ws/19XOEj2
HAGEL UNDER PRESSURE TO BRING BACK PENTAGON WORKERS. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon wrote to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel urging him to bring back the 400,000 DOD civilians furloughed by the government shutdown because the Pay Our Military Act signed by President Obama gives him the ability to do so, ABC's LUIS MARTINEZ notes. In a letter to Hagel McKeon said the legislation gives Hagel "broad latitude" in determining which civilians can work during a shutdown. "I believe the legislation provides you broad latitude and I encourage you to use it," McKeon wrote. The bill enabled military service members to continue to get paid during the shutdown, as well as DOD civilians "providing support" to them. The bill makes a broad reference to Defense Department civilians without differentiating whether they have been deemed "excepted." That category is keeping an additional 400,000 Defense Department civilians on the job. Traveling in South Korea, Hagel told reporters that the Pentagon's attorneys were reviewing the legislation "to see if there's any margin here or widening in the interpretation of the law regarding exempt versus non-exempt civilians." He gave a glimmer of hope to the military's furloughed employees by saying: "Our lawyers believe that maybe we can expand the exempt status," though he didn't say whether it could be expanded to include all of them. http://abcn.ws/171Nocx
GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN'S LOWEST-PAID VICTIMS: THE INTERNS. On Tuesday, the doors of the National Museum of American History closed to visitors who won't be able to view its extensive collection, including a piece of Plymouth Rock, ball gowns of the first ladies and the flag that inspired the Star Spangled Banner. But the doors are also closed to Smith College student Kathryn Hart, a member of Washington, D.C.'s community of interns - many of whom work in federal government departments and agencies and almost all of whom are among the furloughed, ABC's ANNETA KONSTANTINIDES writes. "We're going to have a 'House of Cards' marathon, maybe go to Mt. Vernon or Monticello, make some five-hour lasagna," said Hart, a third-year Smith student and an intern for the National Museum of American History. "I'm going to invite some friends over, hang out, and rant about classism," added fellow American History museum intern Maris Schwarz, also a third-year at Smith. "And cry over my empty bank account." http://abcn.ws/1dVSKv2
@CHueyBurnsRCP: GOP, Dems Plot Shutdown Aftermath Moves http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/10/02/gop_dems_plot_shutdown_aftermath_moves_120181.html#.UkwBzUkxAgM.twitter …
@JimAcostaCNN: Rand Paul leads prospective GOP field but Clinton ahead of all Republicans in new Q-poll: http://www.quinnipiac.edu/institutes-and-centers/polling-institute/national/release-detail?ReleaseID=1959 …
@MegKinnardAP: Shutdown is latest bad news for military towns (from @AP) http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_268748/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=8Pgi52wL …