Just how bad was the shutdown for America’s image on the world stage? So bad, says Secretary of State John Kerry, that foreign officials joked about buying him meals.
“I have seen how our allies, our partners and those who wish to challenge us or to do us harm are all sizing us up every day,” Kerry said at an event hosted by Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank. “What we do in Washington matters deeply”¦that’s why a self-inflicted wound like the shutdown can never happen again.”
Kerry added that the shutdown delayed security aid to Israel. “The dysfunction and the shutdown and the simplistic dialogue that came with it didn’t impress anyone,” he said.
The federal government was mostly shuttered for 16 days after House Republicans refused to sign off on a budget unless it stripped away funding for President Obama’s health care law. The impasse was condemned repeatedly by the Democratic leaders and progressive policymakers at the conference.
“I do love this country, damnit, and this country is in deep trouble,” declared former Vice President Al Gore. “What happened down there on Capitol Hill was pathetic.”
The shutdown sent the GOP’s approval ratings spiraling downward, leading some Democrats to think they might be able to take over the House in the 2014 mid-term election. “If they stay on course Democrats have a good chance,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a former congressman who led the Democratic Party’s House campaign committee. “If they reverse course than it’s a district by district scenario.
Gerrymandering by GOP-led state legislatures, however, have left few competitive seats. “This is a map that the Republicans designed nationwide,” Emanuel said. “If you want to win it back, you have to pick the lock nationwide.”
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"A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that 34% of registered voters think the three presidential debates would be extremely or quite important in helping them decide whom to support for president. About 11% of voters are considered 'debate persuadables'—that is, they think the debates are important and are either third-party voters or only loosely committed to either major-party candidate."
Will he or won't he? That's the question surrounding Donald Trump and his on-again, off-again threats to bring onetime Bill Clinton paramour Gennifer Flowers to the debate as his guest. An assistant to flowers initially said she'd be there, but Trump campaign chief Kellyanne Conway "said on ABC’s 'This Week' that the Trump campaign had not invited Flowers to the debate, but she didn’t rule out the possibility of Flowers being in the audience."
NBC's Lester Holt hasn't hosted the "Nightly News" since Tuesday, as he's prepped for moderating the first presidential debate tonight—and the first of his career. He's called on a host of NBC talent to help him, namely NBC News and MSNBC chairman Andy Lack; NBC News president Deborah Turness; the news division's senior vice president of editorial, Janelle Rodriguez; "Nightly News" producer Sam Singal, "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd, senior political editor Mark Murray and political editor Carrie Dann. But during the debate itself, the only person in Holt's earpiece will be longtime debate producer Marty Slutsky.
"The House passed legislation late Thursday that would prohibit the federal government from making any cash payments to Iran, in protest of President Obama's recently discovered decision to pay Iran $1.7 billion in cash in January. And while the White House has said Obama would veto the bill, 16 Democrats joined with Republicans to pass the measure, 254-163."
In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shunning traditional debate preparations, but has been watching video of…Clinton’s best and worst debate moments, looking for her vulnerabilities.” Trump “has paid only cursory attention to briefing materials. He has refused to use lecterns in mock debate sessions despite the urging of his advisers. He prefers spitballing ideas with his team rather than honing them into crisp, two-minute answers.”