Historians may someday refer to Oct. 2, 2013, as the day President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid began losing the Obamacare Shutdown.
First, it was Reid trashing CNN reporter Dana Bash for having the temerity to ask the Senate's top Democrat why he wouldn't allow a vote on a House-passed measure to fund cancer research at the National Institutes of Health, including clinical trials for possible cures for cancer in children.
"Why would we want to do that?" said an obviously exasperated Reid, who then attacked Bash: "To have someone of your intelligence to suggest such a thing is just irresponsible."
Second, Obama invited Reid, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner to a late afternoon meeting in the White House to discuss the shutdown.
Predictably, nothing came of the White House meeting, but the most charitable explanation for why Obama called it in the first place is that he thought it necessary to appear more conciliatory instead of his previous "I will not negotiate" brick wall.
More likely, Obama and Democratic strategists felt the first twinges of doubt that they have the upper hand in the shutdown and perhaps even fear that it might be slipping away from them.
Here's why: Bash's question shifted the narrative from evil Republicans shutting down the government if they can't defund Obamacare to Obama and the Democrats making Obamacare funding non-negotiable, even if it means kids die of cancer.
That happened because Boehner heeded suggestions from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, that House Republicans begin approving "piecemeal" measures to fund specific parts of the government, like NIH.
That strategy forced Obama, Reid and, let's not forget, seven red-state Democratic senators facing tough re-election contests next year to repeatedly put Obamacare before everything else, no matter the consequences.
The question this morning is now whether House Republicans will stick together and continue voting to approve funding for critical parts of the government and force Democrats to decide which is more important, funding Obamacare or keeping the government open.
A small band of moderate House GOPers led by Rep. Peter King of New York are pushing Boehner to cave and end the shutdown without touching Obamacare.
Who would have ever thought Obamacare's best friend in Congress would be Peter King?
From today's Washington Examiner:
Editorial: Big Labor going under Supreme Court's microscope.
Beltway Confidential/Joel Gehrke: Harry Reid wonders why U.S. should fund cancer research for kids.
Beltway Confidential/Ashe Schow: Obamacare scammers, fake web sites harvest ID theft treasure trove.
Beltway Confidential: Examiner editor, Juan Williams debate who is winning, losing the shutdown.
Michael Barone: Blame James Madison for the government shutdown.
Byron York: Out of ideas, House GOP considers Hail Mary.
David M. Drucker: House GOP stands firm, will link funding fight to debt ceiling.
Sean Lengell: House Democrats try to change subject to immigration reform.
In Other News
The Wall Street Journal: In shutdown fight, Harry Reid sets the tone for Democrats.
The Washington Post: Tea Party lawmakers see culmination of years of effort in shutdown.
The Washington Post: Agreement allows U.S. to keep eye on North Korea with drones based in Japan.
The New York Times: Millions of poor left uncovered by Obamacare.
Investor's Business Daily: Refinances to hit lowest mortgage share in decades.
Fox News: House GOP probes WWII monument closure.
New York Post: Hackers blamed for New York Obamacare shutdown.
Chicago Tribune: Shutdown causes worries about food aid.
Talking Points Memo: This ain't the '90s, as negotiations prove a dead zone for Obama.
Daily Beast: It's nudity week at Brown.
RedState.com: How Democrats got us to a shutdown.
National Review: Boehner tells GOP a grand bargain is coming.
Weekly Standard: How the GOP can get the upper hand in the shutdown.