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Buzz Cut:
• Shutdown greets ObamaCare launch
• The mother of all fiscal cliffs
• Cruz to appear with Cuccinelli
• Deliciously non-essential
• Stay Puft tweets the shutdown

SHUTDOWN GREETS OBAMACARE LAUNCH - The next phase of President Obama’s health law begins today as middle-class Americans are now able to sign up for taxpayer-funded health insurance through the federal government. But there won’t be a confetti cannon. The Department of Health and Human Services can’t even afford a professional Twitter tweeter to extol the new entitlement program because the government is partially closed… because of a dispute over the law. This was supposed to be a moment of celebration for Democrats, enshrining universal, government-backed insurance after more than 70 years of trying. Instead, Democrats will spend most of the big day denouncing Republicans for demanding changes to the unpopular law in exchange for continuing to fund full federal operations.

[Public not impressed - A Quinnipiac poll finds 72 percent opposed to shutting down the government over ObamaCare. Seventy-four percent disapprove of the job Republicans are doing in Congress, compared to 60 percent for Democrats.]  

Going retro - This is the 18th time the federal government has been partially shut down due to a fiscal impasse since Congress adopted current budget rules in 1976. President Jimmy Carter endured five of them, including for more than two weeks just before midterm elections in 1978. President Ronald Reagan and Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neill presided over eight shutdowns, but never for more than a few days. The longest lasted three weeks, as President Bill Clinton and Speaker Newt Gingrich jousted at the end of 1995 and the start of 1996. President George W. Bush escaped without any shutdowns, despite Democratic threats to block some of his seven requests to raise the national debt limit.

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