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Republican government shutdown strategy revealed over open mic and internal memo

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks during a news conference on September 25, 2013 in Washington, DC.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

During the past 24 hours, the private strategy of Republicans in Congress regarding the federal government shutdown was revealed in two separate incidents. First, Republican U.S. Senator Rand Paul was caught on an open microphone telling his Republican colleague, Senator Mitch McConnell:

I just did CNN and I just go over and over again, 'we're willing to compromise, we're willing to negotiate. I don't think they poll tested 'we won't negotiate,' I think it's awful for them to say that over and over again. ... I think if we keep saying, 'we wanted to defund it, we fought for that, but now we're willing to compromise on this,' we're gonna win.

Then today, Republican U.S. Congressman Eric Cantor passed a memo to his Republican colleagues urging a similar strategy to that expressed by Rand Paul, i.e., to claim that President Obama and Democrats in Congress are "refusing to negotiate" during the government shutdown, and that Republicans are willing to negotiate. Cantor's memo additionally advises his House colleagues to advocate for piecemeal bills to fund only parts of the federal government which are popular with the American people, such as reopening U.S. national parks and funding veterans benefits.

With polls showing that a large majority of Americans disapprove of shutting down the federal government over the Affordable Care Act, and Republicans in Congress receiving more of the blame for the current shutdown, these latest incidents could present a danger to the GOP if it is perceived as continuing the shutdown for political purposes.

© 2013 Matthew Emmer -- All Rights Reserved

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