The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

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October 12, 2013

Vulnerable House Republicans brace for hard races after shutdown



A NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released last night showed 53 percent blamed Republicans more for the shutdown, compared with 31 percent faulting President Barack Obama. Also in the Oct. 7-9 survey, 47 percent said they preferred the 2014 elections result in a Democratic-controlled Congress, compared with 39 percent favoring the Republicans.

"With the pending debt limit increase, I think Republicans increase their chances of this having an effect next November if we are blamed for not just shutting down the government but also causing a default," said Brock McCleary, the president of Harper Polling who oversaw the Republican House campaign committee's public opinion research in the last two elections.

"In many voters' minds, it could vindicate the Democratic talking point that the Republicans are willing to light the place on fire with everyone inside because they don't like the wallpaper, and from a voter perception standpoint, that's a problem," McCleary said.

That may be part of what drove the new proposal from House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, for a six-week raise in the debt ceiling to postpone the threat of a default on Oct. 17 while providing time for bipartisan negotiations on re- opening the government and enacting longer-term spending curbs. Boehner and other House Republican leaders met with Obama at the White House on Thursday to discuss that offer, and each side said talks would continue.

A way out of the current crisis can't come soon enough for Rep. Mike Coffman, a Colorado Republican who faces re- election in a politically competitive suburban Denver district that Obama won last year.

Since the shutdown began, Coffman has worked to distance himself from his fellow Republicans in Congress, advocating that the party stop trying to condition continued government funding on defunding or scaling back the 2010 health-care law, and instead pass a spending measure clean of extraneous demands.

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