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First Read Flash: 'No education in the second kick of a mule'

McConnell says his party won't allow another shutdown and has learned its lesson, but Cruz says he'd continue to do 'anything' to stop Obamacare.

New York Times: " With the government reopened and a debt default averted for now, Congressional negotiators on Thursday plunged into difficult budget talks to avoid a repeat crisis within months, and quickly agreed to lower their sights from the sort of grand bargain that has eluded the two parties for three years....But the need for a bipartisan breakthrough, even a modest one, was amplified by the economic costs wrought by the 16-day shutdown and near-default on government obligations."

NBC's Michael O'Brien: "This 16-day shutdown may be over, but given the parameters of the legislative deal, Americans could find themselves in the midst of another one in three months....So will the nation be subjected to another shutdown? There’s a strong case as to why it won’t, but the prospect of another fiscal impasse remains a distinct possibility."

Washington Post's Karen Tumulty writes "the GOP establishment has embarked, once again, on a round of soul-searching. But this time, the question is: What will it take to save the Republicans from the self-destructive impulses of the tea party movement? That the government shutdown was a political disaster for the party that engineered it is widely acknowledged, except by the most ardent tea partyers. And that near-unanimity presents an opportunity for the establishment to strike back — and maybe regain some control from the insurgent wing."

Politico looks at the political "anatomy" of the shutdown: "The fiscal drama turned on a series of complicated relationships, internecine Republican warfare and rare Democratic unity."

NBC's Jessica Taylor: "The lobbying arm of conservative think tank Heritage Foundation is credited with helping to direct the GOP-push to shut down the government over Obamacare. But with the government reopened and the GOP having little to show for it, some Republicans wonder if Heritage overplayed its hand. 'Heritage used to be the conservative organization helping Republicans and helping conservatives and helping us to be able to have the best intellectual conservative ideas,' longtime GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch said on Thursday’s The Daily Rundown. 'There’s a real question in the minds of many Republicans right now, and I’m not just speaking for myself: Is Heritage going to go so political that it really doesn’t amount to anything anymore.'"

Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint took to the Wall Street Journal op-ed pages to defend his group's crusade against Obamacare. We "will continue to fight. The reason is simple: to protect the American people from the harmful effects of this law."

"Sen. Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican who pushed the strategy to tie government funding to defunding President Obama’s health care law, wouldn’t rule out revisiting it in the coming months. 'I would do anything, and I will continue to do anything I can, to stop the train wreck that is Obamacare,' Cruz said when asked by ABC News’ Jon Karl whether he would rule out another shutdown. 'The test that matters Jon, is are we doing anything for all the people that are getting hurt from Obamacare?'"

The Hill: Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell says he will not allow another government shutdown as part of a strategy to repeal ObamaCare. McConnell" said "that his party learned a painful political lesson over the past 16 days, as its approval rating dropped while the government was shuttered....'One of my favorite old Kentucky sayings is there’s no education in the second kick of a mule. The first kick of a mule was when we shut the government down in the mid-1990s and the second kick was over the last 16 days,' he said. 'There is no education in the second kick of a mule. There will not be a government shutdown.'"

Politico: "Republican donors were horrified in November after pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into losing campaigns for president and Congress with nothing to show for it. A year later they’re appalled by how little has changed, angered by the behavior of Republican lawmakers during a string of legislative battles this year capped by the shutdown, and searching for answers. In conversation after conversation, donors express growing frustration with the party and the constellation of outside groups they’ve been bankrolling."

Writing from the Bluegrass State, National Journal's Jill Lawrence argues that "most important for Republicans judging Paul's 2016 viability and his potential to turn enthusiastic fans at rallies into GOP votes at the polls is this: At a time when Americans despise the notion of more foreign entanglements, he has somehow made President Obama and his Democrats look like interventionist hawks."

"Add another name to the short list of Democrats seriously considering a run for president in 2016. In an interview with RealClearPolitics, former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer indicated that he may launch a White House bid, even if front-runner Hillary Clinton also enters the race."

The Daily Rundown's Jessica Taylor writes that "2016 hopefuls are scrambling to shape the narrative of how they handled the fiasco–especially ones who had to take the tough votes." and looks at how the storlines are emerging: "Rand Paul: The Reboot, Paul Ryan: The Insider’s Balancing Act, Ted Cruz: The New Reality Star, and Marco Rubio: The Cautious Conservative."

Politico echoes the Paul shift, writing that "According to many moderate GOP observers, the Kentucky Republican and likely 2016 contender has deftly maneuvered the past several weeks of shutdown politics, toeing the conservative line without alienating the rest of the party — especially compared to his frequent sidekick" Cruz. 

National Review notices that "Senator Marco Rubio began this year amid buzz that he was the logical choice to win the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. He is likely to finish it on a decidedly lower note, partly removed from the national spotlight, eclipsed by the rising star from Texas, Ted Cruz."

Charlie Cook writes that "the question is whether conservatives and Republicans should begin to worry if their instincts—specifically, their judgment on matters of politics and policy—are a bit off. Maybe 'spectacularly wrong' would be more accurate. Does that worry anyone on the right or in the Republican Party? Are they concerned that continuing to follow such awful political instincts could lead to catastrophic consequences for their movement and their party?"

Stu Rothenberg notes that "the deal to open the government and raise the debt ceiling may be done, but the damage to the national Republican Party is considerable....The problem, of course, is that the Ted Cruz/Ted Yoho wing of the party doesn’t really believe in negotiation, which, at its core, requires compromise. And while they don’t like compromise, they are particularly unwilling to negotiate with a president they regard as illegitimate and at war with fundamental American values."

Cook Political Report's David Wasserman writes that "Mostly as a result of the damage House Republicans sustained during the 16-day government shutdown, we are making changes to our ratings in 15 House seats, all but one in Democrats' direction. Democrats still have a very uphill climb to a majority, and it's doubtful they can sustain this month's momentum for another year. But Republicans' actions have energized Democratic fundraising and recruiting efforts and handed Democrats a potentially effective message."

MISSISSIPPI: AP: "Second-term state Sen. Chris McDaniel said Thursday that he's running for the U.S. Senate in 2014, a decision that likely pits him against longtime incumbent Thad Cochran in the Republican primary. Cochran turns 76 in December and is expected to announce late this year whether he'll seek re-election to the Senate seat he first won in 1978."

The Daily Rundown's Jessica Taylor reports that McDaniel "swiftly got the backing of both the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund – their first Senate endorsements of the 2014 cycle – along with the Madison Project.....their rush to throw their lot with McDaniel shows they not only want to pressure Cochran to take the easy exit, but that they want to stake a claim for McDaniel in what could be a crowded field if the senator does retire. In the third quarter of the year, Cochran raised only $48,000 – hardly the cash needed for a statewide bid, even in an inexpensive state like Mississippi. He had $804,000 in the bank."

NEW JERSEY: Wall Street Journal: "A day after Cory Booker became New Jersey's senator-elect, the outsize role he could play in Washington and Democratic Party politics began to become clear on Thursday. A spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee said Mr. Booker—fresh off a victory over a conservative opponent—could be asked to raise money and stump for Democrats running against tea-party candidates. The Newark mayor appeared with Republican Gov. Chris Christie and pledged to cut through Washington's partisan rancor."

SOUTH DAKOTA: Sioux Falls Argus Leader: "A controversial Sioux Falls Republican has filed paperwork to run for governor next year. Lora Hubbel, a former state lawmaker and local party official, will challenge Gov. Dennis Daugaard in the Republican primary if she’s able to get enough voter signatures next year."

VIRGINIA: NBC's Domenico Montanaro: "National Republicans may be glad the midterm elections are a year away after polls have shown the party’s favorability at all-time lows because of the federal government shutdown. But one Republican – in a swing state – is caught in the buzz saw. A new NBC4/NBC News/Marist poll finds Republican Ken Cuccinelli slipping further behind Democrat Terry McAuliffe, 46 to 38 percent in the race for Virginia governor among likely voters. That’s 3 points wider than McAuliffe’s 43 to 38 percent lead a month ago -- before the shutdown. Libertarian Robert Sarvis gets 9 percent."

Jessica Taylor notes at The Daily Rundown that "Cuccinelli’s woman problem is only getting worse." McAuliffe's "lead with women is now at 20 points–a two-point jump since last month’s NBC poll–with McAuliffe up among female likely voters 52%-32%. Cuccinelli still leads among men, 44%-40%, but that’s been cut in half since his eight point lead with likely male voters last month."

And yet another ad releaed Thursday by McAuliffe was aimed at women, the Washington Post notes. 

AP: "A federal judge will hear arguments today from Virginia Democrats who want the State Board of Elections to reinstate nearly 40,000 voters who were recently purged from the voter rolls. County officials conducted the purge recently on orders from the state, based on evidence that the voters had subsequently registered in other states. But the Democratic Party of Virginia says the list used to conduct the purge was riddled with errors."