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First Read Flash: No end in sight

NBC News: "As the federal government shutdown neared the end of its first business day, the House failed to pass a series of separate bills to restart funding
A barricade leading to the Lincoln Memorial prevents access to tourist buses in Washington
A barricade leading to the Lincoln Memorial prevents access to tourist buses in Washington, October 1, 2013.

NBC News: "As the federal government shutdown neared the end of its first business day, the House failed to pass a series of separate bills to restart funding for national parks, veterans' services and the city of Washington, D.C. The measures, designed to eliminate some of the most unpopular consequences of the ongoing shutdown, required a two-thirds majority vote under the House's rules. Democrats remained mostly united against the funding bills, which they argued amounted to the GOP's 'cherry-picking' of politically palatable federal spending while ignoring the problems of the larger government funding lapse."

Washington Post: "The fiscal showdowns of the past three years have all followed a familiar script: chapter and verse leading to a messy but predictable end....Not this time. A different set of political dynamics has upended the old playbook, and a resolution to this fiscal crisis seems especially remote. Obama, Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) remain far apart, having occasional phone calls but no substantive negotiations."

New York Times: "In contrast to 1995, when Speaker Newt Gingrich led his band of “revolutionary” Republicans into the last battle that shuttered the federal government, this time a small but powerful group of outspoken conservative hard-liners is leading its leaders — and increasingly angering a widening group of fellow Republicans."

Los Angeles Times: "On Tuesday, as the shutdown took hold and more Republicans questioned their party's strategy, the gaps on the GOP side were clearly widening. But the party's less conservative members have shown little willingness in the past to fight the right wing. Whether they will now could determine how long the shutdown lasts."

National Journal: "Whether Reid can hold Democrats together as the shutdown drags on—there is no sign that it will end in coming days—remains unclear. But House Republicans have already scaled back their offers, going from a full repeal of Obamacare, to a full delay, to a delay of a piece of the program. Reid, backed by his caucus and President Obama, has remained steady in his insistence that House Republicans adopt the continuing resolution the Senate passed on Friday."

Roll Call: "The Senate majority leader and the speaker have never been especially close, but their normally functional relationship began to unravel this week, after the House GOP decided to try to undermine a secret deal the two leaders’ offices made over the summer to save congressional staffers from losing their health care benefits."

NBC's Tom Curry looks at "five conceivable scenarios for drawing this exercise in Washington dysfunction to a close."

Politico: "A harsh reality began setting into Capitol Hill on Tuesday: The U.S. government may not reopen until the two parties reach a deal to raise the national debt ceiling. Hours after federal agencies shuttered their doors for the first time in nearly two decades, congressional leaders from both parties began to prepare for a protracted budget battle bound to grow more difficult the longer it goes unresolved."

The Wall Street Journal editorial board weighs in: "Our advice is to give up on the impossible task of defunding or delaying ObamaCare at the current moment and focus instead on a quick if smaller policy victory. The House has already voted for three specific policies that might be achievable if they became the GOP's main political focus....We support the Republican effort to get the best deal they can, especially in the face of Mr. Obama's cynicism. But sooner or later the GOP will have to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling that expires two weeks from now. Republicans will have made their point about fighting hard on principle while noting that to achieve more on ObamaCare they'll need more Senate Republicans after 2014 and a GOP President after 2016. Unlike much of what you hear these days out of Washington, this has the added advantage of being true."

NBC News: "President Barack Obama has postponed visits to Malaysia and the Philippines so he can concentrate on dealing with the first federal government shutdown in 17 years, an administration official confirmed Wednesday."

Wall Street Journal: "The health-insurance marketplaces at the center of President Barack Obama's health law saw a surge of consumer interest Tuesday that surprised even many of the law's backers. But the debut proved patchy, with few applicants actually able to buy coverage on clogged websites that were bedeviled with technological problems. Federal officials said more than 2.8 million visitors between midnight and late afternoon contributed to long wait times for access to, the website they are running for 36 states."

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Boston Globe: "Scott Brown’s Wrentham home is for sale. With an asking price of $559,900, the four-bedroom Colonial in Wrentham’s Oak Point neighborhood featured an open house on Sunday. The former Republican senator took a job at the Boston law firm Nixon Peabody after losing his reelection bid in November, but has floated the possibility of running for a New Hampshire US Senate seat next year. Brown and his wife, Gail, also own a vacation home in Rye, N.H."

NEW JERSEY. Newark Star Ledger: "Texas Gov. Rick Perry called the nation’s implementation of Obamacare 'a criminal act' as he ended his trip across New Jersey today with a rally for U.S. Senate candidate Steve Lonegan outside a Bergen County diner."

PolitickerNJ: "Democrat Cory Booker holds a 13-point lead over" Lonegan "in the race for U.S. Senate, according to this morning's Monmouth University Poll, but voters say Booker’s ambitions are focused more on the national spotlight than serving New Jersey. Booker holds a 53% to 40% lead over Lonegan among New Jerseyans likely to vote in the Oct. 16 special election, down slightly from the 16 point edge he held in polls taken in both August and June."

VIRGINIA. Washington Times: "Terry McAuliffe on Tuesday added coal to the issues on which he has assumed a firmly liberal position, staking his narrow lead in the governor’s race on the hope that Virginia’s moderate electorate is ready to select a Democratic candidate who also supports gay marriage, gun control and abortion rights. Mr. McAuliffe for the first time voiced support for stricter carbon emissions regulations proposed by the Obama administration, taking a position that shores up his left flank on the issue but risks alienating blocs of voters in a state that has toggled between blue and red in recent years."

Washington Post: "Cuccinelli and his fellow Republicans have sought to turn the shutdown issue around on McAuliffe, noting that the Democrat has said multiple times that as governor he would not sign a Virginia budget that did not include money to expand Medicaid. That, Republicans say, is a threat. McAuliffe denied Tuesday that he had ever drawn such a bright line....Democrats have badgered Cuccinelli over the shutdown by linking him to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), a chief architect of the GOP’s current strategy who is scheduled to appear at the Family Foundation’s dinner Saturday night in Richmond. Cuccinelli will also be there."

Virginian Pilot: "The leading candidates for Virginia governor make another play for women voters in their latest campaign ads, with Republican Ken Cuccinelli looking to shrink his polling deficit with that gender, and Democrat Terry McAuliffe trying to widen that gap. McAuliffe's ad covers familiar ground, claiming Cuccinelli's co-sponsorship of a 2007 personhood bill would have made illegal common contraceptives such as the pill even though 'more than half of American women use them at some point in their lives'...Cuccinelli's ad aims to counteract that trend -- it relies on Richmond School Board member Tichi Pinkney Eppes to dispel what she calls 'false and misleading' attacks alleging the candidate has an anti-woman agenda."

The Post also notes that "Planned Parenthood Votes has spent more than $1 million on television and radio ads that will soon air in the Norfolk and Richmond areas, telling women that they should not trust" Cuccinelli.

A Democratic source tracking ad buys tells First Read that Cuccinelli has cut his statewide ad buys for this week in half, compared to last. For the week of 9/25-10/1 Cuccinelli placed $1,281,000, but from 10/2-10/8 Cuccinelli the ad buy is just $627,000.