WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans and Democrats are wasting little time trying to use the federal government shutdown for political advantage ahead of next year's midterm elections. They're seizing on the plight of furloughed workers and shuttered government services to cast blame on each other.
The debate is playing out in TV and radio ads in key congressional districts, newspaper editorials and fundraising pitches. Both sides are aggressively testing the political arguments they may use over the next year.
For Republicans, it's a chance to focus the nation's attention on President Barack Obama's health care law, which even Obama acknowledges is unpopular.
Democrats are telling voters that the GOP has been hijacked by the tea party. They say Republicans are jeopardizing the economy by trying to extract unprecedented demands before re-opening the government.