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Political Optics of the Government Shutdown

Visitors to Independence National Historical Park are reflected in the window of the closed building housing the Liberty Bell, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013, in Philadelphia. Congress plunged the nation into a partial government shutdown Tuesday as a long-running dispute over President Barack Obama's health care law stalled a temporary funding bill, forcing about 800, 000 federal workers off the job and suspending most non-essential federal programs and services.

Political Optics of the Government Shutdown


With scenes of the partial government shutdown filling television news

broadcasts and front pages, practitioners of political stagecraft —

Republicans, Democrats and bureaucrats — are striving to frame the

debate and what's at stake in ways the public can see and feel. But

while efforts to control the optics of the debate can be very effective,

they're largely reinforcing, not changing, the mindset of voters

increasingly cynical about Washington, experts say.