Bob Davis: Overheard at the shutdown
Oct 06, 2013 | 3096 views |  0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Scenes, some inspiring and others frustrating, from the first week of a federal government shutdown:

• “We’re trying to do whatever we can to help the community. Without a place for the children to go, many of their parents would have been stuck.” — Eugene Leonard, pastor of the Life Center Church in Hobson City, discussing why his church opened its doors Tuesday to local Head Start students who otherwise would have been locked out of the federally funded program because of the shutdown.

• “Due to a lapse in federal government funding, the facility is closed.” — Sign that greeted Mobile residents and hikers Jim and Patty Doyle when they stopped Wednesday by the Heflin office of the Shoal Creek District for the Talladega National Forest.

• “I think the parks being closed during this shutdown [is] silly. They’re playing politics with my one vacation that I’ve been waiting for for 18 years.” — Peter Wisniewski of Troy, Idaho, speaking to NPR about his inability to use a hard-to-purchase permit to raft the Grand Canyon, which is closed because of the shutdown.

• “Some real opportunities in Southeast Asia will be lost.” — Michael Green, President George W. Bush’s one-time Asian affairs director, speaking to The Washington Post about President Barack Obama cancelling his scheduled week-long trip to Asia.

• “I don’t know what those moms are going to do.” — Weaver resident Beth Anne Cochran discussing the possibility that a prolonged shutdown could dry up funds for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

• “It normally is a trip of a lifetime, but I think this one was just even more meaningful because they didn’t think they were going to see the memorial.” — Kim Foster, president of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Honor Flight, discussing how veterans were able to visit the National World War II Memorial despite the shutdown.

• “Will you please contribute $14 today so we can continue to fight Obama and his bad ideas?” — Alabama Republican Party message that began with praise for honor flight veterans “who stormed the barriers … while Republican congressmen distracted the police.”

• “In this particular case, I think it’s highly likely that we would have responded to it, but again, with our investigators furloughed, it’s impossible to do that.” — Sharon Bryson, National Transportation Safety Board deputy communications director, discussing a bus accident on an east Tennessee interstate that left six people dead and 12 injured.

• “We apologize, but due to the lapse in federal funding, we are unable to take your call. Once funding has been restored, our operations will resume. Please call back at that time.” — White House switchboard recording.

• “The two injured officers were exempt from the government shutdown and required to work but were not being paid.” — NBC News description of two Capitol police officers injured during a car chase in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.

• “They want a shutdown,” — Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who is credited with leading House Republicans to the point where they demanded the president compromise on Obamcare or face a shutdown, discussing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and President Obama.

• “We are winning. … It doesn’t really matter to us” how long the shutdown lasts “because what matters is the end result.” — Unnamed senior Obama administration official speaking to The Wall Street Journal about the president’s no-negotiation posture.

• "We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.” — Rep. Martin Stutzman, R-Ind.

• “He shook hands — first time the United States president has shaken hands with the dictator of Tehran since 1979 is Barack Obama, and he did it right in the middle of when he was telling us no negotiation.” — Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas, speaking to a reporter from Salon.com. (For the record, Obama has not shaken hands with new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani though they are reported to have spoken on the telephone.)

• “He pushed House Republicans into traffic and wandered away.” — Influential conservative and president of Americans for Tax Reform Grover Nortquist, speaking of Cruz.

• “It was very evident to everyone in the room that Cruz doesn’t have a strategy — he never had a strategy, and could never answer a question about what the end-game was.” — Unnamed senator speaking to Politico about a meeting of Republican U.S. senators on Wednesday.

• “The outside groups don’t always move votes directly but they create an atmosphere of fear among the [House Republican] members. And so many of these members now live in the conservative world of talk radio and Tea Party conventions and Fox News invitations. And so the conservative strategy of the moment, no matter how unrealistic it might be, catches fire. The members begin to believe they can achieve things in divided government that most objective observers would believe is impossible.” — Robert Costa, congressional reporter for the conservative publication National Review, discussing the challenges facing House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

• “Fighting with the president is one thing. Fighting with the president and losing is another thing. When you’re in the minority you need to look really hard to find the fights you can win.” — Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.

• “On day three of the partial government shutdown, a new CBS News poll reveals that a large majority of Americans disapprove of the shutdown and more are blaming Republicans than President Obama and the Democrats for it.” — CBS News, reporting on poll that found more than seven in 10 Americans disapprove of shutting down the government over Obamacare.

• “We’re very excited. It’s exactly what we wanted, and we got it.” — Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., speaking of the shutdown.

Bob Davis is associate publisher/editor of The Anniston Star. Contact him at 256-235-3540 or bdavis@annistonstar.com. Twitter: EditorBobDavis.
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