Howard Goller, Washington Editor, Reuters Professi... | Reuters.com
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  • Howard Goller, Washington Editor, Reuters Professional News reports: Republicans may have made a mistake from a public relations standpoint allowing the government to shut down on the very day Obamacare was launched, says the Washington author of a new book tracing 200 years of popular culture and the U.S. presidency.

    Asked what headline he would write to describe what happened this week, author Tevi Troy said, "I would say: 'Obamacare opens with glitches, but nation focuses on shutdown.'"

    A former deputy secretary of Health and Human Services in the George W. Bush administration, Troy said: "For every health nerd ... this is our Super Bowl, and the headlines were about the shutdown."

    "So from the GOP perspective, that was a lost communications opportunity. That was an opportunity to shape the message on the Affordable Care Act ... and the above-the-fold headlines were about the shutdown," he said on Thursday.

    Despite the shutdown, Republicans have failed to derail Obama's signature healthcare law, which passed a milestone on Tuesday when, in spite of glitches, it began signing up uninsured Americans for subsidized health coverage.

    Obama, a Democrat, has blamed the shutdown on Republicans' "obsession" with reversing healthcare reforms. Opinion polls show Republicans bearing the brunt of the blame, but Troy believes Americans want both sides to work it out.

    "I think the American people don't like it when the two sides don't sit down ... If they had the feeling they were sitting down discussing this behind the scenes, the American people would be a little less annoyed, or disgusted."

    Troy is the author of "What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House," published last month.
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Biden says United States would come to Taiwan's defense

BALTIMORE (Reuters) -The United States would come to Taiwan's defense and has a commitment to defend the island China claims as its own, U.S. President Joe Biden said on Thursday, though the White House said later there was no change in policy towards the island.