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TODAY   |  October 09, 2013

Republicans dropping Obamacare as issue in shutdown

NBC News political director Chuck Todd tells TODAY’s Matt Lauer that House Republicans have begun shifting their focus away from the Affordable Care Act as their main point of contention in the government shutdown, with major players like John Boehner and Paul Ryan proposing compromise outside of defunding Obamacare.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> chuck todd , good morning to you.

>> good morning, matt.

>> we're hearing a shift in tone here chuck. we're hearing lawmakers use words like embarrassment and shame over these emergency death benefits. is it possible that embarrassment and shame might force real action, real compromise on the shutdown?

>> reporter: i'd like to think it would actually force a resolution on the larger issue. i think what's more likely is what andrea outlined. the house today will act on this bill. the one thing the senate and the white house have done while they rejected the idea of little bills like this to reopen parts of the government, anything that's had to do with the military and anybody fighting overseas, that the president has done. he signed the paycheck law. i would be shock first degree this didn't just immediately get to the president's desk, perhaps before the close of business.

>> let's look at the bigger picture. for weeks we have been talking about defunding or delaying obama care. we're segwaying right into a heated debate over raising the debt ceiling and the tea party seems very much dug in here. both sides seem dug in, yet john mccain had this to say on tuesday. let me play it for you.

>> how is this going to end? we know how it's going to end. we know how it's going to end. sooner or later the government will resume it's function. sooner or later we will raise the debt limit. the question is how do we get there?

>> that's a very realistic comment from a guy that's seen his share of battles. can that mindset prevail.

>> reporter: i don't know and if john mccain could bring any other republicans with him beyond a handful maybe there would be a resolution or we wouldn't have even been in this place in the first place but that's not where the republican party is today. you're right, the tea party side of this is dug in. now, there was a lot of heated rhetoric yesterday but behind the scenes you see shifts, john boehner is no longer talking about health care . the issue isn't there. paul ryan who was the republican vice presidential candidate , the house republicans chief budget guy, he is in the wall street journal with a solution that barely touches health care . if you look and wonder is there quote unquote good news to find out what the end game is, there is. house republicans seem to be dropping the health care thing. the question is whether the tea party folks will be okay with that. i don't think they will but it does feel like the leadership of the republican party is trying to get away from it. if they do, then we'll actually see an end game .

>> quickly before i let you go, the president expected to announce janet yellen today to replace ben bernanke . do you expect smooth sailing for her in terms of confirmation?

>> reporter: i don't. given how the tea party wing of the republican party feels about the federal reserve you'll see ted cruz and rand paul and guys like that make her confirmation hearing a fairly rough ride. she'll make it but i don't think it's going to be easy.

>> chuck todd at the white house this morning. thank you.