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Many Republicans do not want the government shutdown to continue, and do not relish a fight over the debt ceiling. They want to defund or delay Obamacare, but do not like the current situation.
A week ago, everyone predicted disaster for the Republicans, said The Weekly Standard editor William Kristol.
"That's not what's happening. I'm not saying this is a brilliant strategy. I'm not saying I would have recommended going this way. Honestly, empirically right now, the Republicans feel they're much better off than they were a week ago," said Kristol.
House Republicans passing small, selective funding bills have also created problems for Democrats, said Kristol.
"It's not so easy for Senator Reid to explain why you shouldn't fund NIH because he would like to fund everything all at once. The administration has also made some mistakes, don't you think, with closing down the World War II Memorial ... They're trying to make a point by showing how tough the shutdown is but it makes the Obama administration seem petty," said Kristol.
"When Republicans choose to shut down the government, the government shuts down," said Jon Favreau, former speechwriter for President Barack Obama.
"When you don't have security guards, when no one is picking up the trash, there's no bathrooms," open air memorials cannot remain open, said Favreau.
Favreau also responded to claims that during the 1995-1996 government shutdown, open air memorials were not shut down, pointing to pictures of barriers around the Lincoln Memorial at the time.
"This happened before. Yet for some reason we have Republicans now being like, 'Oh, this never happened when Clinton was president and there was a shutdown,'" said Favreau.
Kristol shot back, saying Clinton signed legislation during the shutdown.
"I'm grateful honestly that President Obama is in the White House and not President Clinton, who I think would be outmaneuvering the Republicans at this moment. Luckily it's the B team of the Obama administration," said Kristol.
For more of this feisty roundtable, including National Political reporter Molly Ball's "meta" weigh-in, watch the video above.