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As the government reopened Thursday morning, President Obama had a simple message for its workers: Thank you. For Congress he had another message: Let's not do this again. Obama tried to rise above the fracas of the past few weeks and talk about his view on the role of government.

Cory Booker's victory Wednesday in New Jersey's special Senate election didn't surprise anyone.

From the moment he captured the Democratic nomination in the reliably blue state, the Newark mayor was the heavy favorite to defeat Republican Steve Lonegan.

Remember how that fight over the budget was all about Obamacare?

Seems like ancient history now, but House Republicans ostensibly shut down the government 17 days ago, demanding first a defunding, and, when that failed, a year's delay in the health law.

A Look Back At The Shutdown, In Photos

Oct 17, 2013

The budget fight that led to a partial federal government shutdown finally came to an end late Wednesday.

For 16 days, beginning at midnight on Oct. 1, hundreds of thousands of federal employees were told not to come to work. Museums, monuments, libraries and parks were closed across the country.

Federal Employees Return To Work

Oct 17, 2013

Yesterday Congress brought the country back from the brink of defaulting on its debt. Host Michel Martin talks to Joe Davidson of The Washington Post about how federal workers will bring the government back to life.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Well, it's finally over for now. This is President Obama speaking earlier today.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Well, last night, I signed legislation to reopen our government and pay America's bills because Democrats and responsible Republicans came together. The first government shutdown in 17 years is now over.

President Obama slammed the partisan standoff "spectacle" that he said had damaged the economy and America's international credibility, and called on Congress to pass a comprehensive budget, immigration reform and a farm bill by year's end.

He praised "Democrats and responsible Republicans who came together" to pass a last-minute deal to reverse a partial government shutdown and narrowly avert the expiration of the federal borrowing authority.

With the double crises of a partial government shutdown and a potential debt default resolved, it's a good time to consider some of the lessons we learned from the dysfunction and drama of recent weeks.

Here are 10 of them:

Shutting Down The Government Is Not A Winning Political Strategy

Good morning.

The newspapers hit the front porch this morning with a familiar thud. (Yes, some of us still like the feel of paper in the morning.)

"SHUTDOWN ENDS" shouted The Washington Post.

"REPUBLICANS BACK DOWN, ENDING BUDGET CRISIS" The New York Times intoned.

And online (yes, some of us also like the morning glow of our devices), the post-shutdown/debt crisis postmortems were piling up like so many pages of regulations in the Affordable Care Act.

But first, the details, quickly:

Hundreds of thousands of federal workers on furlough for two weeks are going back to work after Congress approved a late-night deal Wednesday to fund the government and stave off default.

The Tea Party's standing with Americans is at its lowest point since the movement took shape in 2010, according to a Pew Research Center poll released Wednesday.

With hours left before the U.S. Treasury could start defaulting on its obligation, House Speaker John Boehner finally appears to have relented to allow an end to the standoff using a mix of Democratic and Republican votes.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Politicians and pollsters alike are watching to see how all this plays out. The Pew Research Center has just finished a poll to gauge the effect the shutdown and the debt ceiling debate have had on the Tea Party's image.

And joining us is Michael Dimock, director of Pew. Welcome back, Michael.

MICHAEL DIMOCK: Thanks for having me.

CORNISH: So, before we get into the numbers, just give us a snapshot of what you would consider your average Tea Party conservative. Who are they?

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Virginia Republican Scott Rigell was elected to the House of Republicans in the Tea Party wave of 2010, but in recent days, he's argued for compromise. When I reached Congressman Rigell earlier today, he was already certain how he'd vote on this Senate deal.

The government shutdown should end tonight and America should be able to pay its bills. Both the House and Senate will vote this evening on legislation to achieve those goals. For months, President Obama has said he would not negotiate with Republicans in Congress about Obamacare or the federal deficit until those goals were met. After weeks of stalemate and more than two weeks into a partial shut down of the federal government, the GOP met his demands.

On Wednesday, the stock market cheered the debt ceiling deal in Congress. The Dow gained 206 points and all the major indexes closed higher.

Investors of course have been watching the showdown in Washington very closely, since a default could have been a global financial disaster. At the same time, economists are trying to figure out how much the jitters and uncertainty over all this has been hurting the economy.

Since the start of the fiscal standoff that led to a government shutdown and a flirtation with a historic debt default, Democrats have been led by the tag team of President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

At times, their tactics resembled the good cop, bad cop routine where one officer offers the suspect a cup of coffee and the other smacks it from the suspect's lips. Reid, of course, is the smacker.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

Hours before a deadline to extend the federal debt limit, the stock market seems kind of comfortable. The Dow Jones Industrials are actually up this morning, amid some hope that Congress may agree on a measure to avoid default and also reopen the federal government.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we'll meet two award-winning photojournalists being honored in a new National Geographic exhibition, "Women of Vision." They'll share their stories from the field, and they'll talk about how why being a woman can sometimes be an advantage in war zones as well as a liability. That's coming up.

Good morning.

Can you say lost day?

Can you say 24 hours closer to joining the pantheon of deadbeat nations?

Can you say turning on the default spigot of poison gas? (Warren Buffet can.)

New Jersey voters are choosing a new member of the U.S. Senate on Wednesday, in a special election pitting Newark Mayor Cory Booker against Steve Lonegan.

Democrat Booker is favored in the polls to win the race to fill the vacancy left by the death of Frank Lautenberg in June. However, his Republican opponent, the former mayor of the northern New Jersey town of Bogota, has managed to close the gap a bit in the run-up to election day.

ABC7 reports:

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in two cases on Wednesday — one that focuses on the right against self-incrimination and another that looks at when prosecutors can seize defendants' assets.

What Counts As Self-Incrimination?

Day 15 of the government shutdown started with as much promise as any recently: There was a bipartisan proposal by Senate leaders to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling.

But any hopes were quickly dashed when leaders of the Republican-controlled House said they would offer a competing proposal because of their dissatisfaction with the Senate effort.

The Senate's Bipartisan Proposal

The Senate agreement between Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., came after weekend negotiations.

Among the bargaining chips in the budget crisis on Capitol Hill, there's the small but persistent issue of taxing medical device manufacturers.

The 2.3 percent sales tax covers everything from MRI machines to replacement hips and maybe even surgical gloves. The tax was imposed to help pay for the Affordable Care Act. It didn't attract much attention at first — at least, not outside the world of medical device manufacturers.

But they have waged a persistent campaign to undo the tax, and right now is the closest they have come to succeeding.

It's one of the oldest axioms in politics: Voters always say they want to "throw the bums out," except when it comes to their own representative. That's why the re-election rate for House members is typically over 90 percent.

Heading into the 2014 midterms, that long-standing rule appears to be holding true. But against the backdrop of the federal government shutdown, a potential default and general dysfunction in Washington, there are signs it's reaching a straining point.

The Supreme Court has agreed to review an Obama administration policy that requires new power plants and other big polluting facilities to apply for permits to emit greenhouse gases.

To get these permits, which have been required since 2011, companies may have to use pollution controls or otherwise reduce greenhouse gases from their operations — although industries report that so far they haven't had to install special pollution control equipment to qualify for the permits.

The rule is part of a larger effort by the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases.

New Jersey will choose a new U.S. Senator Wednesday. Pundits thought Newark Mayor Cory Booker would win it easily, but the Democratic Party's rising star is facing a tougher than expected challenge from Tea Party Republican Steve Lonegan — a sign of the Tea Party's growing stature in deep blue New Jersey.

The president hosted Democratic congressional leaders Tuesday afternoon to discuss the ongoing government shut down and threat that the U.S. could breach the debt ceiling. Earlier in the day, a House GOP plan to end the dual crisis fell apart.

With the threat of defaulting on the nation's obligations now possibly just two days off, the focus shifted back to the House, where Speaker John Boehner called a caucus meeting to sell his plan — and then quickly had to downplay the idea that he even had a plan. The Senate, meanwhile, slowed things down to see if Boehner could pass anything at all.

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