Politics 2014: October 2013 Helps Shape Message For November 2014

The U.S. government shutdown, immigration reform, budget woes, problems with the Affordable Care Act online enrollment created a whirlpool of controversy and contretemps for Washington and provided blood-stirring language for the 2014 midterm elections and beyond.

Poll after poll after poll released after the federal government partially closed because the money ran out were variations on a theme: Republicans took a hit. A big hit.

President Obama and Democrats didn't come through unscathed, but definitely not as tarnished as Republicans in the budget confrontation.

Obama, however, took it on the chin with the less-than-smooth rollout of healthcare.gov, the site for Americans looking for and enrolling in health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.

The site went up on the same day the government shut down, so Obama's pain didn't begin until it became the only political game in town two weeks later.

That optimism is tempered by concerns the botched rollout of Obamacare could muck up the electoral horizon and negate gains Democrats made during the government shutdown at the expense of the GOP.

"They certainly made the road to a Senate majority much more difficult," GOP strategist Ford O'Connell said of Republicans who embraced the shutdown strategy.

If Obamacare ends up clearly hurting consumers, Republicans could argue their reasoning for shutting down the government was sound, said Jennifer Duffy, a Senate analyst for the Cook Report.

Read more from Nicole Debevec at United Press International 

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Analysis & Political Strategy