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Republicans talk up a 'government shutdown.' Do they mean it?

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That view was echoed by Arizona Rep. Matt Salmon, who was in the House for the 1995 shutdowns, and said on CBS's "Face the Nation" Sunday that they "actually gave us the impetus, as we went forward, to push toward some real serious compromise." When asked if he thought a shutdown now would be a good idea, Salmon said, "Yes, I do."

Now, not surprisingly, the Republican leadership in Congress has been far more circumspect on this point. On "Meet The Press," Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell repeatedly dodged the question when asked if he would "rule out" a government shutdown.

And even many of those suggesting that a shutdown may be necessary seem to be deliberately tempering their language, making it clear it would only be a "partial" or "temporary" measure.

Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania told MSNBC last week that his party should be prepared to "tolerate a temporary, partial government shutdown." And Texas Sen. John Cornyn wrote in an op-ed in the Houston Chronicle: "It may be necessary to partially shut down the government in order to secure the long-term fiscal well being of our country, rather than plod along the path of Greece, Italy, and Spain."

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