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As the clock ticks toward midnight tonight, the public debate between Democrats and Republicans has been more about politics than avoiding a partial shutdown of government services. We look at potential settlement options, and at where the pain of a shutdown would be felt most. Also, the Justice Department files suit to stop North Carolina's voter ID law, and just as President Obama has taken both praise and heat for trying diplomacy with Iran, President Rouhani's "charm offensive" is getting some mixed reviews in his country.

Banner image: House Speaker John Boehner addresses the government showdown over the Affordable Care Act. Official photo: Caleb Smith

Making News Justice Department Files Suit to Stop NC's Voter ID Law 7 MIN, 50 SEC

North Carolina recently passed the toughest voting laws in the country, reducing early voting and same-day registration and limiting the types of voter identification that can be used at polling places. Today, US Attorney General Eric Holder filed suit to revoke such provisions. Ned Barnett is editorial page editor at the Raleigh News and Observer.

Ned Barnett, Raleigh News and Observer (@newsobserver)

Main Topic Brinksmanship and the Blame Game 33 MIN, 40 SEC

Before anyone knew for sure there would be a government shutdown at midnight tonight, Democrats and Republicans were blaming each other. At least in public, there was more talk about political fallout than there was about making a deal, with polls showing Republicans faring the worst. Meantime, the crisis atmosphere has given ideological groups and potential candidates a great chance to raise money from ardent supporters. With a few hours remaining, we look at the options for a possible settlement and at the likely consequences of halting many federal services.

Emily Pierce, Roll Call (@emilyprollcall)
Brad Plumer, New York Times (@bradplumer)
Michael Tomasky, Newsweek / Daily Beast (@michaeltomasky)
Andy Roth, Club for Growth (@andyroth)
Peter Wehner, Ethics and Public Policy Center (@Peter_Wehner)

Today's Talking Point US and Iran Talk after Three Decades of Silence 9 MIN, 14 SEC

President Obama spoke by phone last week with the new President of Iran, who was in New York for the United Nations' opening session. It was the first such conversation since Iran’s Islamic revolutionaries took over the US Embassy in Tehran 35 years ago. Only 10 years ago, a journalist in Iran could be sent to prison for even advocating such a thing. Despite years of suppression of political protest, both supporters and demonstrators turned out when Hassan Rouhani arrived home on Saturday. Karim Sadjadpour is senior associate in the Middle East program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Karim Sadjadpour, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (@ksadjadpour)

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