The government shutdown was the main issue on the Sunday morning programs.

The shutdown has become a blame game, but Peggy Noonan, conservative columnist for The Wall Street Journal, was spreading the blame Sunday morning on ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos."

"Republicans made a mistake," she said. "They picked a fight. They had no strategy, they had no endgame, they had no plan. That's what it is, it was a mistake."

Noonan added that President Barack Obama "made countermistakes" in communicating that he was not having a conversation or negotiations on the issue.

"Presidents have to negotiate on debt limits," Noonan said. "They have to own it. We have all seen. We've worked in White Houses. We have seen presidents do this. You can call what the other side does to you extortion. What it really is, is an argument and a deal and at the end, you trade some horses and do your best."

Paul Krugman of The New York Times, and a staunch defender of Obama's policies, was having none of that argument. Krugman blasted Republicans.

"There was never before a case where one party pushed the U.S. government to the edge of default, demanding concessions in return," Krugman said. "So to every attempt to make this sound like business as usual, it's not. This is something completely out of the previous experience."

Noonan countered: "It is more heightened but it is still part of business as usual, because it takes place within the context of an American president having to deal with the reality around him."

On NBC's "Meet the Press," former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta marveled that the lessons of the government shutdown 17 years ago weren't learned. He said those lessons include "you don't shut the government down, you don't hurt the American people."

"You don't win in this town politically by hurting the American people," Panetta told David Gregory.

Panetta issued a stern warning: "We are paying a heavy price right now for what is happening to this country. America is being weakened. And that's the last thing that ought to happen. Members swear an oath to protect and defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. What they're doing by the shutdown, by this threat on the debt limit, is weakening America and sending a message to the world that the United States can't govern. That's a lousy message for the world to hear."

On CBS' "Face the Nation," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., offered a suggestion to get a deal going. "Maybe we need to get Joe Biden out of the witness protection program," McCain said of the vice president, who had kept a low profile.

McCain said he didn't know what would happen with House Republicans and he hated telling them what to do.

"But the fact is that they're going to have to understand that we are on a fool's errand when we say that we're going to defund Obamacare," McCain told Bob Schieffer. "The director of National Intelligence said that the shutdown is extremely damaging to our ability to defend this nation. Look, al Qaeda's not in shutdown. And when I saw, as you did, these death benefits not being given to families, I'll take the blame -- everybody take the blame, but it's not acceptable to the American people. It's not acceptable."