The Fix Live

Aug 22, 2014

The Fix's Chris Cillizza discussed the latest in political news.

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Good morning everyone! 

I am sitting at the Fix home sipping a caramel latte and listening to Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. So things are good.

Let's do this thing.

It has to be the President. He just looks like he doesn't give a rip anymore.

You are a smart man/woman.

I've been watching this since it first came out. It seems pretty clear that both parties were happy to take gifts and money because (1) rules are so ridiculously lax in VA (2) he could afford it - he was rich and (3) who's gonna find out?! I'm wondering if the jury is buying this whole, "I had no idea my 'nut bag' wife was doing this because I was so busy being a moral, hardworking, sportscar driving, Rolex-wearing governor." What have you heard? Even if the governor's wife was a bit nutty, isn't it sleazy for him to throw her under the bus this way when he could have taken a deal and saved his entire family this humiliation?

The trouble for McDonnell, I think, is the sheer number and worth of the gifts he was taking. 

It's hard for me to imagine that he thought this was just normal procedure as it relates to the relationship between a donor and a politician.

The extent, depth and breadth of the relationship are just too deep.

Hi Chris -- thanks for taking questions today. I saw a poll the other day showing Brown/Shaheen within the margin of error, after a number of previous polls showed her comfortably ahead. Is she in serious trouble? And if Brown can win after what many see as a lackluster campaign, what does that say about how big the Republicans could win in November?

Yes, a new WMUR poll came out yesterday that showed it a two point race -- Shaheen 46 percent to 44 percent for Brown.

I've not seen any other polling that suggests this race is that close; Shaheen typically has been up in mid to high single digits.

Could she lose? Sure. If the bottom falls totally out for Democrats nationally. But, I don't see that happening just yet.

Imagine if Romney won and he named McDonnell his Attorney General. Talk about scandal of all scandals.

Or if John Kerry had won and John Edwards was vice president.

Yeah.....

while Rounds isn't exactly in trouble, he probably thought he'd be doing a lot better than he is now. Could the chaotic nature of the 4 way give weiland or even Pressler a chance?

No.

watching the simpsons marathon? if not, why not?

I need to be. I cannot wait for the app to come out. Might have to quit my job to dedicate myself fully to it.

Just for fun, let's assume he's acquitted. FWIW, I never voted for him, yet I'm not sure I'd convict. Does he have a political career left? I can't see him winning a statewide election ever again - Virginia's too purple.

No way. This is all a fight to stay out of jail. Given the nature of what he did and all of the marriage dirty laundry being aired, I can't see how he could come back.

indie greg orman is almost in 2nd place and roberts seems weak. I get the "I only lie here when i have an opponent" issue hurt him, but it still seems like he's weaker than he should be for a republican in kansas in a neutral to republican leaning cycle.

Fair.  But, weaker than he should be and losing are not the same thing. And Roberts isn't going to lose.

Obviously a lot can happen between now and 2016, but if you had to guess, what races do you think will be competitive in 2016? If that's too hard, then who do you think might retire?

There are a few that are for sures Illinois, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

All 4 are held by Republican incumbents. And all four are likely to go for the Democratic presidential nominee.

If the GOP wins the Senate...what will actually change? Will Dems start filibustering and Obama just veto more? Will anything really change outside of that?

Well, the judicial and executive appointments will trickle to an end.

And, if a Supreme Court Justice retires, it could be a massive fight.

I also would watch to see if Republicans lower the vote necessary to break filibusters on every issue to 50 votes, which would make for a very different Senate.

If God told you, you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Oreos.

Or brisket from Rudy's. 

What bands were your favorite bands throughout the 90's? Also, are you going to host Daily Rundown?

Wilco. Radiohead. REM.

And, I don't know!

Even those who have defended Obama's playing many rounds of golf are saying that heading to the course minutes after talking about the beheading was too much. Why don't his advisers tell him when the optics are bad?

They do. But, I think he doesn't care -- under the belief that the people who hate that he is playing golf didn't like or support him before and the people who don't care about golf are already his supporters.

I am not sure it's the right attitude.

Seriously, what is the President supposed to do to satisy the Beltway pundits? Is he supposed to stay in the White House, stay inside a vacation home anytime something bad happens in the world? This is petty, ridiculous, and myopic, but anything to get RT from Republicans, right, Chris?

OH NO!

You've found out my life goal: A retweet from Republicans.

How could I be so transparent!?

Do you believe the poll that just came out that shows him within the margin of error?

Not really. See above.

I would guess he is behind by between 4-8 points.

On the other hand, FitzGerald seemed to get through the week without another mishap, although he fired the top two people on his campaign staff. Is he toast yet?

He has been toast for a while.

What a TERRIBLE campaign. He's the leader in the clubhouse for the Fix worst campaign of the year.

 

As a Democrat, I'm more worried about Gov. Mike Pence in a general election than the often-named contenders. Should I be? Or do his policies pull him too far from electability?

He'd be intriguing in the field.  I think his biggest problem is raising the money...

The problem with Rounds is the only people really excited about his candidacy is himself and his family. I would guess most voters, and the GOP establishment would like to see Kristi Noem take that seat.

But Noem didn't run. So, they are Republicans -- and will vote for Rounds.

So we are supposed to believe all this crap was going on with his wife and he STILL thought he was a serious candidate to be Romney's running mate ? Like a white hot national campaign was going to make his wife feel better?

Compartmentalizing is a skill that politicians possess oodles of.

How likely do you think Barbara Mikulski is to retire? If she does, who runs/ would be the frontrunner?

Van Hollen. 

But, I am not at all sure Senator Mikulski is even thinking about retiring.

Assuming I am right, is it too late for one?

Not too late. Remember that normal people don't even start paying attention until after Labor Day.

Ever felt like you were the winner (or could have been) of this dubious honor?

Yup.

And, when i started writing it, I KNEW at some point I would be giving it to myself.  

Who has a better shot at winning their respective seat?

I think Grimes.  I would say both are underdogs at the moment.

You said "And all four are likely to go for the Democratic presidential nominee." I didn't understand your answer. I'm a little dense this morning I think.

in 2016, whoever Democrats nominate for president will likely win New Hampshire, Illinois, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

That will make it harder for the Republican incumbents up in each of those places to get reelected.

Make sense?

What's the latest polling in the FL Governor's Race?

Very close. Charlie Crist's lead of a few months ago is gone. I continue to think he is running a very poor campaign while Scott (and his personal money) is running a good one.

Do most feel that no matter how unpopular Obama is in 2016, the Dems still have an advantage going into the Pres election?

I do... a slight one because of a) demographics and b) the electoral map.

Both are structurally favorable to Democrats at the moment.

is prone to bad polling. that specific poll was in the field for 10(!) days. UNH has also seen gyrations of 10-15 points over a few months where there were no big changes in the campaign or national environment.

Thanks for the perspective. Like I said, a lot of other data suggests the race just isn't that close right now.

When's the first game?

A week from today AT Randolph Macon.

Am I excited? VERY.

Mr. Bush went down to Fla to help Rick Scott. What are the chances he'll run for President in 2016?

Well, he WAS the governor of Florida...so it doesn't seem like that much of an imposition to me.

I tend to think Jeb doesn't run. But, who knows. He keeps his own counsel.

Mitt Romney just posted an ALS ice bucket video w/ Rep. Paul Ryan. Is Romney gearing up for another run in 2016?

No.

I live in Texas (and went to Perry's own Texas A&M). Republicans around here would NEVER vote for a Democrat and like most of Rick's positions, but mention of the man himself elicits groans and fatigue due to his miscellaneous political baggage. Is this feeling widespread around Republicans nationwide?

He's just been around (14 years as governor!) in Texas. I don't think he elicits those same feelings nationally.

That said, I am skeptical that he will have a second chance to make a first impression with voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina etc.

What's your favorite political episode? Sideshow Bob Roberts? Burns runs for Governor? Marge vs. the Monorail?

Lisa The Vegetarian.

You don't make friends with salad. So, so true.

How is it looking right now?

Republicans insist Terri Lynn Land is hanging around. I just don't see that race going for them unless the national environment worsens. If President Obama job approval drops under 40 percent -- which is entirely possible -- then I think you could see Land win.

Appalachian Trail anyone? Or is Virginia that different?

Well, that was a personal foible (affair).  This one involves the alleged abuse of political power, which, to me, is harder for people to forgive.

When is the next time either party gets to 60 seats in the Senate? Or is it even possible for either party to get there considering the extremely polarization we currently have?

VERY tough.

After 2014, Democrats have two very good cycles coming up in 2016 and 2018.

How about Balotelli moving to Liverpool? Brendan Rodgers must enjoy the challenge of managing the crasy players. First Suarez and not Mario?

He's SO talented that he will keep getting chances...

This isn't meant as a Paul Ryan bashing question (you seem to get a lot of them). I'm just curios he is pretty conservative, yet comes from a more moderate district. How is he able to win comfortably?

He's a very good (and  naturally talented) politician who raises lots and lots of money.

And his district has been made more conservative in recent redistricting.

Slate has a piece that confirms what I've said for years: Moe is the best character on The Simpsons.

He is really amazing. I've always been a Milhouse guy myself.

Very funny dynamic going on in FL. Democrats back when Crist was Gove- "Charlie Crist is evil... How could you vote for that guy?" Now- "We love Charlie Crist... He is the right man for the job". Repubs- back when Crist was Gove- "Charlie is great.. He will lead us to the promised land"... Now"Crist is evil...How could you vote for that guy"

Yup.

I still find it totally odd that Democrats were ok with Crist being the nominee for governor.

Anytime someone talks up Mike Pence you should be legally required to mention that he is a former radio talk show host. (Oppo research for miles.)

VERY good point.

Do you secretly want "House of Cards" to beat "Breaking Bad" for best Drama?

Um, no.

I want True Detective.

If he were to choose to run for Senate (though he could run for UT Gov instead), would you say he would be more competitive against Mike Lee in '16 or would he be better waiting until '18 (when Orrin Hatch said he is going to retire)?

Always better to run for an open seat than against a non-scandal plagued incumbent.

I would say Matheson's best bet is for governor though. Lot more examples of people in the "wrong" party winning governor's races than Senate races. (Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Kansas etc.)

Maureen McDonnell, hands down.

It was a very bad one. She won 2 weeks ago.

How are things looking in WI in the Governor's Race?

Close. I think Walker is still the favorite but Mary Burke has run a very credible campaign and put herself in position to win if Walker slips up. 

Why does the media ignore the many killings that happen in Chicago...and the fact that Rahm Emanuel is very unpopular?

I have read (and written) more articles in national news organizations about Rahm and his problems than about any other mayor in the country.

I'm old enough to remember the criticism of the first President Bush in Kennebunkport leading up to the first Gulf War -- with the press having its fixation on him riding around in his cigarette boat. The press fixation was stupid then. It was stupid when it was fixated on W's brush clearing. And it's stupid regarding Obama's golf playing. If you have well-sourced information that tells me that, upon getting the news that Foley was executed, the President paused for a moment and then said "play on!" well that would be a story. His press conference on vacation was a staged moment. When the staged moment ends, there's no required period of mourning. He played golf the weekend of the OBL operation. He clearly thinks and processes while engaged in physical activity. Many, many people do. I think he should push back hard on your bogus, manufactured expectations if for no other reason to make the job better for the next guy or gal.

Not sure they are my "bogus, manufactured expectations" but I think your point is well made.

I like the one when Marge serves Mr. Burns Blinky the three-eyed fish while he is running for local office. The few minutes of media scrum after he spits out the fish is amazing.

YES.

Also, when Homer runs for Sanitation Commissioner = amazing.

You can't handle the truth! No truth-handlers you! Bah! I deride your truth-handling abilities! I did this because you need me, Springfield. Your guilty conscience may move you to vote Democratic, but deep down you long for a cold-hearted Republican to lower taxes, brutalize criminals, and rule you like a king. That's why I did this, to save you from yourselves. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a city to run.

A king among men.

Surely your favourite one should be the one when Ralph Wiggum wins the Springfield Primary? 'My name is Ralph Wiggum and I've been a good boy!' (BTW that episode has Bill putting out lawn signs for Hillary ...)

Me fail English? That's un-possible.

When he left for vaca it wasn't clear if he was going to be coming back. Do you know if he signed a new contract?

I don't. I hope he is back though. Being a regular on his show was the highlight of my last year.

That and Mrs. Fix'c Catholic Cardinals coming within a goal of the Final 4.

...if Ike had won and Nixon was his VP. Oh, never mind...

ZING

Do you think Kevin Spacey's phone call to Hillary made people compare "House of Cards" with the lives of the Clintons?

Um, no.

How is that a good cycle for the Dems? They ran the table in 2006 and 2012? IN, MT, ND, and WV (If Nick Saban's best friend retires) will all be in play.

You are right. I was thinking 2016.  Not 2018. Apologies.

Do you think Hillary's asking for the presidential suite in hotels etc makes her seem out of touch with many Americans?

I think the way she talks about her affluence (and the lack of it when she left the White House) does her no favors.

Do I think she in 2016 is  direct analog for Mitt Romney in 2012? No.

How can you be "sipping a caramel latte and listening to Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings" right after the Foley incident? Do YOU not care?

I see what you did there.

They were on Fox together this week. Have they been BFFs or is this the first time they've been together since November 2012?

I think they genuinely like one another. I think Romney's warmth toward Ryan was one of the reasons he picked him to share the ticket in 2012.

Lowering the vote threshold to 50 +1 for a filibuster won't help the Republicans if Obama vetoes legislation. They still need 67 votes to overcome the veto. And that isn't going to happen for the most part.

Good point.

I think we will know all the candidates running for president for both parties by Mid August 2015- about 5 months before Iowa. Thoughts on that? Also if you had to guess who is the first person from each party (not named Clinton) to announce their candidacy?

Rand Paul for Republicans

Martin O'Malley for Democrats

Hypothetically if Hillary becomes the President in 2016, what do you see Bill doing as the first "First Man?"

A lot of what he is doing right now....philanthropy...

Imagine if Nixon had won and Spiro Agnew was his VP.

Yes.

Jay Nixon. Goodbye VP Nomination!

Can you lose something you were never going to have?

If he is no longer on maybe you could be a regular fill in for the Danettes on the DP Show?

Also a thrill of a lifetime.

Groundskeeper Willie! "Ah, don't feel too bad. I was wrestling wolves when you were still suckling at your mother's teat." also subbing for the French Teacher "Bon Jur-r-r-r-r-r-r-r You cheese-eating surrender monkeys!"

Also, I loved the Freddy Krueger episode. Lousy Smarch weather.

Could you see her winning statewide in WA? I would think if a candidate as good as McKenna couldn't win statewide no Republican can.

I could see it. I think it's very hard at this point for a Republican to win statewide in Washington. See Rossi, Dino.

If she falls short against Walker, would she be a good candidate against Sen. Ron Johnson (especially if Russ Feingold and/or Ron Kind didn't run)?

Russ Feingold or Ron Kind (or maybe both) will run.

The Tampa Bay Times had a really interesting long-form profile of Charlie a couple of Sundays ago. It was even-handed and not all that complimentary, considering the TBT is generally left of Mother Jones. You might find it illuminating.

I read it. Good piece.

And TBT isn't left or right.  Lots of GREAT political reporters there.

I'm surprised that you haven't already seen the video of Romney doing the ALS Ice Water Challenge. Not only did he ask his "old friend" Paul Ryan to do the honors of dumping the ice water on it him, but he (Romney) is wearing a business suit and tie. The whole thing is fantastic.

Oh, I have seen. It is indeed terrific.

"That is cold." -- Mitt Romney.

He's BAAAACK on Sept. 2! The station is already announcing it.

BOOOM. Love it. Cannot wait. I miss the shiny orange bald man.

Would the best odds be that the Republicans get 5 seats to make it a 50-50 split with Joe Biden as the tie breaker, leaving Democrats in control? And then, would a Democrat flip to the Republicans?

Joe Manchin and Angus King would get A LOT of attention if that scenario came to pass.

Hey, a few months ago I recommended the wicking dress shirts to avoid that Nixonian sweaty look. Have you tried them out? DestinationXL is having a sale, which I what made me think of you.

I sweat A LOT. Many thanks.

That's all for today!

Remember we do this thing every Friday at 11 am. Spread the word!

Chris

In This Chat
Chris Cillizza
Chris Cillizza is the managing editor of PostPolitics and he writes "The Fix," a politics blog for The Washington Post. He also covers the White House for the newspaper and website. Chris has appeared as a guest on NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, Fox News Channel and CNN to talk politics. He lives in Virginia with his wife and sons.
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