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The Live Fix with Chris Cillizza: Charlie Crist, Alexi Giannoulias, Joe Lieberman, Rick Perry, Michael Bloomberg, more

Apr 23, 2010

Every Friday, The Fix goes live, as Chris Cillizza discusses the latest news about Congress, the Obama administration, upcoming elections and all the latest political news

Live Fixers,

Apologies for missing last week's session.  I had -- gasp! -- a meeting I could not bypass. I try to spend a little time in meetings as possible as a basic rule of life but occasionally they cannot be missed.

Speaking of can't miss, there are any number of fascinating storylines kicking around the political world at the moment -- starting with Mr. Crist in Florida not to mention the possiblity that Lexi G's bank could fail at any minute.

With two weeks go pent-up questions we better get right to it.

If Charlie does run as an independent; does that relegate Meeks to an also-ran like the Repub. in Conn. when Joe and Ned went head-to-head?

I don't think so.

I wrote about the Crist-Joementum comparison earlier in the week -- Fix super-producer Andrea can you link? --  and one of the ways that the race would clearly be different is that the White House and Democrats won't be giving tacit approval for their voters to side with Crist.

I actually think Meek's best chance -- and maybe only chance -- is if Crist runs as an independent.

Which, I think, he is going to do.  Remember, Crist has until April 30 to make a decision.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

The St. Petersburg Times today reports that the Florida Republican Party has issued a fatwa declaring Charlie Crist to be takfir; i.e., an infidel. To me, this is just begging him to run as an independent. I have little doubt Crist will take up their offer, and I think he has a real chance at winning. Yes, he will lose the GOP infrastructure, but does he really need it that badly? He's the Governor, which by itself gives him a lot of media exposure. Reports indicate the Florida teachers union (there are 150,000 teachers here) will back Crist. He's got a nice chunk of change in the bank. Further, Crist would get a lot of Dem support, as they realize Meek simply cannot win. He thus has a real shot at the independent vote. But most importantly, Crist has nothing to lose. He has been cast out of the GOP, and will never, ever, get back in. The Party establishment hates him for vetoing 2 bills, the one to bust the teachers union, and the one that would have allowed "leadership" PACS for the top dawgs in the Legislature. So what does he have to lose? Nothing. What does he have a very real chance of gaining? A Senate seat.

I think Crist has a far better chance of winning as an independent than he does as a Republican.

But, barring some huge revelation, he has no chance of winning as a Republican -- so that's not saying all that much.

I think the cavalcade of Republican officials endorsing Ruvbio over the last few days is evidence that they either know or strongly believe that a party switch is coming.

Rubio -- and other GOP leaders -- want to do everything they can to make such a switch look as politically opportunistic as possible to avoid allowing Crist to build any momentum if/when he does switch.

Why does the MSM not challenge blatant falsehoods immediately?

How dare you. That is blatantly false.


So, is Alexi done today if the Broadway bank goes under this afternoon? Will he ask to be removed from the ballot...stay on the ballot and lose, or pull it off? Will any of this hurt Senator Durbin one of his biggest supporters?

If or, maybe more accurately, when Broadway Bank fails, it is going to be a major problem for Lexi.

It's not unexpected -- the bank has been in serious financial difficulty for months -- but the political fallout from when it actually goes down is hard to gauge.

Giannoulias and his team are likely to admit mistakes and try to move on. It's not clear whether that strategy will work as Rep. Mark Kirk and national Republicans will do everything they can to keep the story in the news for as long as possible.

Watch to see how the White House reacts. Remember that this is the seat that President Obama held. Despite that, the WH has been largely hands-off in the contest since their recruiting effort of state AG Lisa Madigan (a Hoya!) failed.

How the WH reacts to the bank news could well determine whether Lexi's political fate.

Hello Chris! Long time viewer, first time participant. I heard on The Daily Rundown that if Alexi Giannoulias problems continue, then Illinois Democrats might replace him. My question is, if it comes to that, when will it happen and who would replace him? Hoffman? Madigan? Hynes? Schakowsky?

Long time, first time. Welcome.

(Sidenote: The best schtick in sports radio when welcoming callers in Dan Patrick's; callers give their height and weight, followed by the ringing of a bell. "Chris Cillizza, 6'2" 200.")

If you heard it on "The Daily Rundown" it must be true. NO ONE dare challenge the authority of Savannah G. and the Goatee. (If you don't watch their show from 9 am -10 am every day, you should.)

My guess would be that Madigan, the most popular Dem in the state, would have the right of first refusal.  All of the names you throw out are credible but let me add two more: Rahm Emanuel and Valerie Jarrett.

Oh yeah! Let the intrigue begin.

Are you possibly prepared for the onslaught of amazing records coming out over the next month? The Hold Steady, The National, LCD Soundsystem, New Pornographers, Band of Horses....ITS LIKE CHRISTMAS IN MAY, FIX!

Am most psyched for new Josh Ritter record. Do I need to like LCD Soundsystem?

Apparently Tom Campbell is in the lead for the Republicans. Do you think he has a good chance against Boxer? What happened to "Carlyfornia"? Is DeVore siphoning off votes from the far right?


I think that if you look at all the polls out in that primary they show that it's a horserace between Campbell and Fiorina.

In a state as big as Cali and one where so few people pay any attention to politics, name ID is the name of the game. Campbell has the most thanks to running (and losing) for Senate in 1992 and 1998 and having served in Congress.

Carly has personal money though and that money can buy name ID. Can she get well known enough before the June primary?

Live Fix super-producer Andrea has confirmed that I must like LCD Soundsystem.

So, that's that.

HI, Fix! So do you agree with your colleague Mr. Milbank that Senator Lieberman has been "purged" from the Democratic party? I thought the decision to run as an independent was his and that he even occasionally caucused with the Dems. Friday's the best day of the week: Live Fix at 8 (here on the left coast) and an easy ride into the weekend from there on.

I think that Lieberman is going to be seriously challenged in 2012 by Democrats -- if he decides to run.

Rep. Chris Murphy (D) is likely to look very hard at that race and Ned Lamont, if he doesn't get elected governor this fall, would likely be interested to.

The question is whether Lieberman can re-create the winning math of 2006: win a large swath of independents and Republicans and pull just enough moderate Dems to win.

Much depends on whether Republicans field a real candidate or ala 2006 basically allow their votes to go to Joementum.

I still favor Rob Simmons. But I worked with him in Vietnam. He is the best they can get.

Simmons is getting snowed under by Linda McMahon's personal money.

McMahon has already spent millions on ads and is going to spend millions more. It's just hard for Simmons to compete with that.

Regardless of the R nominee, it's an uphill race against Dick Blumenthal in the fall.

Crist is going Independent and may well win. This could be a true ace in the hole for Obama.

Bold prediction!

Here's mine: Catholic field hockey will reign supreme over the Landmark conference in 2010.

Will the National GOP finally pay more attention to me now that a Union Boss prayed for my death? I'm one of the few pro-life Republicans elected statewide in the Northeast in recent history? So Where's the love? Is it because of those "fat ads" from Corzine?

I have a soft spot for the "I am this politician" questions.

I think Christie is getting lots of positive buzz off of George Will's column praising him earlier this week.

if Christie can figure out a way to successfully close the budget gap and reduce the HUGE tax burden on New Jerseyans, he will be sitting in a very good spot.

That said, it's New Jersey. And Newark Mayor Cory Booker has to run for something soon. Like in 2013. Against Christie.

Do you think that the Texas governor is quietly teeing up for a run against Obama in 2012?

It doesn't seem to be all that quiet to me.

Mr. Fix: I saw that Texas Governor, Rick Perry is attending this year's White House Correspondents Dinner. He usually paints himself as a DC outsider. Do you think that he could be quietly building political/media capital to make a run for the White House in 2012???

If anyone had any doubt that Perry will run if he wins re-election this fall, you need only watch his speech at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference earlier this month.

Perry would seek to occupy the far ideological right/tea party movement slot in the prez primary process and has a real opportunity to do that assuming SarPal doesn't get in. (And, figuring out what she will do is straight up impossible.)

Not from Florida (or a Republican) I have to ask, what did Crist, a sitting Republican guv (and I thought popular) do to get dropped so low by his party? Also, any traction to the story I saw on MSNBC that Rubio is being investigated by the IRS (along with others) for issues related to personal charges placed on the Republican party tab?

He hugged Obama AND supported the economic stimulus package.

But, it goes further back than that.  Crist is the sort of politician who wants to wi every election with 100 percent of the vote.

As a result, he has avoided taking controversial stands during his time as governor -- a stance that has always put him at odds with the GOP base.

The rise of Rubio and the econstimpack/Obama hug just gave those who didn't like Crist a chance to exact their revenge.

Of course, if he runs as an independent, he might get a measure of revenge himself.

Is there a guiltier pleasure in music?

While the Crist saga is important in Florida, the most important saga to Floridians- "Where will TT be drafted?" - was answered last night. Thoughts?


I personally root for Tebow. He just seems like a pretty decent, genuine guy, which we need a lot more of in sports.

It's for this same reason that I didn't hate the Duke hoops team this year as much as some. My white-hot hatred for the Dookies has faded since the Laettner/Bobby Hurley days of the early 1990s.

Illinois Democrat here - if the Illinois Democratic Party does anything to take Giannoulias off the ballot, I'm voting for Mark Kirk. Simple as that. I don't agree with our Mayor Daley too often, but he was absolutely right when he said recently that all this stuff was well known before the primary. If people have a problem with it, then vote for the other guy. (I voted for Hoffman.) But you don't get do-overs on elections just because voters are too lazy to make the effort.

Good point.

Also, love the Daley mention. If you haven't already, go read Evan Osnos' profile of the Mayor in the New Yorker a few months ago.

Just awesome.

Just noticed you took Ohio off the Gov's Line. Is that any indication you think things are looking up for Strickland? Or just the Wisc is looking all the tighter?

Strickland is starting to look a bit better...and Wisconsin is an open seat.

Wisky could go even higher if Republicans can get Neumann out of the primary, which, by the way, I don't think they can do.

I'm Rick Perry and I'm seceding from your chat.


Well played.

I mention them because I feel like you would dig them. You should check out the new album, its streaming online and its brilliant.

Have to point out that this album leaked early and LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy has begged fans not to download it. If you can't wait, make sure you buy the album when it comes out May 18.

That's two votes for LCD Soundystem.  Will check out.

Also, definitely get new Willie Nelson album. Worth it for cover of "Dark as a Dungeon" alone.

Hi, Chris: Next time you're in NY, I strongly recommend Billy's Bakery. They're kind of an off-shoot of Magnolia's with the same great cupcakes but shorter lines. Cupcake Cafe is also outstanding, and their icing is like a work of art. Here's my actual question: Do the winners in the upcoming House special elections have to face the voters again in November? I'm thinking that they must, because the entire House goes up for reelection every two years. If that's the case, then Hawaii certainly stands a good chance of going Democratic even if the Republican wins next month. You insights/thoughts?

House question, first.

Yes, no matter who wins in Hawaii or Pennsylvania next month, they will only hold the seat until November.

And, yes, that likely means that Hawaii will be in Democratic hands in 2011 no matter what happens on may 22. Still...the symbolic importance of losing a 70% Obama seat less than six month from the midterm elections is significant.

Going to be in NYC on Tuesday. Where is this Billy's Bakery? Have tried Cupcake Cafe. Mrs. Fix: "Magnolia is way better."

Wondering if you and's Ben Smith have made any plans to record a chat in the near future?

I'd love that.  Not sure how to make the tubes work to make it happen though....

I'm fabulously rich. Journalists like me because I throw good parties and put them on my payroll. New Yorkers think I'm a great mayor, though they barely re-elected me. Nobody west of the Hudson knows who I am. I agree with Barack Obama on everything, except gun control, where I think he's too conservative, and financial regulation, where I think he's too hard on Wall Street, thereby putting me in agreement with 0.1% of the U.S. population. I'm short and uncharismatic, and have an annoying Boston accent. Don't I make a fabulous independent candidate for president?

Soft spot!

You forgot: I am a billionaire with a moderate record and a long string of successes in one of the most difficult cities to govern in the country.


What celebrity are you looking forward to seeing at the dinner?

I reached nirvana at last year's Correspondents dinner when I got to meet Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler (of "Friday Night Lights") in person.

Nothing, literally, can top that.

And, we are now just one week from the beginning of season 3 of "FNL" on NBC. Hard to describe how excited I am.

Chris, What are you hearing on the Utah Senate ? Does Sam Granato, who chairs the state's Alcohol Beverage Control Commission have a chance against Senator Bennett or any other Republican in a red state like Utah?

I think the game is Utah is all on the Republican side.

Lots of early indications that Benett is in deep trouble as conservatives have revolted against his vote for TARP.

Bennett's chance is to survive next month's convention by keeping any opponent under 60 percent -- and advancing to a primary with a little bit broader electorate.

But, he's in a very tough spot.

Just because Chris Christie's press secretary calls him "The Trenton Thunder"? Doesn't mean anyone else does.

It is kind of a good nickname though.

Why don't more politicians have nicknames?

Everyone in the NBA has a nickname.

Chris Anderson, who scores like 1 point a game, is the Birdman.

There has to be a politician out there who we can call "the Big Ticket".

And don't forget Spin City! And on another note. . .husband saw Axelrod at the Elvis Costello concert last night. Not only was he amazing but Jerry Douglas played a mean dobro.

Connie Britton=goddess in Fix household.


Hawaii's 1st congressional district gave Obama-Biden over 70% of the vote on Nov. 4, 2008 and now it's a toss-up? Even with two strong Democrats and a non-crazy Republican, that's insane. Somebody's head has to roll for that, right?

Problem is that under special election law in Hawaii, all candidates run on same ballot.

So, two serious Dems -- Colleen Hanabusa and Ed Case -- are running and only one serious Republican named Chrles Djou is in the race.

The two Dems are currently splitting up the D vote whole Djou is winning all Republicans and enough indies to be ahead in polling.

Going to be a tough nut for Dems to crack since neither Hanabusa nor Case are showing any signs of getting out.

How does Mrs. Fix feel about this "Goddess status"?

She shares it.

We love "FNL" like we have loved no show since "Dawson's Creek" or "Arrested Development".

This week on MSNBC, you said that Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) was a "national figure." I have to disagree. While he might have a tad higher name recognition than Jim Risch or Tim Johnson, I hardly think outside uber-political junkies that Jim DeMint is the major figure you seem to be implying he is. A bit of Beltway thinking?


Among conservative Republicans nationwide, DeMint IS a major figure.

He endorsed Marlin Stutzman in Indiana and in 48 hours Stutzman fundraising more than doubled.

I get that lots of people don't agree or like DeMint -- including some Republicans -- but he is clearly an influential national figure for a certain segment of the party.

So you're fans? Did you think Joey should have ended up with Pacey like she did?

We first saw the show on our honeymoon and proceeded to watch it all -- on DVD -- in the space of the next 6 months.

The Pacey-Joey thing felt right to me. If it was up to me, the show should have been called "Pacey's Creek". He was way more interesting.

Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose! Billy's Bakery is at 22nd and 9th ave, and is SO MUCH BETTER than Magnolia's. I can't stress this enough. Magnolia's is a total tourist trap - super overrated. Billy's is an offshoot, but the frosting is infinitely better. Seriously, Magnolia's just makes me angry (and I used to walk past the line on my way home and scoff at the fools standing in line).

I will try it. But, if Mrs. Fix doesn't like the cupcakes, I am blaming you. She takes her cupcakes seriously.

Now get out there after this chat and make us proud dadgummit

I am tearing up just thinking about the show.

Kyle Chandler IS the Fix father-in-law. It's uncanny.

When is Chuck Schumer up for re-election and is he going to give Obama grief on the Mid-East peace track to keep the local voters happy?

This November.

And he has $21.6 million in the bank to spend on the race and no Republican running.

That is not a typo.

If a Republican wins the Hawaii race with 35% of the vote, compared to 65% combined for the two Democrats, how is that symbolically important? It would mean the House Dems would have one less vote until next January, but it would be a fluke caused by HI's electoral system. To say it means anything (if it happens that way) requires willfully ignoring the context. I'm sure the Republicans would spin it, but would you passively accept the spin?

Because Republicans would have won a 70 percnt Obama district.

Winning is winning in politics.  Simple and plain.

Does the ballot quirk make it less important? Sure. Does it make it unimportant? Nope.

Let me suggest that you, Mrs Fix and Charlie Fix plan to vacation at some point in the Wilmington, N.C. area -- lots to do, gorgeous beaches, great food, AND you can geek out on Dawson's -- as it was completely filmed there.

It is me or was Joey's character based entirely on Winnie Cooper from the "Wonder Years"?

Chris, long time reader (on FB and Twitter) and was wondering why Sestak hasn't been a stronger contender for specter. Specter basically left the Rep only to save himself and Sestak seems strong and opinionated (even going on Fox now and then) what is his problem politically?

I wrote about this -- and how counting out Sestak might be a mistake -- earlier this week.

Andrea, can u link?

Who do you like to win it all? (Please make it interesting and don't say the Cavs or Lakers.)

Um, ok.

The Thunder! They are the most fun team to watch in the playoffs. Plus, they have former Hoya great Jeff Green.

Thanks to everyone for the great questions today -- and the cupcake (and music) recommendations.

I am off to enjoy the rest of the day with Fix Jr.  Have a great weekend.


In This Chat
Chris Cillizza
Chris Cillizza 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 son.
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