Feb 04, 2011

Get your Friday Live Fix as Chris Cillizza discusses the Friday Line, the Worst Week in Washington, Congress, the Obama administration and all the latest political news.

Good Morning, Live Fix chatteeeeersss!

(Not much of a ring to it.)

Things I am thankful for this week: 1. I am not Dan Snyder. 2. I am not Dan Snyder 3. I am not Dan Snyder.

Let's chat!

Hi Chris, Another easy choice this week, right? It's gotta be The Danny, the gift that just keeps on giving.

Um, no comment. Stay tuned.  Answers soon.

(I am trying to channel a Magic 8 Ball.)

Nice piece yesterday. So Newt if going to run, why is he putting out a book with his wife and David Bossie (a Whitewater investigator who was reportedly involved in some interesting situations)? Going on Fox to plug your book with the woman you left your wife for just seems like an unforced error.

Well, she is his current wife. 

And, thanks.

Lots of people were critical of the Newt piece but the argument I was making was simple: Newt has considerable strengths as a candidate in a Republican presidential primary.

Whether he could win is a whole separate question and one whose answer is much less favorable to Newt.

But, in a primary his fundraising ability, strength in Iowa and charisma make him a force to be reckoned with.

If you haven't read the piece, it's here: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/eye-on-2012/newt-gingrich-underrated.html

If former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman enters the presidential race, does that downgrade Mitt Romney's chances of winning the nomination since Huntsman likely would eat into Romney's strongest constituency -- Mormons out West? If they end up splitting in states like Utah, Nevada, Arizona, etc. and Romney can't appeal to Heartland and Southern voters, how can Romney be the nominee?

It's a great question that I don't know the answer to.

There's also a fascinating subplot here: Romney and Huntsman are not at all close personally. That adds an additional level of intrigue to things.

I think we will find out what effect Huntsman will have on Romney (or vice versa) because both of them certainly look like they are running.


Is it possible that Huntsman's apparent moves toward a 2012 run are actually aimed more at 2016? Given the recent history of Republican candidates (with the exception of W) having notched an unsuccessful run on their belts before ultimately capturing the nomination, it seems like he might be using this as a sort of "shake down cruise" to get some of his downsides (moderation, Mormonism, etc.) out on the table now, making them seem like old news by the time 2016 (and a potentially more favorable climate) rolls around. It would also enable him to grab the mantle of the moderate wing for the next four years. What do you think?

Absolutely. I think he was on a more 2016 track until he looked at the 2012 field and probably thought to himself "Why not me?"

Running and losing is a tried and true way to run and win down the line as it often takes two races to build up the name recognition among voters that it takes to get over the top.

I think Huntsman will get into the race because he genuinely thinks he can win and that his voice is needed in THIS field. But, he is a young guy -- early 50s -- and obviously understands that running and losing usually helps rather than harms your chances down the line.

Which two states have only one consonant in their name?

Ohio and Iowa.


Also, if you like trivia -- political and otherwise -- make SURE to come to Capitol Lounge on Monday night for "Politics and Pints". It's our monthly trivia night. You can RSVP here: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=107627825980680&index=1

How about those Bears? Which athelete is mostly likely to have a future in politics?

Tom Brady. Is anyone else even close?  Maybe Maurice Jones-Drew.

Recently, Kohl dropped $1M of his own money into his campaign coffers. Is that a sign he's running for re-election, or can he donate that money to the state party like Evan Bayh did with some of his campaign warchest in 2010?

It seems to me a sign he is running.

And that's good news for Democrats since an open seat in Wisconsin would be a major trouble spot.

I would guess Republicans will likely go after Kohl anyway but they might not be able to recruit the caliber of candidate they would have gotten in an open seat.

Former Rep. Mark Neumann (R) seems to be making some news as a candidate in 2012 but he has already lost two statewide races: for governor in 2010 and for Senate in 1998.

Would you advise a candidate to announce early--he or she would be scrutinized more but also could be seen as a shadow president--or just move behind the scenes?

Announce early!

Heck, I wrote a whole piece about it: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/eye-on-2012/post-16.html

Mick Jagger is 67 today, and he wishes to remind everyone: never trust anyone over 70.

It's so true. I never do.

I guess I can see in terms of donations or volunteers, but what's the deal about whether Amb. Huntsman or ex-Gov. Huntsman is more beloved by Mormons? Are Mormons a particularly big voting block in Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina?

Not at all. But Mormons are a major fundraising base. Romney raised TONS of money from the Mormon community in 2008.

My Utahlicious wife explained something to me: Mitt is BYU, while Huntsman is The U of U. In other words, Mitt has much more of a Mormon identity, for better or worse. I sense that Mitt will have less trouble than you might think appealing to conservative non-LDS Christians, because no matter what the evangelicals think, Mormons are still Christians.

I think this is a cool and apt comparison.

Also, is your wife aware of the fact that you refer to her at "Utahlicious"?

Do you expect this to be a very bruising battle for the nomination or more tame than usual?

I think they are all pretty bruising.

As I wrote this week, I think this will be the biggest field in modern memory. (Here's that piece: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/eye-on-2012/will-the-2012-republican-field.html)

That likely means lots of slings and the occasional arrow even between the candidates.

Do any of the GOP contenders actually distinguish themselves if foreign policy becomes more important?

That's, theoretically, Huntsman's niche. He knows China really well (obviously) and has spent a fair amount of time living and working abroad.

I just don't see foreign policy becoming ascendant though as long as the economy is still seen as struggling. Americans tend to look inward when financial times are bad. And, even in the best financial times, people have only a passing interest -- at best -- in foreign policy.

So Rick Santorum just had a monster week (month?) for a dark horse candidate for President (who lost his last election by 18 points). What is Santorum's ceiling? While I don't agree with his politics, I have seen him campaign in person and he is extremely impressive. With the outsider mantra picked up in the 2010 elections, is it out of the realm of possibility for him to make a strong showing in Iowa's caucuses?

Not out of the realm of possibility at all though I would say Santorum's fate is tied directly to whether or not Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee run.

If they do, both will overshadow Santorum among social conservatives in Iowa and everywhere else -- and that will make it hard for him to get any traction.

Still, I think taken as a whole, Santorum has made a generally positive impression with his aggressiveness in the early going.

Really? Not Peyton Manning, who seems a lot more personable and didn't dump his babymomma or cheat to win?

Manning is a darkhorse. And, of course, the guy could be president of Indiana (that exists, right?) tomorrow.

Let's face it, if Ambassador Huntsman runs in 2016, Democrats are going to play that footage of his 2008 St. Paul RNC nomination speech for Sarah Palin again and again and again. Not so much because it alienates moderates (which it does), but it also makes him look like a pandering when he tries to win over the more conservative wing of the Republican party.

Sure. But Huntsman's nominating speech for Palin probably endears him to some Republicans in 2012!

A door closes, a window opens.

Whatever happened to posting the questions from your previous trivia nights???

Do people want that? I can do that. Can post the political questions on the Fix the next day?

I saw that Huntsman submitted his resignation as ambassador and that he would be back in the US by May. I also saw that he is on a speaking panel in the US, next week. Is he back in the US for good now??

Misreported. Huntsman will be participating in the panel, which is in Washington, from Beijing.

Ah, technology.

I ordered a cake from someone who apparently is new to our country and does not understand football. The cake is supposed to read "Go Steelers". Instead, it reads "Ghost Healers."

Which reminds me of the most incomprehensible Wilco lyric I know of: "I'm a cherry ghost."

Can someone PLEASE explain to me what that means?

I don't think Americans vote for Pres. based on foreign policy, especially if the economy sucks, but they do like the Pres. to "look Presidential" and the Pres dealing with world events gives him gravitas. How do you see the Egypt situation effect who throws their hat in the ring in 2012. I have to say that when I imagine some of the dealing with the situation we have now in the Middle East, I get a little quesy in the stomach.

I agree.

One of the most important things in a presidential race is meeting the voters' bar of "being presidential". It's kind of amorphous and different for different people but Obama leapt over it in 2008 with his calm reaction to the financial meltdown.


Is this "lose this one, then win the next one" presidential strategy something that only applies to Republicans? I thought the reason that Al Gore, for example, didn't run in the 2004 race was that, even though he got more votes total (nationwide, not a Florida comment), he lost in 2000 and that meant to political insiders that he "could not" run again. Same with other "losers" who did great but came in second -- they are then gone. With the strange exception of Richard Nixon, of course, but we don't have him to kick around any more in 2011.

It's MUCH more common with Republicans. Democrats are more of a "ex to the next" party. (And yes, I just quoted Gangstarr.)


Who will be the first to announce and who will wait till it is too late -- using the Fred Thompson strategy?

I still think Pawlenty. But Santorum could edge him. 

I'm sure you saw Thune's comments in Politico. Do you think he's not running?

Those comments certainly made it sound like he isn't.

I think a Thune candidacy would likely be more aimed at getting experience and being in the front of the line for 2016 than at winning in 2012.

That doesn't mean he couldn't win this time aroud -- as I have said before this is a WIDE open field.

But, I am not sure Thune, who has a pretty nice life and a potential path to being Senate Republican leadre if Jon Kyl retires, wants to willingly submit to the grind of a presidential campaign.

Do Mormons (as it they all think alike) really think that Mitt Romney is more "one of them" because of his alma mater? I mean Mitt was born and raised in Michigan as was his wife and he was Governor of Massachusetts while Amb. Huntsman was a life-long resident of Utah and elected TWICE as Governor of Utah.

I think it was a metaphor not a literal comparison of where they went to college.

Brady=great hair. Manning, not so much.


Which reminds me of one other commonality between Romney and Huntsman: Both have absolutely terrific heads of hair.

Also, Tom Brady is married to a foreigner. That might count against him.

Xenophobia rears its ugly head!

Why do people consider Pawlenty, a big Springsteen fan, boring?

Boring is the wrong word. Nice might be better. Or whatever the word is for not totally charismatic.

That said, I have been hearing reports from the field that Pawlenty is getting better on the stump. So, who knows.

Maybe he was born to run. Or he went down to the river and found some personality. 

Pittsburgh +2 1/2?

Take Pack and the points!

GO Aaron Rodgers.

It seems in addition to Indiana, Peyton could carry Louisiana- where he grew up and Archie played, TN- where he went to school and is still beloved and Mississippi- where the Manning name is still revered.

Good point. So he's got two states...48 to go!

My Ohio-born wife (she's Buckdacious, to continue Utah's theme) says it must be a virgin spirit. I am afraid to ask her how she knows that.

Really.  Interesting.

Is there a good bar to play trivia around here?


Capitol Lounge. THIS MONDAY. 7 pm. Politics and Pints. Come!


Don't forget Tebow... He could probably win a FL senate race right now.

True. I actually do think Tebow will run for office once his NFL career is over. So, in two years or so.


Take this for example young brothers want rep Cause in the life they're living you can't half step It starts with the young ones doing crime for fun And if you ain't down you'll get played out son take note Mitt Romney...Sarah Palin never half steps

Wow. Just wow.

That's really more applicable to the primaries, right? I mean, by the time you lose a general election, people are pretty much sick of you. The real reason Al Gore didn't run in 2004 was that he was busy making a billion dollars peddling that global warming jive.

"Jive"!  He has that expandable scissor lift. And a laser pointer!

But, yes, you are right. it's much more about primaries. Lose a general election and you are, usually, cooked.

Since the primary challenge isn't likely to be avoided for Dick Lugar, what are the rules for Indiana for running as an independent?

Simple. He can't.

Indiana has a "sore loser" law meaning you can't run for an office you have already lost in the same election cycle.

No write-in, no independent bid. If Lugar loses the primary next year, he is done for.

I maybe wrong here, but it seems to me that potential Ohio Republican candidates are being very cautious about whether or not they will run or not. I haven't seen any potential candidate declare their intentions other than Jim Jordan who is leaning against a run.

I think the Ohio race is starting sort of slow, which is good news for Sen. Sherrod Brown (D).

But, given Republican gains in Ohio in 2010, it's hard for me to imagine Brown getting a pass.

I know Jordan has said he is leaning against it but I have also heard he's not totally out yet.

Stay tuned.

I really don't see Kohl as a target for Republicans. Last I checked his approval ratings were pretty good. I would also like to remind all those Republicans who say Kohl will be like Feingold that Feingold's largest margin of victory was 11 points (2004), compared to Kohl's largest victory margin of 37 points (2006). Kohl can also self-fund and this will be a presidential year which means more democrats will show up in 2012 than in 2010.

Fair points all.

We have potentially a Webb vs Allen rematch, Tester vs Rehberg, McCaskill vs Steelman, and Nelson vs Bruning. What other epic senate battles should I be looking at? Keep in mind that when I say epic, I mean very competitve, not blowouts.

If Arizona is an open seat that will be a great race.

Ditto New Mexico if Bingaman retires.

The Florida and Massachusetts Senate races are going to be doozies too.

I personally think he is the favorite in both the primary and the general, but since this is your home state, I would like your input.

I think any of the Democratic candidates is the favorite in a general election in CT in a presidential year.

Murphy is not as well known as Susan Bysiewicz right now but is VERY aggressive.

Bysiewicz is a little bit of a closed book for me -- I am not sure how she will fare as a candidate on the big stage.

In 2012, does Obama perform better or worse in Missouri than Kerry did in 2004 (losing by 7 to Bush)?

My guess is about the same. Maybe slightly better.

Gotta go with Shane Battier, especially if he could use self-deprecation when it comes to anti-Duke sentiment

A bonus for Battier: He can jump in front of his opponent at the last minute, fall over despite not even being touched and draw a charge.

So, there's that.

Who do you have on Sunday? And where will The Cillizza be watching the big game?

Finally, The Fix has come back to DC....

I will make my annual pilgrimage to DC to watch the game with a friend of the Fix family.

And, yes, I will be wearing a crown for the entirety of the game. (Why do anything different than I normally do on weekends?)

I am a big Springsteen fan and I am extremely boring. There are a lot of us out there. On the other hand, I'm not a big Pawlenty fan.

A+B does not ALWAYS equal C.

Are there any non-boring Pawlenty fans who don't like Bruce out there?

"Tom Brady is married to a foreigner. That might count against him." I don't see how being married to a supermodel could possibly hurt any male politician. (And, technically, he didn't dump his baby-mama -- I thought they didn't know yet that she was preggers when they split. And he did step up to the plate, in terms of support and parenting, once they found out.)

Man. "Baby Mama" and "preggers" in the same question.

You may well be Reaganing.

Where have you taken your talents this morning?

Northside Social. Despite its uneven wifi, I am drawn to its chai tea latter and apricot/cherry scones.

Have they offered me official sponsorship yet? No. And I am as baffled as you.

That was on jeopardy the other night...

Resolved: Trebek is better with a mustache.

I agree with the poster's wife's interpretation of the lyric. Also, I do not think I can get away with being called New Mexicolicious. Shoulda come from a state with fewer syllables...


I am from Connecticut. Your options: Connecticutter, Connecticutite, Nutmegger.

Unsavory all.

I don't know about that. There are more fans down here of FSU, Miami, USF, and UCF -- of course, their ballots have to include pictures...

Wait does Florida State still have a football team?

(He cringes awaiting the angry emails...)

Peyton went to Tennessee- his brother Eli went to Mississippi!

Good point. And Archie, the dad, went to Ole Miss as well.

HUNTSMAN AND ROMNEY says "Mormons are still Christians." This puzzles me. Why do Mormons want to be known as Christians when they believe the Spirit left the Church early on in its history? Or do they believe they're the only REAL Christians? Just curious.

Ah, you wandered into the "On Faith" chat. That's actually the 8th door on the right.

Who is the most formidable opponent Obama might face?

So hard to know.

I think Mitch Daniels has a good story to tell from his time in Indiana and would be a solid fit if the economy was the focus of the election.

But, who knows? No one thought Bill Clinton was Poppy Bush's most formidable opponent in 1992.

I could reserve the Cillizza chair at Hooters for Super Bowl Sunday

Wait, that exists?

Fix fact: I have never been to Hooters.

What are the chances Linda McMahon runs for the GOP nod for Senate in 2012 in CT. This chat could use the return of wrestling talk

Trust me, I am rooting for it for that reason alone.

If Ben Nelson retires, is there any serious Democrat who can step up in Nebraska? Mike Fahey isn't exactly a spring chicken.

If Ben Nelson retires, that seat is gone. Even if he stays it's going to be a very tough hold for Democrats.

Is this really your mom? http://twitter.com/fixmom She writes in her bio that she's a politics junkie so I guess you got it from her side of the family?

It IS really my mom.

And she is a convert to politics via me.  She rocks. Follow her!

In 1956, Dwight D. Eisenhower was the last winning presidential to not have a daughter. Every U.S. President since has had a least one daughter. Only Mitt Romney and Haley Barbour are the two potential GOP nominees without one daughter.

Fascinating!  Romney does have FIVE sons though!

Mr. President, IN, LA, TN, and MS = four states -- so Peyton only has 53 to go.

So. Good.

Right -- it's more of a style thing than a college thing. BYU is, with the exception of the football team, very religiously oriented. The U is one of the most debauched places you can find between Boulder and Eugene...so you know where the Utahlicious one got her degree.

I figured.

And "Utahlicious" has now been mentioned three times in this chat. Which has to be some sort of record.

Do you think Kyl will retire? He's older than Mick Jagger (68).

Mick Jagger references EVERYWHERE!

And, I think he is genuinely undecided.

How do you pronounce Bysiewicz? And do you think Mike Krzyzewski will ever run for anything?


And Coach K won't run for anything. Believe he is a Republican though, right?  And Dean Smith is a Dem. UNC and Duke can't agree on ANYTHING.

Now that we know the Dems' 2012 convention is in Charlotte, NC, what is the most likely venue there? The arena, Bank of America Stadium or Ric Flair's "big house on the big side of town"?

I vote for Flair's house.

"My shoes cost more than you make in a week".

Ric Flair was the original great communicator.

Yo! Oh wait, I thought you said "polenta" fans. Never mind.

Who doesn't like polenta?!

I didn't submit the original utahlicious comment, but ... though you're probably right that it's a metaphor, BYU vs. the U is a huge indicator for many in Utah (where I live). If you're LDS, the tuition is about the same. But one is a private, religious school, with an enforced code for students and faculty. The other is a big state school that is not unlike other big state schools (and is almost in the Pac-12, go Utes!). I'm not LDS, but when I meet new people, I always appreciate when the coversation gets steered around to which university they attended. It helps figure out how likely we are to have any common ground.

Utahlicious x 4.

He never did in four years at Tennessee.


Thanks for being on the chat, Coach Spurrier.

I'm glad you also laughed when Chris Matthews inadvertantly inferred that the other guest was smart and you were merely Chris Cillizza.

You caught that! I loved that.

"Josh Marshall, you are a very smart guy. Also, Chris Cillizza is here."

To be delicious, the state has to end in a da or ta, as in Krisi Noem is Dakotalicious.

Holy cow. HOLY COW.

Is John Ensign serious about running for re-election?

I think so.  He shouldn't be. Make sure to read FixAaron's piece on why not.

There's a lovely essay about Friday Night Lights by James Poniewozik in Time. Check it out, but be sure you have a handkerchief on hand. See

THANK YOU. Anyone know when FNL starts again on NBC? Email me at chris.cillizza@wpost.com. I can't take the waiting.

I know this is more appropriate for your Monday gig, but who's your favorite? Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, or Heath Ledger? Or can they even be compared?

I really liked Heath Ledger. Genuinely creepy.

Hey Chris, you should listen to the band Girls. Their latest EP is incredible. That's all- have a wonderful day!

I have heard tell of their awesomness.

I am really into a band called Phosphorescent right now. Album is called "Here's to taking it easy". Really good.

Sarah Palin is thinking about trademarking her name. Have you ever given thought about trademarking your name?

Heading to patent and trademark office right after this...

No one has submitted a Christine O'Donnell question in a while to get to your quota

And we've met the quota. Whew. I was getting nervous.


For the win!

Is Mrs. Fix's hometown St. Louis or Houston? Your Live Chats seem to imply both.

She's from the 'Lou and she's proud.

That's just as convincing as, "I .. did not ... have ... relations... with that... woman".


And I am out!

Thanks for spending an hour with me! And don't forget: Monday is Politics and Pints. Come one, come all. Invite.

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 son.

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