Feb 18, 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.

After the New Hampshire primary, four will be left standing: Romney, Pawlenty, Gingrich, and Christie. The eventual nominee will be Pawlenty. Please discuss.

LOVE it.  Let's start on 2012.

I think this is a very plausible scenario though I might sub out Christie, who I don't think is going to run, for Haley Barbour or maybe slightly more likely Mitch Daniels.

This scenario you've laid out means that you believe Tpaw wins Iowa which is a real possibility -- especially if neither Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee run.

Of late, I have begun to think that Pawlenty has a real course to the nomination. If you analyze each of the candidates' flaws, Pawlenty's are the least potentially damaging. (He's too nice or not charismatic enough.)

Also, he is playing seriously and gaining some traction in Iowa and New Hampshire -- one of the few people in the race (I think) who will try to play in both.

Having a course or path to the nomination isn't the same as winning the nomination -- or anywhere close. But, there is a path.

Sidebar: Chris Christie should run.

Any chance Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee will be making the trek to Madison to show solidarity with the governor?

I doubt it. Romney has been careful not to jump into every issue under the sun and Huckabee seems, at least to me, to be more focused on his new book and TV career than on Scott Walker.

I do think what happens in Wisconsin will be telling...lots of other states have similar budget shortfalls and Walker will either wind up being a blueprint or a warning sign for how to handle things.

There's been a lot of discussion about what Mitt Romney plans to do in terms of dedicating resources and time to the Iowa Caucus. If Romney doesn't make a strong push in Iowa, where does he have to place to not seriously harm his chances at winning the nomination?

It depends if you think Iowa and New Hampshire are intertwined.

In 2008, they weren't. John McCain never competed in Iowa but won New Hampshire and went on to win the nomination. Mike Huckabee won Iowa but petered out.

So, if Romney makes only a for-show attempt in Iowa, I am not sure it matters where he finishes. He could, however, surprise folks and make a major poush in Iowa -- figuring that if he can win the caucuses, he will almost certainly win the NH primary and those two victories combined would deliver him the nomination.

I like how when asked if you preferred Star Wars or Star Trek, you talked about Battlestar Galactica more. I mean, yes, Ron Moore wrote for TNG and DS9, too, but come on.

I love me some Battlestar Galactica.


Also, I have started to wonder whether there are cylons among us. Is that crazy?

Also, Captain Adama for President.

Tim Kaine is scheduled to speak at the J-J Dinner on Saturday where it's said he'll announce his intentions. It'd be kind of a downer if he said no. What are you hearing?

Apparently Kaine won't be making any announcement this weekend at the J-J.

I think that's good news for those who want Kaine to run as the longer he delays, the more it likely means he is rethinking his past resistance to running for Senate.

If Kaine doesn't run, there is a real drop off. Former Rep. Tom Perriello would likely be the candidate but he is a single term member of Congress not a popular former governor.

What does he want to do in returning to the Senate? He seemed, at best, disinterested during his six years there. He never stood out of the crowd, no signature issue. He was just biding his time until a possible presidential run. So why go back?

I am a little surprised he decided to run for the Senate again too since he always told anyone who asked that he liked being governor more.

My guess is that one of two things helped decide it:

1. Bob McDonnell had the govs race in 2009 locked up and Allen didn't think he could win.

2. With Obama in the White House, the Senate becomes the prime policy battleground and Allen wants back in.

I am having a really hard time mustering any sympathy for a group that is still getting half their pension paid for and only has to pay around 10% of their health care costs. This is still pretty far ahead of the private sector. Do they really think the average voter (who has to work and is probably not at these protests) really is going to be sympathetic when the details of the unions benefits packages are analyzed?

This sentiment is why Scott Walker in Wisconsin thinks he will ultimately win the legislative stand-off over his budget.

Hey, Chris. Don't you think what's happening in Madison is a harbinger of the near future? State pensions are at the heart (I'm a community college English professor, so I know) of the huge debts states are confronting, and this is true coast to coast. It's a hot button issue and will only get worse. On the other hand, maybe the populace at large will be more appreciative of that stimulus money that went to the states the last two years and has now been sepnt. Maybe they won't be so dismissive, eh? Thanks

It's a HUGE harbinger of what's to come.

Walker is the leading edge. Republican governors in Iowa and Michigan are likely to head down a similar path and even D governors in California and New York are promising cuts.

This is rubber meets the road time in states.

Guess this fits more into The Fix's Weekly Face-Off, but got more then 2 options here so far. Could you place these names in order of Patty Murray and David Plouffe being most happy about them running for U.S. Senate. Just for fun, I'll make them all ex-Guvs. Ex-Guv Janet Napolitano in Ariz. Ex-Guv. Phil Bredesen in Tenn. Ex.-Guv. Tim Kaine in Va.

Tim Kaine

Janet Napolitano

Phil Bredesen

I would have been here for the chat, but it looked like you were going to do something I didn't like--so I beat it to whereabouts unknown, and you can't find me. Neener neener.

This snarky email reminds me of this:

I think the Fix needs to start pushing for a cameo appearance by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels on Parks & Recreation. Let's say it humanize Daniels like when Richard Nixon appeared on Laugh-In.

Holy cow. That would be awesome. Not as awesome as me appearing as the Riggins nerdy, long lost uncle in the mythical season 6 of Friday Night Lights....but still cool.

If you had to compare one state's redistricting process to the the redistricting in Friday Night Lights at the end of season 3 , where they split East Dillon and West Dillon trying to pack the good players in West Dillon, what state would you say is most similar to this?

Greatest. Question. Ever.

I have no answer. But I would vote for Buddy Garrity if he ran for anything.

Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can't Lose.

NJ Governor Chris Christie (Boss #3, after Bruce and Tony S.) crooned "Born to Run" during his inaugural gala, and after this week's news, many across the country are singing his praises. But is the smart political move to wait until a 2016 run, or is his window of opportunity now? Thanks!

As I noted above, I think Christie should get in this time.

If you watched his speech at AEI earlier this week (and I did), it's clear that he is the perfect embodiment of a sort of economic populism that the field currently lacks and that the electorate craves.

I think President Obama's success should be a guide for other national candidates. Waiting often doesn't work.

I think Mason-Dixon had a poll out with Florida Senator Bill Nelson under 50%, but generally leading his potential opponents (besides Jeb Bush). I know 50% is the magic number for incumbents, but considering Nelson is ahead and generally in the 45 to 49% range, how bad is his position right now?


The problem for Nelson is all of his potential opponents (and Jeb ain't running) are not very well known.

Theoretically, that gives them room to grow in terms of vote share while he is likely stuck in the high 40s or low 50s -- barring Republicans nominating Katherine Harris again.

So, Nelson is not on political life support but neither is he on terribly strong footing at the moment.

I saw a poll I think from PPP, so I take it with a grain of salt, that had Corker running behind ex-governor Phil Bredesen. Any chance Democrats can talk the former governor into making a run?

Zero. Though he would be Democrats' best candidate by far.

Do you think Tim Kaine or Tom Perriello would be the stronger Senate candidate for Democrats? Obviously Kaine won statewide in 2005, but Perriello performed well in 2010 in a district that is pretty hostile to Democrats. With base voters likely going to the polls to support Obama, is Kaine's experience running statewide much of an advantage?


I think Perriello is very able and a rising star. That said, winning a single term in a great Democratic year nationally against a flawed Republican incumbent who wasn't paying much attention isn't exactly the strongest resume point ever.

Kaine left office popular and has shown an ability to run and win statewide. That should not be underestimated.

On the Chris Matthews show last Sunday John Hielman gave his list of who is going to run and who isn't. Can you do the same? Thanks.

I already have!

It's here: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/eye-on-2012/surveying-the-2012-field-in-ou.html

I am sure this will not discourage Herman Cain, but after seeing his name several times in FIX chats I had to Google him to see who he was. Am I out of it or does this presidential hopeful have low name recognition? Ok, maybe both are true.

Low name recognition would be kind.

No name recognition would be accurate.

I offer no opinion of your out-of-it-ness.

How long until Watson replaces our politicians?

I for one welcome our new computer overlords.

Did you catch the Rock returning to the WWE this past week?

Finally, the Rock has COME BACK to wrestling.

Hard to overestimate how excited I am. This almost makes up for the Linda McMahon loss robbing me of regularly inserting wrestling lingo into these chats.


Governor of Wisconsin?

Not this week. I went with the Debt Commission.

Check. It. Out. 

I read Dan Balz piece on GOP hopefuls in Iowa. Some of the people interviewed talked about how a potential candidate is like us or could be a neighbor or would be welcomed into a living room, etc. I know it's been going on a long time, but I am kind of tired of this obsession for candidates and voters to have the candidate be like one of us. I would prefer the candidate to be an elite, someone who is smarter and more capable than average and can tackle the big issues. I don't care if he or she is aloof as long as he or she gets the job done.

As for namesakes, a chatter in the Reliable Source discussion pointed out that the last three presidents have been named for their fathers, sort of. It's also interesting to note that the challengers (John S. McCain III and Al Gore Jr) were also named for their their fathers. I guess it's not so surprising that ambitious men who like themselves so much that they name their sons after them may also transfer their ambitions to their sons along with a name.

I would encourage everyone to check out Dan's piece -- it's a great window into how Republicans in Iowa are thinking about the race.

As for your bigger question, I think there is a constant push-pull between wanting someone who is "like us" and wanting someone who is the "best of us".

Usually candidates who run as the best of us -- Bill Bradley jumps to mind -- don't win.

But, Barack Obama ran as that sort of candidate in 2008 and won a historic victory.

So, who knows?!

Any change in the tea leaves on whether Palin will run? WaPo reports that Iowa GOP folks are lukewarm on her, but didn't she just hire a chief of staff? Thoughts? Prognostications?

She did just hire a chief of staff and in a speech yesterday on Long Island she (again) hinted at the idea she might make the race.

I really don't know. If I had to guess, I would say she runs. But, it is really a guess. No one knows and there really is no way to know unless you have a direct pipeline to Sarah or Todd Palin.

How tall is Mitch Daniels? How much will his stature hurt him?


Which is not tall.

I don't think it helps Daniels UNLESS Republican voters are in the mood to nominate the anti-Obama. Then, Daniels -- from his size to his approach to governing -- fits nicely.

Isn't Mitch Daniels' achilles heel the time he spent as OMB Director in the Bush Administation?


If Daniels winds up as the GOP nominee, that is the first place President Obama and his team will attack.

Let's say Donald Trump decides to run for President. What are some likely scenarios on how that changes the race for the Republican nomination?

Scenario 1: He doesn't have any impact.

Scenario 2: He doesn't have any impact.

Scenario 3: He doesn't have any impact.

You CANNOT be talking about the Lorne Greene/Dirk Hamilton mess, can you?

I am talking about the Edwards James Olmos and Mary McDonnell BSG. It. Is. Awesome.

I am on season 2 right now so NO ONE send any spoilers!

Yes, he should run, but not til 2016. It's too soon.

Fair enough. But by 2016 he could be a former governor. Remember that New Jersey is a pretty Democratic state and there is absolutely no guarantee Christie will win a second term in 2013.

Hey Chris, I love watching the Frank Luntz Fox focus groups. They are so very revealing. Last week he had Iowa GOP primary voters. What i've noticed in several of these is the downright hostile attitude these voters have towards Mitt Romney. They won't explicitly say it but it seems like the Mormon thing is a non starter for them. How much of an albatross is it for him in Iowa and other "evangelical" states? Should he kiss the Rick Warren ring?

I have been told repeatedly that it was a problem for him in 2008 so I assume it will again be a problem for him in 2012...

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is doing an online poll. Current resuts show support foe Gov. Walker 60%-40% with 70,000 + partcipating.....despite DNC & OFA efforts

Online polls do tend to be bunk.

But, with that many people voting, it's worth taking note of.

They are, but the tax breaks we extended to them are key to continuing job creation. So deal with it.

Dang it!

Also, I am CERTAIN that Watson screwed up the final Jeopardy answer to throw us off his scent.

Like he didn't know the answer was Chicago. Toronto? Hello?

When Watson becomes sentient, don't say I didn't warn you.

Chris, I found your sidebar comment on Christie extremely interesting. In 2007, I felt that then Senator Obama had to run if he ever wanted to be president, which he clearly did. Politics has repeatedly shown us that timing and luck is almost as important as talent. If nothing else, Christie has shown the courage of his convictions. What would you say the odds are on him running in 2012? I can't help but feel that his re-election in New Jersey isn't out of the question for 2013, but two terms in a blue state will ultimately bring down his popularity and rule out the option of a national campaign.

15% chance. Maybe less.

But, whether he will run or not is an entirely different discussion from whether he should.

As you rightly note, timing/luck has a lot do with politics.

Whats more dangerous: to be between a camera and Chuck Shumer or between a camera and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz?

Neither. Between me and an eight-foot basketball hoop. Dunks galore!

Milbank quoted it. He said: "What do I have to do short of suicide to convince people I'm not running?" he asked. "Apparently I actually have to commit suicide."

Yeah...so that's probably a no.

But he ALSO said he "sees the opportunity". So there's that.

Allen's campaign slogan should be "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in."

So good. Don't go near any tollboths, George.

Obviously VP nominees have a lot to do with who is at the top of the ticket, but after the GOP nomination race is over, who do you think the top 5 VP candidates will be? Would a Christie as VP nomination put too much electricity at the bottom of the ticket?

Assuming Christie doesn't run, my guess is he is right at the top of the veep list.

others: whoever finishes second for the nomination, Marco Rubio, Bob McDonnell, Thune

Since 1980, no Republican has won the presidential nomination without winning the South Carolina primary. If Huckabee doesn't run, whose chances do you like there?

Haley barbour would be strong


Sarah Palin

All of that is dependent, however, on what happens in Iowa and New Hampshire and whether it slims the field or creates a clear frontrunner.

Maybe this is wishful thinking, but it seems to me that the one kind of scandal a politician can't recover from is one that makes him look ridiculous, and that's what the "macaca" thing did to Allen. No?

We shall see.

I think the problem for Allen isn't "macaca" but rather what that gaffe told us about him. It revealed an arrogance and an unwillingness to admit when you've made a mistake.

This campaign will show whether Allen has learned that lesson. Those close to him insist he has.

I think the Seante leader in Wisconsin should trick a Dem into coming back into the state, and then just when they think they have a comprimise, strike him with a steel chair and drag him into the senate. All this while Jerry "the King" Lawler yells in horror (preferably over CSpan). Then the Governor holds the vote, puts on a belt (Aaron Rodgers Style) and then plays his own theme music. Regardless of your opinions on the actual topic, how much would you pay to see this happen?

I believe this is the most likely end to the standoff.

Only change. Jim "JR" Ross would be the one doing the yelling.

Also, Rowdy Roddy Piper should be the union negotiator.

Chris, as a member of the media could you be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground caves?

Absolutely! Reporting for duty, sir!

... and thank you for referring to the current sitting president as President Obama. Haven't we had a partisan tendency since Bill Clinton's term in office to attempt to de-legitimize an opposition president by referring to him without title? Or have we just become lazy Americans? (or both)

Always try to refer to politicians by their titles. I figure they've earned it.

As for me, I answer to "Hey you".

Maybe it's me, but The Fix seems pretty pro-Christie, right? Where is "on the other side, here is why Chris Christie sucks" (I'm kidding, but you get my idea). Yes, he toke on political corruption as U.S. Attorney, but it's New Jersey. Talk about shooting fish in barrel and the corruption is very much alive and well. Christie was more flash then getting the roots of why New Jersey poltics is so corruption Yes, he is cutting taxes, but New Jersey still have super high taxes. What he cut is much lower then people expect and there are accounting tricks (like not paying pensions or pushing off stuff in the budget of 2012). Also Gov. Christie makes a deal yesterday about saying raising the retirement age didn't turn him into dust. That's true, but didn't turn him into the President of the United States either.

NO question he has problems. And those problems would be on full display in a primary and, if he got there, a general election.

I am not advocating for Christie to be president or even the GOP nominee. I am simply pointing out that there is some running room for a candidate like him if he did get into the race.

I said the same about Obama in 2008. He listened to me and see what happened...

(Before I get "you are an arrogant jerk" emails, I am kidding. Or am I....)

Buddy Garrity would be OK for Congress, except he comes across like a used car salesman. My choice: Eric Taylor. Doesn't say much (won;t put his foot in the mouth), but always seems to know to do the right thing, or close to it.

The best politician on that show would clear be Tammy Taylor.

Already has navigated the shark-tank politics of being a high school principal.

Eric Taylor is more like a campaign manager/political svengali type.

Buddy Garrity is the dude who carries out dirty tricks unbeknownst to the candidate.

How much name recognition did obama have when he actually declared? The thing is, everyone I know who knows Cain loves him - once you hear him speak, you can be mesmerized. It's so easy. So yes, name recognition matters, but once you hear him, you can't help but love him.

Obama was a sitting US SENATOR who had spent the 2006 cycle receiving the rock star treatment everywhere he went after delivering the keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

So....not exactly the same.

Look, we already have enough controversy over a President with a foreign sounding name who actually was born in the country. How are we ever going to nominate a guy who's nickname is Apollo who was born on another Planet? War record or not, that's going to be a heck of an uphill climb.

Apollo is his son!

Captain Adama is a SAINT. A SAINT, I say.

Colonel Tigh would make Washington a much more interesting place.

Declaring martial law, drinking up a storm and having a wife who manipulates you and everyone around you tends to make life interesting...

Mitch Daniels: A Small Man for Smaller Government.

And it fits on a bumper sticker!

I still like the Homer Simpson slogan best: Can't someone else do it?

Chris, The point of what's happening in Wisconsin is not just that unionized workers are getting reduced benefits--as that's true of all workers whether public or private sector. The more troubling thing is that the governor wants to take away the right of collective bargaining. Obama is not sending Dems there to argue against benefit cuts, which are unavoidable, but to preserve collective bargaining.

Fair point on Wisconsin.

Mike DuHaime is a big get considering the disaster that was the Giuliani and McCain campaigns?

Well, he was the senior political person for Chris Christie in 2009 and ran the independent expenditure program at the National Republican Senatorial Committee in 2010.

And both of those turned out pretty well.

Bleh, no! Never liked Adama. In almost every episode he made the wrong decision at first, then eventually came around and did a 180. Karl Agathon for president!

Gaius Baltar is my president.

Is it bad that I'd want to deliver a flagrant foul on Justin Bieber on behalf of the silent majority of rational folks who can't stand his mindless lyrics and weak singing?

Not bad at all. 

Baby Baby Baby.

Baby Baby Baby

Yeah yeah Yeah.

That is all.

Watson will never develop an intentional sense of humor.

Take that, you, ah, computer!

For the people who tarnish the pundit title via off the wall blather (Beck, Palin, others) I propose: Pundidiots

Me likey.

What are the chances we get a run off in the Mayor's race?

Not high. I think Rahm wins outright (50+1) on Tuesday.

You are an arrogant jerk, but we love you. The Obama-Hillary races was a battle for delegates. Any chance of that for the GOP in 2012?

Thanks, I think.

Always a chance. I think unlikely but I would NEVER have predicted that in June 2008 we would still have a contested Democratic primary fight either.

The lesson? I am an idiot.

Just wondering since you often point out that you could never coach field hockey as well as Mrs. Fix, how good is Mrs. Fix with political analysis and predictions?

Mrs Fix has close to zero interest in politics.  It's refreshing.

Just wondering which state(s) still hasn't gotten any suggestions yet?

We are still gathering...I will have a full list of what we have and what we need (hopefully) by Monday.

If you haven't chimed in on our search for the best political tweeps in each state, please do!

Ok, folks...that's all he wrote.

Make sure to check out the Fix shortly for our latest Senate race rankins and DON'T FORGET that Tuesday at 11 am I will be back with the Fix Face-offs live video chat!

See you then and have a great weekend.


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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