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The Live Fix with Chris Cillizza

Mar 11, 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 everyone.  An earthquake in Japan and a presidential news conference are driving the news today.

But, we, as always, are deep in the political news of the world. Got questions? We'll try to answer them.

Let's do this thing.

I have read some lovely anecdotes from journalists about David Broder and I wondered if you had some stories you could share. I loved that he didn't view politics as just a horse race, but cared about governing as well. He seemed to understand that many of us out in the wilds outside the Beltway care about politics and policy, but that we have a different view of what is important than many inside the Beltway. So as someone who is a middle aged and currently unemployed business manager who cares about her country--- I will miss you Mr. Broder.

Thanks for the nice tribute to David. I did write a short reflection on his passing. It's here:

You also should read Dan Balz's wonderful take on his friend here:

Who is more likely to run out of Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee?

I think Palin although I could see a scenario where both run and where neither run.

Neither of them would run anything close to traditional campaigns so it's hard to gauge whether they are leaning toward or away from the race.

My guess with Huckabee is that the fire in the belly to run for president is gone now that he has a very nice -- and lucrative -- life in the private sector. He's said as much in recent interviews.

Can you envision a plausible scenario where Rick Santorum is anything more than the Sam Brownback of 2012?

It depends on what the field looks like. If Palin and Huckabee don't run, I think there is a case to be made that Santorum could emerge as the choice of a segment of social conservatives who want someone who is purely animated by social issues. That could make him a semi-serious force in Iowa.

If either Huck or Palin are in the race, however, Santorum will be badly overshadowed by their star power and will almost ertainly struggle.

So Gingrich's love of country made him want to fool around with women who weren't his wife? I'm not sure I see how the two are connected.

Not a great last two weeks for Newt.

My guess is that he believes talking about the past mariages now could insulate him from having to talk about it later on in the year when more voters are paying attention.

I am not sure I agree. 

Rolling Stone magazine had a poll asking to name the greatest live band of all-time. Guess who was far and away the winner?

The Dead?

Bruce and the E Street Band?

Milli Vanilli?

Did Newt Gingrich really do himself any favors with that explanation about his personal life?

Probably not.

The reality is that he is going to have to find a better way to explain his personal life than he has to date.

I think Gingrich's best option is to simply say "I was wrong. I have made mistakes. I have asked for and received forgiveness."  

Not sure that will work with some social conservatives but I do think it's his best path to putting the issue of his marriages behind him.

It was very interesting reading your post about Dems in the South. Theres no doubt that curtains states in the South demographics with double digits electorial votes are changing i.e. Virginia (NoVa) and N. Carolina (Charlotte, Raleigh & Durham. Nobody thought those states be become purple states joining, and these are more populated states unlike Alabama and Mississippi. With the Metro Atlanta region continuing to grown dramatically as well as South Texas with a growing Latino population. Witch state do you believe could fall next in the South as competitive, Georgia or Texas? And does It make the South increasingly though to hold for the GOP, especially in a election whether for President, Governor, or the Senate?

I think there is a clear difference between the border South and the deep South.

Democrats have made clear gains in the border South in recent elections. They have struggled far more to penetrate the deep south -- Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia etc. -- in the past decade plus.

As to your question, I would say Texas is probably the more likely Democratic target in the near term due to the amazingly fast Hispanic growth in the state. According to the new census numbers, 38 percent of the state's population is Hispanic.  

It may not be until 2016 or later that Democrats are back to being competitive in some statewide races in Texas but the demographics suggest that day is coming.

If Chris Christie were to decide to run for president in 2012, what signs should we look for, besides you know, visits to early primary and caucus states?

I do think some of the things he is doing -- speeches in DC laying out his governing vision, web videos distributed to the national press -- are designed to keep him in the presidential conversation.

I know he has said he isn't running and isn't ready and I take him at his word. But, remember that Barack Obama said the same thing in 2006 before reversing course.  These things happen. Circumstances change. Opportunities arise.

And I think the Christie people are making sure that he would be positioned to run (or at least explore the possibility) if he decides in the next few months to do so.

Is Mitch Daniels interested in being president, or does he just want to influence the conversation?

At the moment, it seems like the latter.

From Daniels' speech aty CPAC to his recent comments defending the idea of a "truce" on social issues all suggest that he is operating more from a policy perspective than a political one.

While Daniels drew kudos from the CPAC speech, it was entirely bereft of the sort of red meat rhetoric that tends to galvanize primary voters. 

If he is running, he's running a general election race. The problem is he has to win the primary first.

Does The Cillizza have "tiger blood" in him?

I am currently trying to acquire some. I just can't seem to find an appropriate warlock.

When are we going to have a general idea about the order of the Republican primary calendar for 2012?

Not for a while. 

I think several states -- Florida, most notably -- are playing a game of political chicken with the national party.

The party is trying to preserve Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina as the first first votes -- all in the first few weeks of February.

But, Florida has a primary vote set for late January and seems willing to risk the penalty of not having their delegates seated at the convention in exchange for the attention and economic boost they would get from an early vote.

I think the primary calendar chaos is a WAY underplayed story and one that will get worse before it gets better for Republicans in the coming months.

Capt N Crunch or Lucky Charms?

Lucky Charms. Only downside: it turns the milk into a rainbow of colors, which is super gross.

Would Scott Walker think about jumping into the Wisconsin Senate race for Herb Kohl's seat.


And, I think people are getting way ahead of themselves when they talk about how Walker is doomed politically.

A recall effort is a very heavy lift and, if there is no  recall effort next year, Walker will have three more years before he is on the ballot. That's an eternity in politics and it's possible -- though hard to believe right now -- that the whole budget fight will be a distant memory by then.

If Kohl retires, I would say that former Sen. Russ Feingold likely has the right of first refusal on the Democratic side and Rep. Paul Ryan would be the preferred candidate for Republicans.

What do you think the chances are that Joe Scarborough vies for the Republican Senate nomination in 2012?

Not good.

Joe has a great gig going.

If Herb Kohl retires, size up a Russ Feingold v. Ron Kind Democratic primary!

Ah, good question.

As I noted above, I think Feingold would start as the favorite. 

A Democratic primary in Wisconsin is decided almost entirely by Madison and Milwaukee and Feingold is positioned ideologically to Kind's left.

Still, Kind is an able politician with a great story to tell. If Feingold ran, he might wait and try to emerge as the consensus nominee against Walker in 2014.

Break down the emerging Republican field for the Senate seat in Texas? Seems like just about everyone is getting into that one.

It's going to be VERY crowded. Open seats don't come along in Texas all that often.

I think the frontrunner will be Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst due to his statewide name identification AND his massive personal wealth.

The question is whether tea party types will rally behind a single candidate or not.  If they do, that person could make a run at upsetting Dewhurst.

If you were a stratagist for the Wisconsin Republican Party, how would you spin the cramming through squashing Public sector collective bargaining?

I offered a thought in a Fix post I wrote right after the vote happened.

It's here:

In short, I think Republicans need to present their vote as a last ditch move forced on them by Democrats who weren't willing to come back to the state and do their jobs.

Under that line of thinking, Democrats struck first with a bit of legislative trickery while Republicans -- more in sorrow than anger -- did the only thing they could to move the government forward.

Not sure if it sells but I think that's Republicans best spin.

Do you think recent actions by newly-elected Republican Governors in moderate states could be hurt the chances of the 2012 GOP candidate winning their states? Thinking Rick Scott, Walker, possibly Kasich.

Good question and one I don't know the answer to.

The near-term effect in Wisconsin has been to energize unions and their supporters. But, whether that enegry carries all the way through 2012 or not seems to me to be a major open question.

Dude- still waiting for you to post questions from your trivia nights. In the words of the NFL Countdown crew, "Come on, man!"

Ok. We have a "Politics and Pints" on Monday night.  I PROMISE I will publish the questions (and answers) on the Fix on Tuesday. Deal?


Has the press fasincation with Palin jumped the shark. Even when she speaks iOr I should say tweets-- it doesns't seem to have the same impact as it did last year... Every word out of her mouth last year was treated as if it was coming from an oracle. Is she over?

I don't think she's over. But I do think her rising negatives have given some people pause about just how powerful she would be even if she ran for president.

(Make sure to check out the Morning Fix on that very subject:

That said, if Palin does decide to run, I think the press crush would return almost immediately. Like her or hate her, she is a figure that commands attention. 

I noticed that West Virginia fell off your list of states most likely for a partisan takeover in gubernatorial elections in 2011 and 2012. Is that mostly because West Virginia will have a gubernatorial election in 2011, an off year, and that will be better for Democrats in the state? (It will also have an election for governor in 2012 but by then the winner of the 2011 election will probably have an advantage due to being an incumbent.) Washington, which replaced West Virginia in The Line, is much more of a blue state at the presidential level but a case can be made that West Virginia is bluer at the state and local levels.

We dropped West Va and added Washington because, at the moment, it looks like the latter will be more competitive.

Republicans are very keen on AG Rob McKenna as their candidate and he seems to be moving in that direction.

Couple that with the possibility it will be an open seat as Gov. Chris Gregoire hasn't said whether she will run for a third term and it's clear this could -- and we emphasize could -- be a pickup chance for Republicans.

West Virginia's Democratic field is quite strong.  And, in state race, it's still decidedly blue.

who really has more influence in deciding the nomination for pres. When I see conservative pundits rip into some of the candidates, I wonder how much what they say really has on the voters in the early states. I guess is it may influence operatives and donors more than actual voters?

I always say the presidential primary races are like icebergs -- most of them happen below the surface.

The punditocracy can have influence on staff, donors and overall buzz. But, ultimately, the candidate has to be compelling to voters to win.  

Mike Huckabee wasn't particularly well regarded or well known by the pundit world at the start of the 2008 election but by sheer force of personality managed to win the Iowa caucuses.

So, ideally, you have both: good insider buzz and a candidate who knows who he (or she) is and can sell himself (or herself) to voters in early states.

Hi Chris, Maybe Newt could run on the slogan "If you liked Bill Clinton's personal life, you will love me."

Reminds me of Edwin Edwards in 1991: "Vote for the crook. It's important."

(He was running against KKK member David Duke.)

While everybody makes a fuss more demographic growth of Hispanic Americans in Texas (as they should), another factor is the growth of out-of-state transplants in major urban centers (Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, etc...). These folks are a bit younger, well-educated, never set foot on a ranch or unlikely to be gun owners or Evangelical Protestants. All helping the Texas Democrats

Interesting....I agree that Texas will eventually be competitive for Democrats at the statewide level again. The question is when. 2012 seems out. Maybe 2016. Likely 2020.

Hopefully the warlock will also stock Adonis DNA.

I assume that's the deal.

Sidenote: I am a giant fantasy/sci fi fan. Currently working my way through the new "BattleStar Galactica" series on video while reading Robert Jordan's "Wheel of Time" series on my iPad.

Can u say "dork"?

Delaware is one of only 9 states that will have both U.S. senatorial and gubernatorial election in 2012 (can you name the other 8?) Anyhow, what is the buzz for Republican opponents (outside of Christine O'Donnell) to both Gov. Markel and Sen. Craper (who is sometimes mentions as a potentially not seeking another term)?

GREAT trivia question. We are ABSOLUTELY using that one at Politics and Pints on Monday. (For DC area folks, P&P is at the Capitol Lounge on the House side of Capitol Hill. It all starts at 7 pm on Monday night!)

As for Delaware, it's just not going to be competitive. Markell will win in a walk and Carper, if he runs (and I think he will), will win too.

Republicans best chance of winning statewide office in the First State was in 2010 when Mike Castle ran for Senate. Then the party nomiated Christine O'Donnell.

Just want to say that I enjoyed your colleague Dana's take (or should I say takedown) of Tim Pawlenty, who by some miracle, when speaking to a group of Southern cultural conservatives, started droppin' his gs and generally got into a whole "get 'er done" mode, not native to Minnesota.

What are y'all talking about?

Yeah, he has a great gig going--but if he got on C-Span he'd be in front of a larger audience than MSNBC...


(I am an MSNBC contributor, by the way. So, ouch.)

At the Wisconsin Governor and the Republicans. Does it really matter?

Let's see what independent and unaffiliated voters think in a few months.

That's how we'll know.

Trust me, we anti-union private sector workers are energized too. We don't go to rallies because we're too busy earning enough to pay our taxes--but we're sure as hell going to vote for the Walkers and Christies and Scotts.

Fair enough.

Any advice for an Ohio State fan struggling the recent yin and yang of the football and basketball programs, respectively?

Don't have your starting senior point guard break his hand on February 28.

For those who care, Sally Jenkins wrote a pitch perfect piece on the Hoyas collapse in the last few games:

Won't Scott Walker, Republican Governor of a liberal-leaning state, have a bad effect on Rob McKenna and other Republicans trying to win in states that aren't ruby red?

I think there is a tendency to overstate just how impactful Wisconsin's situation will be on other states.

People who don't live in Wisconsin are clearly aware of what's happening there but the idea that it would keep certain candidates thousands of miles out of a race seems far fetched to me.

In politics we have a tendency to assume whatever is happening RIGHT NOW is the most important and environment-altering thing that has ever happened.

It usually isn't.

considering the number of Ds who haverecently become Rs here, it's going to be a looooooonnnnnnngggggg time before this state will be D. Seriously - most of the people who voted for Obama in 2008 will Never. Vote. Again. Since many of them voted for O and then left. they didn't bother voting for the rest of the ticket.

Ok. Noted.

Does the media love Christie more than voters? All I see on TV is how great Christie is and how he is the GOP's best chance in '12, but the newest polls out of his home state are not good. Is he another McCain or Palin, in that he is a media darling but not so much with the public?

Christie's problem is that he is more popular with Republicans nationally than he is in New Jersey which is a bluish state.

I have said before and will say again: Christie could well lose reelection in 2013. And, if that happened, all of the talk of him as a potential presidential candidate would disappear ala George Allen circa 2006.

Which is why there is a strong case to be made that Christie should run for president in 2012.

Ultimately, Pawlenty isn't compelling. You and Lawrence O'Donnell can talk him up all you want but he has about as good a chance at winning the primary as Georgetown does of winning the 2011 NCAA tournament,

Double Zing!

anyone who has seen your Twitter page knows that Webster's uses you as a defintion for dork.(said with affection)

And appreciated.

Self promotion alert. Follow me on twitter.

Do it. Jack and coke. Do it.

I have seen names like former LA Gov Charles "Buddy" Roemer and others tinkering with exploratory committees. any thoughts on them getting further than the debates?

Not likely. But it will be a fun next six to nine months covering him.

You'd be more of a dork if you were watching old school BSG (or better yet, old school Doctor Who) while reading on the Nook Color you'd rooted (and voided the warranty on) to be a sweet Android tablet. You don't yet have what it takes to be a dork.

I understood about three words in that entire question.

Both Paul Krugman and Newt Gingrich are huge fans of Asimov's Foundation trilogy. Best live band? Grateful Dead. No other band did it for so long at such a high level, considering the musical gambles the took.


Papa Bear, RIP. 

Sugar Mag-->Dark Hollow-->Ripple

(Much love to my two favorite dead fans in the world: North Carolina's John Moye and Virginia's Pat Hagan.)

As usual the only network with a truly balanced show ("Morning Joe" on MSNBC) gets trashed by one of your envious responders.

And the MSNBC posse perks up. Much love!

Is Michele Bachmann's Congressional district starting to get sick of her erroneous public pronouncements? Or is that seat hers for as long as she wants it?

It's hers for as long as she wants. Very republican suburban seat outside of the twin cities.

Are you going to live blog it?

Unfortunately not. Have to go to a memorial service for a family friend who passed away...will be back at it next time though.

When will you be making the case for and against?

SOON. Stay tuned!

That's all folks. Thanks for joining me. Two things:

1. Monday at 11 am is the "Fix Face-Offs" live video chat. It's like this chat but with pictures! Stay tuned.

2. Monday night is the March edition of "politics and Pints". Come one, come all to Capitol Lounge at 7 pm! See you there!

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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