Oct 01, 2010

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

T-minus five minutes until Rahm Emanuel officially leaves his gig as White House chief of staff to run for mayor of Chicago.

Make sure to check out our "Fast Fix" video that tries to answer some of the tough questions raised by Rahm's departure: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/the-fast-fix/

And, speaking of questions, there are lots of them in the queue.  So let's do it.

My prediction will be that while Republicans will pickup senate seats, the Democrats will be able to flip at least one seat from red to blue. My view is the Kentucky will be that seat. What is your prediction?

Our Friday Senate Line just went up on the Fix (or will momentarily).

In it, we rate Missouri as the 9th most likely seat to switch party control and the best chance for Democrats to flip a GOP seat.

Kentucky is rated 10th, just behind Missouri. Rand Paul's tendency to say impolitic things has kept Jack Conway in the game.

But, kentucky is a conservative state and this is a Republican year nationally.  It's easy to see Jack Conway, the Democrat, getting 47 percent of the vote. It's harder to see him getting over 50 percent.

Why did the Democratic establishment rally behind two-time (and soon-to-be three time) statewide loser, Lee Fisher?

Because, on paper, he was a good candidate. Sitting LG etc.

But he has turned out to be something well short of good. His inability to raise money or keep senior staff happy has led to a disjointed campaign that looks very likely to come up short on Nov. 2.

Fisher's chances have also been hurt by the fact that former Rep. Rob Portman has done almost everything right in the race.

But, a major missed opportunity for Democrats thanks to Fisher.

Is Beau Biden kicking himself?

Right now? Not sure...my Biden webcam is down.

More generally, probably -- a little.

NO ONE including me thought that Christine O'Donnell had any chance of beating Mike Castle.

And, in a general election, Castle would have been a very formidable candidate.

Those close to BB said he took a pass on the race for personal reasons not political ones. I take them at their words but he still could have walked into a Senate seat if he had run.

Even though Beau Biden missed his chance this year, what about 2012? There have been rumors of Tom Carper stepping down either because he wants to or because of illness. Is that true and if so, would Beau run then?

I haven't heard those rumors...if there was another opening I think it's a near certainty Beau B. goes for it.


I have a bet with my brother on which of the 5 former Governors is most likely to come back to office. My rankings of their chances were: 1. Branstad, 2. Brown, 3. Kitzhaber, 4. Ehrlich, and 5. Barnes. How would you rank them?

Ooh. Good one.

1. Branstad 2. Barnes 3. Brown 4. Ehrlich 5. Kitzhaber.

On a scale of Daniel Inouye (no concern) to Martha Coakley (red alert), how concerned should Democrats be about the West Virginia Senate race?

Coakley level.

This race is a major, major problem. Gov. Joe Manchin IS very popular but he's not as popular as President Obama and national Democrats are unpopular.

And, that's a big problem in a year where the national winds are blowing in Republicans' direction.

Mr. Fix - I know that this is a little out of your area, but do you have any thoughts on the political landscape following Medvedov's firing of the the Mayor of Moscow and how this plays into the 2012 Russian Presidential Elections? Thanks.

Um....yeah...so Russia is a country....it used to be known as the U.S.S.R...uh...Moscow is in Russia...

Hi Chris, The new White House chief of staff must be a fan of yours because I saw Washington Post headline "Pete Rouse, who will replace Emanuel as chief of staff, is known as 'fixer'" I hope you are as loved at home as you are out here in the world.

I, too, noticed that obvious Fix reference.

Good to know Pete Rouse models himself on my blog. Can't say I am surprised.

(And, before a cascade of "you are so full of yourself" emails come cascading in...I am kidding. Or am I?)

I want to dress up for Halloween as John Boehner, but am unsure how much time to spend in the tanning bed. Any advice?

Make an appointment for this afternoon. And every afternoon after that.


Chris, could you give the Magic 8-ball another shake and tell us who you think is Rhambo's biggest competitor for the mayor of Chicago?


Tom Dart!

Dart is the Cook County Sheriff and very well liked in the city.

Also, he has an awesome name to be a sheriff. Sounds like Elliot Ness.

Which Coffee Spot are you at today. And did they play the theme to DX when you entered?

I am at Northside Social in Arlington -- for the second straight week!

This place is rapidly becoming a favorite...good pastry, good coffee, fast and free wifi...and tons of Justin Timberlake blaring over the speakers.

And, no DX entrance music. Just once in my life I want "I am a real American" to play when I walk into work. (And, yes, I will be wearing a semi-ripped, yellow Hulkamania shirt.)

When is the next one?

Oct 18!  Cap Lounge.  7-9 pm. Deputy Fixes will be on hand to sign autographs!

Should this day be call Rahmadan or Rahm Kippur? I'm voting for the latter since the Fix team's own Felicia came up with it.


I'm surprised to see Barnes so high on your list, especially now that polls have Deal back up in spite of the financial allegations that have been raised against him. What makes you so high on Barnes?

I just think Deal's ethics stuff coupled with his being a former Member of Congress gives Barnes an opening.

Now, it is Georgia and so Deal will benefit from the R nature of the state.

But, govs races sometimes buck partisan trends and this could be an example of that.

I thought Fix fans were called Fixnistas, not Fixers.

Fixistas! And they are...but we take all comers.

With just a month until the mid-term elections will Pete Rouse put a new stamp on the Democrat's election strategy? Incidentally Pete was my college roommate at Colby and I can't imagine you could find a harder worker.

I can't imagine he would be able to. The die is cast -- largely -- for this election and no staffer, not even the chief of staff, will be able to change that dynamic.

Rouse's influence will likely be felt beyond the election as he works to implement his know-how of the legislative process -- he was Tom Daschle's long time chief -- to push the Obama agenda through.

How much harm is the immigration status of Meg Whitman's housekeeper likely to do to her candidacy for Governor of California?

I think the answer is to be determined...it's not been a grat week of headlines for Whitman but she and her campaign are pushing back VERY hard on the story.

The battle for who's right is still ongoing and might not shake out for another week or so.

When will they be for sale?

I have been asking for this for eons.  Maybe this chat can start a grassroots uprising ala the One Nation Rally.

Actually that gives me an idea...if I can get Stewart or Colbert to wear a Fix t-shirt on air I could be a millionaire. Or at least a hundredaire.

What does the Magic 8 ball say about the Catholic field hockey season?

You know how to make me happy.

8-1, ranked #15 in country -- best start in the history of the program.

So, you could say Mrs. Fix is kicking ass. Yeah, you could say that.

Have the GOP basically given up on Christine O'Donnell as a candidate, with her still lagging far behind Chris Coons?

Basically, yes.

I think they are keeping one eye on the race but the national party won't be spending any money on ads in Delaware unless something drastic changes.

O'Donnell is struggling to get out from under a series of negative stories about her resume -- complicating her efforts to reach out beyond the conservative base that elected her in the primary.

And, Mike Castle's decision not to run as a write in makes it hard to see how the math adds up for O'Donnell.

...could we call them the Fixations?

Yes, yes we could.

Or Cillizzamaniacs?

Do you have your own posse yet?

Of course.

Fix Felicia is the brains of the posse, Fix Aaron is the brawn.

And, we all have tattoos.  We are like a gang -- except way less tough.

Which will you be attending?

Oooh. Tough question.

How about option #3: Homecoming weekend at Catholic U!!!

How is a novice politician like former NBA player Chris Dudley topping John Kitzhaber?

Because in a year like this one, being an outsider is way better than being an insider.

Dudley has been a quite good candidate and Kitzhaber has been somewhat unsteady on the campaign trail.

Still, Oregon is a Democratic state and the race is pretty close.  But, Dudley is in surprisingly strong position today.

Which direction do the Demmocrats go after the midterms? A lot of the seats the caucus would lose would be from moderates/Hoyer supporters. Do you foresee a more liberal caucus sticking with Pelosi or feeling the need to move to the middle/get a fresh start going into 2012?

I believe that Pelosi will be Speaker (or Minority Leader) for as long as she wants.

It's uniquely possible that if Democrats lose the House there will be some changes at the leadership level but until it happens those changes are really tough to predict.

Hear very little about this race anymore with Charlie Baker. Would you bet your latte on Gov Patrick?

Big news out of Mass this am...Tim Cahill, who is running as an independent, lost his running mate -- who endorsed Charlie Baker.

The more Cahill falls, the better for Baker as Patrick remains not all that popular and in a two-way race could struggle.

So tell me, do they pull out a victory this weekend?

NO games! A rare weekend of for the Fix family. Back at it on Tuesday night against Goucher College.

How soon before political svengali Eli Gold (Alan Cumming on "The Good Wife") announces HIS candidacy for Mayor of Chicago on the series?

Ok...I have never seen this show but you have asked this same question in every one of my chats for the last 3 weeks.

Consider this a reward for your diligence.

For a Republican candidate to successfully run for the 2012 Presidential nomination, he (or she) will have to make his intentions clear by ______________ (date).


Though that is a sliding timetable based on how well known said candidate is nationally. I tend to think that if you are an unknown (as almnost everyone in the field is at the moment) you should get it sooner than later.

My over/under line on how many R candidates are in the 2012 race by the end of the year: 2.

I think Dicker is on your list of top political reporters in NYS. Does being on that list necessarily mean he's an unbiased reporter? I've followed NY politics for years, and while I'm no Palladino fan, I can tell you Dicker is essentially a bagman for Cuomo. As one of many examples, he regularly wrote scathing pieces on Mark Green in Cuomo's 2006 AG primary, and against McCall in their 2002 Gov contest. I just consider him a gossip columnist. Chris, we know you just cover Politics for the sport, But does being on the Fix list of top pol reporters necessarily mean Dicker is unbiased?

I don;'t know enough about Dicker to get into a debate over his partisanship but I do know he is widely read and influential in New York politics -- and hence belongs on our Fix list of the best reporters in each state.

(Live Fix chat producer -- can we link to that list?)

Also, can I make an urgent plea for someone to do a Dicker profile? Would be absolutelty fascinating.

Have you ever meet Tom Dart? Maybe the name sounds Eliot Ness, but guy isn't quite a "dirty dozen"-type. If anything, Rahmbo is more Eliot Ness-like hardass then Sheriff Dart.

Fair point -- and I have not met him.


Does Carl Paladino actually have a chance to be governor of New York? And if he is elected, what are the chances of total paralysis for the state, given that the has already referred to the speaker of the New York Assembly (an Orthodox Jew) as "the Antichrist."

I don't think so.

I think the media loves the Paladino story because it is such good copy but the simple reality is that no one Republicans nominated had much of a chance of beating Andrew Cuomo this fall.


This is actually working out as best-case scenario for O'Donnell: She loses to Coons, plays the victim to attacks by the "lamestream" media, gets on the Fox News payroll as a pundit and rules her mini-realm from Facebook and Twitter. Brilliant!

Couldn't resist the "lamestream media" reference.

Is she running as an outsider, non-ideologue? Isn't that hard to do with Pete Wilson involved?

She is. And remember that Pete Wilson is the campaign chairman, not the Liet. Gov. candidate.

His role is almost entirely behind the scenes...in fact I would guess that for large swaths of Californians, they have no idea who Wilson even is.

You said two -- Romney and who?

Well played! Tpaw too...and maybe Haley Barbour...I am not sure Romney gets in before the end of the year. He is probably the best known candidate in the current field and has pretty decent operations in a lot of these states...so he has time to wait a little while.

You really have never seen it? It strikes me as the sort of show that a fan of FNL would enjoy. A plus for the Fix: husband of the title character is a disgraced Chicagoland DA who was convicted and imprisoned, is now out and running to regain his office.

I feel like I am adding too many new shows.

I am now watching Modern Family and Parenthood...can I afford to add The Good Wife?

Do you ever refer to yourself in the 3rd person?

Um, have u ever read the Fix.

Chris Cillizza regularly refers to himself in the third person.

As in, "Chris Cillizza has decided to take his talents to Northside Social for today's live chat."

New polling actually shows a close race between Joe Miller and Lisa Murkowski. Does Murkowski have a chance at winning this race?

I wrote about this on the Fix a few days ago.

I would be VERY skeptical about polling in the Alaska race. Any poll I have seen mentions Murkowski as a candidate along with Miller and McAdams.

But that's not how voters will experience the ballot. They will need to remember that Murkowski is running AND remember to write her name in.

That's a much tougher proposition.

Is all the press about John Thune lately a sign he will run, or is he still testing the waters and seeing how much money he can raise and/or how much enthusiasm this positive press generates?

I think he's testing the water at the moment...he has gone on a press spree that should goose his fundraising a bit.

I also think Thune will need to make stops in Iowa, New Hampshire, S.C. etc to see whether there is interest in him running.

The biggest hurdle? His vote for TARP. He needs to figure out whether he can explain that one to voters in a way that they can move beyond it and listen to his views on other issues.

Wait, your Jersey Girl, Fix Felicia, isn't the brawn in your organization?

She's a little of both. Also, a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll.

is actually horrible. It's on CBS and it shows.


Like Modern Family--especially the dorky husband who thinks he is hip--but NOT. Please tell me you watch 30 rock or our relationship will be over.

I occasionally refer to myself as "Astronaut Mike Dexter"...does that tell u anything?

Also, I was once on a fairy with Tina Fey/Liz Lemon. Neither Mrs. Fix nor I said anything like "LIZ LEEEEMOOOON!" though.

And, that dude on Modern Family is genius. He is like a way less hip version of me. Or, he is EXACTLY like me.

OK, so let's suppose the Dems manage to hold onto both houses, but their majorities are considerably slimmer. Do you hold with the conventional wisdom that that would mean gridlock? Or would the GOP see opposition at all costs as self-defeating in terms of image-maintenance?

I think gridlock is likely no matter who controls the House and Senate after the election.

The 2012 election will start the day after the midterms and I think if Republicans pick up a bunch of seats they will almost certainly see it as a justification of the strategy they have adopted so far.

And, if Republicans do control either the House or Senate, the Democrats will have less incentive to get things done too -- as they will be able to blame someone else for the partisan gridlock.

I think Leno made a Thune joke last night. I didn't get it.

Yeah...that makes me think Thune needs to get intol the race sooner rather than later.

Though being made fun of by Leno is a start. Would that Leno would take a shot at the ole Fix!

Hey, Chris. This is a FAMILY-FRIENDLY chat!

Ferry. Ahem.

that's what I thought.

Yeah. I can't imagine it is a surprise to anyone who follows these chats with any regularity.

I'm thinking they have to put someone up there with the starpower to match Obama, but right of center enough to draw some of Obama's potential voters. Barbour doesn't seem to fit that mold, he'd win the conservative south, which Rs would win anyway, but would he really win in places like Florida and Indiana? Not sure.

I wrote something on how Republicans need to choose between nominating their version of Obama (Thune, Romney) or the anti-Obama (Mitch Daniels, Haley barbour etc) in 2012.

I don't know that they have made that choose but my guess is that the leanign right now is toward an anti-obama nominee.

Please, for your own health, go with spray rather than UV. You could never catch up with him so quickly and live to tell about it!


Maybe you should send Leno a Fix T-shirt to wear on-air, once you get them made up!

I HAVE them. We give them out as prizes.  I will just pack one in an envelope and put the address as "Jay Leno, Hollywood". I am sure he'll get it.

Thanks for coming today folks! And, don't forget:

1. I chat every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 11 am. So come on back!

2. Check out our new daily video feature: The Fast Fix. It's here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/the-fast-fix/

3. Be excellent to one another.

See u Monday!

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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