Oct 08, 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.

Good morning all.

It's 25 days before the November election. Man. We are getting close.

Polls and ads are flying everywhere...and we are doing everything we can to keep track of it all on The Fix.

For the next hour though, I am all yours. Got questions about races? I have answers. I hope.

I noticed that the DSCC plans to be advertising in Illinois, but the NRSC do not. Confidence in Mark Kirk's lead, or just faith in his cash on hand advantage?

I think the latter.

Kirk had a huge money edge over Giannoulias AND American Crossroads has spent heavily in the state to counter the DSCC ads.

The NRSC hasn't really had to spend money on independent expenditure ads just yet but my guess is they will start -- soon.

In 1980 and 1988, West Virginia voted for Democrats Jimmy Carter and Michael Dukakis in otherwise terrible years for Democrats. Now, West Virginia isn't even competitive on the presidential level and popular governor Joe Manchin is seemingly behind in the polls in his race for the Senate. What gives?

The state has turned strongly against Democrats over the past few elections.

George W. Bush carried it in 200 and 2004 and McCain won it easily in 2008.

I'd need more time to figure out exactly why...but you are right about Manchin. He is VERY popular as governor but voters seem to be be somewhat resistant to the idea of sending him to Washington.

That suggests that Democrats broadly aren't unpopular but the national party very much is.

Everyone is just so obsessed with Christine O'Donnell; yet, no one seems to believe she will actually win. Is this media fascination just comic relief or was it actually the foreseeable outcome of a cunning scheme: sacrifice one "sure-thing" Northeastern RINO seat to assist several GOTP radicals in coasting to victory under the radar? The national media and punditry have this Palin-esque obsession with the Delaware candidate whom everyone agrees has "no shot"; meanwhile, the extremist positions possessed by Tea Party candidates in actual competitive races (Nevada, Kentucky, Alaska, Florida) are escaping the appropriate level of scrutiny as the proletariat crack witch jokes. Is the Tea Party movement actually organized enough to pull something like this off or am I giving them too much credit?

I think you are exaggerating somewhat -- but not that much.

The simple fact is that Christine O'Donnell is someone people are very interested even though she has little chance to win.

So, cable news devotes time to her, newspaper and blogs write about her etc.

Any time I write about O'Donnell I try to make very clear at the front end that she is more a media phenomenon than a political one.

Two polls released this week showed her losing to Democrat Chris Coons by double digits.

Don't tell Fix, Jr., but the voice actor of Dora The Explorer is, apparently, suing Nickolodeon. Sad Face.

Yeah, I am going to keep that from him. Kids have to believe in something after all.

You argue that people usually don't care about where money comes from and that the focus should be on the economy to win. Can't those be tied in this case though? Bribes from foreign countries and international companies that outsource jobs wouldn't be a big deal with 10 percent unemployment?

I would say that in most cases voters don't care where campaign money comes from.

There are obviously exceptions: Buddhist temple fundraising in the 1990s being a prominent example.

But, I do think that the White House focusing on American Crossroads and other conservative-aligned groups won't gain much traction.

Average voters just aren't interested. They are much more focused on the economy and job creation.

Will the Democrats be successful in causing voters some angst that maybe the Tea Party candidates might be too extreme and 'be careful for what you wish for'? Better the devil you know, then the devil you don't know. steve Annandale, vA

I think it will happen on a case by case basis. For example, I am not sure Joe Miller's tea party ties matter all that much in Alaska.

But, in Nevada, Harry Reid has scored points by making the devil you know argument. He's still in a toss up race with Sharron Angle but almost no one thought he'd be even that close to winning when the election started.

I know there is a tendency to lump all tea party backed candidates together but it's probably a mistake when trying to analyze each of their chances.

Wow, bush was in office twice and they were 1804 years apart?! I guess its true, you learn something new everyday. Vampire perhaps? ;)

And the typo demon strikes again.

Sorry...my typing fingers have grown chubby from eaying these delicious muffins at Northside Social!

This is the third straight Friday Fix chat from this locale. And, I am liking it more and more.

Is Northside Social the new Buzz?

Man, this election is going to be the end of me. More than three weeks to go, and TWO phone calls yesterday for a county commission seat. *sheesh* I'm not sure I can take it.

Welcome to the final 25 days of an election.


I am currently staring at 150 pages of emails. Ugh.

Is there a realistic chance for a Democrat win?

Several questions on this one.

First, make sure to read Dan Balz's piece in today's Post and Jonathan Martin's Politico piece from yesterday on the race.

Second, sure Bill White has a chance to win. He's run a solid campaign and there is a significant group of people who won't vote for Rick Perry no matter what.

That said, Texas is a conservative state in a very good year for Republicans nationally.  And, that makes it hard for me to see how White gets over the top. 

But, he is clearly in the game with three and a half weeks to go.

I know, I know, we're still thinking about 2010...but... How will the electoral college change given the new census data - and is that going to have an impact on the election (people moving out of places like CA and NY and to TX and GA)?

If projections are right, the upper Midwest (OH, MN) will lose seats while the southwest (TX, AZ) will gain.

They won't be drastic changes in terms of electoral votes though. Texas is going to be the biggest gainer with foiur new seats (and hence four more electoral votes).

Almost all of the other states will either gain or lose an electoral vote here and there.

"Any time I write about O'Donnell I try to make very clear at the front end that she is more a media phenomenon than a political one." That is her brilliant plan, isn't? Follow the Palin playbook step-by-step: don't actually win political office, but be a "media phenomenon"?

Well, if it's her plan, it's worklng.

Also, I am you.

Dingell is trailing by 4 in independent polling. If the D's lose this seat they lose ______ seats in the house?

Not sure I buy that poll.

If Dingell loses, Democrats will lose 60+ House seats. That is a district that went heavily for Obama in 2008.

"Average voters just aren't interested. They are much more focused on the economy and job creation." This doesn't actually answer the question, which was whether the bad economy could be tied to foreign groups pouring money into elections.

I don't think it can. Because, to my previous point, voters aren't interested.


If you and Dana Milbank ever joined forces, would that be the equivalent of Triple H and Stone Cold joining forces?

Um, we did join forces.

It was called Mouthpiece Theater. And it was about as successful as Paul Simon's "Capeman" on Broadway. Or "Ishtar". Or that show "Lonestar".  Or my high school dating career.

You get the point.

Out in sunny California, Gloria Allred, a Jerry Brown donor and lifelong Democrat, uses an old housekeeper to attack Meg Whitman as a hypocrite on immigration, and Brown and/or his aid calls Whitman a "whore" in a "private" taped conversation. So much for the issues! Do you think that the majority of voters are made more -- or less -- likely to vote when candidates sling the mud as they're doing in California? When does the "ick" factor make voters want to just stay home on Election Day and clean the toilets?

There is also a celebrity/pop culture element to California politics...it is the home of Hollywood after all.

I am not sure how the Brown remark (or the remark of a staffer -- it's not clear) will play. If it was Brown, it's not good.

Of course, Whitman has not handled the whole houskeeper immigration issue well at all.

Do these sorts of things trump the economy in voters' minds? I don't think so but it's hard to imagine them not mattering at all either.

Paul Hodes is starting to catch up to Kelly Ayotte in NH Senate race. What do you think of his chances to pull it out against Sarah Palin-backed candidate?

I am not sure he is ctaching up. I saw a poll yesterday that showed it close but most of the data shows Ayotte comfortably ahead.

I don't hear much buzz about that race from Democrats....

Is Northside Social grateful that you brought your talents there?

I believe so. I will be holding a media appearance here next Friday where I wear my uniform and rub my departure in the face of Buzz.


What does Chris Cillizza plan on doing this weekend?

Chris Cillizza will be taking his talents to Catholic University tomorrow for a HUGE field hockey game.

It's the good gals (Catholic U field hockey) vs the bad gals (Juniata college field hockey) at 1 pm tomorrow.

Should be a great game.

Wow, it's not often we get an admission that political reporters have the collective attention span of a toddler.

Really. To that point....SQUIRREL!

Does Chris Cillizza ever say that to anyone?

"I am you".

Just did.

Who is going to represent me in the next Congress -- Frank Kratovil or Andy Harris?

First question from a congressional district in the chat! Welcome MD-01!

I think you will be represented by Andy Harris, the Republican, next year.

You are an eastern shore of Maryland seat that favors Republicans -- you of course already know this about yourself -- and Frank Kratovil, the Democrat, benefited from a major Democratic surge in 2008.

If White were to actually pull off the upset in Texas, what would be the national ramifications? Would it only be redistricting,or would it have other impacts?


The state is gaining four seats. Whoever is the governor will have a major say over where those seats are and what the partisanship of them look like.

Actual numbers and gains aside, do you envision the Tea Party maintaining momentum after the inevitable pick-up of GOP/conservative seats in both houses of Congress. What I mean, is how does the "angry" movement react when some of their candidates get down to actual governance, which takes time and compromise (e.g., not the calling cards of Tea Party constituents)?

A central question of the next two years.

If the tea party helps elect some of their preferred candidates does the anger dissipate? Or does it continue through 2012?

The most interesting part of that debate is how the tea party influences the 2012 nominating process.  Does a Jim DeMint or Sarah Palin decide to run openly as the tea party favorite? And, can they win?

You got snubbed. Again. My question: when will this injustice be rectified by awarding you your proper recognition?

The Nobel committee passes me by again!

Well, there's always the Putlitzers.

Actually, I am angling for a Nickelodeon teen Choice award. The kids love politics right?

So you don't think the Dems will have any success Dems making connections between jobs losses in the US and foreigners wanting free trading Republicans to be elected?

Um, not much. And, after answering this question three times, I think we can moveon.org.

If you're me, and Christine O'Donnell's me, are you Christine O'Donnell?

The transitive property at work!

What's your take on the polling information that came out this week conducted by Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates? It seemed very interesting in that Dems are uniformly behind, but many are in striking range. Time for an October surprise?

I think there are lots of Democrats behind right now.

The fundamental question we don't know the answer to is can they come back and win?

Typically an incumbent in the low to mids 40s -- whether ahead or behind -- is likely to lose election. Why? Because if, 25 days away from an election, voters haven't decided to be for you why you they start now?

Does that truism hold this time around? Or does the broad unpopularity of the Republican brand give Democrats an opening?

Is that from the movie UP? It's my sons favorite.

YES! Someone got my "Up" reference. I feel validated.

We own it on Blue Ray. Fix Jr is still too young to enjoy it but me and Mrs. Fix love it.

I always tear up during the memories scene of Carl and Ellie's life together. Golly. So good.

Do you think the Democrats could be successful some places running an ad depicting the Koch Bros., whose $$ is reported (by Jane Mayer) to be behind extreme-right Republican advertising this cycle?

No. For the same reason I don't think you can win by talking about American Crossroads and Karl Rove.

It's not a bad strategy to fire up your own base but it's not going to persuade independent and undecided voters much at all.

Democrats need to try to win  -- or at least not lose too badly -- on the economy over the final 25 days of the race. Period.

Does the fact that there are still a lot of undecided voters in the Illinois Senate race bode well for either Kirk / AG? Given the current political climate, wouldn't those tend to break for the Republican come decision time?


But, this is a race between two candidates who voters don't like/trust so it makes calculating how undecideds break more difficult.

Here's another way to look at the high undecideds: illinois is a Democratic state so it's likely more of the undecideds are Democrats than Republicans. If they come home, Giannoulias benefits.

Someday we'll have to meet. I too had a tear or two at Carl & Ellie's life together. Great family movie.

Just amazing. Of course, since the arrival of Fix Jr. I cry at commercials with babies in them...so, low bar.

But, man is that a good movie.

Maybe Chris Cillizza could be awarded the Second Annual Montgomery Burns Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence?


Or I could just be elected honorary sanitation commissioner of Springfield.

And I don't mean Harry S. Truman. For this election year, we really need Hunter Thompson to make sense of it all.

True.  He would be invaluable in an election like this one.

I, for one, am still waiting for the big David Maraniss take out on what it all means.

How much do you think Bristol Palin's appearing on "Dancing With The Stars" will help candidates endorsed by her mother in this election?

Is there a number less than zero?

Also, Mark Ballas is super talented. He can dance and play guitar. He is like the new Justin Timberlake.

We're all Christine O'Donnell and now you're Dug? Oh my God, are we all Dug?

I am taking this typo-created problem to pivot and focus on "doug" the genius "Flight of the Conchords" character.

Why did that show go off the air? And did Bret ever perfect his bicycle helmet meant to look like his real hair?

Does the revelation of Adler's top campaign aides helping the fake Tea Party candidate get on the ballot even resonate with voters? It seems like it may be inside baseball.

I think inside baseball. As a rule, people don't focus on/care about process stories like that one -- or like the "outside groups spending on the election" narrative.

But it will almost certainly get him a few days of bad press.


On Wednesday's chat, you noted your newly found allegiance to Tottenham Hotspur in the EPL. Did you realize that Bill Simmons had also adopted that team (after an exhaustive decision process, which he described in his columns), or are is this just another case of the cosmic connection that the two of you apparently have (but which has yet to be requited on his side)?

I had followed Simmons' adoption of the Spurs a few years ago when I was still a soccer skeptic.

So, I was a little wary of also going with Spurs -- don't want to be a Simmons Stalker ("Remember that time you were in the Beatles....that was awesome") but the combination of Gareth Bale, Peter Crouch's awkward tallness and Jemaine Defoe made Spurs irrestible.

Simmons sidenote: I got to meet him a few weeks ok. Very psyched. And I didn't even freeze up and just stare.

Calling someone the new Justin Timberlake is almost as annoying as calling someone the new Springsteen--the old versions are busy still being themselves. Speaking of, did you catch the Springsteen doc on HBO last night?

The Hold Steady are the new Springsteen!

And, no. But I will.

If Raj Goyle doesn't win in Kansas this election cycle, does that mean his rando references in your Live Chat will stop?

They havne't yet.

Re: Mouthpiece Theater. I didn't catch all of them, but the ones that I did, I enjoyed a lot. I was sad to see it go (and no, I am not your mother).

Thanks, Dad.

I know, I know... It's just moronic chatter from Clintonistas who will not go gently into that good night, but still. One factor that's ignore is Barack Obama. If Barack Obama is a two-term president, he'll have an influence on who is the nominee in 2016. I don't see him picking Hillary Rodham Clinton as the heir of his own administration's legacy. If Barack Obama lost in 2012, my bet is he pulls a Grover Cleveland and runs again in 2016 himself.

Someone tell Mark Warner...

You're welcome.

Wow. Impressive.

Although there is a guy from Real World: Boston running in Wisconsin, I never saw that show. Where are the Sonny Bonos and Ben Jones aka Cooter in "The Dukes of Hazzard" candidates this cycle?

Well, Rob Reiner and Queen Latifah are now in Congress...so not sure what you are complaining about.

Also, I am changing my name to Fart Barfunkel.

You buy movies for your baby that he doesn't watch? Next you'll tell your one of those parents that goes trick-or-treating with a baby and I have to pretend that it's not the parent who are going to be eating all the candy. Although does anybody trick-or-treat anymore?

Oh, I will feed Fix Jr every bit of candy he receives.

(That noise you just heard was Mrs. Fix breaking out the divorce papers.)

Does the GOP have any kind of chance against Phil Hare? I've just seen Politico reporting that they're putting money there, which I think of as a long shot.

I think they do have a shot. It's not in our top 50 races most likely to switch sides -- which just got posted on the Fix -- but it is a competitive race.

That district is more competitive than u might think. And, downstate Illinois is very rough sledding for any Demicrats these days.

Homeless Simmons? Don't be so down on yourself. You were referenced on "The Vampire Diaries" for Christ's sake.

Dude...it is an honor to be the homeless man's Simmons. That dude is my career model...

C'mon, admit it. Sometimes, when no one's looking, you slip on the smoking jacket, don't you?

No comment. NO COMMENT.

A SPURS FAN??? And by choice, yet? This Arsenal supporter has lost all respect for you.

Isn't rooting for Arsenal kind of like rooting for the Yankees or the Lakers?

My favorite NHL team is [fill in name of team that won Stanley Cup since I don't know]


Who is going to be the star Republican consultant after the midterms, in the way that now everyone knows who Plouffe is?

I thank you.


1. Jon lerner -- tyhe best Republican media consultant/pollster no one has heard of

2. Fred Davis -- the best Republican media consultant everyone has heard of.

3. Mike Murphy: if Murph can bring it home for Whitman in California....look out world.

You should finish one of these with, "Yup--these are my chatters."

Yup, these are my chatters.


Astronaut Mike Dexter

PS -- DON'T forget to check out our daily "Fast Fix" political videos. They're fast. They're the Fix. Nuff said. LINK

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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