The Washington Post

Oct 22, 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.


11 days away. Can you smell it? The election is almost here -- soon to be followed by my post-election depressive swoon when I realize it's two more years until the next election.

Which reminds me: I want election day to be spread out over 3-4 days. Too much good stuff for a single day. Kind of like college football bowls.

Speaking of which, you are looking LIVE at Northside Social coffee shop in Arlington, Virginia....let's chat.

From balmy Argentina (home of Las Leonas, 2010 Field Hockey World Champions), I'd like to know what is the best possible outcome of the Senate reaces for the Democrats. Is there any realistic chance that they only lose three seats (Arkansas, North Dakota and Indiana)?

Fact: Mrs. Fix has a Las Leonas jersey from our trip to Argentina two years ago.

At this point, I think the BEST -- though far from the most likely -- outcome for Senate Democrats is a four seat loss.

Three seats -- AR, IN and ND -- are beyond saving. A fourth -- Wisconsin -- is close.

That's four losses.  Such a scenario would mean that Democrats win every toss up race out there, which seems unlikely given the Republican lean of the national political environment these days.

If Linda McMahon goes down to defeat in CT, how will you be able to reference pro wrestling in these chats?

Didn't you read my line above about a depressive swoon post-election?

But, we still have 10 days for me to cram in wrestling metaphors. Do you smeelllllllll, what the Fix is cooking?!

This is a tight race, but it doesn't seem to be getting much attention outside of the state. Is this because our Mama-Grizzly candidate did not dabble in witchcraft as a teen, or because the results are seen as a foregone conclusion?

Just not nearly as close as a lot of other Senate races out there. (We will publish our latest Friday Senate Line on the Fix stay tuned.)

While Ayotte may not be your cup of tea -- heyooo! -- polling suggests she is comfortably ahead of Rep. Paul Hodes (D).

The fact that neither national party is spending any money on the race is a sign of where they think the race stands -- which is not all that competitive.

Do you think Joe Sestak will win the Senate seat? He has been surging lately, and if he wins, this will definitely make it impossible for the GOP to win the Senate

No question Sestak is on the comeback trail.

And, remember that there are 1.2 million more registered Democrats than registered Republicans in Pennsylvania, which is a major edge for Sestak.

That said, President Obama is not all that popular outside of Philadelphia and could hurt Sestak's effort to hold down former Rep. Pat Toomey's margin in the "T".

The fact Obama is going here three days before the election is a sign of how important -- and close -- this race is.

I dont understand her thought process of how she actually thought she won the debate with Chris Coons on the First Amendment question, which she flubbed. Are her advisors that tone deaf?

And we have filled the one Christine O'Donnell question per chat.

Remember that the Delaware Senate race is roughly as competitive as the New York race and the Oregon race. As in, not competitive.

An internal Dem poll shows Charlie Melancon gaining on David Vitter. Half of me has always wondered whether David Vitter's personal issues could possibly be overlooked. The other half of me can't help but think that this is just noise since no other poll has showed this to be anywhere close. Does Melancon have the stat-esticular fortitude to really make it a race in LA?

Um, whoah.

I think in a different election cycle Vitter could have been in real trouble. I have a hard time seeing how he loses in this election though -- given the clear Republican tilt in Louisiana and nationally.

While Melancon has a poll that has him down only three, I know Republican internal polling shows Vitter with a double digit lead.

What's the big difference? Almost certainly the estimates both sides are making on the number of African Americans who vote.

In 11 days, we'll know who was right.

Have you ever thought about following Chuck Todd's way and growing a goatee?

Forget the goatee. The mustache is the next style trend. Would I be allowed on TV with a mustache? (And, to be clear, I can only grow a wispy sort of mustache -- not the Tom Selleck as Magum PI kind.)

Russ Feingold just got the Green Bay Post Gazette endorsement, and a new poll shows him only 2 points behind Ron Johnson. On the other hand, Charlie Cook and Larry Sabato have moved the race to Leans R. Thoughts on this race?

I think it's a tough race for Feingold. The poll that shows him down only 2 is out of step with most of the other public and private data out there. And, neither national party is spending in Wisconsin.

I think Feingold is still within striking range of Ron Johnson but it seems to me that it would take a major gaffe by the Republican for Feingold to come back and win this one.

Stranger things have, of course, happened.

Hi Chris, When this year's elections finally take place will you take a year off during that quiet period before the start of Presidential election cycle for 2012 or does that start the morning after this year's election?

The 2012 presidential election will almost certainly start on Nov. 3. 

That doesn't mean though that the ole Fix will start covering it that day. I need a b-r-e-a-k (it makes it longer when you spell it out.)

Chris - Shameless Plug Opportunity: Could you talk a little bit about the kinds of questions at Politics & Pints - degree of difficulty, etc. - and maybe give a few samples? Some friends and I have been considering stopping by, but have been concerned that it's so inside that we'd get worked by ringers like Kane.

NOT insidery at all!

We have five rounds of questions -- two of them are House/Senate/Gov/prez relatee -- and a picture round.

At Monday's "P and P" the other three categories were: geography, fall movies and the NBA.

And, yes, Paul Kane's team did win -- but it was close!

Jon Ralston has been reporting on early voter numbers in NV, and has yet to see any kind of bump that would reflect a substantial increase in NV Republican turnout thus far. Do these tea leaves tell us anything at all?

Not sure how much to read into it. Look I think this is going to be a VERY close race no matter who wins.

In my reading of Ralston -- and I ALWAYS read Ralston -- the early vote totals affirm that assumption.

Did you see Mark Sanford in Argentina when you were there?

No. I was hiking the Appalachian Trail when he was there.

Do you think the Republicans will gain more or less than: House 45 Seats, Senate 8 Seats?

I am participating in the Post's "Crystal Ball" competition where me and a few other suckers, err, experts make their predictions about gains and losses.

It comes out in the "Outlook" section next weekend. Don't want to spoil the surprise.

When you hear "Lois Capps," what's the first thing that comes to your mind? She's my representative, well-liked and respected in our district, who has not faced a serious challenger in many, many years. Just curious what her reputation in D.C. is like.

Laura Capps. Her daughter. And the next Congresswoman from the district.

If Russ Feingold were a wrestler, which one would he be and why?

Chris Nowinski ...the Harvard educated wrestler.

Feingold is a Rhodes scholar. Dude is smart.

How much private polling, if any, do you see when you rate your 'Fix 15' Senate races.

A. Lot.

Your soundtrack for the day is always the most vital piece of information. And may I suggest that if you aren't listening to the new Old 97s record, you aren't truly living.

Well, I am at Northside I am dependent on their tunes...they were playing "Illinois" by Sufjan Stevens earlier but have moved on -- unfortunately.

I have been listening to the new "Tallest Man on Earth" record a lot lately. But, man do I love me some Old 97s.

"Valentine" is just terrific. And, also, what's so great about the barrier reef?

It seemed in a few recent polls that Scott McAdams was seeing a slight lift in numbers. The recent CNN poll told a different story. But many in the blogosphere (and McAdam's camp) complained about the wording of the write-in question on the CNN poll. How big of an effect can the wording have in a poll like that?

It could have a HUGE impact.

Lisa Murkowski's name will appear nowhere on the actual ballot. Voters will have to remember to write her in.

It's just very difficult to approximate that experience in a poll. Any way in which you provide people with Murkowski's name is NOT an approximation of the experience most voters will have when they go in to cast their ballot.

Who would you take between, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, John Cena, and The Fix (All in their prime) in a battle royal match to the death?

Best finishing move of that group: Austin (Stone Cold Stunner)

Worst finishing move of that group: Fix (Lie in corner and pretend you are dead so bigger guys leave you alone.)

Is there a possibility that this election will extend as long as the Franken election in 2008? Save your swooning.

My gosh I hope not....June 2009 was a LITTLE late to resolve the 2008 election, no?

Don't worry, Senator John Hoeven will have the Magnum, PI mustache covered starting in January

Yes. HUGE. The mustachioed caucus returns!  Not since Jon Corzine have people with facial hair been so well represented in the Senate.

BTW your intro sounded like the kool-aid man busting through the wall at Arlington Social (Are you sponsored by them yet?)

Not yet...

Also, I loved those dang ads. Also, this:

You're definitely a Fu Manchu type guy.

Is that a compliment? If I do have a Fu Manchu, I am dying it jet black in honor of SF Giants closer who put together the eight best minutes of sports radio/tv in recent memory right here:

What's up with the field hockey? There is only one sport called hockey and it's played on ice.

Riiiight. Tell that to the world community -- among which field hockey is the second most popular sport.

So Bayh is sitting on a lot of money. He left Democrats in a lurch when he announced his retirement. In 12 years in the Senate, he accomplished pretty much nothing. What do you see as his political future? Is it only in Indiana, or does he still have a chance for a national run?

I think it's in Indiana. If he wants to run for governor in 2012, it's hard for me to imagine any other Democrat could keep him from the nomination.

And, he'd likely be a general election favorite too. I think he always enjoyed being governor more than being in the Senate (who doesn't?) so it might be the job he goes for next.

Hard for me to see a centrist like Bayh being a serious presidential primary contender.  Maybe as a VP nominee but he's already made the finals and been passed over twice before (2004 and 2008).

Pull a Springsteen, grow a soul patch.

I am thinking of going Lincecum and just never cutting my hair again. Ever.

Did you get Bill Simmons to participate in the Crystal Ball contest? You know he has a political science degree.

No...but that is a good idea. Sports Guy=good people.

Has there been ANY talk of Obama not running for re-election? The only sign I've seen is actually a bit of rumors regarding staffers headed towards running his 2012 campaign. Who keeps floating rumors to the contrary or is it just wishful thinking from conservatives to gloat about or Clintonistas?


Obama is running for re-election. The pieces are already being put in place at the staff level and my guess is that sometime in the early spring of 2011, he makes it official.

And, as we covered in a recent "Fast Fix" episode -- Fix super producer Jodi, can u link? -- it's VERY unlikely that Obama faces a serious primary challenge.

My gut feeling is that Republicans are going to clean house in the, well, House. But they are going to fall short in the Senate. I know that history does not back me up on this, as Chuck Todd reminds me every few days.

Right. Since 1930, the House has never switched control without the Senate doing so too.

Because wave elections tend to be, well. wave-y.

I have a hard time seeing Republicans getting to the majority in the Senate too although they do have enough seats in play to make it feasible.

Prediction- Who is the first Republican to announce they are running for Prez. and what is the date?

Tim Pawlenty. Sometime in early December -- in between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Next weekend as in tomorrow? Or as in the weekend before the election?

That's Krystal Ball.

And, NEXT weekend. The weekend before the election.

I think it's important to note about CNN's Alaska poll is that the question actually mentioned Lisa Murkowski as one of the candidates.

Yup. Good point. Just VERY hard to poll this race although I have talked to some smart Republicans who believe Miller could actually be in real trouble from Murkowski.

What would it take to become your understudy? I'm thinking like a 21st century Plato-Aristotle or Aristotle-Alexander the Great duo. What do you think?

Whoah. Have to check with FixFelicia and FixAaron on that one....and Felicia is from New Jersey so she can get a little surly...

...old school, Rock-style, mutton-chop sideburns?

Had those in high school...although they were more the Brandon/Dylan "90210" chops. Which is, of course, the only thing I had in common with those two guys in high school.

Now that it's been a few days since the Aqua Buddha Fiasco, any idea how it's affecting the KY race? Besides the DSCC poll, RCPs average has Paul up 4... you're thoughts?

I think Paul has a narrow lead.

It's just difficult for a Democrat to win in a state like Kentucky in a year like this one.

This race probably shouldn't be as close as it is but Rand Paul has said enough impolitic, ahem, things to keep Conway in the mix.

Both national parties continue to spend heavily in the state, which makes me think they both see the race as close still.

At Mrs. Fix's field hockey games, do you ever shout "UNLEASH THE FURY" to motivate the team?

No. But I do yell A LOT.  All positive stuff -- or so I tell myself.

Fix Jr will occasionally look up from my lap where he -- occasionally -- sits and give me the "Really, Dad?" look. And, yes, he is 19 months old.

Hi Fix, We all know what's going to happen in Delaware, but do you think O'Donnell is hurting Republicans in other states by association? Do you think the national attention she's getting is hurting the party as a whole?

Ok, I am grandfathering this question in since it is only tangentially about O'Donnell.

Sestak brought her up repeatedly in the PA Senate debate the other night to try and tie Toomey to the extreme right of tyhe party.

I think it could have some impact at the margins in the PA race because Delaware and Philadelphia share a media market.

But, the idea that mentioning O'Donnell in nevada or Colorado is going to change those races in any meaningful way seems a bit far fetched to me.

Funny thing about him is that an unpopular mid-card wrestler turned out to be a huge figure in the movement to study concussions in football. If that's his calling, what an odd way to get to it (I know he quit wrestling due to concussions, but Harvard => WWE => Brain research).

I did not know that.

What do you make of Politico's story from Jon Martin, criticizing Palin's team in regards to her appearances for GOP candidates this year?

I thought it was a well done story. I hear the same concerns about Palin.

She is clearly a dyanmic figure within the party but there is a concern among establishment types that her unwillingness to grow her staff or operate under the normal rules of politics make her too unpredictable to be the party's nominee.

Of course, that presumes she is running for president. Which we don't know -- yet.

How about this: you can't run for a seat held by any relative (blood or marriage) for a minimum of two terms. We're not a monarchy here, despite what the Bushes and Bidens and Bayhs and Clintons and Carnahans and Cappses and Kennedys and Daleys and Powells and the rest of them think.

I think that will happen right after we repeal the 17th Amendment.

It looks like Texas governor, Rick Perry, is ahead of Bill white by 9-10 points, but MSNBC's Daily Rundown did a piece this morning saying that this race is close.......what gives???

I think it is relatively close but it's hard to find someone who doesn't work for Bill White who doesn't think Rick Perry is ahead.

Like Vitter in Louisiana, I could see Perry being beaten in a different election cycle -- like 2006 for example.

But in a good year for Republicans nationally, it will almost certainly be a very good year for Republicans in Texas, which makes Perry a favorite.

Inspired by your support of the Catholic University field hockey team the past weekend, I attended the contest between Elmira College Soaring Eagles and the Stevens Institute of Technology Ducks. Even though I am a huge fan of spectator sports, I could not understand the rules of field hockey. I thought, "Why is that a foul?" What is this equivalent of a soccer corner kick?" Can you point me to a website that could explain the seemingly obtuse rules of field hockey?

YES!  So thrilled.

Let me say this about field hockey and the rules: I treat fouls in hockey like pornography -- I know them when I see them.

Am I sure exactly what every call is? NO WAY.

Here's a good rules primer:

I nearly got kicked out of one of my daughter's field hockey games when she was in high school. The other team had a male player, who botched a penalty shot... I let out "nice shot, princess" and had to hide from the ref...

It is absolutely amazing how thin skinned the refs are in a sport that is SO dependent on them.

They are like dictators...NO questioning of them is permitted. (I have learned that lesson the hard way over many, many, many field hockey games.)

Bill Simmons once had a line that pretty much any event can be improved by a steel chair to someone's back. If you think the Cali race is interesting now, imagine if Pelosi popped out of somewhere and hit someone with one of these. Then again, that might be the Dems best chance to win a close election.

It's so true.

Just like any match is better with a steel cage lowered over the ring.

Or every song is better when Bon Iver sings it.

And I'm suddenly dealing with Angle, Miller, and Paul, who've decided that they want to put holds on all nominations and legislation. What do I do?

This will be one of THE storylines to watch over the next year.

No matter what happens on Nov. 2, there will be a fair number of Republicans elected who ran directly against their party leadership to get there.

Running the Senate -- either as the Minority or the Majority Leader -- is never easy but will be a near impossible task with the variance of approach and ideology in the Senate GOP in the 112th Congress.

I'm more looking forward to a viral youtube of Fix screaming "RELEASE THE KRAKEN!" from the stands.

Now that WOULD be something to I just need to find a Kraken store...

Chris, It is too easy for you this week. it's gotta be Clarence Thomas, right?


Soon to be published on the Fix!

And that's all folks!

Enjoy the last weekend before the last weekend of the election. I'll be taking my talents to Catholic U tonight to watch the Cardinals face off against the Drew Rangers in Landmark Conference action!

Have a great weekend and make sure to check out our new Monday Fix chat: Future Fix. You ask me to predict, I do it and then we see if I am right!



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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