The Fix Live

Apr 27, 2012

The Fix's Chris Cillizza discussed the latest political news.

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Good morning everyone. Sorry for being a bit AWOL in chat world of late. The book -- Gospel According to the Fix -- has taken up lots of time. (You want to preorder it, you say? Ok... click here)

Lots to get to today. But before we do:

Sountrack for chat: Youth Lagoon

Official coffee of chat: Grande Misto

Hi Chris -- Thanks for taking questions today. I just caught a snippet of a Republican ad criticizing the president for being "too cool," complete with images of him on talk shows, enjoying a beer, etc. Granted, I support the president, but I don't quite see what the strategy is here -- "uncool" presidents are better? Please explain.

I wrote a long piece about this the day before that web ad got released.  Link is below.

Cliffsnotes version: Obama is cool. Romney isn't.  Cool worked for Obama in 2008 but after 4 years of less than expected progress with the economy, being cool might come back to bite him.  Romney is going to make the case that the country needs a nerd and he is that nerd.

Here's the full piece:  Barack Obama is cool. Mitt Romney is not. What does it mean for 2012?

This election will come down to a relatively small number of undecided independents. Most of them will know little about politics. Most of them will have negative views of the state of the nation, though probably many would admit that things are getting better. I know what Romney's pitch is to these voters: "Obama isn't working." What's Obama's message?

1. You are right

2. Do you want to go backwards or forwards?

My friends and I have been arguing this all morning and just wanting to get the Fix's POV. Is there difference between an "independent voter" or an "undecided voter" and if so, what is it?

Totally different.

Most undecided voters are independents but not all independents are undecideds.

Another weird one: People conflate "moderate" and "independent". They shouldn't.

What do voters like best about him? What do they dislike most?

Like best: Looks like a president, impressive business resume, nice family

Like least: Rich, out of touch, too conservative

I kind of feel like Republicans in 2012 presidential cycle are like Democrats in 2004. Then Democrats figured somebody who told pollster "Not Bush" was their top choice would equal a vote for Kerry-Edwards, but it didn't. And now Republicans are using "Anybody but Obama" but for those 11% or so voters who decide Election Day, Not Obama doesn't equal Romney. Sure it helps Romney, but it's much farther from sealing the deal then I'm finding Republicans are thinking.

Interesting theory. I have written about how this election is more like 2004 than any other one in modern memory so I broadly agree with your point.

Here's that piece:

I get that the running mate selection is newsworthy, but I find that the degree to which it's discussed is too much. This isn't the central question of this campaign nor will it be one of even the Top 5 issues affecting anybody's vote. Maybe it's the press overlearning the lesson of Sarah Palin, where pre-2008, nobody really cared about the running mate that much but I do agree Sarah Palin did hurt McCain in a real way.

The counter argument is that this is the first "presidential" decision Romney will make and, therefore, it is a window into how he thinks. (That was certainly true with mcCain and Palin.)

Broadly, though, I think I agree with you. When Mrs Fix is recruiting a girl to come play for the might Catholic field hockey team, the kid is making the decision based on how she feels about the head coach, not the assistants. I think that's true generally for the presidential election too.

Just curious if there were any rando questions about Raj Goyle yet?

You're the first. Congrats, or something.

How happy is Chicago about this upcoming cover story in Time? Do you expect the campaign to find ways to remind voters about this victory?

Um, yes. Biden mentioned it in a foreign policy speech yesterday. And with the one year anniversary coming up, you can bet you will hear lots more about it.









Do you see him playing any role in the presidential campaign as the Libertarian nominee?


Any possibility that his Consitution Party candidacy becomes a problem for Romney in Virginia? (Say, by just winning 1-2 percent). He was a congressman for a few terms from a rural, conservative district. He would seem to have some appeal to evangelicals fearful of a Mormon in the White House, but also deeply hostile to Obama.


I tried to ask this last week, but cancellation! And you're the only pundit who I think will give it its due. A friend of mine posted about the Halo 4 release date being November 6. Halo 3 clocked $170 million in sales on its opening day. 1 million people played it on XBox live in the first 20+ hours. My friend snarkily observed that some people might stand in line to get the game and then go home and play instead of vote. I actually think this is a serious possibility. How does this break? Gamers tend to be younger (bad for Obama). Console gamers tend to be men (bad for Romney).

I kind of love this point and will steal it as some juncture between now and Halo release, er, election day.

The Nats are in first place, the Caps beat the Stanley Cup champs and the Skins drafted RGIII. Is this the best day in DC sports in decades?

I think it might be. Also, worth noting the Wizards dismal season ended last night.  Now, once we win the draft lottery and pick Anthony Davis all will be right with the DC sports world.

What was the biggest contributing cause of his failed presidential campaign? That he didn't try hard enough or that the voters dislike him so much there is nothing he could have done to win them over?

The biggest reason for his success was that he was Newt.

The biggest reason for his failure was that he was Newt.

Check out my piece on Newt's candidacy:

The Rolling Stones are reportedly heading to the studio to cut a new album (or collection of digital files). Historically, which party is favored when the Stones record an album? Here's the Stones wikipedia discography.

What's your favorite Stones album?


Hey, Fix. Really looking forward to your upcoming book, The Gospel According to the Fix, available now for pre-order on that I've mentioned that so you'll take my question: What do you think are the top moments in the 2012 GOP primary season where one of the non-Romneys either had a chance to capture the nomination and didn't take it, or did something to let their chance slip away? I'm thinking #1 has to be Perry's "Oops", #2 is probably Pawlenty dropping out a bit too soon. In retrospect, did any of the other guys (or gals) really have a chance, or with hindsight does Romney's victory seem unstoppable?

Well played sir.

I think that the most obvious moment was the three weeks between Feb 7 and Feb 28.  Santorum had won three races on Feb 7 and was the momentum candidate leading up to Michigan.

If Santorum had beaten Romney in Michigan, I think it would have badly complicated Romney's chances of being the nominee. 

But, Santorum went WAY off course during those three weeks -- Obama as "snob", JFK speech making him throw up etc -- and lost his chance.

Chris, if you had to draft reporters/columnists from WaPo (excluding your fine team of course) who would be your number one pick?

Carolyn Hax.

What was your first appearance on cable news? How nervous were you?

CSPAN about 10 years ago.  Was I nervous?  Have you ever seen Albert Brooks in "Broadcast News"?

People called in because they were worried I was having a heart attack.

What chance does he have in running for Governor of Virginia?

As good a chance I have of stopping Lionel Messi in a one on one breakaway.

I don't get how Bush's foreign policy is like going back to the future. Isn't it the past?

Are there going to be hoverboards in this new past/future?

Isn't he Pawlenty without the Obamneycare albatross? Is he too conservative to help win undecided suburban voters who likely will tilt the election?

I think Thune is a little undervalued at the moment...I am putting together my latest rankings of the 10 people most likely to be the VP this afternoon on the Fix. Stay tuned.

Who's most likely to become a legend 20 years from now? I'd been impressed by Jessica, but I have changed and think Skylar or Joshua are the only ones capable of something insanely meaningful off the show. Agree or disagree?

Jessica is a robot. I don't see her winning.

Likelihood of being famous/wildly successful from most to least of those left:

1. Skylar 

2. Phillip Phillips

3. Ledet

4. BB Chez

5. Hollie.

What is his next move assuming he's not picked as Romney's running mate which is probably a long shot at this point? He doesn't seem too senatorial, so what will he do?

Run for reelection in 2013. Maybe against Newark Mayor Cory Booker. And that would be a HELL of a race.

If Obama is reelected this November and Christie is reelected next November, the NJ gov starts running for president immediately.

Enough of the veepstakes for a moment and lets look at who's in line to be keynote speakers at the conventions. My candidates are for RNC: Rubio, Christie, or Ryan and for DNC: Schweitzer, Cuomo, or Patrick. Who would make your list?

Cuomo for Dems makes sense. (Big D state, gay marriage, budget stuff)

For R's it depends who is vp. I could see Ryan although to do that would hand Democrats more ammo for the "Ryan budget will bankrupt America" attack.



How excited are for the new Robert Caro book that's coming out on Tuesday?


Between the new Caro book, Maraniss' book on OBama out in June and The Gospel According to the Fix -- OUT JULY 10 -- it is going to be a good summer.

Chris, Have you dipped into Merengue, Bachata, or Salsa? These could be some great options to change up your music selection.

I don't even know what that second word is.

It doesn't matter how "cool" liberals and college students think Obama is. With a GDP of 2.2%, nobody with a brain will care.

The counter argument.

Do you think Nerd Prom helps or hurts the media's image? I think overall it makes people cynical because the media members are schmoozing with the people they should be criticizing, in a rather luxurious setup to boot.

Hurts. No question.

That said, it's fun. I go -- and am going this year. It's a chance for me to see old friends I don't get to see regularly. Like Charlize Theron and Claire Daines.

I think it's more like 1992. Except that Romney was known - and Clinton wasn't.

Fair enough. Some people say 1980 too....

Given the importance of Ohio to Romney, how does he NOT pick Rob Portman as his VP?

Good question. Stay tuned for the Fix veepstakes later today...

....does that make Mitt Romney the Richard Nixon of the 21st Century?

Or the Alex P. Keaton.

I think there's one fundamental difference: In '04, the Iraq war's aftermath was hot and heavy and, whether you had agreed with the reasons for starting it or not, a lot of people are leery to switch presidents when the county is on an active war footing.

Fair enough.

Chris, have you thought about becoming the Coach for Barcelona?

If asked, I will serve. And, after all, I couldn't do any worse than Diego Maradona did as the coach of Argentina during the World Cup right?

The public demand wont go away, is there ANY chance she gets the ask and the nod?

I could see it. I don't think it's likely. I don't think she wants to serve. I think she is a VERY private person and knows that if she was the VP nominee any sense of a private life that she currently enjoys would disappear.

Have you listened to the Mynabirds?

No, but I will. Also digging another rec from a Twitter follower: Heartless Bastards.

If Cory Booker passes on the chance to run against Chris Christie, do you think his national ambitions will be hurt? Will the donor class that provides the seed money for presidential runs like a politician being so risk-averse?

He needs to run for something statewide soonish. if not against Christie maybe he is hoping Lautenberg decides not to run again in 2014. An open Senate seat would be an easier win for Booker.  But there's no guarantee that Lautenberg is leaving.

Does Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand run in 2016 if Gov. Andrew Cuomo runs?

I honestly don't know. I think she might.

I think a Hillary Clinton candidacy keeps Cuomo and Gillibrand on the sidelines though...

Seems like any funds spent attacking him on personal grounds is wasted. People like him as a human being. Republicans should do nothing but dwell on the economy.

I think they key to that attack is to say that Obama spends too much time being cool and not enough time fixing what needs fixing.

I agree that simply attacking him on personal stuff without linking it to policy won't work.

How do the Republicans not see that, even if you have a president that a lot of people don't like, a rich, out-of-touch guy from Massachusetts is not going get the job done, no matter how great his hair is. I get that there weren't really any other viable options (again like the Dems in '04), but still it seems like a no-brainer.

Who else should Republicans have nominated?

You? You Lieutenant Weinberg?

What do you make of Karl Rove's first electoral college projection? South Carolina as a toss-up? What's going on there? Have you seen anything to indicate that state might be up for grabs?

Um, no.  That said, Karl Rove has elected and reelected a president. I have not.

Considering the problems Iowa had in counting caucuses and that SC voted overwhelimingly for Newt, do you think there will be changes in the 2016 nomination order?

I think it is a VERY real possibility.  

Shouldn't Romney go on American Idol instead? It's way more Red State than SNL. Sure, the tween girls can't vote (yet...maybe in 2016), but don't they watch with their parents? Maybe Seacrest would even let him say, "Dim the lights."

Seacrest is dating Julianna Hough. I was not aware of that until this week.

It's funny because there's someone else relevant to this chat you can say this about.


Is there anyone scalping tickets to the WHCD?

I don't think so. Why, you interested? ;)

All either candidate has to do is make a big push for early/absentee voting to counteract the effect. And this poster may be making a bigger deal out of it than it will actually be--it all depends on how 343 has handled the details of the game, right now a lot of long-time fans are a little skeptical. Could be those pre-orders end up getting picked up after the release date if either Obama or Romney ramp up the excitement factor (okay, if Obama ramps it up--sorry, Mittens!) and if it turns out 343 has bungled the latest installment of the series.

A detailed analysis of the Halo effect. To borrow a line from Bill Simmons: "Yep, these are my readers".

Is it true that he's secretly accumulated more delegates than Romney and we're all in for a BIG SURPRISE at the convention?



He's really Reed Richards (aka Mr. Fantastic) of the Fantastic Four! The smartest man in the world...and he can instantly stretch and twist himself into any position imaginable!

If you could be any member of the Fantastic Four, who would u be?

 I think I would go with Human Torch. Worst has to be Thing, right?

I feel like I'm taking crazy pills. If you pick a good running mate and run a good campaign, you can still win battleground states. If your running mate isn't a good campaigner, you probably won't win close states. Portman and Rubio's people must be whispering, "LBJ. LBJ." nonstop to Romney's folks.


And the last time a VP nominee helped the nominee deliver a swing state was....1964.

So, not sure that swing state thing still holds water.

Worth watching?

I am pro.  We need more comedies about politics.

First, let me say that I think that Condi Rice would make a great VP (and an even better President). But I don't think why she would want to a VP. She can make more money in the private sector with fewer headaches, and any desire she might have had for power would have been more than satisfied during her tenure with the Bush administration. In fact, the VP slot would probably be step down for her, compared to her roles with Bush. It just does not compute (which is really too bad).

Kind of agree


Who's your favorite character?

1. Darneyrs Targaeren

2. Tywin Lannister

3. Arya

Least favorite by a billionfold: The Red Lady.

No offense, but you don't come across as the greatest dancer. Still, nobody--not even Elaine Benes--could be worse than Karl Rove "dancing" at Nerd Prom.

I was once a good dancer.  I won a dance-off with Stephen Petro in 8th grade. (I was rocking the silk black and white polka dot shirt and black Z. Cavaricci pants.)

But, yes, that has faded.

If Obama wins there, is it all over?


If he gets the "Voter's Elect" Internet Nomination, do you think Buddy Romer will make a difference in any state?


I presume you're at a WP table - do you know who's sitting w/you, or do you find out only when you enter the ball room? And does Ms. Fix get to go too?

Mrs. Fix doesn't get to go.  And I am not sure who is sitting at my table. Last year my seat backed up directly on Donald Trumps' hair. It was the greatest night of my life.

Fill in the blank of the most consequential politicians in the last three decades.  Consequential in ways good and bad.

Bill Miller certainly didn't give New York State to Barry Goldwater!

Yup. Sorry!

Hi Chris, I laughed at your earlier answer "Chris Cillizza : I honestly don't know." For all the other answers you are sure?

Yes. I have 100 % certainty in all other answers ;)

Right now, are there any races where you think candidates are "overachieving' or "underachieving?" My pick for underachiever: Connie Mack IV in Florida My pick for overachiever: Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota

I think Connie Mack IV is leading the pack for most disappointing Senate candidate at this point. That said, he is still likely to be the GOP nominee.

Served as George W. Bush's OMB Director & US Trade Representative. How big of a political liability are those ties to a very unpopular former president?

They're not great things. But, every candidate is going to have some sort of flaw. For Romney, it's about picking the guy or gal he's most comfrotable with and who will do no harm.

Awesome band, their best album is Stairs and Elevators

Cool. Thanks for rec!

Growing chatter about him as a VP pick. Seems like he's becoming the new Tom Ridge or Evan Bayh -- always a bridesmaid... But make the case for / case against Pawlenty.

I will later this year on Fix.

I am still skeptical about Tpaw. But, smart people whose opinions I respect (Politico's Jonathan Martin for one) thinks Tpaw has a real chance...

If Mitt went on 30 rock that could up his coolness factor-- I could totally see Jack and Mitt in a board meeting-- fixing the economy and coming up with a slogan. A GE Microwave instead of a pot!

That would rule.

Also, does anyone else not like it when sitcoms go live like "30 Rock" did last night. It looks weird. And it's not as funny.

I think I may be Reaganing in this chat...

He's 69 years old, and didn't seem to relish the campaign trail. Retirement? Fox News doesn't seem to want him back.

He will land on his feet. He always does.

But does Obama really have a chance there? Seems like it would depend on a very strong Hispanic turnout -- traditionally a hard thing to do in Arizona.

I am VERY skeptical that he does -- even though I know there are a few public polls that says he does.

The illegal immigration law in that state polarized the electorate. Latinos are strongly for Democrats but most white voters are Republicans. And latinos are still not voting in numbers consistent with their population to overcome a mostly-unified white vote.

Thoughts on the new album?

LOVE.  Rocky Ground is my favorite although in concert Death to My Hometown rocked.

Does a candidate have to contact Mitt and say "Consider me!"?

I don't think so. I think the best way to be in the veepstakes is act like you don't want to be in the veepstakes...

Chris, I was really surprised to see that Sherrod Brown's first ad was a negative spot against Mandel. Is Brown's team reading something in the tea leaves, or did they just realize that this one was going to get ugly quick?

The Ohio race will close. Mandel has a bunch of money and OH is going to be very competitive at the presidential level.

Claire McCaskill has a tough fight in Missouri this fall, and at the presidential level, it seems doubtful that the Obama campaign will play much in the state. Why has Missouri drifted so far from a purple state to a red state?

I am not sure. I think because the vote everywhere outside of KC and St Louis has grown more and more conservative and more and more unified behind Republican candidates.

How do you see the Wisconsin Senate race shaking out? If it ends up being Tammy Baldwin vs. Mark Neumann, my money is on Baldwin.

I could see any one of Thompson, Neumann or Hovde (rich outside guy) winning the primary.

Thompson is probably the strongest general election nominee followed by Hovde then neumann.

Baldwin has been a good candidate thus far but she hasn't really been tested. I am interested to see in what her pushback will be on the fact that she had the most liberal voting record in Congress in 2011.

How does the Brown/Warren race compare to the Weld/Kerry race in 1996?

Both going to be VERY expensive. And both will be/were the marquee race in the country.

Are Democrats blowing their chances in Nevada? Berkley's apparently under investigation. Will it matter in the end? I mean, Harry Reid, who was very unpopular, won in 2010 (best Republican year since 1994). Shouldn't Nevada be an easy pick-up for Democrats?

No, it shouldn't be an "easy" pickup. it's a swing state that has been hit very hard by the home foreclosure crisis.

But I also don't think Berkley is giving the race away. I think Heller has regained his footing after a rough few months earlier this year but this race looks like a toss up to me.

In that case, why not just have Al Gore run again?

Alpha Male!

Sir, Mitt Romney is no Alex P. Keaton. Alex was not a rich kid, and he was a Reagan Republican who now would probably be too moderate to be nominated. Underneath Alex's scheming to be the winner, at everything he did there was a lovable, vulnerable side to him that Romney seems to lack.

Ah. I was just thinking that they both carried briefcases most of the time.

Has there ever been a celebrity who recognized you and thanked you for your work?

Does Mrs. Fix count as a celebrity? She does to me.

Why is it so misleading and terrible overall?

I am pro Buzzfeed.

How can you argue with this?

I bet the game distributors could make some great PR moves by letting line-waiters with an "I Voted" sticker move to the front of the line...


Reading about dogs, stay-at-home-mom choices and slow-jammed news, couldn't I (and shouldn't I) go into presidential news hibernation until Labor Day and not really miss anything in terms of who will will the election (or who I should vote for)? I could focus my time on the Nats or Olympic field hockey instead.

Yes. Feel free. Olympic hockey note: US women have qualified and, I predict, will make their best showing in history. You heard it here first.

Have you seen it? I'm going next month and hear it's great.

Have not. Maybe a date night for me and Mrs. Fix!

Have you ever spilled your yogurt on a famous person?

No. But White House Correspondents Dinner is this weekend...DEVELOPING

Hi Chris, Will you be traveling around book tour guy? If so is there an itinerary someplace? Just follow the CU field hockey season?

I will do some travel preaching "The Gospel". (See what I did there?) Stay tuned for more news on that. While you wait, go ahead and pre-order the book:

Starting to plan early... We are thinking of everyone casting votes for each state going Red or Blue (maybe a few weeks early?) and then setting drinking rules as results are announced. We are still unsure if you drink for a correct or incorrect prediciton... Also, correctly predicting Ohio should not equal predicting California. Thoughts?

Think you have to narrow it to swing states...that's the key. 

That's all for this week. Remember to check out The Fix later this afternoon for our latest Veepstakes ranking. And I will be back here next week. Same time. Same place.  Between now and then, remember:

1. Winter is coming

2. The night is dark and full of terrors.

3. A Lannister always pays his debts.

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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