The Fix Live

May 25, 2012

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

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Good morning everyone! Sorry for my two week chat hiatus but I am back and at least as good as ever!

Since you've had 3 weeks to come up with questions, I am expecting some really good ones.  Don't disappoint me.

Soundtrack for chat: "A Wasteland Companion" by M. Ward. I am on a real M. Ward kick lately.

Is this chat actually happening? It's still going on? I don't believe it.

Oh, it's happening.


I watched the interview Romney did with Mark Halperin (sp?). I came away from the interview still trying to figure why Mitt Romney is even running for President. Understanding its early, is there a point that he needs to start being specific about his plans and how they are different than the GW Bush policies?

Here's the Romney case boiled down: I know how to fix things -- including the economy. I have done it it the private sector (Bain) and the public sector (Olympics and governor of Massachusetts).

President Obama doesn't know how to do any of that. He's a nice guy but lacks the right experience.

That's the entire Romney message.  Will it work? Who knows.

Is he a serious candidate or like one of the GOP primary candidates just raising his profile?

The latter.

Do you ever block people from Twitter?

I have started to do it more and more lately. To be honest, I can only deal with so much of people saying nasty personal stuff about me and my family.

I don't mind anyone disagreeing with me -- this is, after all, politics -- but to impugn my motives and go on the personal attack seems to be, in the words of Walter Sobchak, over line.

It is starting to look like Governor Walker will beat back the recall. Will the election in a week and a half have a carry over effect to November?

I hear differing things about how it's going to turn out although conventional wisdom is settling on the idea that Walker will win.

Because we've never had a recall like this in Wisconsin, I am always wary about putting too much stock into the polling since no one really knows who is going to turn out.

As for the recall's impact on November, Deputy Fix Rachel Weiner wrote on this recently. Here's her piece:

(Cheap plug for Catholic U Field Hockey.) As the parent of a soon-to-be college student, do I have any hope that Congress will stop the loan interest rate hike?

Yes. Because they know the public would react very badly if they didn't. And that tends to be the primary motivator these days for Congress to do anything.

Isn't it very premature to ask the question whether the Bain Cap critique by Obama is having an effect given the president has said this will be a key issue in the overall campaign? We are in the first inning or two of the Bain Cap review /Romney wrong for the American worker/ranked 47th out of 50th as MA gov in job creation for the Obama campaign. It's like leaving a Nats game after the second inning because you think that will be the final score. Grab some peanuts and watch the game some more before you leave/judge too early.

Yes. Agree 100% -- except for the peanuts. (Fix Jr. is allergic).

A NBC's Mark Murray has noted, the total spending by OBama's side on the Bain attacks is $100K -- which is nothing. The big attacks are still to come.

What was like wearing Chuck Todd's shoes for a day?

AWESOME. (Although, despite my pleas, Chuck didn't let me wear his actual shoes.)

And, thanks for watching. "Daily Rundown" is a great show. It's an honor to get a chance to keep Chuck's seat warm.

How excited are you for the Linda McMahon candidacy for this chat?

FINALLY, Linda McMahon has come BACK to the Fix libe chat!

So, yeah. Excited.

Benefits: (1) Already vetted by McCain campaign -- no apparent dirt that I've heard about (2) Seems willing to do what VP nominees do -- repeat campaign talking points over and over. (3) No ties to Bush administration. (4) Non-threatening evangelical. Liabilities: (1) Minnesota unlikely to be competitive -- and he's not all that popular there. (2) "Obamneycare" -- but how many voters are likely to care?

I think he's an underrated pick at the moment for your "benefits" above. The other liability is that he brings nothing -- romney isn't winning Minnesota with or without him and Tpaw showed during his own presidential campaign that he's not exactly a ball of fire on the trail.

But, maybe that's what Romney wants?

Who is your early favorite? My money is on either Spain or Germany

Well, David Villa isn't coming back for Euro 2012 so I don't know about Spain. I say germany.


Why in the world would Chris Matthews ask Newt Gingrich about his favorite animal?

Why wouldn't he!

Hi Chris -- Thanks for taking questions today. Obama's been criticized for pressing Romney on Bain and some are wondering if it might even be backfiring. If he continues and loses, he'll be blamed for going the low road. If he didn't do it and loses, though, he'll be blamed for holding back. If he does it and wins, he'll be proclaimed a savvy campaigner who did the right thing. What's a president to do?

My belief is that in campaigns everything (or damn close o it) is fair game.

What you don't want to do is look back if/when you lose and talk about how you held back.  Let the voters be the judge of whether it's fair/right.

Do any swing voters west of the Delaware know or care who Booker is?

Probably not. Although I DO think there is an argument to be made that Booker helped his own political prospects with what all happened this week.

I make that case here:

Is a headline question for a National Journal column. My answer is "how much power should corporations have?" Let the candidates spend an hour on those two questions mano o mano and that would be helpful to the country figuring out who to vote for this election.

There is a clear disagreement within the public about what the role of government should be.

Remember that it was a DEMOCRATIC president -- Bill Clinton -- who declared that "the era of big government is over".

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina there was an increase in people believing that government could be a good thing. I think we are now somewhere in between.

Why does it seem that Gov. Romney is glossing over his time as Governor. He rarely mentions that or the name George W. Bush

True. He spends much more time talking about Bain and the Olympics than he does on his time as governor.

Anyone else surprised health care is such a minor issue this far in the general election?

Do you think the VP choice is between Portman or Mitch Daniels?

No.  I think Portman is in the top 3 almost no matter what. Daniels is not -- though he probably belongs on a list.

Speaking of lists, we'll have our latest VP rankings on the Fix later today.

You are up against Warren Brown's car chat. Who would give a more coherent answer, you advising me which used SUV to buy or Brown projecting a MA senate winner?


But a Toyota Highlander -- Mrs. Fix's car -- is a darn good SUV.

Phil might be the least talented American Idol winner ever while Jessica and Skylar actually might have careers. Do you really want your credibility in music (to the extent it exists) to ride on the DMB wannabe?


I am currently listening to "Home" by PP -- which I BOUGHT on iTunes.

I thought Phil's breakdown and inability to finish the song after he won was one of the rare genuine moments of emotion on TV these days. I got teary eyed. As did Mrs Fix.

I am not sayin the guy is the next Springsteen. But he was a real person who is talented and committed to trying to do things his own way.

Skylar Laine should have been runner up.

I'm sure everybody and their mother sent you this link already, but just in case they didn't...

I miss Matt Saracen.

Chris, looking into your crystal ball, who do you see as the next likely female presidential nominee? Will it come from the Republicans or Democrats?

Hillary Clinton.

I think her running in 2016 is a real possibility. Particularly if Obama loses this fall.

Doesn't Romney have to pick Christie in the end? He's colorful but not assuming. He'll give great media but knows his place. But everyone else is soiled, from former Bush admins to the toxic boredom of banality. In the end won't Christie be the only one who can budge the needle on the interest, let alone the excitement, meter?

Does Romney willingly put someone on the ticket who overshadows him from the moment the pick is made? Same argument can be used against Marco Rubio.

just watched the trailer -- looks good!

Excited for it. I have said before we need more good political comedy. If you don't watch "Veep" on HBO, you should. It's pretty darn good.

How much did Booker trip up the Obama campaign this week?

It wasn't great. It took three days to litigate it. But Obama doesn't win or lose (or anything close) because of it.

Does it really benefit Mitt Romney to have Donald Trump involved in his campaign? Fundraising is one thing, but this talk of a convention speech is nuts. Trump is a joke and represents much that is wrong with our culture today. I can't be the only one who thinks this.

I would be STUNNED if they let Trump speak at the convention. STUNNED.

What the heck is Romney trying to accomplish in West Philadelphia? Even if he succeeds in chipping Obama's 95-5 advantage among African Americans to 90-10, I don't think that's going to flip any swing states. Almost as bewildering: Does Romney really want to have a debate over education in this country, especially since a lot of the austerity measures in the US have resulted in teacher layoffs and increased tuition costs?

I think he is simply trying to symbolically show that he would be a President for everyone -- even for people that he knows are not going to vote for him.

That's just my (somewhat) educated guess.

Here's one: your surname is inefficient. Two Is, two Ls and two Zs? Your name could easily be spelled Cilza. Ha. Take that for not thinking exactly like me!


Skylar Lane was runner up - 5th to be exact and that's where she should have been.


My top 5

1. Phil Phillips

2. Skylar

3. Colton

4. Jessica

5. Joshua

1,456. DeAndre

I think the healthcare debate is coming. Right now the huge unknown is what the Supreme Court will do. Once that decision is in, then the huge fight will be: what's next.

Interesting. I wrote yesterday about how attacking the Court could actually work for Obama politically if they overturn the health care law.

That piece is here:

"Anyone else surprised health care is such a minor issue this far in the general election?" The Obama campaign will not let Romney off the hook regarding his blithe rebuke of his own healthcare plan in Mass. It will heat up once the Supreme Court chimes in.

Perhaps. But remember the Obama health care law is not widely popular with the American public...

I believe that is German for "choking at home." did you not watch the Champions League final?

Oh, I did. Hit the post!

Also, Didier Drogba is the man. Even if he did bounce my Spurs from next year's Champions League.

There were a bunch of candidate internal polls from Wisconsin showing it much closer than some of the other reported polls. Are there any historical stats that indicate if either is more reliable?

No. because we haven't ever had a recall in Wisconsin before. That's my point about the polling. It's really guesswork on the part of the pollsters about what turnout might look like.

Will anyone care about Elizabeth Warren's Native American heritage (or lack thereof) in November?

No. Or at least probably not.

But, I do think that her struggles to get the issue behind her does speak to a larger problem. She has never run for office before. It is NOT easy.  

Won't healthcare show up as a major issue once the Supreme Court rules?


Why don't you send that nice boy Aaron online to chat with us?

Oh man.  Yes, Aaron is the younger, better looking version of me. Everyone knows this. Including Aaron.

This isn't Vietnam. This is Twitter. There are rules.

Mark it 8, dude.

Also, in my Worst Week in Washington column this week, I made a "Lebowski" reference. It says something about me that this fact made me incredibly happy. Like borderline giddy.

Column is here:

If a VP candidate's primary role is to be the campaign attack dog, how could they possibly pick TPAW? He couldn't even argue his own case.

Well, Tpaw was not able to sell people on the idea of him being the nominee. But, he is very on message and willing to make attacks -- two very important traits in a vp.

At this point, does she need to authorize the release of every document, answer every question, etc to make the Native American story go away? It seems like every time you think its gone, another new piece of info surfaces to keep it alive.

My general theory: Don't suffer political death by a thousand cuts. If there's more info, dump it all at once -- a Friday before Memorial Day weekend wouldn't be a bad time -- and hope that it makes it all go away.

Of course, the Warren folks insist there isn't anything new or even interesting -- that this is just all one big misunderstanding.

So, there's that.

Is overweight. So am I. How "big" of a problem is it for Christie's VP prospects?

I genuinely have no idea. It is something people regularly raise when it comes to Christie's vice presidential (and presidential) prospects but I just have no way of quantifying it.

at least romney will venture into territory that's not exactly friendly to him. he wants to represent all of america. when is the last time obama visited mississippi?

Right. This is the argument that Romney is hoping people take from his campaign stop yesterday.

Which of these three Republican Senate seats are the Dems most likely to capture? Arizona, Indiana, or Nevada? -Mark

In order:





Forget political discourse my friend. I'm a Gunner! Used to live in London with a Tottenham flat mate. He thought that Phil Collins was the greatest rock god of all time. Phil Collins. Nuff said.

Phil Collins is the best singing drummer ever. Or maybe Levon Helm.

And, Arsenal? Seriously? 

Your top 5 was spot on except Colton should have finished first. I think your DeAndre ranking was a bit generous, though.


Colton was too emo for me. But he will likely be famous anyway.  Let's hope so. A life relegated to being a professional face painter seems kind of depressing.

Also, another Colton theory: His incredibly supportive sister actually loathes him for being better at singing than her.

I know the polls show it's somewhat close, but do you honestly think Romney has a prayer? He reminds me exactly of John Kerry.

Of course he has a chance. 

The economic situation in the country makes it tough for President Obama -- no matter who Republicans nominated.

Obama has a slight electoral map edge but this election is going to be very close. And that means Romney can win.

Wouldn't you really rather wear Chuck Taylor's?

I am in the market for a pair of Chuck Taylor's actually. Had them when I was younger...want them again.

In addition to waiting for the Supremes to weigh in, it just seems difficult to distill into an ad.

VERY complicated. And both candidates have major vulnerabilities on it -- which is why I think it may stay out of the center of the debate.

What's your favorite snake?


Is there anything at all that the state of Hawaii or Barack Obama could do to permanently silence this crowd of naysayers?


"But remember the Obama health care law is not widely popular with the American public..." If that is so, perhaps it is because the Obama health care law is not widely known and understood by the American public.

Regardless of the reasoning, the Obama education effort did not work or did not work as well as they had hoped.

So, when does the book tour start? Assuming that there is one.


Book is out July 10. Preorder copies (yes, copies) here:

What EPL team do you support?

See above. Tottenham.

So, what has been your favorite team name of all time?

[Redacted by Post editors]


My in-laws are in town from Wisco and they are not optimistic about the recall. The democratic party there is not driving the bus on the recall, the unions lost some of their recall mojo after Falk and lots of folks don't like Walker but don't want to recall him either. State senate will probably flip, though. Lots of folks too apparently plan to vote for Obama in the fall but no on the recall now. Campaign calling there right now is relentless.

If Walker wins, expect a HUGE blame game among Democrats that will center on organized labor.

Can't get my head around the trailer....

Nope. I only see kids movies in the theater now.

bumper stickers that read "ROM/PAWL 2012"


Yeah, really, does the "Invincibles" mean anything to you?

Two words: Arsene. Wenger. That is all.

Christie Vilsack vs. Steve King. Please tell me that Steve King is not going to become my representative in congress. Talk about utter humiliation.

King starts as the favorite. That is a district that should favor Republicans. I think Vilsack is a solid candidate who will make it competitive but the demographics very much favor King.

Why are Scott Brown and his allies so convinced that the Native issue will bring her down? If I was them, I'd move on. Doesn't appear to be working.

It's not about that issue. It's about forcing Warren to play defense, which she has done very poorly to date.

Add Don Henley to the list. (Maybe the best songwriter of the lot)

Well played.

OK, Mr. Smartypants, what big news story do you think will break this afternoon?

I am not suggesting any will! Just saying that if you wanted to dump something, this afternoon would be a good time.

He sure looked depressed after the Champions League Final. It cost the Spurs $32 million

Couldn't agree more. And probably cost them Modric and maybe Bale.

I kind of agree, but at the same time don't you think there's probably a price at which they'd let almost anyone speak? It would be weird, but I wouldn't put it past him to threaten not to give a lot of money if he can't speak.

Nope. Romney isn't going to be short of money in the general election. Trump's wealth doesn't mean much...

Chris -- if you had to live the rest of your life without sports or without politics, which would you choose?

Politics.  I could NEVER give up on Mrs. Fix and Catholic University field hockey. Not possible.

And that's all folks!

Thanks for joining me and sorry, again, for my two week hiatus. I pledge to you I will be back next Friday at 11 am to take all of your questions.

Have a great Memorial Day 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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