The Fix Live

Jul 06, 2012

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

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Good morning everyone!  The big news of the morning is that the June jobs report disappointed: 80k jobs created and 8.2% unemployment.

Here's my piece on what it means for 2012:  Link

Also making news: Mrs. Fix and I finished the second season of "The Wire" last night.  RIP, Frank Sbotka.

Let's do this thing.

I'm a little surprised that the sluggish job growth of the past couple of months hasn't done more to undermine Obama's popularity. People's view of him seems pretty set in stone.

Remember that polling tends to be a bit of a lagging indicator when it comes to how the political environment is changing -- if it is changing.

It usually takes 2-3 months for polling to reflect major changes.  I am not suggesting that is likely to happen this time around because you rightly point out that minds are basically made up about Obama.

BUT, for that small sliver of undecided voters the latest economic news could well be a tipping point to push them against the president.

How nervous is the Obama campaign about voter turnout among these groups: A- African-Americans B - Hispanics C- Youth D - Women And what about the Romney campaign? Anybody they worry about not showing up?

In order from most worried to least worried:

Young people



African Americans

FYI, Romney and Dr. Leo Marvin from What About Bob? vacation at the same lake. Baby steps.

HUGE. I was just making a "baby steps to the bus" reference to Mrs. Fix the other day.

Richard Dreyfuss' finest hour.

The younger guy who has a crush on the blonde reminds me of Fix Aaron (on a bad hair day). Usually that only happens when high schoolers sing acapella, but maybe your boy is all grownsed up.

Fix Aaron is WAY smoother than that dude.

Do I remind you of anyone? Sam Waterson perhaps?

What's the latest on Charlie Rangel's race for re-election? How many votes remain to be counted? Could we face a recount? Could Rangel lose?

We wrote on it yesterday!

Here's the piece:

As if 140 characters doesn't trivialize things enough, every reporter has to tweet, retweet, and retweet with comments about high school photos and stupid lists? Sometimes the lack of self-awareness as to why the public hates the political media is astounding.

Sometimes it's good to just have a laugh.  No?

Should we just start planning for the Romney Inauguration now?

Not yet.

But, there's NO question that the last three months of stagnant job growth and an unemployment rate over eight percent is bad news politically for President Obama.

His path to a second term would be MUCH easier if he had some data points to suggest the economy was getting slightly better. At the moment, he doesn't have that.

In 2010 the GOP went on a tear with the mantra "where are the jobs?". How many bills have the GOP controlled house submitted since gaining control and why isn't the media hammering them on this?

Yes, this is a major Democratic talking point.

BUT, it ignores a basic political reality that's as old as time: Presidents get the credit when the economy is good and get the blame when it's bad.

Is that fair? Nope. Not on either end of the spectrum. But it's just how people tend to view the economy.

With the caveat of nothing out of the blue occurring, is the Presidential Race stagnant for now? Will we be stuck at 48-45, with the EC at 220-190 until Labor Day?

Probably yes. And we may remain there all the way through October or even until election day.

There's just not much that can change the dynamic of the race. Our polling team has a good piece about that right here:

You moved NC into the Leans Romney column. But Obama's polling in many of the states you still label as "toss ups" has always exceeded Romney's polling numbers in NC. Why not move some toss up states into the Leans Obama column?

Because polling isn't the only measure by which I make decision on which states belong where. The fact that Obama won NC by .4 points in an amazingly good year for Democrats nationally and that the state currently ranks 48th in unemployment rate mattered way more in moving the state to "lean romney" than what a relative dearth of quality polling in the state did.

Here's the piece in question:

Obama, Romney..yawn. The real question is, why no recent updates to your music Tumblr? And don't blame Pepco!

I KNOW. I am getting back on it.  LOTS going on right now...including "The Gospel According to the Fix", which comes out Tuesday!

Pre-order it here:

If I buy your book, will you autograph it? (I live in Flyover Land, so would have to mail it to you.)


Was the Fix household without electricity for any length of time?

It may be time to head up to the Wall to cool off.

I am willing to risk the White Walkers to get cool.

Shouldn't Aaron Sorkin just used the characters he found on that trip to Olbermann's show and make his episodes about them? It seems like he's recycling his old characters from West Wing, Sports Night, etc. for his new show.

What about the quirky, 30 something blogger character...still waiting for my call...

Chris, Don't you think we tend to over-analyze presidential elections in terms of how the economy is doing etc. Isn't this race what it's always been about -- even in the battleground states -- likability. The President is simply more likable. Hence, he will win.

Likability absolutely matters. And which candidate voters thinks understands them and their lives.

But it times of significant economic distress that tends to bleed into all of the other calculations too.

Did you ever end up accessing Season 1? It's worth the hassle.

Not yet. I don't subscribe to Showtime and I see no other way to access it.  Advice welcome.

Besides Kelly Ayotte and Nikki Haley, are there any women under serious consideration to be Romney's vice presidential candidate? I take Gov. Martinez at her word that her family situation makes running/being VP too tough a task.

I am VERY skeptical that the Romney team picks Ayotte or Haley. I think part of leaking the "we are looking at a woman" storyline is aimed at suburban women voters who may have been negatively affected by the "Republican war on women" storyline.

If you made a top 4 candidates today, it would be: Portman, Tpaw, Ryan, Jindal.

What's the ETA of Mitt Romney's VP pick? Is the conventional wisdom still that it will be someone like a Rob Portman (boring white guy)?

I have heard chatter about him making an early pick but to do that he would have to make it ASAP in order to get a good press run before the Olympics blot out the sun. (They start on  July 27.)

My guess is that Romney waits until mid to late August to announce.

I know the case for Tim Pawlenty: thoroughly vetted, seems comfortable with VP role, can do some evangelical outreach. I know the case for Rob Portman: experience in Congress and the executive branch (though it was in the George W. Bush administration), Ohio (although since he was only elected in 2010, and most Buckeye voters don't ;know him well), Romney seems to like him. But what's the case for Bobby Jindal?

Well liked by economic and social conservatives. Record of conservative governance in Louisiana that includes education and ethics reform. Policy wonk. Historic.

I think it's actually a pretty convincing case.

I believe that sometimes there might be genuine uncertainty between a final two, but a short list of possible running mates is now window dressing where the final few can be promoted for almost making it. The same thing is going on with the supposed female Veepstakes contenders. Romney isn't choosing any of them, but the Beltway will be giving him credit for being nice to women. It's pretty obvious but everyone plays along.


Like I said above, I think the number of people actually under consideration to be the pick is relatively slim. But the floats of who is on the short list/being vetted will continue.

Hi Chris -- thanks for taking questions today. What do you make of Ann Romney's somewhat cryptic remarks that a woman may be the VP pick? Or did she not have a choice -- in other words, would it have looked very bad if she'd said no (even if that's the case)?

Spin.  It's aimed at making clear to women that Romney is considering a woman. It's as simple as that.  

Pondering your thoughts on what it will take to move the needle for Obama, it came to me: Call up Bryce Harper. He is lightning in a bottle on and off the field. On a more serious note: the Alabama Shakes are AWESOME.

Alabama Shakes=amazing. LOVE that album.

Listening to new Spiritualized and new Dr. John today. Both damn good.

Go to Project Free TV, that's how I watched it.


Well, the main character reminds me a lot of Chris Matthews. Maybe there will be a story arc for a young(ish) political journalist who's interrupted all the time at first but gradually earns the admiration of the host. Chris Klein, call your office...


Will be VP be announced near Tampa to build suspense or early August to get a few more weeks of joint campaigning?

My guess -- and if history is any guide -- it will be in the week (or so) before the convention.

Why haven't I been hearing speculation about Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer as a running mate for Romney? She would fire up the base quite well.

Um....have you seen this:

Very clever politician with hard-right views. Only downside is the La. legislature which keeps doing stupid stuff, dragging him along for the ride. See: vouchers.

Interesting take.

Do you see either the Arizona or Indiana Senate races being competitive in the fall?

I think Arizona has a chance to be competitive. Democrats think Richard Carmona is the real deal and there is a real R primary brewing.

I am VERY skeptical of Indiana. Is Richard Mourdock as strong a general election candidate as Dick Lugar would have been? No. But that doesn't mean he loses to Joe Donnelly.

Fill in the blank: Jon Tester can win re-election to the Senate in Montana if he does ______________.

successfully distance himself from President Obama.

There was so much hoopla when Bob Kerrey decided to get in the race, but since it looks like he's been disinterested in campaigning. Is Kerrey having second thoughts? Realized it's a lost cause?

I am not sure he is disinterested. But he has a very slim chance at victory. Of course, that was also true when he decided to run. This is Nebraska in a presidential year.

How do you think the Republican US Senate Runoff will turnout in Texas against Dewhurst and Cruz?

Think Dewhust has to be the favorite. But not a big favorite.

What U.S. Senate race will you be watching most closely? Which one, if any, will provide a"dark horse" winner, kind of like Ron Johnson (R-WI) from last cycle?

Check out New Mexico. Heather Wilson is a very good candidate for Republicans. But she is running in a Democratic leaning state.

If any Republican can win in NM, she can. But I am not sure any Republican can win.

How much national attention is the Montana Senate race getting?

A lot.

I would say that the most marquee Senate races (in order) are:




Chances both Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren serve together in the Senate next Year and the election (and millions of dollars was all for naught? (Obama wins, Clinton steps down, John Kerry appointed Sec. of State)

I love how you think.

is the ohio senate seat a safe democrat hold? or does Mandel have a chance?

Not safe Democratic. Sherrod Brown's populism is a good fit for this electorate but he is probably too liberal for the state. Mandel is totally unproven at doing anything but raising money.

Ignore polling in that race. The candidates are just not engaging one another (or voters) yet.

I understand "young up and comers" like Rubio waving off the VP talk, but a guy like Tim Pawlenty saying flat out no? Is there some sort of "Nobody really likes Mitt" thing going on?

Everyone who is under serious consideration says no. It's just a thing.

First rule of Veep Club: Don't talk about Veep Club.

Is Romney insane? Why????

Young. Articulate. Policy wonk. Regarded as a big ideas guy. From a swing state.

If Barack Obama loses this election, does he retire from politics and return to Chicago to teach law? (Speaking of Chicago, does Rahm still send the President advice? Or maybe he just talk to Axe and Plouffe?)

I can't imagine he goes from being president to being governor or back to being senator.

Not much dignity in being dispatched to trail Obama. Is this some form of frat hazing?

More like VP dry runs. Remember that the key element to being a good VP is a willingness to attack the Democratic nominee AND to show you do it well.

In terms of Senate Races, who suffers the most from the health care decision? It has to start in North Dakota no?

Nebraska. North Dakota. Claire McCaskill.

Just hard if you are a Democrat running in a Republican-leaning state to find a good (read: politically beneficial) way to talk about health care.

He may be all that but his vinegary disposition won't wear that well. Thin-skinned, too.


Who do you see winning the Republican primary? I think that Thompson would beat Baldwin (unless his age becomes an issue), but that Baldwin *could* beat any other Republican. You agree?

Thompson or Hovde. And I think either one winds up in a toss up race against Baldwin.

Clearly Pres. Obama would take over for David Stern as NBA Commissioner.

Fair enough.

My ranks of the best sports commissioners





John Quincy Adams went from the White House to the House of Representatives.

That happened a few years back. Think expectations of what a president does after office have changed since then.

Who's on it? Anyone like Cheney who will say at the end that HE is the best choice?

Basically 2 people: Mitt and Beth Myers. Ann Romney and Matt Rhoades also have some influence I would think.

Is there one state that we should be looking at that we are not?

Not really.

Michigan and Pennsylvania look to be more competitive than we might think. But, it's only July.

Chris Cillizza : "Everyone who is under serious consideration says no." Why ask?

It's all in the game.

And, yes, I am purposely quoting Omar Little there.

Do you think that the news of the recent detaining of former Governor and US ambassador Castro will help Democratic candidates in the Arizona general election campaign?

Nope.  No effect.

It should be Joe Walsh AND Joan Walsh. Maybe they can both have a playoff showdown on an MSNBC show to be the winner and you can referee it?

Joe Walsh did have himself a week.

This is my favorite clip:

Is Mrs. Romney losing some of her initial popularity due to her gaffes and general cluelessness about how the middle class lives?

Nope.  First ladies and wives of presidential nominees tend to have sky high approval ratings.

TPaw and Jindal are generally very good but are prone to at least one wimpy or weird moment. Pawlenty had nothing on Obamneycare, and Jindal strangely mentioned Mardi Gras when discussing health care. How is Portman compared to them? Thune?

Portman is a skilled debater and has played the Democratic nominee in a series of practice presidential debates in the past.

Not sure on Thune. Relatively small sample size.

I am surprised Rep. Thomas Petri has not been vetted for VP. Do you suppose it is because of his highly controversial author daughter?

There are so many things wrong with this question.

Would Hillary go back to the Senate, do you think?

Um, no.

Whether it happens in 2013 or 2017, I think he'd be a shoo-in for the Supreme Court. Like Taft, who loved it so much he said, "I often forget I was ever president."

Imagine that confirmation fight? Holy cow.

If I attend your book signing at Politics and Prose on the 21st at 6 pm, will you please sign my book?


Hi Chris, Did your boys from Italy roll over 4 - 0 so they would have a better chance of getting bailout money from the Germans?

Just a terrible perfomance.

Balotelli totally ineffective. Same for Pirlo.

Spain is amazing. Xavi and Iniesta two of the best midfielders in history.

Who has helped themselves so far? Who is fading?

Cuomo frontrunner -- unless Hillary runs.

O'Malley in mix.

Warner? Maybe. Schweitzer? Less likely.

This is more of a philosophical question, but here goes. I just put two-and-two together and realized that the Martin Heinrich who is now the democratic nominee for Senate in NM was the Martin I knew in college (he dated one of my girlfriend's friends). A decent, kind, genuine person--highly unusual for a 20-year-old, you know? Hardly the politician type in any case. So how does a good person like that end up in politics? I just don't get it.

Well, this proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Heinrich campaign is on the chat!

What do you think are Linda Lingles chance of being elected ?? Shes a former popular governor, wouldnt that make her more likely to win in this heavily democratic state.

Not good.

She is BY FAR the best candidate Republicans could hope for in the state. But she is running in a Senate race in Hawaii in a presidential year. And no matter where the President stands in other states, he is still VERY popular in Hawaii.

But he looks like Eddie Munster.

Wow. Shot across the bow at Paul Ryan.

What role do you expect him to play at the Republican convention? At what hour will he speak?

Fascinatin question. I don't know -- and I bet the Romney team doesn't either.

As/more interesting: When does certain 2016/2020 presidential candidate Rand Paul speak?

Saw Romney's speech on job this morning. What a wooden, monotone performance. No passion, no connection with his audience. If America votes on "do I want to have a beer with this guy," Obama wins in a landslide.

But what if the question is "Are you better off than you were 4 years ago?"

"BUT, it ignores a basic political reality that's as old as time: Presidents get the credit when the economy is good and get the blame when it's bad." Shouldn't it be your job, then, to help correct this? Seems like you'd rather accept it than refute it.

Ah yes. The media scapegoat!

Assuming that the media explaining the complexities of the economy would ensure that people would give up their tendency to blame/credit the president for the economy is a sweet idea.  And totally not true.

Is it hard to find love across the aisle in DC? Do staffers cross party lines?

Ah, you must have mistaken this for the Carolyn Hax chat.  That has way more people in it.

A fanatical Ayn Rand-worshipping right-wing ideologue for VP? Author of a budget plan slashing every beloved social program? That will appeal to swing voters.

Well, we got the obligatory "Ayn Rand" mention out of the way in the chat. So, we've got that going for us.

Have you heard anything about Tom Coburn being in the mix for Romney's running mate? It seems like he would offset several of Romney's weaknesses. As a physician, he could dull the cut of Romneycare. He is one of the leading deficit hawks, was tea party before there was a Tea Party. He also is seen as one of the more civil members of Congress, with his close friendship with President Obama. You would think you would hear some chatter about him, considering all the boxes he checks off.

Nope. Too much of a truth teller to be on the ticket. Though I have to say Coburn is a very able politician and consistently underrated.

I am sticking with Sen. Pat Toomey as my big darkhorse for VP.

Hypothetically speaking, what are the odds of a former president getting confirmed to SCOTUS? Do you think it can be done in this day and age? Piqued my curiosity...

I don 't see how it could happen.

Can you recall a Sunday morning when he hasn't been on one of the talk shows? Over-exposure maybe?


More likely to run for president in 2016 or governor in 2013?


The reason journalists ask Vice Presidential possibilities is if one if found to actually be interested, that is considered un-seeming and that person is removed as a possibility. For some reason, politics demands dishonesty from the outset.


That's all for today folks! Thanks as always for joining me. And, if you like the chat and the Fix blog, do me a solid and pick up a copy of "The Gospel According to the Fix" either now or next week. You'll like it. Or your money back. (Ok, not really.)


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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