The Fix Live

Jul 13, 2012

The Fix's Aaron Blake discussed the latest political news.

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Hey everyone! And welcome to this week's edition of The Fix Live Chat.

Chris is at home tending to the two-day-old Fix III (and Mrs. Fix, we presume) and watching the Price Is Right. So I'll be driving the bus this morning.

What's on your mind? Condi Rice for VP? The Espys? Bain Capital? Jesse Jackson Jr.? The Dream Team's exhibition game last night? Ask away!

Okay, Aaron. Is this a real story or a trial balloon floated by the Romney campaign to change the subject from the Bain mess? And if it is the real deal, what are the pros and cons of Dr. Rice as the pick?

I hate to be a conspiracy theorist, but this is a great time for there to be speculation about Romney picking an African-American woman as his vice president. It's cable news kibble (and we've weighed in on at as well).

I don't really see a downside for the Romney campaign in having this story out there, apart from the fact that Rice has demonstrated some pro-abortion rights leanings and there's some open question that she might have voted for Obama in 2008. The base might not be happy about that. We went through all the evidence a couple weeks back, and we're very skeptical.

Fun story, though!

Hi Aaron, I was going to buy Chris's new book, but because he is now too cool to show up for Friday chats I plan to wait for your book to come out. How long will that be and will it be on politics or Golden Gopher sports highlights (a short book for sure)?

Little do you know that my Golden Gopher Athletics History (Vol. 1) will include six national titles for our once-mighty football program. None since 1960 of course, but everyone knows that the game of football isn't what it used to be.

Hi Aaron, In Mass do you think it helps Elizabeth Warren that the majority of people will be voting for Obama and a vote for Scott Brown would seem, at best, to be inconsistent?

Ticket-splitters are all over the place. In fact, many people relish the fact that they voted for two people of opposite parties right next to each other on the ballot.

Does it help Scott Brown that this is a presidential election year? No. But polls there demonstrate there will be significant crossover votes. The questions is whether it's enough. He needs to win a huge majority of independents.

It's great to wrap yourself in the Olympics (especially American-made uniforms), but does Team Romney really think people will view dressage like gymnastics, swimming, etc.? Why not just go fox hunting in England while he's there?

Is Jet Skiing an Olympic sport yet?

Yes, dressage is a highfalutin pursuit, so I don't think it helps. But Ann Romney is also a very sympathetic potential First Lady; people like her in a way that they don't necessarily like Mitt. I think those two things balance it out a little.

What's your gut say--Romney announces before or after the Olympics? It has to be after, right?

I'm not sure what he gets out of announcing it well before the convention unless they really want a good news story. The more time a VP is known, the more time there is to vet him or her. My guess is we learn about it pretty close to the convention, so the convention can get excited about it.

And don't kid yourself: Romney's camp doesn't mind all the ongoing speculation about his VP. It keeps him in the news for non-Bain reasons.

1. Over/Under of sweater vest jokes when they speak is 2.5. What ya got? 2. Is hanging out with such a social conservative really the best strategy for Romney to win swing voters in swing states?

The Santorum sweater vest joke is getting as old as the Rahm-Emanuel-is-vulgar joke and the John-Boehner-smokes-and-is-tan joke. I think it's time we retired it and let the man's arms breathe in peace.

Conflicting polls, right? How often do Republicans down the ballot win in presidential years (it's such a blue state)?

If anyone can win, it's a former governor like Linda Lingle. She's outraising her opponents and has a well-established brand. As in Massachusetts, I don't think we can rule out a Republican winning just because Obama is going to win well more than 60 percent of the vote.

Didnt Penn State have the worst week with the release of the Freeh report?

They definitely had the worst week in the country. The award, fortunately for them, goes to the worst week in WASHINGTON.

Also, stay tuned on worst week; it'll be posting shortly after this chat!

The question we always ask Chris: (1) Where are you at? (2)What are you listening to? (3) What are you drinking? You may answer for yourself or try to guess what Chris is doing now.

1) In the office.

2) The sound of my colleagues yammering.

3) Water.

I know it's not exciting, but I like to think of myself as the Scottie Pippen of The Fix team.

Chris had another kid? That rascal, he never let on!

He wasn't even showing! Very Palin-esque indeed.

I thought Chris would be at home watching The View or Maury

Chris actually likes to watch re-runs of the Richard Bey show.

Hate the ESPY's and wish ESPN would stop self aggrandizing themselves

Agree. Sportscenter is close to unwatchable these days. I've made the transition to ESPNnews, which is what Sportscenter is supposed to be (100% highlights).

Does Jackson's ~mysterious~ disappearance make his district vulnerable to getting picked up by Republicans in November? Also, I am in love with that kangaroo video from yesterday's Afternoon Fix. Who found that?

This is still an 80 percent Obama district. It's not going Republican. Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) needed $90,000 in his freezer to lose, and even then, it was because the race wasn't held on the regular Election Day and turnout was so low.

How much of a chance is there that Jeff Flake loses the Republican primary race in Arizona to Wil Cardon?

We profiled the three businessmen making a splash in GOP primaries a couple days back. Out of John Brunner, Eric Hovde and Wil Cardon, I think Cardon probably has the least chance of winning. But that doesn't mean he can't.

His major hit on Jeff Flake (immigration), though, was submarined last week when the Arizona Republican reported that Cardon's business had hired illegal immigrants.

It's been two months since we've seen a poll, though, so this is all suspicion.

Who is more likely to be in the Senate in 2013 -- Heidi Heitkamp or Jon Tester?

Still Tester. We have adjusted our thinking on North Dakota, which is competitive. But Tester is an incumbent who just raised $1.9 million in the second quarter in a state where that money goes a LONG way. Rehberg needs to run a good campaign.

He made the most sense to me but there seems to be no buzz. I know he's in DC (so is Portman who was there before too)--why no interest in him? Is there any talk about him running for President or has that gone away for good?

Thune doesn't seem to make much of an effort to foment the buzz. You don't see him on TV much, and he's not out on the trail with Romney either. I think he's definitely a legit contender, but he is curiously under the radar right now (for a sitting senator).

Regardless, I think he'll be mentioned as a potential presidential candidate in the future. Too telegenic and well-regarded to not be. But he turned down the 2012 race awful quick.

With former Providence Mayor and now Rep. David Cicilline's bad polling numbers plus rather unimpressive campaigner in his primary opponent, ConservaDem Anthony Gemma, do Republicans have a shot in Rhode Island's 1st congressional district? Mean there are tons of factors in the Dems favor such as the Republican primary not being all sunshine and rainbows either, folks in Rhode Island are just "culturally" Democrats, former Gov. Romney at the top of the ticket with Mass. being so close and folks knowing first-hand his governship won't help, etc...

Rhode Island is one of the most politically interesting states in the country. I'd put it right up there with Illinois and Louisiana (great company, I know).

The GOP does have a shot at beating Cicilline. But the seat is so blue, you have to wonder if it's another Joseph Cao situation where it would just revert back once Democrats got a new candidate two years later. Is it really worth the effort and money to hold the seat for two years?

Will surely be a case study at GSPM of what not to do. Yet it also seems like it will have little impact on the Senate race.

I wouldn't say that yet. People aren't really paying attention to House and Senate races yet, and Republicans can always start running ads on this. It hasn't moved the polls yet, but people are pretty tuned out. These things have a way of resurfacing.

Aaron...I know we're still a few months out, but I've never seen a race like this where polling is all over the map. I go to RCP every day, and yesterday Pew's got Obama's approval rating up by 7. The day before, Quinnipiac's got his approval down by 4. I don't even factor Rasmussen into the mix. What gives?

It's not all that unusual this far out, especially with the proliferation of pollsters. Results depend on your sample, and sampling depends on what you think the electorate will look like on Election Day. Four months out, it's still very hard to say what that electorate will look like.

And really, margins of error mean Pew's 7-point Obama margin isn't all that different from the Post-ABC poll's tie ballgame. It just so happens that Pew has Obama getting a few of the votes that Romney was getting in the Post-ABC poll.

Expect this to continue. There are a lot of pollsters out there, which means there will be more disparate results from time to time.

Not so sure about the likability factor. There's some Marie Antoinette that keeps peeking out.

Fair point.

When I saw "Fix III" at the top of the live chat, for a moment I thought "Huh, Chris Cillizza and his wife had triplets?"

Let's start the rumor. Right here, right now.

I say it, Sarah Palin.

About as likely as Condi Rice, about now.

I think castmember Taran Killam will do a great Mitt Romney characterization when the next season starts in September, but Fred Armisen is still terrible as playing Pres. Obama.

See, I thought Sudeikis does a really good Romney. You know the impression is good when you think of something Romney said, and you think of Sudeikis saying it.

Has this officially been decided? I thought it was in-limbo.

The question isn't so much "Can Ralph Lauren (born Ralph Lipschitz in the Bronx) find someone in America to make the Opening Ceremony Apparel in only 10 days?" but "Can he redesign it so that it doesn't look like it was a French School Uniform?"

Offered without comment.

It is completely laughable to suggest that the 2012 Olympic Basketball team could even come close to the 1992 Dream Team

I tend to think that athletes just keep getting better, so I don't think this is far-fetched. I may be in the minority here, but I think Clayton Kershaw would strike out Babe Ruth. I think Kobe and Durant could take MJ and Bird.

But now I'm going to get hate mail.

If Chris has a new-born and a toddler, he's lucky to keep eyes open. Also, did he birth his book the same day July 10) as the new baby?

The book came debuted one day before the baby. I'm not sure who plans these things, but I hope they're fired.

On a side note, here's the link where everyone can buy the book:

Any sign that Romney's religion is hurting him? It certainly was a problem in the primaries, but mostly among the sort of people who would rather gnaw off their legs than vote for Obama.

As with the '08 campaign, the question is whether any third-party groups will go there and run an ad on Mormonism. The advent of super PACs, I think, makes that more likely.

But actually, polls show resistance to Mormonism is higher among Democrats than among Republicans, and a significant number of independents have reservations too. We shall see.

As of now, I'm not sure I've seen any proof that his religion is hurting him. But proving something like that is very difficult (just like it's tough to prove that race hurt or helped Obama in 2008; it's just tough to suss out in these polls.)

Aaron, I read your recent post about what candidates needed to post for fundraising for the second quarter. With the numbers we've seen so far, who has met (or exceeded) these numbers and who has come up short? Thanks

Good question!


Liz Warren (raised $8.6 million)

Joe Donnelly ($900,000)

George Allen ($2 million)

Fell short:

Connie Mack ($840,000)

I will note, thought, that Allen was outraised $3 million to $2 million by Tim Kaine. So it's not a great quarter for him.

Makes the most sense as a VP. Inoffensive, already vetted (in 2008), willing to do what a VP candidate has to do, and can do evangelical outreach.

I think people underestimate Pawlenty a little in the veepstakes.

Also consider: Pawlenty was eviscerated for declining to go after Romney hard in that debate. But it might have wound up helping him get the No. 2 job!

We're starting to see some Jay Inslee ads over here. Are the polls still close?

In a word, yes. AG Rob McKenna is giving Republicans a really good shot of winning in a blue state, and I think Inslee has something to prove as someone who previously lost a GOV campaign.

This is one of the most interesting GOV races this cycle; but it's going to get short shrift because it's on the West Coast.

Have you guested on Andrea Mitchell or Daily Rundown yet? Remember, that's where Savannah Guthrie got her start!

And that wasn't THAT long ago! I'm assuming Cillizza is next in line for a Today Show vacancy.

Typically we ask where Chris is taking his talents this weekend. Where is Fix Aaron taking his talents this weekend?

Aaron is taking his talents to a softball field in Maryland. Unfortunately, his talents involve being an OK slowpitch softball pitcher who can occasional beat out a ground ball. I haven't checked, but I may be below the Mendoza Line this year.

Revert back? Aaron, shame on you! Would Chris have done that? And can you revert forward?

CC Mr. Holm.

I'm sorry. You taught me better than this.

Was running on the dreadmill at the work gym yesterday, and all the TVs were turned to ESPN. I could have used some nice highlights to motivate me, but no, I had to endure 45 minutes of talking heads discussing the apparent end of the world (ie Penn State report). It was even worse than the endless pontification on pro football contract structures and salary caps, their next-most-favorite topic.

Am I the only one who likes to see all the highlights? Plus, all the chatter is useless when you're on the treadmill, because you have no idea what they're saying. Might as well watch HGTV.

An Obama-Romney race sure sucks for them. Two boring guys with no distinctive tics, or personal peccadillos. And after four years, they still can't get Obama right.

Disagree. Al Gore is not an exciting character either, but Darrel Hammond OWNED him and made it HILARIOUS. Writing and acting matter. Though I do agree Obama is still very difficult to make funny.

I think that the 2012 team would pull off a squeaker. Most of the Dream Team is pretty old now.


Armisen really is just awful and one just has to go to YouTube and find a zillion and one actually funny comics doing Obama. NPR just had on a guy a week ago, Trevor Noah, and he is so funny. He'd get my vote.

I am a little surprised that SNL hasn't brought on someone almost exclusively to do Obama impressions. Jordan Peele should be on that show.

But Tim Pawlenty isn't likely to help Romney win MN. When Pawlenty left the governorship here he was pretty unpopular. Wouldn't the optics be bad to have both the nominee and his running mate losing their home states (as in Romney's not going to win MA either)?

Romney wasn't going to win Minnesota anyways (unless he wins nationwide in a rout), and home-state help isn't a great reason to pick a VP. In fact, we looked at all the VP picks in recent decades and found that very few came from swing states:

Re "can you revert forward?" Well, apparently it's possible to restore the future, if certain candidates are to be believed.

Offered without comment.

Inquiring minds want to know!

It's a boy! Congrats to Chris and Mrs. Fix. The rest of us at The Fix are expecting to be summarily replaced any day now.

Thanks everyone for coming out! Sorry we couldn't get to all your questions, but there's always next week.

Have a good weekend, and stay classy, world!

In This Chat
Aaron Blake
Aaron Blake covers national politics at the Washington Post, where he writes regularly for the Fix, the Post?s top political blog. A Minnesota native and summa cum laude graduate of the University of Minnesota, Aaron has also written about politics for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and The Hill newspaper. Aaron and his wife, Danielle, live in Annandale, Va.
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