The Fix Live

Jul 27, 2012

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

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Good morning everyone!  Happy Olympics -- except for Mitt Romney.

Lots of questions. Let's start answering them. 

Mitt Romney is a rich businessman, and the election turns on what people make of that fact. Republicans say it's good, Democrats say it's bad. How does Romney's wealth compare to that of past presidential candidates? And how have wealthy candidates fared with the voters? The one who comes to mind is FDR, who won four presidential elections. But as perhaps the most liberal president, he was seen as a traitor to his class, so his example may not pertain to Romney.

Important thing to remember: Romney AND Obama are millionaires.  Romney has more money but they are both very wealthy.

As to how Romney's wealth stacks up, he would definitely be in the richest of modern presidents. I posted a chart comparing his tax returns to that of our last 5 presidents that, I think, gives you some sense on where he fits.

It's here:

Did you read that mammoth New Yorker article on Bruce Springsteen?

DID. And am listening to "Wrecking Ball" right now. Again, Bruce Springsteen is not THE God but he is clearly A god.

Is Huma-gate the last straw for Michele Bachmann? I know her district is pretty conservative, but will they continue to tolerate her brand of crazy?

We wrote earlier this week on how the Muslim Brotherhood may well represent a sort of Bachmann tipping point... it's here:

How is Connie Mack still within the margin of error against Bill Nelson?

His last name is Mack. And lots of people probably think he is his father, who remains a VERY popular figure in the state.

It's been awhile since I took the train from DC to NYC. At that point, I had no idea so many reporters made that trek. Am I guaranteed to see a politico on any given DC-NYC train?

YES.  And, you are even more likely to read a reporteer tweeting about how bad the wifi on said Acela sucks.

Oh wait, that's just me.

I think the Winter Olympics are the ugly stepbrother of the Summer games, but what's the Summer version of curling, the sport that people pretend to get excited about while secretly mocking? Is it badminton?

Water polo?

Living in a battleground market in a battleground state, I get to see an absurd number of political ads. I've noticed that the Obama campaign is running a lot of "war on women" ads against Romney -- abortion, birth control, etc. Why is Obama emphasizing these issues now? Do you expect any outside groups -- Planned Parenthood, NARAL, EMILY's List -- to jump on the bandwagon?

Because surburban women voters are a critical swing vote and are the sort of people who are moved by messaging on choice.

Has any American politician done so badly as Mitt in their first steps on the world stage? The fact that the twitter tag #AmericanBorat is being used to keep track of his troubles cannot be a good thing, even if the spin here now is that Americans only care about what happens in America. (So, if that is the case, why go to Britain, Poland, and Israel in the first place?)

Hard to argue that Romney's European trip has gone according to plan at this point. Don't think it matters a ton in the long run but "Mitt the Twit" is clearly not the headline(s) that the Romney campaign wanted.

Where is the Cillizza taking his talents this weekend?

Fix HQ.  With a 16-day year old son, I am keeping pretty close to home these days.

What do you think of the Olympics in London and have you ever been to London?

I am a big summer Olympics fan -- particularly the field hockey.

I am also a BIG Boris Johnson fan. I mean, that guy is a reporter's dream.

Didn't tell us anything we didn't know, did it? Economy is mediocre, not booming, but not falling into a recession either. Increasingly looks like we'll have above-average unemployment for years, no matter who is president.

Probably right. But Obama IS the president and is going to have to figure out a way to convince people he is either a) not to blame or b) slowly making things better.

That's a tough sell and it's why this election is a legit jumpball.

Is there anyway we can spared from the Ad Wars while watching the Olympics?

NO way.

Way too Acela Corridor-dominant. People like candidates from the heartland. That helps Thune and Jindal for the GOP. Some Dem will emerge too, possibly a western governor, hint hint.

LOTS of money in the Acela Corridor.

Let's say Hillary doesn't run. Who would be able to match Cuomo's fundraising ability?

On the R side, I would put the top tier as Rubio, Jindal and Jeb with Jeb as first among equals if he runs.

How big of a gaffe was Romney with his criticism of the Olympics in London?

It's not good. But as I wrote above, this election is going to be decided on the American economy not what Romney thinks of the security at the London Olympics.

DId you take the New York subway? My subway rankings are: DC, Chicago, NYC, and Philadelphia. Yes, despite the constant Metro complaints, DC still has the cleanest one (by far). Maybe you can rank best limo companies though...jk.

I did not.

I would rank them like this

1. NYC (goes everywhere though smells like pee everywhere too)

2.Chicago (awesome cameo in "The Fugitive")

3. DC. (Only ok)

4. Philly (I didn't even know they had a subway)

257. Boston (The T is just the worst ever.)

When I first started reading the Post online, there were several people who would participate in politics or current events chats. Now it seems that there is just you and Eugene Robinson. What happened? And why don't some of the other opinion columnists besides Robinson participate?

Gene and I's plan of world chat domination is working...

Other than supporting Chick-fil-A, is he playing a role? Is Romney going to do events with him?

Not so much.

Remind us why Romney is making this trip? If he can't get good press out of a trip to the U.K. -- probably the most popular foreign country (after Canada) with American voters -- where can he go?

Because people (voters) generally have to be able to look at a presidential candidate and believe that they can hold their own on the world stage.

Of course, Romney's not doing himself a ton of favors at the moment..

Are swing voters in the suburbs likely to be influenced by the NRA or some gun control proposals?


Gun control is a back of the mind issue.  See how fast the Aurora shooting dropped from the dominant nationalstory?

No coffee for old Chris? It's not Morning Water.

I had a MOCHA!  Awesome time up in NYC with the Morning Joe posse.

How is the Obama campaign close to the Romney trio of ads editing out words from McCain and then whole sentences most recently? It's misleading to say, "Well, both campaigns are doing it."

If not for "false equivalency", my critics might be silent.

Is Mitt Romney eligible for "Worst Week in Washington"? He's definitely made a major gaffe with his Olympics and "Mr. Leader" remarks, but he did it while on foreign soil (which made it a lot worse!). Ever notice that his wife Ann pops up in his interviews when he's trying to mwke up for a gaffe? If he's president, and he brings her to the podium in the East Room, will the nation be doing a collective "Uh-oh. This is going to be bad news!"

We have a broad definition of Washington....let's leave it at that for the moment.

Following Romney's visit to the UK will US citizens start to use the terms "twit" and "wanker" more frequently?

Queue up for the lift.



I can only hope.

Now that I have your attention... Mitt dissing London, IN London, about their Olympic preparation AT the Olympics. I can't even... what was he thinking? What was he hoping to accomplish by saying that? What benefit did he expect to gain?

Not Romney's one shining moment to be sure.

And on the book:


How does your dressage fantasy team look?

STRONG. I've got Snickerdoodle, Misty and Star.

I recently saw a poll that showed Romney *slightly* ahead of Obama in Michigan. Do you think there's any chance MI goes blue in November? What would Romney's message need to be to win there?

I assume you mean goes red.

And, yes, there is a chance. I don't think it's as good a chance as Wisconsin or Pennsylvania but there's a chance.

Michigan's economy has been struggling for years. If Romney succeeds in laying that failure at Obama's feet, he could win the state.

Hi Chris, good luck with the book, it sounds great. Wondering if you've got thoughts on the Massachusetts Senate race... how does Brown win even with Romney's numbers there?

Brown will overperform Romney -- we just don't know by how much.

If Romney gets 40 in Massachusetts, it could be tough for Brown. if Romney gets 44 percent though it's more doable.

People who are already writing Scott Brown's obituary are WAY premature. This is a very talented -- and VERY well funded -- candidate.

Is there still a chance of Rubio being VP? Or are the odds slim?

Doesn't look good for Rubio.

Would say it's

1. Portman

2. Pawlenty

3. Jindal

4. Ryan

After that, who the heck knows.

Haven't been follow that election to closely, so who is running for the Dems and is the state and national party ignore that person in favor of Angus King?

A woman named Cynthia Dill.

And it doesn't matter because Angus King is going to win.

Was he born on Mercury or something?

Yes. That and I am a bad typer.

Do the Mets have a chance of catching up to the Nationals? Go METS!


Nationals tied for best record in baseball with the YANKEES. Who would have even come close to predicting that at the start of the season?

First, just wait until Romney goes to Israel. They will love him there. Second, I know that you and most of the MSM have a liberal bias (whether you admit and/or acknowledge so), but Mitt being blasted by Europeans who live in failed nanny states and socialist economies is not such a bad thing. In fact, I'd be more worried if they liked him in Europe.

Well, I reject the whole "liberal bias" thing totally.

But I agree with your broader point. Romney's trip hasn't started out all that well but if he gets great receptions in Israel and Poland we might not even remember the whole London thing

Come on now, Boston can't be worse than Atlanta... MARTA made me miss metro on a regular basis, but I never had a problem with the T.

No experience with MARTA. The "T" is for "Terrible".

How much do you want to bet--$10,000?--that Israel is extra nice to Romney to change the tone of his trip to Europe?

I see what you did there.

Who is going to do a power ranking of the Tampa strip clubs? My money is on Sam Stein.

Wait a minute...Tampa has strip clubs? In Florida? I am SHOCKED.

The dog's name is Isis, by the way.


Cannot wait for Season 3.

Anyone else underwhelmed by "Sherlock"?

Way too East-Coast Centric. BART is at least as clean as Metro, and in blue and white that are far more cheerful than Metro's brown and orange.

BART is, without question, the best acronym in history for a subway system.

So after President Cuomo is inaugurated, who has a shot at being Gov of NY?


Nasty, nasty sport. Hungary's 1956 win against the USSR for the gold medal was known as "Blood in the Water". Don't make water polo players mad.

Two people have referenced this match. I am now going to have to do some research on it.

Los Angeles has an excellent subway. You can zip around much faster than all the stalled traffic above ground. The only problem is LA is spread out so it is hard to reach certain parts of the area, yet it reaches most of the main places people want to go.

Mayor Villaraigosa on the chat!

Bolling, Kooch, or Macker? WHO YA GOT?

General election: Cooch vs Macker.

And that will be a race for the ages. I am already excited.

How will the KStew/RPatt fiasco effect the November Election?

Bigger question: TomKat impact on the November election.

#Romneyshambles is a most excellent thread to follow on Twitter. ("Breaking: Mitt Romney retroactively cancels trip to UK #romneyshambles)

HA. Will do.

Just because those on the right and then those on the left get mad at you for your coverage, that alone doesn't mean you are any good at it. Really wish pundits would stop wearing "Both sides have hated my work" as some kind of badge of honor. Rather the reporting and analysis itself rather then partisan reaction be the standard.

Yeah, I tend to rely on my mom who says I am great. I feel like she's a good objective source.

Any thoughts as to Hillary Clinton's thought process regarding 2016? If elected, she would be the second oldest president, after Ronald Reagan. He's a bit of a two-edged sword. Yes, he was elected twice, but he was *very* old and showing his age at the end of his presidency.

If Obama wins, no Clinton run.

If Obama loses, stay tuned.

Hey I just met you, and this is crazy, but here's my number, so call me maybe?

So. Good.

You were underwhelmed at Sherlock, WHY? At the very least Sherlock is certainly going to be far superior to the CBS "Elementary" drivel. Those Twits! (lets try to get the UK slang to hop across the Pond)

I had REALLY high expectations. I mean, I like "Sherlock" but I don't love it.

I thought those were members of the US women's beach volleyball team, not dressage competitors.

Oh snap.

Synchronized swimming.

Rhythmic gymnastics? Or one of those "X game" type sports?

...Clearly Bob Dylan. Or Townes Van Zandt.


Not close.

Who outside NYC really cares what he thinks about anything?


The idea of a Bloomberg as a viable NATIONAL third party candidate is pushed by people who have never been to anywhere not on the east or west coast.

Just no broad constituency for Bloomberg in the vast middle of the country aka where elections are won and lost.

S2 was better. A Scandal in Belgravia was HOT. And The Reichenbach Fall was actually a pretty timely critique of celebrity culture, along with having really good performances. (I fully admit that two of those performances were by Cumberbatch's cheekbones.)

I barely know what any of the words in those two sentences above mean.

I can't get past how funny looking the actor playing Sherlock Holmes is. A) his name is ridiculous. Could "Benedict Cumberbatch" BE any more British? And B) his lips are paler than his skin. It's weird.

Agree. I like Dr. Watson in that show. But I don't get why he would want to hang around with an egomaniacal guy who clearly lacks any concern for him?

The list of top Democratic possibilities for 2016 seems very blue-state: Hillary Clinton (NY), Joe Biden (DE), Andrew Cuomo (NY), Deval Patrick (MA), Martin O'Malley (MD), Elizabeth Warren (MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), etc. Who are the red-state or purple-state possibilities?

Remember that in a Dem presidential primary being as close to liberal orthodoxy is key. Moderates don't win Democratic primaries. Blue state politicians have records that allow them to appeal to the true blue left.

It's why it's hard to see Mark Warner or Brian Schweitzer making a real run at the presidency in 2016.

You can't even imagine... (Lived on the Green Line in Boston for two years. The WORST.)

NOTHING worse than the 1 car "trains". And it's SO bouncy.

Hey, I admit that our subway system has it's problems, but it is both the oldest subway system in the US and the least expensive. (Not that the locals appreciate the price, as evidenced by the outcry for every tiny fare increase.) It serves the commercial areas and the hoods, and it's got its quirky charm.

This is the worst defense ever... "hey's it old AND cheap!"

Yes, because other countries liking our president has always been a bad thing... /sarcasm Acting like an ugly American tourist only hurts us.


Hill 'n' Hick: Hillary Clinton -- Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper OR Andy 'n' Amy: Andrew Cuomo - Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota

The first one. Not close.  Though I think Klobuchar is a very good politician who might do well on the national level.

Do the Democrats have a political consultant similar in stature to Karl Rove ?

Begala? Carville?

Hey, I want to work for the Fix. When are you expanding operations?

We JUST hired a new Fix-er: Sean Sullivan. He starts Monday. Comes to us from The Hotline. I am thrilled.

Seriously, I hope Romney picks Christie -- just for the debate between him and Biden. That would be the debate to end all debates. Mills Lane could be the moderator for that one. And instead of having it at some college no one's ever heard of, they could just hold it at a bar.

Holy cow that would be AWESOME.

To make that damn ad with Mitt Romney singing stop playing? I don't even know what its for, just that it sounds AWFUL. Make it stop, please??

That ad is BRUTAL. And it must be working or they wouldn't keep running it.

I've recently read the Boys on the Bus (Crouse) and On Bended Knee (Hertsgaard), two books that cover how the national press covers presidents and presidential races. What's your favorite book on journalists and what did you take from it?

"The Gospel According to the Fix".

Also, "All the King's Men". It's fiction. But it rules.

Where's the love for Paul Simon? Clearly the best American songwriter. "Graceland" is a phenomenal album and song, and a lot of his deep tracks really shine through too. Check out "Train in the Distance."


Best American living songwriters:

1. Dylan

2. Simon

3. Springsteen

What would you assess the odds that the US elects a 3rd party candidate in next 50 yrs? I say less than 5%

5% is high.  Read my book...I have a big chapter on it.

Was he wrong factually?

BIG difference between being wrong factually and being wrong politically. And he was definitely wrong politically.

Hmm, I'd rather talk about Sherlock, but I did want to know your thoughts on Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wa) as a darkhorse VP candidate. Or is she too Palinesque (except with credentials)?

NO chance.

No one serious has ever mentioned her name to me.

Love the Underground Tube and, "Mind the Gap"

YES. Love.

How many songs do you expect from Sir Paul tonight, and which ones?

He will play new stuff and I will be enraged.  It always happens.

How long is the initiation ceremony for Fix Sean?

We have an elaborate hazing ritual. It's kind of like the episode of "It's Always Sunny" when Dennis' mom dies and she leaves him her house.

You are my go-to source for hip new bands. I recently discovered Passion Pit through their newest CD, Gossamer. Thoughts?


Deertick has 2 collaboration bands which I like. "Diamond Rugs" is one...

Wow. That would be one gorgeous ticket!


Who should I endorse and support in the Texas Senate primary? Who do you think will win? Is it true that Ted Cruz has Clear Eyes, Full Hearts and Can't Lose?

Tim Riggins. For president. Of Texas.

Loved Season 1; DVR'ed Season 2. Best thing is the casting of Sherlock & Watson. How could you not love a name like Benedict Cumberbatch? Or as Lisa de Moraes calls him, Bandersnatch Cumberbund? Also, most buzz on ELEMENTARY has been surprisingly good. And Jonny Lee Miller is a Brit.

The best part of "Sherlock" is the name Benedict Cumberpatch. Amazing name.

Not a defense at explanation. MA residents don't want to pay more, it's old and run down, and you get what you pay for.

As a native CT guy, I am down on Boston.

Best cities on East Coast (DC northwards):

1. NYC

2 DC

3 Philly

4 Boston

1,568,956. Manchester, NH

Because that's how Conan Doyle wrote him. The hero has to have a foil, you know. Sorta the Socratic question victim.

Sure. But it's pretty brutal.

Have you received angry responses from offices/campaigns based on your analysis?


Predict the outcome.

I still think Dewhurst wins. But runoffs are hard because turnout is so hard to know.

1.Billy Joe Shaver 2. Warren Zevon 3. John Prine

I think Prine is top 5.

Is there professional field hockey? If so, would Mrs. Fix be tempted to jump to the pros a la Pitino and Calipari?

In other countries absolutely. And no. She is too busy building a Wooden/UCLA-like dynasty at Catholic U. 

That's an example of the old rule of finding the most ridiculous picture/video/audio of your opponent and drumming that into people's heads. Remember Max Baucus and Mike Taylor.

Correct. And you mean this:

Is how to get animals out of chimneys without killing them. What are the odds this will be addressed in the campaign?


Did you see the poll where more New Yorkers prefer Hillary over Cuomo for President in 2016?

Did. I think she is just more popular and better known. Being Sec of State is a largely apolitical job...and her popularity ratings are through the roof.

Any NYC appearances on tap

I was in NYC on Tuesday/Wednesday!

And none yet. Get the 92nd Street Y to let me do a reading!

I would also like to point out that they are both Fightin' Blue Hens from the University of Delaware!

VERY good point.

The amazingness of that hook knows no bounds. But it's kinda like No Scrubs (which also has a great hook) in terms of going on about two minutes too long. And I love pop music.

This is the sort of detailed analysis I expect from my readers.

That girl, actually she's 26 so go figure, has a follow-up. Just as catchy. What did you think?

I was not aware of that.

Ok, folks. I am done! Taking rest of the day for paternity leave.  Enjoy the opening ceremonies.

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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