The Fix Live

Aug 10, 2012

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

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Good morning everyone!

I declared this week the lamest of the campaign to date this morning -- and I think there is ample evidence to suggest it's true. Here's that piece: Link

On that note, let's do this thing!

Hi Chris - Last week you gave us your top five likely picks for the Republican VP nod. I'm curious who were your top five picks for Repub VP the week before McCain picked Palin? Thx.

GREAT question.

I know that I actually had Palin on a few of my 10 most likely picks for McCain but by the end, she wasn't in my top 10 or 5.

I don't think we will get a surprise like that with Romney though...unlike McCain, Romney is methodical to a tee.  He is not a risk taker at all.  And so, him picking Condi Rice or David Petraeus seems entirely less likely than McCain doing something unpredictable like the Palin pick.

Working on my updated top 5 VP picks -- will have them out after this chat!

Why does it seem like no one is talking about John Thune as a potential veep? He's got the conservative bona fides, and you know the right wing would love to make jokes about how Thune could beat President Obama in a hypothetical game of one-on-one.

Agree. And, from what I hear about Thune, he can really play hoops.

But, I just don't think he ever managed to get into the conversation in any meaningful way.  I do think he is a viable 2016 or 2020 candidate in his own right though...

If you take out Rasmussen, it looks like most of the recent polling has Obama with a 5 or so point lead nationally. Is that about where we are right now?


I still believe the race is more likely to tighten than to grow into a broader lead for Obama between now and the election.

The political environment -- particularly on the economy -- is tilted badly away from Obama, a fact that virtually ensures the race will be close.

Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday? Is Monday too early (long weekends/Olympic hangover) for running mates announcement?

Circle Wednesday.  Of course, that's just a hunch. But, Romney's bus tour winds up on Tuesday and annoucning Wednesday allows him to dominate news coverage from then all the way through the Sunday talk shows.

If Paul Ryan is the pick, do you expect the Ryan Plan to be front and center of this campaign?

Yes. And yes even if he isn't the pick.

I don't think there's any way Romney picks Ryan--just unnecessarily risky (and only the Acela Corridor thinks of Ryan as bold/courageous...nobody else follows process)--but while the CW is that anyone else would be a letdown, it could be setting up TPaw/Portman to be revisited under the guise of, "Well, he has to be good because Romney passed up Ryan for him." Ryan hype elevates the whole thing and adds to an otherwise boring selection.

Another thing to think about: What if Romney had already made his mind up before the Ryan boomlet?

There's no question Ryan is the candidate of the moment but who knows if it even affects Romney. He could have decided a week ago -- or longer -- on who he wants as his veep.

Hi Chris, I see a lot of stories stressing conservative pressure on Romney to pick Paul Ryan as his VP. Does Mitt really have to pander to these extreme conservatives? It isn’t as if any of them will vote for his Kenyan born Muslim opponent.

I will answer this question -- caveated with the fact that Obama is not, in fact, a Kenyan born Muslim.

I do think Republicans turn out no matter what this fall simply because their dislike for Obama far outweighs any questions they have about Romney.

I don't buy the argument that in a presidential election conservatives are going to stay home because they aren't sure their nominee is sufficiently conservative.

Gosh, it just about knocked my socks off when I read that Obama led Romney nationally by 7 points in a CNN survey and 9 points in the latest Fox News survey. This is similar to Obama's victory margin over McCain in 2008. The CNN poll also showed that Romney was substantially upside down in his favorability rating; perhaps TPaw could help him? If the Democrats come out of their convention in September with a similar margin can we say the fat lady has already sung?

I don't think so.

I just think the political environment and the polarization in the electorate virtually guarantees a close election in terms of both the popular vote and the electoral college.

What's the buzz on Romney's level of desire for risk-taking in his VP selection?

He's not a risk taker by nature. And I don't think his campaign buys that the most recent national polling suggests he is in real trouble heading into the fall.

So, a long pass down the field seems unlikely to me.

Rasmussen and then whoever does polls for Joe Donnelly show the race to be a statistical dead heat. Is this a situation where the natural Republican lean of the state just hasn't asserted itself yet because it's still early, or do Democrats have a realistic chance of winning this seat?

The first of a TON of Senate questions...

I still don't see Democrats winning a Senate race in Indiana in a presidential year.

Richard Mourdock is not as strong a general election candidate as Dick Lugar would have been but he's given little indication since winning the primary that he belongs in the Sharron Angle/Christine O'Donnell camp either.

National Democrats have spent a few hundred thousand dollars so far in Indiana. I would be surprised if they spend any more.

What are the chances that Ed Case actually wins the Senate primary in Hawaii? Daniel Inouye would never allow such a thing to happen, would he?

Case is, as best as I can tell, an underdog in the primary tomorrow. (Polling has been all over the map on the race.)

I think if Mazie Hirono wins, she is a favorite in the fall despite the fact that Linda Lingle is the best candidate -- by far -- for Republicans.

President Obama won 72% of the vote in Hawaii in 2008. Even if he does five points worse in 2012, that's still a giant hill for Lingle to climb.

Are the recent developments with Wil Cardon apparently pulling TV ads a sign that he's giving up (or being told to give it up)? Do Democrats have a chance against Jeff Flake?

It doesn't look good for Cardon.

And I think Flake starts the general election as a favorite over Richard Carmona. Not a huge favorite. But a favorite.

So Claire McCaskill got the opponent she wanted in Todd Akin. But is there a realistic path to victory for her in Missouri, a state that has been trending red for years? What advice would Harry Reid give her?


She effectively casts Akin as a candidate of right wing social conservatives thereby allowing her to clean up among independents and fiscal conservatives wary of Akin's religiosity.

That said, I don't think that case is that easily made and McCaskill is still going to have to find answers for her full throated support of President Obama during her first few years in office.

Do you think Bill Nelson's attacks on Connie Mack IV as some privileged, rich kid who never had to work or earn anything with resonate with voters?


Mack IV will win the primary next week -- a remarkable thing given that he really has not run a good campaign at all.

The question for Mack is if he can get his campaign on the straight and narrow, making the race about Bill Nelson and President Obama rather than about his occasionally controversial past.

Paul Kane had a great story the other day about Sherrod Brown and all the outside money pouring into the race against him. But if Brown survives this race, do you see him as a darkhorse candidate for president in 2016? Can his brand of economic populism/liberalism still bring in the votes in a Democratic primary?

Let's get through 2012 first before we start pitching Sherrod Brown for president...

Do you see Dick Lugar being active on the campaign trail (or appearing in ads for Richard Mourdock) this fall? Or is he still bitter about his primary defeat?

I think he is done with politics.

Does Thompson have the edge going into next week's primary? What would the general election between him and Baldwin look like?

Polling suggests he has a slight edge over rich business guy Eric Hovde.  But, who knows? Primaries are tough to predict due to the low turnout.

Okay, so Shelley Berkley wasn't Harry Reid's preferred candidate for this race. And she's mired in an ethics investigation right now. And Dean Heller isn't cray-cray like Sharron Angle. But how does the Godfather of Nevada Politics, Harry Reid, drag Berkley over the finish line and into a Senate seat this November? In Harry We Trust.

It's not been a great last month for Berkley. I now think Heller has a slight advantage but it's slight. What happens at the presidential level should have some impact on the Senate race too.

It seems like Chris Shays would be a better candidate against likey nominee Chris Murphy and would give the Republicans at least a legitimate shot of being competitive. Why then is McMahon likely to trounce him in the primary? Is it simply money?


I currently have this race ranking Lean Republican, but Richard Carmona has raised some serious cash. Several polls show the race is close and Flake appears to be spending most of his cash fending off a primary challenger. Do you see this race becoming a true tossup or at least moving in that direction?

You have your own Senate race rankings? Um....

Was it a mistake for the Republicans who could have won the Senate seat in Ohio by nominating Josh Mandel?

Lets' wait and see. That race is TOTALLY not engaged at the moment as the candidates are just raising money and storing it up for the final post-Labor Day push.

With Romney slumping in the polls might he now be inclinded to go for a darkhorse choice, similar to McCain's selection of Palin, to juice up his campaign? Perhaps Senator Kelly Ayotte or the Governor of New Mexico who would help him with the gender gap and hispanic voters?

Don't think so -- if only because his campaign insists they aren't slumping. And they do it publicly AND privately, which means they actually mean it.

What's your feelings on the timing of the VP pick? Closer to the convention? Will it come on a Monday? Press conference? Leaked before hand?

Circle Wednesday.

Hi Chris, You call this week "lamest of the campaign to date". Does your "to date" part indicate you think it will get "lamer"? Wasn't sure that was even a word.

It could get worse before it gets better.

Is it appropriate to wait until the new season airs in the US, or to watch the episodes after they air in Britain, by any means necessary?

Any. Means. Necessary.

As an AI watcher and Olympics fan, what do you think of Home's usage? IMO the guy had two decent performances all season before that song but it is a legtimately good one so I'm not surprised people are responding to it.

Phil Phillips = women's gymnastics. I think it is a good thing. I am a PP fan.

Is the Romney campaign taking a break or are the newworks not covering him. Every night I get a full update of the President's campaign - the coverage of his time in Colorado earlier this week was exhaustive. But I have no idea when Mitt was campaigning or what he was saying. This is the most one-sided campaign I can remember. Is Romney saving his energy until October?

He's off today and has been limited his appearances somewhat of late.

My guess is that his campaign ascribes that to the final stages of making a VP pick -- and the fact that the whole country is still watching the Olympics still.

Conservative elites know Republicans need old people to vote for them to win, right? They also know even Tea Party Republicans want their entitlements, right? Just checking since the Beltway seems to forget this stuff when salivating over Paul Ryan.

Fair point.

The election would immedtiately turn into a referendum on the Ryan plan if he is picked.

Which do you care more about: The outcome of the presidential election on November 6th or the outcome of the final Georgetown-Syracuse game on March 9th?

The outcome of the Landmark Conference field hockey championship game between Catholic University and whoever they are playing.

Chris, You’ll be happy to know (I hope) that I picked up a little volume while browsing through Politics and Prose the other day. I just couldn’t resist the 20% off member discount! I’m up to the chapter on sex scandals, but decided to save that salacious read for the weekend. My favorite part thus far? The sweet and loving dedication to your one and only. When will your next book be out?

Thanks SO much.

Whether there is another "Gospel According to the Fix" depends on people buying the current version of the "Gospel".

How can you do that? Funny you should ask:

I live in Flyover and have purchased a copy of your book from Amazon. Is there a way I can get you to autograph it? Thanks!

Send me an email at and I will send you an address where you can ship it to me!

As a registered Democrat and Obama supporter (and someone who follows politics very closely), I have to say Paul Ryan is the VP possibility that scares me the most. I think he would excite the base, help the GOP hand off the party to the next generation, and create interest that the others ultimately wouldn't. I read your cases for and against Ryan, and I feel like you might agree with all of that. Does Ryan give Romney the best chance to win? Maybe as a hail mary pass without the unknown factors (like a Palin in '08)?

Interesting perspective.

I honestly don't know about Ryan's positive/negative impact. That's what makes the veepstakes so much fun to speculate about.

Do you think there is even the slightest chance that Mitt Romney will choose Kelly Ayotte as his Vice Presidential runningmate?

Probably not. But I do think she has potential as a national candidate (or on a national ticket) at some point soon....

On a scale of 1 to 10 how significant are the avanlanche of polls that suggest Obama has a decent lead on Romney both nationally and in swing states?

If 1 is not signficant and 10 is very significant, 6.

Given the sometimes underwhelming personality of the party's main nominee, who is the most exciting VP pick Romney could make that wouldn't go VP-zilla on him and overshadow the race?

Paul Ryan or Jindal.

Lots of talk about Ryan, Portman, Pawlenty. Why not Bobby Jindal? Seems to me he has a good record, conservative principles, and good personality. Your thoughts?

Stay tuned for my latest veepstakes rankings. Short answer: I totally agree.

Chris, just read your posting about the tone of the campaign and I have to say I don't see it that way. Yes, if I were dictator most of this year's ads would never be aired, but that's true of just about every election campaign I can recall (a lot more than I care to admit). What may be different this time is the sheer volume of ads (thanks for nothing, Supreme Court!), but I'm just not convinced the content or even the tone is markedly different from past campaigns. Once we get past the dog days of August, I'm hopeful things will improve, at least a little. So hang in there!

Always love counter arguments.

Whats your favorite moment of the Olympics?

Either the guy from Grenada winning the 400, Oscar Pistorius making the semifinals of that race or anything involving Missy Franklin.

Least favorite: Lochte, Hope Solo and McKayla Maroney.

If Romney does select T Paw, do you think the conservative chattering classes will be dejected or will they fake enthusiasm for the cause of victory? Personally, I don't understand why he's not getting more traction. He's very personable, he has a great story and they can post him up in the Midwest during the campaign where he feels at home...and no, I'm not his mother.

There's not a lot of juice around Tpaw. Which kind of reminds me of the Republican presidential campaign....

I just relocated to Missouri, but I don't get who is she trying to appeal to? She is trying for this only-adult-in-the-room thing that Blanche Lincoln tried in Arkansas last cycle, but I don't seeing it working any better for Claire McCaskill then it did for Blanche Lincoln. I mean McCaskill isn't a neutral person in these affecting-real-people fights. Just as an example, she can't go "pro-life on this side say X and pro-choice on the other say Y, but we've got to listen to everybody" since McCaskill has picked a side.

Yes. As I said above, McCaskill has a very tough path to a second term...

Chris, is it my imagination or have the Democrats finally decided to take their gloves off and fight as nastily as the Republicans have for years?


I have written a column about this, which I cannot find on the Internet anywhere at the moment.

Is it hard for you to say 1st Place Nats in August


I have some serious Natitude going.

Low-information voters, people not chatting here, don't know Paul Ryan. They don't know the Ryan Plan. One of the first things they'd learn is his view on entitlement programs. And if Romney doesn't pick him, attacks become harder to make because Ryan Plan doesn't resonate as much with people. It's easier to pass off those attacks as Democrats scaring old people when you don't pick the guy who informs people about that possibility.


How cool is that guy? I can't think of anyone in US politics that resembles him. Maybe if James Carville were an actual candidate?

RULES.  The hair alone won me over.  Getting stuck on the zipline was the cherry on top.

Might be the key of the elections that Romney takes white votes in the Rust Belt with the help of Portman, Pawlenty or Paul Ryan, maybe? And can he win Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and PA?

Definitely a line of thinking...

Any chance over the Koch/Ricketts candidate? Or is the R too strong in this brilliant red state?

Very very little chance.

#LochteNation vs. Mckayla is not impressed?


I call people who like me "Mom, Dad and Fix Jr." And sometimes not even Fix Jr.

If Hillary Rodham Clinton does leave the State Dept like she said she would in 2016, who would be most likely to succeed her at Foggy Bottom?

John Kerry.

Our local NPR station just began carrying Diane Rehm today. When can we next expect to hear The Fix punditing on her show?

Soon!  Maybe as soon as next week! Love the DR Show!

I'm an Obama volunteer in Virginia and would love to believe the happy talk related to polls in some of the earlier questions -- but come on. Isn't the main point that polling right now can only reflect "registered voters"? Once pollsters change to "likely voters," the polls automatically tighten up without anyone lifting a finger on either side. Likely voters always tilt more to the Rs not the Ds.

Terrific point.

What can the Obama campaign do to step on this announcement? They are quite aggressive. Are we sure they are Democrats?

They HAVE been very aggressive in stepping on bi GOP moments so far in this race.

Which is one of the reasons the Romney people are trying to keep the timing of the announcement so close to the vest.

I don't the poster thinks Obama is a Kenyan Born Muslim either. He was making a (probably correct) point that those on the far right that he seems to be pandering to are more likely to be the ones who still think he is.

I don't understand this newfangled term "sarcasm".

Do you have any clue which GOPers are going to be speaking at the DNC? I'm guessing Colin Powell. Maybe Bill Frist too? He's definitely behind Obamacare.

Can't see either of them. Maybe someone more low profile -- remember that Jim Leach (of Iowa) spoke at the Dem convention last time.

Is business class worth the $43? What are the perks?

I say no. I think free drinks...

I do think this push for Ryan sets him up masterfully as next in line if Romney loses. Normally it's another person who ran for President but none of those people are feasible. The conservatives would rally to get him to run and would argue that he deserved to be on the ticket and would've won it. The boomlet now is great for Ryan 2016 since he is seen as a bit more mainstream than Rand Paul (who would get crushed in a general election).

Agree. Whoever Romney picks (even Tpaw) would be at the top of 2016 list even if the ticket comes up short this time around.

What's Booker's next move? Senate? Gov? THE WHITE HOUSE?

Looks like Senate in 2014 if Frank Lautenberg doesn't run.

I am so fatigued with her entire act. But Lolo Jones comes in a close second

Disagree. I like Lolo...feel like she was unfairly cast as track's Anna Kournikova.

Want a female athlete to admire? Keli Smith Puzo. Mother of 2, in her early 30s and a starting striker on the U.S Olympic field hockey team.

I'd take ONE Keli Smith Puzo rather than 1,000 Hope Solos.

Unlike in the U.S., Great Britain actually welcomes politicians with brains and attitude. (Yes, I'm American.)

I feel like England has better nicknames for politicians and athletes than the U.S. does.

One example: Wayne Rooney -- "Wazza"

If Obama wins this election, are Republicans likely to a pull a Barry Goldwater and nominate a Tea Partier for the 2016 election?

Or will they see 2012 as their 1964 moment and re-connoiter on issues like immigration....

Other than Clinton, Dems aren't looking too hot, and the Republicans have a bunch of young potential candidates waiting in the wings. Who else do you think are Democratic hopefuls? Sadly, I think Elizabeth Warren might loose in MA, so wouldn't that take her out of the running?

Two words: Andrew Cuomo.

I wonder how many old line Protestant and evangelical Republicans could vote for a ticket with a Mormon and a Catholic convert from Hinduism? (And one, to boot, who claims he once performed an exorcism.)

True enough. I mentioned that in the case against Jindal.

Here's that piece:

Are meaningless, except to those who make bucks publishing them. I predict Obama winsclose to 55-45. BTW - Bill Maher is dead on in this interview:  Link

Obama didn't win 55 percent in a massive national landslide in 2008. So, he ain't getting to 55 percent of the popular vote this time.

Why is he shirking MSNBC for their documentary series about the candidates? Is this just keeping with his preference for local interviews?

Stop dodging Chuck Todd!

to the commenter who asked whether it was a mistake for the GOP to nominate mandel in ohio, who else was on the bench? blackwell got smoked by strickland in '06, and de wine lost by 12 points to sherrod brown that year as well

Very good point.

I have to respectfully disagree with your opinion of the BSG finale. Religion played a big role throughout the series, and Kara Thrace was obviously an angel of some sort, who led her people to the promised land. And the Cylon-Human hybrid was Earth's "Mitochondrial Eve." Brilliant!

My favorite BSG clip ever:

Can I have your Amtrak rewards points? Thanks in advance.

If I can have your wifi.

The Summer Olympics coincide each cycle with the presidential election and Usain Bolt has now won gold in in the 100m and 200m two straight cycles. Who is the Usain Bolt of politics? And if Michael Phelps was an incumbent president/pol, what does that make Ryan Lochte? (In that scenario, which reporter is Rowdy Gaines?)

GREAT question.

The Rowdy Gaines is clearly Chuck Todd.

Not surewe have a Usain Bolt.  Maybe Bill Clinton? or is he the Carl Lewis figure (once great champion now over the hill)

Ryan Lochte can be compared to no other man, woman or child on earth. We are all witnesses.

I used to work at Jagjaguwar Records, the good people behind Bon Iver, and I've gotta recommend Okkervil River to you; they're right down your alley. And also, the new Antony & the Johnsons. Enjoy!

I dig Okkervil River. Will listen to Antony...

By the way, how did Romney's wife's horse do in the Olympics?

Did not make the finals.

Boris is a buffoon! Sure, he's entertaining, but in terms of effective mayors, I'd take Bloomberg over Boris ten thousand times over.

But would you take Natasha over Boris?

Could you tell me something about Rand Paul? Does he have actually possibilities to be President or something?? Which is his future?

He WILL run for president. Fact.

How excited are you for the EPL season to begin on August 18th

Hard to describe....

Are you going to be hawking your book out here int he Great Midwest (although Ohio really isn't as midwestern as it thinks)? Specifically the Dayton-Cincinnati corridor?

Am not. Will be doing events at both conventions though...

I just wanted to say it was good to see you on Chuck Todd's Program this morning. Historically, what usually happens between the Olympics and the Conventions in a Presidential Year?

It was good to be on. Love "Daily Rundown".

And, not much.

My favorite moment was when Kinari James & Oscar Pistorius exchanged name bibs after the Grenadan won their race.

Yes! YES!!!!

Is Mike "Doc" Emrick the best sportscaster at the Olympics? His water polo play-by-play coverage is informative without being over-the-top. (I like his NHL broadcast partner Pierre McGuire's poolside interviews too).

Costas=king among men.

He is the Springsteen figure.

Do you still she her speaking at the Republican Convention?

Um, no. I would be stunned if she did. That said, I have been stunned before.

I've followed you for years and did not know you were fan (How'd I miss it?). There's a great boardgame based on the series, I suggest you buy it ,and the expansions, and find some of your nerdiest friends and play.

HUGE fan.

Best characters:

Gaius Balthar

Gaius Balthar


How the new baby doing? Are you getting any sleep?

Fix III is doing well. Sleeping is doing not so well...

How have the Olympics contests been? Who's Mrs. Fix's pick for gold?

Argentina vs Netherlands is gold medal game tonight from 6-8 on NBC Sports Network. Watch it. Will not disappoint.

That's all folks! Thanks for spending an hour with me. And stay tuned to the Fix where I will be publishing our latest VP rankings shortly!

Have a great 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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