The Fix Live

Aug 31, 2012

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

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Good morning everyone! I have arrived back in DC after a 6:05 am flight from Tampa.

I am currently operating on 2 1/2 hours of sleep so my typical rapier-like wit may be dulled somewhat.

You have been warned, empty chair.

Let's do it.

Was it a mistake that the Romney film wasnt shown at 10 on network TV, but the Eastwood rambling speech was


I thought the undercard on Thursday night was the strongest of the 3 nights.  And, by the time they got to the Romney documentary movie there was a real sense of narrative momentum building.

Then Eastwood spoke. And the political world exploded.

When did they gain the reputation as being biased? Was this recent?

Welcome to the 2012 campaign where there are no more sacred cows.

City? Coffee? Chair?

Barely vertical at the Fix HQ.  Coffee? No. But I really need some.

That was easily the most bizzare speech I have ever seen in a convention speech, but what was funny was the person who set up the #imaginaryobama handle on Twitter

The handle @invisibleobama now has more than 40K followers. And, yes, easily one of the oddest primetime speeches in a VERY long time.

Hi Chris, On Mitt’s acceptance speech you wrote “There are a million cooks in the kitchen, every one of them thinking they have the perfect ingredient to make it sing.” At Georgetown did they teach you to make those mixed metaphors or is this one more thing we can blame on George W. Bush?

Yeah, that is really bad.  My excuse: I slept no more than 4 hours any night of the GOP convention. And I badly need more beauty sleep than that.

Hi Chris, If you weren’t an over educated liberal from Connecticut you would admit the greatest song writer is Hank Williams Junior.


No Q % A today from me. I just had a fascinating conversation with an empty chair.


Hi Chris: I saw you appearance on Andrea Mitchell Thursday around 1PM. Re; Your disucssion on whether Paul Ryan fudged some on his acceptance speech: You must be the worlds greatest Tape Dancer.

Since I have never heard of a Tape Dancer before I am sure I the world's greatest (and only) one.

Hi Chris - Enjoyed watching you on T.V. with Andrea Mitchell on Thursday. How does it look for Tammy Duckworth against Joe Walsh?

Very good.

One huge winner last night, whom you failed to mention on your list: SNL's Bill Hader, who now has rich new material for his "Gran Torino" Clint Eastwood impression.


Even if that hadn't been such a train wreck, what was the point of having Eastwood introduce Rubio? Not only did it preempt the Romney bio video, but what was the rationale at all? The GOP mocks Obama/Dems for lacking substance (especially right after the Ryan pick) and Eastwood was the meatiest they could get? I don't understand.

I TOTALLY agree.

There was momentum. If they had come out of that terrific Romney video to the speech Rubio gave and then to Romney, it would have been an incredibly powerful final hour of the convention.

Even if Eastwood had been good, why did it make sense to have an actor -- whose politics are kind of all over the place -- be involved in the most important hour of the GOP campaign to date?

Does the Ric Flair robe come out of storage this week?

OH yes.  And, remember, if you need me in Charlotte, I am staying at the biggest house on the biggest side of town.

Also, this will be what plays when I enter the media filing center:

Condi is never going to be picked for national office unless she flip-flops on abortion. What is she likely to be rumored for in California? And count me in the group that thinks she gave a great speech, is a wonderful person, but did a terrible job under Bush so any campaign would be uphill for her.

I tend to agree on Condi nationally -- mostly because of her past statements on abortion.

I think her best option would be a race for Senate if/when either Dianne Feinstein or Barbara Boxer retire.  

Are you in Baltimore? If so, I predict exactly 29 jokes about The Wire.

I landed at BWI but have since made it back home.

Home, by the way, is a place Frank Sbotka will never go again.

Was this headline from Steve Benen a great headline or the best headline ever?


How do convention bounces traditionally compare to running mate bounces?

Convention bounces (I think) are overrated.

Especially in a year like this one where the electorate is TOTALLY frozen in place. Nothing has moved people off of Obama or Romney yet so what's to think that a convention will do so?

True or not true: 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) is the best Springsteen song that is not Thunder Road or Born to Run. I have had it in heavy rotation on the iPod all week and it is brilliant. Like a lot of his songs, it speaks to me as a 42-year-old a whole lot more than it would have as a 22-year-old. They're poignant and wise. Especially this one.

It is amazing. But it is not "Darkness" or "Johnny 99".  

Most important piece of real news committed at the Rep Convention? Hidden gems you saw in your five days there?

The emergence of Marco Rubio as the star of stars.  

I knew he was good and had seen him speak before. But Rubio's poise and the quality of speech he delivered on Thursday night was simply remarkable.

How do you rate the Connecticut senate race, now that Linda McMahon is ahead in two polls?

We arer going to move it from Solid D to lean D. I still think Chris Murphy wins -- this is Connecticut in a presidential year -- but McMahon is clearly within shouting distance at the moment.

If so, you probably need a triple espresso to talk with us. Just sayin'.

Oh, you bet I did. At the airport at 4:25 am to find 50+ people in front of me at the Air Tran check-in line.

...Makes me realize just how lucky I was when The Post had people like Paul Kane, Peter Baker, and Jonathan Weisman doing political chats. Oh well. But you did influence me enough to watch field hockey during the Olympics, who knew it was so much fun to watch? (Especially the Dutch.)

Love your "question".

Is there a chance that reporters aren't the target audience of Eastwood's remarks? I'd think that speech would go down pretty well among working class voters in places like Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.

My guess is that while the Eastwood speech is all the talk of the twitter world today, that most people didn't think too much about it and don't care all that much about it either.

This election is about whether Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. Not Clint Eastwood.

Did you find a Latte Shop up to your specifications? Or did you have to surrender and go to Starbucks?

Starbucks. Bummer.

I loved Tampa -- VERY friendly people -- but my one knock was that there was virtually no good food/coffee near the convention site.

Come on Charlotte. Step up your game!

RNC Performance Lineup: 3 Doors Down, Skynard, BeBe Winans, Taylor Hicks, etc. DNC: Foo Fighters, Mary J. Blige, James Taylor, Ledisi, etc., etc. What does this say about the star power of the conventions? Anything?

Celebrity musicians tend to be Democrats. Not sure it says much other than that.

any thoughts about eastwood's throat slash manuever?

I mean, in the context of the whole speech it wasn't even that strange. Which is saying something.

Will all the GOP/Ryan whoppers catch up to them or is this the new normal? Is Daniel Patrick Moynihan spinning in his grave?

At issue is not whether fact checkers provide a valuable service (they do) but whether people still making up their minds are actually consulting these fact checkers when making up their minds about the candidates.

And, if I had to guess, I would say the majority of them are not.

Have you already told Fix Sean your customary, "To be the man, you have to beat the man" line


And, I plan to get at least one Flair quote into everything I write with a Charlotte dateline.

She's a former secretary of state, people. Can we call her Rice, the same way we'd address her if she were a male politician? Thanks.


Are you high on Rubio because he reminds you of yourself--a handsome, young, sorta cool ethnic, up and comer, with a shiny future?

Yes. That's the ticket.

That's because they scared away the Food & Coffee Trucks! You should have found some excuse to stay at the Clearwater Beach Hilton or the Sheraton Sand Key. Could someone from the Charlotte tell the Fix where to go for BBQ and a Latte?

Yes, please do....

I think, for me, the most effective speech last night was from the elderly couple talking about when their child passed away from cancer. It might just be that the couple sounded close to how my grandparents did, but now I just feel guilty for making fun of Romney.

I thought that was incredibly powerful stuff.  Like, really really good.  Humanized Romney in a way he hadn't before.

We were still in a Post-Clint stupor with our mouths agape that we blanked out on the speech by Marco Rubio. How did he do?

Very well.  Here are my winners and losers:

Not such a great career move for Ben Quayle, huh, despite his golden name? Do you anticipate any of the others pay the price at the polls as well?

I don't think Ben Quayle lost because of the Sea of Gallillee thing.

Where is The Cillizza taking his talents this Labor Day weekend?

Catholic University field hockey kicks off their season at Washington College I will be there cheering them on!

Was he present at the convention as the (current) Republican candidate for the US Senate from MO? In disguise?

He was not there -- in disguise or otherwise.

Why do GOP candidates like to quote Democratic presidents?

For the same reason that Obama like to quote Reagan.

Ask Tom Sietsema if he's done a Postcard from Charlotte.

He did!

more of a beer and boobies place.


You know that we're not rubes here in the upper Midwest, right? The Eastwood speech played just as bizarrely here as it did anywhere else.

Great use of the word "rube".

It's also got big banks and, um, a pro football team and something resembling a pro basketball team. And Billy Graham's ministry business. And...maybe you're right after all.


out of respect for Todd akin, call it "legitimate rapier" in terms of your wit.


Since I don't watch Fox News, tell me, how did Sarah Palin spin her conspicuous absence from the convention?

I watched CSPAN for the entirety of the actual convention night proceedings -- I was live tweeting and needed to watch all of the speeches -- so, honestly, I couldn't tell you.

In her speech, Ann Romney made a big point about how Mitt, in his capacity as a church leader, was always available to help others, taking phone calls at all hours, going out to help, etc. All I could think of was Ann being left home alone for all those hours, having to deal with five rambunctious sons single-handedly, and that Mitt should've been there more for his own family. Does that make any sense?

Different people take different things from these speeches -- which is why trying to figure out how (if at all) they influence the broad electorate is tough.

I did think it was interesting that Romney said at last twice that he traveled a lot from work when his sons were young.

Don't waste your time on Charlotte BBQ, but here's a good start for other food/coffee: Link

HUGE. Thanks!

He should have ended the bit by saying "You betcha!" and winking at the crowd. Ah, memories.

And then tipped over the podium.

Jeb may be tired of hearing the Obama campaign bring up his brother's record, but somebody had to bring it up because the Republican party has acted as if a collective amnesia has overcome them regarding the G.W. Bush administration between 2004-08. Will they purge him from the history books as well?

I thought it was strange the way Jeb got into that defense of George W. He said something to the effect of "Well, he's my brother, and I love him." Which, of course, is assumed.

Fix don't touch real coffee. He needs sugar-laden latte (which is only pretend coffee) to talk to us.

That is correct.

Handicap the VP debate -- who is tougher, and who is more charismatic?

Biden is more tested on a stage that big. But I have been impressed with Ryan to date. And Ryan will be able to match Biden on policy smarts, which Sarah Palin was never able to do.

Chris - to say that Twitterdom is focused on Eastwood but that it isn't all that important seems different from your own Twitter posts and comments so far. I thought you were saying Eastwood broke the momentum of an otherwise strong night at the convention. Seems to me that each of the speakers was targeted to separate audiences with unique missions in terms of connecting with viewers. Hence the reference to working class voters in the Midwest.

He clearly did.

But I think three days from now most people will be talking about Romney, Ryan and Rubio -- not Eastwood.

Last night's speech leapfrogged Clint co-starring with an orangutan and being Rene Russo's love interest for his strangest moment.



I need to duck out a few minutes early...thanks for spending most of the hour with me. I will be back next Friday with a wrapup of the Democratic National Convention.

See you then!


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 sons.
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