Nov 02, 2012

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

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Good morning everyone!


Let's do this.

If Romney loses, rank the "mistakes" pundits will talk about that hurt his campaign? 1) Picking Ryan over Portman for VP 2) Running too far to the right during the primary 3) The 47% remark 4) Too many Republicans talking about rape 5) Not talking about his time as governor 6) Not defusing his time at Bain Capital 7) Clint Eastwood and the empty chair 8) Other (please list)

In order:








whtat are the current poll numbers in ohio

Obama has a 2-ish point lead. He is ahead but narrowly. Which is why we moved the race to "tossup" yesterday.


Over/under a net 7 seat pickup for Democrats in House?

Slightly over.

Does Kerrey actually have a remote chance to win? How popular is Hagel still in the state? (Please make a reference to your endorsement hierarchy here.)

I think Kerrey loses by 6-8. Sure, Hagel helps at the margins but I don't see Chuck Hagel as a defining factor for any large group of people in nebraska.

Are you ready to admit that there is a VERY good chance that North Dakotans will end the very popular Heidi Heitkamp to Washington to continue the work of Dorgan and Conrad instead of the quite unpopular Rick Berg? (BTW, did you hear about the letter the Catholic bishop wrote encouraging parishioners not to support the nice candidate?)

I think Heitkamp is absolutely in the race. I think at the end of the day she loses by 3-4 due in large part to the fact that North Dakota in a presidential year is a very Republican state.

Okay, so Bob Kerrey's going to lose on Tuesday, but how close do you think the race will be? Single digits?

Yeah. 6-8.

Hi Chris, Does it really matter who wins on Tuesday? Major concern for now is how it goes on Saturday and Sunday for the Cardinals. Do the playoffs being compressed because of Sandy help or hurt CU?


Catholic is hosting the entire field hockey tournament this weekend. The Bird play at 2 tomorrow against Susquehanna and then, assuming they win, in the championship game at 1 on Sunday.

And, yes, my palms just started to sweat from nervousness even as I wrote those sentences.

Heidi Heitkamp, Jon Tester, Joe Donnelly, Richard Carmona, Shelley Berkley, and Tammy Baldwin. Rank from most to least likely who will be in the Senate next year!

Donnelly, Baldwin, Berkley, Tester, Carmona, Heitkamp

"That — coupled with the state’s electoral history and the absolute necessity for Romney to win the state if he wants to be president — leads us to move it back to the 'tossup' category." ?? Why in the world does *Romney's absolutely need to win Ohio* move that state into the "tossup" category?? I *need* to marry Ryan Gosling, but that doesn't make that possibility anywhere near a tossup.

Ah yes.  The criticism of us moving Ohio to toss up.

That is a single sentence from a very long piece in which I argue that a) private polling on both sides suggests the race is very close b) historical voting patterns suggest tha Ohio is a 250K vote differential either way.

My point in that line was that romney understands how important Ohio is to his math and will, therefore, live there in the final weekend of the race in an attenmpt to round up every possible vote. Witness his massive rally today in Ohio. That doesn't mean he wins the state but it means that a cornered animal is often the most dangerous

Hope that explains my thinking better.

Chris - you're already hooked up with MSNBC. Any discussions about you replacing Willie Geist on Way Too Early? I think you'd be a great fit with that show.

Noted! And no.

Sidebar: Willie is VERY good people and I am thrilled he is getting the "Today" show gig.

Yes, I know I have to stop that, but it looks like Romney is investing heavily in places like PA not because they are in play -- they aren't based on the current polls -- but because he doesn't have any choice. Current electoral map has him losing must-win states by non-trivial numbers.

Generally agree. But I woiuld quibble with Romney losing swing states by "non-trivial" numbers. All data I have seen in  WI, OH, VA, CO and NH suggest the race is even or close.

I do think Obama has an edge in IA and NV and Romney has a slight edge in FL.

Will the damage to Philadelphia hold down the Democratic turnout sufficiently to put Pennsylvania in play, rather than safely Democratic? Both for the Presidential and the chances of Bob Casey.

We wrote on this yesterday!

Check it here:

Do Indiana Republicans now regret making that Senate seat more competitive than it should have been?

Um, yes. But not sure how they could have avoided it. National Republicans did everything they could to warn Lugar that he was in real trouble in the primary. He ignored it.

I see Obama winning in a squeaker with the Democrats holding onto the Senate and the GOP retaining the House

I submitted my predictions for the Post's "Crystal Ball" contest yesterday! Stay tuned to see what I (and some other pundit types) predicted.

Will there be an election night keg party at the Cillizza household?



On the other hand, there will be a live stream of me and the Fix posse that you can watch on Ustream. Not kidding.

Now we know who Coach's Wife would vote for. In our hearts, we know who Coach would be behind, too.

Rayna James > Juliette Barnes

I see the unemployment rate is 7.9%. That has made me decide to vote for Obama. If it were 8.0%, I would have voted for Romney.

You and every other undecided voter out there. See, elections are simple!

Where will you be?

In the WaPo newsroom. And, as mentioned above, there will be a camera trained on me.  I remain undecided on whether this is a good or bad thing for the world.

Seems like Obama is picking up momentum there. Kaine probably helps more than Allen hurts. If Romney loses OH and VA, it's game over, right?

That is correct. There is no real path for Romney to 270 with VA and OH.

So, what are your plans after Tuesday? Vacation? Withdrawal?

Fiscal cliff!

Also, watching Mrs. Fix team in Round 1 of the NCAA tournament next Wednesday.

Chris, who can I contact to plead for the complete ending of political ads? I can't turn on the TV without seeing endless political ads, and I'm about ready to bury my head in the sand and say, "Please make it stop!" The intensity of campaigning in this election has seriously left the reservation, to the point of being invasive and intrusive--especially when so many of us had made up our minds long ago about whom to vote for.

Contact DVR.  Fast forward thru them. That's what I do.

If you're trying to predict what is going to happen, why do you care that Romney NEEDS Ohio? If a mediocre team needs a win against a really good team (that is playing hard too) to make the playoffs, is it more likely to win (not just compete)? Need shouldn't matter.

See above.

Hi Chris -- thanks for taking questions today. You've been taking some hits for claiming that Ohio is a toss up despite the fact that Romney has yet to take a serious and consistent lead, whereas Obama seems to be holding on (though not by much) in almost every poll. How do things look at this moment?

A toss up in my mind is a race that's between 1-3 points. it's why we have Florida as a toss up despite the fact that Romney has a lead within that margin. Ditto Ohio.

Is Mourdock going to lose?

I think so.

Any changes to top posts come 2013? If so, who's likely to ascend party ranks?

If Democrats don't win back the House (and they aren't going to) then I think Nancy Pelosi probably retires. (of course, I thought she was leaving after 2010 too.)

That would likely mean Steny Hoyer would move up to Minorotuy LEader and the big fight for the future of the party would be to fill his slot as whip.

Mitt seems to pushing in several states that have been thought to be relatively safe for Obama (most notably Wisconsin and Pennsylvania). Which is most likely to turn for Mitt? Does he really have a signficant chance in either?

He has a chance in Wisconsin for sure.

But if he loses Ohio (18 electoral votes) and wins Wisconsin (10 electoral votes) he needs to find 8 more electoral votes somewhere.

Have I missed it, or have you not yet announced a contest for picking the swing state victors on Election Night? Prize could be, oh, I don't know, an autographed copy of a book by a certain pundit?

Our election contest is coming in The Fix on Monday. Get your prognostication hats ready.

Hi Chris, The most liberal section of New York State seems to be the area most affected by Sandy. Is there even a slight chance that low voter turn out in this area could swing NY to Mitt?

Nope. Not even a little.

Hi Chris, At 11:00 I had a really good question, but now I have forgotten it. You pretty much know everything so I was hoping you could answer it anyway.


How important do you think it was that Obama showed up big in debates 2 and 3 after flubbing the first one? Seems to me that if he hadn't done well in debates 2 and 3, Obama would have helped pave the way for a Romney victory.

Agree. Although the debates did bring Romney back into this race in a way that, if they didn't exist, I am not sure he could have done.

Does Romney have a shot in these states, or does this mean he thinks Ohio is slipping away?

Some shot in PA and MI. Longer shot in MN. I STILL think his best/only path is through Ohio.

How do you place the odds for Obama reelection? Last week you had it 55-45.

That's about right. He is a slight favorite to win due to the fact he is either tied or slightly ahead in enough swing states to get him to 270 electoral votes.

Where are you at? What is the Soundtrack? What are you smok -er- drinking? Whare's Coach Fix Playing this weekend? And.....what's the best coffee-related beverage you got through the entire election cycle?

Youh Lagoon "The Year of Hibernation"

Pumpkin Spice Latte (natch)

Catholic vs Susquehanna tomorrow. CUA vs winner of Drew/Scranton Sunday.

Hey Fix, If there is a stunner of a Senate result on Tuesday night is it in Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Arizona or somewhere else?

I don't think we see an upset in any of the three. If I had to pick a surprise upset of that trio, I would say Carmona winning in AZ.

Are you going to publicly endorse either Obama or Romney?

Um, no. Not what I am in the business of doing.

It appears as though Mitt Romney is beginning to invest significantly in Pennsylvania in the closing week of this campaign. In your view, is it realistic that Ohio could vote for Obama while Pennsylvania goes for Romney?

Possible? Sure. Probably. Definitely not.

Please decode for us how much the current media analysts may be hyping the closeness of the Presidential race to keep viewers tuned it, to hedge their predictions, or because that is how they truly read the polls. Thank you!

There are 8 swing states.  In at least 6 of them, the race is within 2-3 points either way. That means even a slight shift could turn the race for either candidate.

So, I don't think we are overhyping it. It's just close.

Does Michael Bloomberg's endorsement of Obama do anything for this race?

Thank gosh we have the handy-dandy Fix endorsement hierarchy to explain that:

It seems Republicans are just as confident as Democrats. Why do you think that is?

Everybody gets confident at the end because they have to be. You can't go to voters with the appearance you are going to lose.

How is Romney losing a state with 13% unemployment and blanket foreclosure a?

Huge Hispanic vote in nevada and Romney is non-competitive among Hispanics.

What a slow news week. Nothing much happening in the world of breaking news or politics. Hope you have enough to chat about today.

I'll make do... :)

Mr. Burns has endorsed Mitt Romney. Impact on the election?

Glad you got that C. Montgomery Burns reference.

And, not blame me, I voted for Hans Sprungfeld.

Does team Romney think they have it in the bag? I noticed there was no campaign swing to FL on the docket for these final few days.

I think of the swing states they feel best about Florida. But remember that he was there Wednesday. It was thre first place he went after the Sandy postponements of the early part of the week.

Nate Silver and Joe Scarborough have a bet on the election outcome. Do you or any of the Fix minions have any side bets going?

Yes. If Gary Johnson wins, I will grow the "monkeytail: Don't know what that is? LINK:

You give Carmona a better chance than Heitkamp?

I do.

If Obama carries Florida, is it over?


MA Senate how does Brown win?

He doesn't.

I served with Willie Geist. I knew Willie Geist. Willie Geist is a friend of mine. You are no Willie Geist

Very fair.

Which was bigger in terms of the vote? Frankenstorm Sandie? Osama bin Ladin's Video? Bush's DWI?

let's wait to see who wins on Tuesday.

Can Akin win without the RNC blessing?

He cannot. And he can't win even with the RNC's blessing.

Romney has trailed in all 24 polls since August. Republicans always say they'll carry it and don't. I'm guessing this is more about creating a narrative (to affect enthusiasm elsewhere) but sure seems miscalculated unless they feel maxed out in FLOHVA, CO, NV, WI, IA, and NH. In other words, yeah, bad move.

Consider this: Romney raised $112 million in the first 2 weeks of October.  My guess is he has enough money to spend in all of the swing states you mention AND in Pennsylvania. Given that, why not?

Do you see Sherrod Brown winning re-election in Ohio

I do. He has a run a very good campaign.

Uhh. That sounds like something that goes into the U-rinal. As Sarah Palin once said "Thanks, but no Thanks!"


Down here in North Carolina, we are seeing tons of Obama surrogates over the last two weeks of the campaign (Michelle, Bill, Dr. Biden, actors, musicians etc.). Bill is even coming to Raleigh tomorrow for the last day of early voting. Why hasn't the Romney presence be visible at all? Are they really THAT confident in a win here without trying?

Yes. And you know what Democrat you haven't seen? Barack Obama. Not since the convention. That's telling.

Does the winner get a trip to one of the dances after the Inauguration? Give a Link, please!

Not sure we have a link yet. Check The Fix later today. And, as for a prize all you get is the smug self satisfaction of being right. Which is all any of us want anyway.

I can hear the late great Tim Russert emphasizing Ohio, Ohio, Ohio for this election

Yes. Read this:

I've seen Springsteen in concert a little more than 15 times. Should I fly out to Kansas City to see him live once again? I worry this may be his last tour.

Um, yes.

If Romney loses, rank the following 2016 contenders - Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Rob Portman, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, and John Thune.

First tier






Second tier

Rand Paul




Rick Perry

If Scott Brown loses Tuesday, what's next for him? Does he run for governor in 2014? Does he run against Kerry in 2014? What if the Senate seat is open because Kerry gets tapped to be Secretary of State if Obama wins a second term?

Special election for the open Kerry seat (if Obama wins). And he might start theat race as the favorite.

For as entertaining as this race has been, take a moment and imagine the implications of Hurricane Sandy on the election if Christie HAD run and captured the Republican nomination! (That could only be topped by Obama vs. Christie with Bloomberg running as an independent....)

Holy crapozoli. That would have been amazing.

Democrats won the Senate race and governor's race in 2010 in Colorado. Yet it seems like they are really struggling in the state this year. What gives?

Don't think they are "really struggling". I think CO is the closest race in the country at the presidential level. The state is just very evenly divided between the two parties.


I don't really get it. Other than that Obama's lead isn't big enough for the Romney people to think it can't be overcome with a last minute push.

Not saying Obama can't win MN on his own, but Klobuchar is going to blow out her opponent in the Senate race. Should Obama be thanking her for her huge margin of victory making a Romney victory even more unlikely there than it already is?

Klobuchar is my dark horse 2016 presidential candidate...

How late should I plan to stay up to know who won? Will a network call it before 1 a.m. Eastern?


VA, OH and FL are all relatively early closing times and if Romney doesn't win all three, it's going to be tough for him.

Rubio: would he make difference in NV FL?.

Probably not. People decide based on the guy at the top of the ticket not the guy next to the guy on the top of the ticket.

Pirates vs. Ninjas

Ninjas. More varied skill set. Also, throwing stars.

I suspect you are an admirer of Mr Silver, but you clearly differ in your betting probabilities: you call it 55-45 for Obama, Silver calls it 80-20. Do you really see things that differently or do you have some information he doesn't?

Nope. Nate is a VERY smart and skilled modelre/prognosticator. 

It's been a great ride.

It really has, hasn't it?

Always have the clam sauce with your crapozoli.

Yes. Good call.

No no no no no no no! It's, "Don't blame me - I voted for Kodos!" Come ON!

Fair point.

Where's the "I'm diappointed in the guy, but the other guy is a heck of a lot worse" endorsement rank on the PMBS (poor man Bill Simmons) hierarchy?

It's a sort of "more in sorrow than anger" endorsement, right? Maybe I need to create a new category....

So, Nate Silver and his computer have Obama at basically an 80-20 chance of winning. Why is your percentage so much less?

Who knows? Why do some people pick the Giants to win 14 games and other people pick them to win 10 games?

Care to throw out a curveball prediction? One of those "I did NOT see XX losing/winning!" Or is that what makes them curveballs, kinda defeats the point in predicting...

I did not see Ron Paul being elected president as a write-in candidate.

Should whoever wins the election let out a Ric Flair "WOOOOOOO" when being declared the victor

This is the sort of thing we can all agree on.

Late night 11/6, early morning 11/7, mid-day 11/7, please, no later than that....

early monring 11.7.

There is not poll that shows Romney anywhere close to winning Michigan. I don't know why people keep saying this.

Detroit News had him down 3. That's pretty close to winning.

Is Mrs. Fix looking forward to all this being over?

You mean as in the end of the Mayan calendar? I have to ask her.

Ok, folks. I have to go back to writing (and writing) in advance of the election. Thanks for joining me. FOUR MORE DAYS!


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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