The Fix Live

Feb 15, 2013

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

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Good morning everyone! Sorry for missing last week. To quote Carl Spangler in "Caddyshack": "I was unavoidably detained."

But, let's not dwell on the past. Let's move forward.

If you haven't seen our BRAND NEW ratings of the 2016 Democratic field they are here.

Bring it!

Both sides agree that the world is going to end if sequester hits on March 1, and then both sides agree to take next week off. What am I missing?

I think many Republicans are actually ok with the sequester since it has lots and lots fo spending cuts.  And, I think Democrats are resigned to the possibility that it's very likely to go into effect.

I wrote a piece last week on how the sequester became politically inevitable. It's here.

I understand why Republicans don't like Hagel (though I don't agree) and I admit that his testimony was a disaster, but I don't understand what they get out of forming this circular firing squad. Sure, they make hay with the right wing of the angry old white guys, but how is this a winner with the critical middle segment of voters that Rs need to win elections?

They believe no one outside of the DC chattering clsass and the two party bases is paying ANY attention to this.

I explained their logic -- after talking to several GOP strategists -- in this post.

You've said you're tall but you don't look like you could run full-court twice without collapsing.

Both of these things are true.  And I am not that tall -- 6'2"-ish.

One of the stupidest things I've heard in awhile. Mayor of Chicago, like most mayoral reigns, is a thankless job. He's not even popular in Chicago (because it's thankless). There would be complaints about getting rid of Chicago people running things in DC. It makes no sense. Please never put Rahm on any 2016 list unless he explicitly says he's running.

It seems VERY unlikely to me. I think he'd like to be governor but Lisa Madigan (the very popular AG) is in front of him in that line.

OK, the reaction went a little overboard, but: 1) It was unusual for on-camera speeches with a Teleprompter, 2) So many people didn't even watch the response and/or follow the Twitter frenzy, and 3) Republicans and others (cough, you) joked about Biden's glasses so clearly atypical optics (no pun intended) aren't off limits. Stop the martyrdom.

I am not clearly who is being martryed. 

Look, if the Rubio people had to do it again would they put a glass of water closer to him? Would they try to make the room a little less hot?  Would they have him practcie a few fewer times? Yes, to all.

BUT, the idea that is something more than a 72 hours news story and fodder for late night comedians is RIDICULOUS. We already know Rubio can perform on the big stage -- see his star turn at the 2012 GOP convention -- and his willingness to be self-effacing about it was smart and effective.

Did the sip slip -- love that term -- distract from a solid speech? Yes. Did it change anything? No.  Do I like asking myself questions and then answering them? Yes.

Odds Colbert's sister wins the general? For those of us not familiar with SC, what does the district look like?

They are not great.  Aaron Blake, AKA Fix 2.0, is working on something on this as I type. Stay tuned.

Marco Rubio or Chuck Hagel? I'm going with "Dry Mouth" Marco.

Tough choice...stay tuned..

Why bother talking about the 2016 presidential contest, everyone's doing that, what are your 2020 rankings?

This is my kind of question.

Depends on what happens in 2016..

If GOP wins back White House, then look for Julian Castro to emnerge as a potential consensus D pick.  If Dems win again, George P. Bush!

You're the most bipartisan reporter out there and I very much appreciate it. Can you speak to being equally critical of both Democrats and Republicans?


And, it's easy. I am fascinated by the strategies, the personalities and the stats of all of this stuff.  I don't root for one of the teams.

What It Takes was written, according to its author, in reaction to what he thought was the shallowness of political reporting. How do you think he would like your reporting, politico, buzzfeed, etc?

Well, I am not going to speak for him.

But, I would point you to this piece that I wrote about RBC when he passed:

I would add that what Richard did -- trying to get at who these politicians REALLY are -- is the same thing that motivates me, Ben Smith at BuzzFeed and Jonathan Martin at Politico.

Shouldn't SOTU have those two old guy Muppets - Statler and Waldorf? You could literally seat them on the balcony and have CSPAN 8 broadcast their commentary live.

I like it.

I want to do a Mystery Science Theater 3000 thing where me and a robot sit and crack-wise throughout the speech.

Best performance? I know you were irked by the JT coverage, but man he killed it.

I LOVE JT. It was just that they were trying to turn him into Michael.  Which he isn't.

I really liked Jack White's performance. And Kelly Clarkson. I love the Lumineers but thought they were mediocre.

If you want to see what the Lumineers are really like, watch this.

Do you think Kelly will run for office? Could he unseat McCain?

I think he wants to run.  Maybe for governor? Here's our piece on his political prospects.

From last week's republican primary 2016 rankings, why did you include Portman, and why didn't you include Martinez or Sandoval?

Sandoval is pro choice. That's a tough one to overcome ina  GOP primary. (See Giuliani, Rudy.)

I thought long and hard abnout putting Martinez on our Line.  Ultimately we left her off because she remains relatively unproven nationally. She seems more like a leading VP candidate inj 2016 rather than a candidate in her own right. But, who knows.

At what point will a party NOT in the WH realized giving a response after the SOTU is a lose/lose situation? We're burned out from the big speech already, and don't want to hear a reply from either DEM or GOP that usually isn't really responding to anything, but rather complaining about the guy they lost to. Enough already.

I have been comparing it to the Sports Illustrated cover jinx.  

I think, in general, that the best case scenario for a SOTU response speech is that it's forgettable. There doesn't seem to be much of an upside.

I think the party out of power should just designate one person without any major national ambitions to always give their response every year. Kind of like the guy who plays all-the-time quarterback in flag football.

Chris Sleaza Cilizza you have got to be kidding me. You make Sean, Rush and Arriana look unbiased. Give it up you aint unbiased hoss! You never have been. Like the majority of WP alleged journalist you lean left. At least admit to it little boy!

Very creative nickname! 

I can't imagine how you came up with that one!

As I have always said and always will say, I am not cheering for either team. I am cheering for interesting politicians with good ideas and smart strategic minds.

I might be pedantic, but the whole bottle-story. How is that a story? This is really just re-enforcing my views on DC.

It's a 72 hour story.  It is already mostly gone.

In or out? I've seen the first 3 episodes. LOVED.

This show and "The Americans" are ones I have on the "need to watch" list. Haven't seen either yet.

"after talking to several GOP strategists..." None of whom are named. Is this standard fare?

It is when asking people to talk about strategic decision about a hot button issue. I always do my best to get people to put their names to quotes but I also want to provide readers with the fullest picture of what is going on. Sometimes that requires allowing people to speak without their name attached to it.

Why an openly gay senator as Baldwin has not been able to vote against Hagel despite his past comments about the (gay) issue? Obama's influence?

Yeah, no Dems are going to be against hagel because Obama has made it clear this is a major priority.

I think that in a political vaccuum people like Chuck Schumer would probably vote against hagel. But, no such vaccuum exists.

Hi Chris, On the Pro-choice GOP candidate you referenced "(See Giuliani, Rudy.)". It seems you could make that reference in regard to so many things that won't get you the nomination. Maybe Rudy could write a book "The UnGospel" - not real competition for your masterpiece.

So true.  It's like when Constanza decides to do the opposite of all his natural instincts.


I for one do not believe that it will go through, because both parties know they will quickly see PAC contributions dry up, especially from defense contractors. I hope I am right!

The timing is just very tough. It's Feb. 15. Congress is off next week. Can they write a series of tax increases and spending cuts and agree to it in a week?

Seems unlikely.

What about Haley or Ayotte?

Ayotte maybe. I think Haley hasn not had a great first term and some of the shine is off of her at the national level. That said, if she gets re-elected strongly next year maybe that all changes.

Why would he want to run for governor? I've always assumed being the mayor of a major city would be better than being governor. In his case, you've got a vibrant economy that's somewhat isolated from the rest of the state's issues, no real opposition from the opposing party, and a powerful political base that guarantees you major influence on the political level

Here's something interesting: In the 30 minutes since we published our rankings of the top 2016 Dems, I have had two very smart party strategists tell me Rahm should be on the list...

What chances do you give LG Bolling will get in as Independent?

Not great. Because every Republican strategist would see it for what it is: a spolier for Cuccinelli's chances. And does Bolling really want to be blamed within GOP circles for Gov. McAuliffe?

Which Senate races that most folks think SHOULD be competitive will you say are less so? I say Sen. Franken is so strong that he doesn't get even Tier 2 opposition. I also expect Sen. Hagen to retain her seat by a surprising number. What says you?

Agree on Franken although I think if Rep. Erik Paulsen runs, that race is a very good one.

On Hagan, I just can't imagine Republicans letting her go without a serious challenge.


Has Amash actually a shot in 2014 if Levin is out of the race? Will he try it?

Well, given his alignment with the tea party he would have a chance in a Republican primary. But, as a general election nominee he would have major problems.

Why would Schumer vote against Hagel (in a vacuum)?

Hagel's past comments on Israel.

I keep reading articles about Republican politicians being stunned about the outcome of the 2012 election, but quite frankly I am stunned by their being stunned. Did they ignore the field of candidates that was running in the primaries or the general poor quality of their chosen nominee? Do you understand the disconnect here?

I think they believed that the economy was in a place that Obama just couldn't get re-elected as lon as they nominated a credible alternative. And while you can criticize Romney, he was clearly a serious person who could have done the job.

What Republicans failed to understand was that the race was about more than just the economy. To their credit, the Obama team grasped that early on and planned accordingly.

Is there a Gubernatorial seat controlled by either party that you would bet $2 that this seat will NEVER again belong to the opposing party?

No.  Especially in governor's race because they tend to be the least partisan of the major statewide races.

It's why Wyoming can elect a Democrat governor and Hawaii can elect a Republican governor.

(See Cliff, Fiscal) Both sides were threatening imminent doom, and then poof! A deal 2 days after New Years...

Fair enough.  McConnrell has said that this time he is not interested in cutting a deal though....

Maybe that will change but I think if you are a betting person (like the former Mayor of San Diego) then you bet that the sequester happens.

Republican or Democratic strategists? Republicans want to push Chicago in the spotlight because of violence and there are plenty of Dem strategists who are connected to Rahm through Obama and Clinton. It's self-serving. He'd get money but would be terrible at connecting with voters. And I'm a Rahm fan.

Well, I think it is something he is considering.

And, since when wasn't politics self-serving!

Just wanted to report that while I read this chat, my Chrome browser is telling me that "This page is in Danish. Would you like to translate it?"

Ah, good. My intensive Danish lessons are paying off.

Bet now: Will Republicans win Senate in 2014?

I don't bet. Mostly because I am terrible at it.

I know they are both tough, but of the two which one do you think provides the Dems with the best shot at taking the seat?

Kentucky. Because 46 to 47 percent of people are going to vote against McConnell no matter who Democrats nominate.

Sorry, but someone taking a sip of water shouldn't rise to the level of 72-hour news story.

I will submit your complaint to the media gods.

I suggest we put the members of both houses of Congress on the recently stricken Carnival Triumph and set them adrift until they negotiate and pass a budget agreement. Would it take more than a week?

HA!  Not a bad idea.  Also, I am waiting for the "Poop Boat" reality show to start any day now.

"A group of people are put on a cruise ship without running water or electricity. Who can survive -- and thrive?"

I hope that you gave her a suitably impressive Valentine's Day yesterday. Including a mushy mommy love card from Fix, Jr., and Fix III.

I tried...Mrs Fix is a woman FAR above my station in looks, smarts and overall charm.  

Is now more than 50% likely to run for the Iowa Senate seat being vacated by Tom Harkin. Do we really have the Karl Rove pushiness to thank for this, or would King have decided to run anyway? Not that I think he can win a statewide race--there aren't enough ultra-conservative tea party crazies in western Iowa to overcome the more urban population in eastern Iowa. But it will be such a cringe-worthy campaign.

I think King has wanted to run statewide for a while and this is clearly his best chance.

I am not sure that if King runs anyone in the GOP establishment can keep the nomination from him.

What did Thirstio Rubio deliver in substance beyond the GOP's usual boilerplate rhetoric (sure, we know we left the country in tatters last time, but NOW...)?

So, if you are a Democrat (as I am guessing you are), what Rubio said is not going to appeal to you. That's ok because you aren't the intended audience.

March 31. That is all. Oh, and a Lannister always pays his debts.

Winter. Is. Coming.

Do you see popular Attorney General Jim Hood being a formidable Senate candidate if Thad Cochran retires? Might MS actually be a state to watch?

Hard to see how a Dem -- even a popular one -- can win a statewide federal race in Mississippi right now.

I'm definitely not a die-hard political maven like you and many of your readers, so please let me briefly explain why those of us who follow politics at a less-intense level are disgusted with politics and also how the media covers it. First, Chuck Hagel. I have to think that most Democrats were shocked and dismayed at his horrible performance during his confirmation hearing and are wondering why Obama picked up and is sticking by, as it makes Obama look like he can't pick intelligent and mainstream candidates for Cabinet positions. Second, the media's infantile coverage of Marco Rubio's response to the SOTU. I was dismayed at the completely ridiculous obsession over his taking a drink of water (including that of this newspaper and your The Fix column). The endless repetition of the video, and the mockery of his action, competely dominated the media coverage, and I can't remember reading any substantive analyses of his speech. You (the media) come off as a group of 13-year-olds and seemingly prove the conservatives' point that the media is biased against them, because you never obsess over the gaffes of liberals with the same enjoyment and obsession. All this just turns me (and lots of others) off to politics and the media's coverage of it. It's not serious, it's not enjoyable, and it's not objective. Do you disagree or otherwise have a response to my concerns? Thank you.

Look, I make no apologies for loving the ridiculous side of politics -- whether it's Rubio's sip slip or Joe Biden being Joe Biden. 

I don't think that's a partisan thing. Nor do I think that acknowledging the ridiculous moments in politics means you also don't cover the sublime ones. Life is serious and not so much -- usually in equal parts. Why can't political coverahe be the same?

Carl Spackler, not Spangler.

AH YES! I always screw that up.

"A former greenskeeper and now about to become the Masters champ...."

Chris, much of the time when someone asks you a question in this forum, rather than answering the question you provide a link to something you've already written. Can't you just answer the question?


How do Dem. strategists feel about his chances to retain his seat? I imagine a divisive primary on the other side would play in his favor.

Worried simply because Alaska isn't a place where Democrats traditionally fare well.

But, the possibility of a primary between Mead Treadwell (the LG) and Joe Miller should make Democrats feel slightly better. That one could get ugly.

NOBODY has the guts to speak on the record (either elected official or their staffers) with purity pledges and total party line votes are the norm in D.C.

Hard to argue.

He looked like he couldn't take his eyes off his teleprompter while reaching for his water. The republicans are always faulting Obama for using a teleprompter. At least he can look away from it and didn't even need a drink for the whole hour he spoke. Rubio was a mess; looked like Albert Brooks in that movie about network news. It was laughable (the movie and Rubio.)

Agree that the problem was that Rubio weirdly kept eye contact while grabbing for the water. Colbert's sendup hit on that point.

Lisa Madigan better have a food taster on staff. And she should probably skip any picnic invites to the park.


This type of question seems to confuse criticism with fairness. Teachers find a lot more problems with the work of D students than of A students. Doesn't mean they're being unfair or are biased against the D student.

Good point.


Who cares about 2020 presidential race? How about 2040? Does Sasha or Malia follow in their father's footsteps?

When will that little girl who schooled all the boys in that football game be eligible to run?

A way for Rand Paul to show himself close to young voters could be supporting the legalization of pot or hemp...Is he likely to do it? I think this would not cause any problem among conservatives...

Possible entrance music:

OVERALL, do you think his response helped or hurt his hopes for 2016?


Actually, it's Connie Britton, but you know.... Va va va voom!



Any prognistications for the 2013 field hockey season?

I am already getting excited about CUA's team. Lots of returning talent. Plus, they have Mrs. Fix.  

"Kentucky. Because 46 to 47 percent of people are going to vote against McConnell no matter who Democrats nominate." Can Ashley Judd get over the 46% threshold?

I don't think so.

Apparently, so is a former Mayor of San Diego.


This should be a MUCH bigger story.

Ok, folks. That's it for this week.

I am back at it next Friday. Same time. See you then and spread the word!


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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