The Fix Live

May 10, 2013

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

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Good morning everyone! Lots to get to today. Let's make it rain! (Not literally since it has been raining in DC every day this week.)

It used to look that Hillary's state department experience would be helpful for a 2016 campaign, however these hearing give this time a huge black eye. Its increasingly looking like she committed the quintessential DC mistake of not just doing the wrong thing, but being involved in covering it up/ silencing the whistle blowers. Its one thing for Fox news to run an editorial, its another thing to have a state department employee get demoted because he spoke up about what happened.

Benghazi looks to be getting more politically complicated for Clinton after yesterday's hearing.

But I am not sure how it plays out from here. Clinton has 2 things going for her: 1) She isn't Secretary of State anymore and 2) She testified before Congressional committees previously on the matter.

Who benefits the most from the hearings and backlash against Obama and Clinton?

Well, Republicans who want to be their party's nominee in 2016 certainly do.

Marco Rubio and Rand Paul have spoken out about it of late and Ted Cruz has long been a critic on Benghazi. Lindsey Graham probably gets some help in warding off a serious primary challeger in his re-election race too.

What's a fair trade for Prince Henry? Would the Brits say no to Joe Biden, Justin Timberlake and next year's 2nd round pick?

I would say you have to bump it up to a first round pick. At least. I mean, dude is royalty.

Beltway reporters get accused of being liberals, especially pro-Obama, so they go out of their way to give in to Benghazi fanatics on the right. Is that far off?

Yes.  My gosh.

Reporters are trying to cover the story -- without motivations from the left or right. Not sure why the entire world seems convinced that there is some nefarious motive behind what we do. I can tell you having worked in a newsroom for my entire professional career: there isn't.

...almost as annoying as Seinfeld fans. Banana stand! Hilarious!


Do you have any sense of the likely impact on the voters of this issue if/when Hillary Clinton runs in 2016. I can't see it being an issue in the primaries, if there are any, but as things stand now it seems to be the Republicans' favorite issue on which to attack her.

Well, so far this has largely been a Republican-led effort with most Democrats insisting that the whole thing is being used to score political points.

As I said above, I am not making predictions when it comes to where Benghazi goes from here. Just too difficult to do.

Hi Chris -- wondering if you saw the Politico piece earlier this week about the dilemma that some 2016 candidates might face regarding running for multiple seats at once, e.g. Rand Paul or Marco Rubio needing to decide on whether to run for Senate or President. Any thoughts on the impact this might have on their decision to run? In practice does this type of thing really play a big role?

It was a good piece.

I tend to think that if it is an issue the state legislature will pass a law that allows their home state candidate to run for both at once (since that's what usually happens). 

But, maybe not.

Here's the story if you missed it:

How to best cheer up Roger Bennett? Who to succeed Moyes at Everton? (and I'm an LFC fan)

Man. Going to be tough. Rog was genuinely gutted by this.  As a Tottenham fan, I feel no sympathy since I had to watch Harry Redknapp stop caring about the team halfway through last season as he focused on trying (unsuccessfully) to get the England job.

Could Benghazi impact Hillary in 2016? I'd like to think so, but fear that it won't due to people more concerned over the potential voter fraud on "The Voice" than the former Secretary of State lying and covering up a horrible set of events.

Not sure.

I would say today it seems unlikely. But, who knows.

I still remember how voting FOR the use of force resolution against Iraq was seen as a necessary vote for Democrats. And that vote wound up being the reason Barack Obama got into the race against Clinton in 08.

Was watching some of the RNC speeches over again and I am curious to know who you think had the most effective speech at the convention. I think it was Ann Romney; after watching some of the other speeches given by either First Ladies or the nominees wife, she has one of the best in recent memory. Thoughts?

I thought she was good. I thought Marco Rubio was amazing. Condi Rice also gave a good speech.


Mark Sanford's comeback: really a big deal or just getting a lot of coverage because there's not much else going on? Is he expected to have a high profile going forward? I'm sure Boehner would prefer that he lay low...

More the latter.  He isn't going to have any real sway in Washington. I think the fact that he won despite himself was worthy of coverage. But the idea that a single Member with a personal history like his is going to play some sort of leadership role within the party is farcical.

What is the most thoughtful piece you have seen written on how GOP can rebound?

This one by Pete Wehner and Michael Gerson:

I just wanted to disagree with the first question it seems as enough Hilary is still incredibly popular from her time in the administration and as compared to her previous time in the White House the mainstream media seems to recognize that this is as not nearly as big a deal as it seems, so do you think Benghazi causes any trouble now or later, it seems to not be hurting Obama or Clinton in any demonstrable way?

Like I said, no idea.

What I will say: I don't think we have heard the last of Benghazi.

When a terribly flawed candidate like Mark Sanford can win by a sizable margin against a heavily funded attractive candidate, even in a strongly Republican district, isn't this an indication like the Democrat's hopes of taking back the House in 2014 are a pipe dream?

Not sure it's an indication of anything -- for either side.

Sanford and Elizabeth Colbert Busch were so unique that comparisons are tough.

Unless a scandal-tarred former governor and the sister of a celebrity are matching up in other races I don't know about...

Think about it. Both are second in line, with little chance of reaching the top spot. Both have been known to make their fair share of gaffes. Prince Joe!


Do you think he will be a loyal soldier to the House Leadership or become a thorn in their side like Amash?

Thorn.  100%.

There has been a powerful movement by pro gun-control groups lately to fight the NRA toe-to-toe and to attempt to bring down senators, most notably Ayotte, who voted against the background check bill. Do you think these groups, such as Bloomberg's and Giffords' can some day match the power and outside influence of the NRA?

Some day? Sure. Some day soon? No way.

At which Starbucks are you at today? What are you listening to?

Stopped at the Spring Valley Starbucks for an iced mocha and an old fashioned donut (so good). Soundtrack: "Nightmare Ending" by Eluvium.

I'd be willing to offer up the entire Kardashian Klan, Bruce Jenner included.

The Brits would never take that deal.

Don't you mean the backlash against the Republicans who keep trying to convict Obama and Clinton of something they can't even specify? "Ten times worse than Watergate and Iran-Contra combined!" Isn't this idiocy going to come back and bite them in the midterms?

Strong opinions on both sides of this, obvi.

How are they even allowed on the Internet?

True. There ought to be a law.

Thoughts on the departure of Sir Alex from Manchester United

A titan.  I am not sure Moyes is ready for the challenge but not sure anyone else would be either.

I am just rooting for Mourinho to Chelsea to keep the EPL interesting.

Tell me this wouldn't be the most epic election ever

I just cackled with glee.

Mark Sanford.

Only if he is on an expiring contract.

Yea we get it - what's the deal with Ovaltine...?The jar is round,the lid is round, it should be called "Round"tine. It wasn't funny then and it wasn't funny now. However, there is ALWAYS money in the banana stand!

"Illusions, Michael. A trick is something a whore does for money." -- Gob Bluth

"COME ON!" -- Gob Bluth

Could GOP overreach on Benghazi turn into 1998 type of blowback from voters?

That seems a bridge too far at least at the moment. Impeachment proceedings vs Benghazi doesn't feel like an apt comparison.

Do you think Tottenham makes the Champions League with a top 4 finish, and do you think Bale sticks around next year or is gone in the transfer window?

1. No

2. He's gone.

So depressing.

Outside of WaPo...give me three of your least-biased journos.

I think the VAST majority of journalists are non biased.

I will give you 3 reporters I think are really talented:

Peter Baker, NYT

Jonathan Martin, Politico

Magie Haberman, Politico

In deferrence to Ric Flair, Charles Ramsey is the Man. I would eat McDonalds with him anytime


What are the odds that background checks will come up in the Senate or House again? Seems like the defeat of Coburn's first idiotic amendment to the water resource legislation & his subsequent withdrawal of another amendment is a slightly encouraging sign for proponents of gun reform. (You can tell which side I'm on in this issue, of course.)

It seems very unlikely to me.

The debt ceiling debate and immigration fight are going to consume Congress for the rest of the year (I think) and I can't see how vulnerable Democrats in the Senate are going to want more gun votes in an election year.

Since last falls election there has been nonstop talk about rebranding the GOP through various avenues. How do you rate what the GOP has done so far? And do you think it will be effective?

They are still in the midst of a fight for control of the party between establishment (drop opposition to gay marriage, pass immigration reform) and conservative (stay true to core principles) wings.

I am not sure we will know who wins that fight until a nominee emerges in 2016 for the GOP.

Seems like these hearings were all about denting the 2016 Presidential ambitions of Hillary Clinton

That is certainly how Democrats viewed them. Republicans would argue that this was not about politics but rather about an attempt to get to the bottom of what really happened in hopes of avoiding it happening again.

Is it significant that Mark Sanford won by about 9%, while Romney carried SC-1 by 18%?

Yes.  Significant in that Sanford lost a fair number of GOP voters -- an erosion likely due to some combination of lower interest in the race and his personal foibles.

I find it laughably hard to believe that the story on the front page is telling the whole story. Low level employees from Cincinnati get to choose which groups are part of a wide spread audit targeting the Tea Party. This is a huge gift to the right. They love to claim that Obama has it out for them, its starting to look like they are being targeted.  Link

Well, the story just broke. We are going to find out a lot more about it in the next 24-48 hours.

Arrested Development and Seinfeld dvds are pretty much all my husband and I watch these days. We used to watch crime shows before he became a district attorney, but that just killed all the fun watching fake crime when there is a big pile of case files of real crime sitting next to you. My sister's time in medical school had already killed doctor shows. Seinfeld and Arrested Development is all I have left.

Game of Thrones

The Wire

The Americans

Friday Night Lights

Breaking Bad

I really disliked Seinfeld. Haven't seen Arrested Development. I'm still on the Internet.<ducking>

I am glad you can submit these questions anonymously. Otherwise, you might be in a world of hurt.

it's better to be second in line for being the king than for president. just sayin'

Particularly if that king is King Joffrey.

That's fine you don't like Seinfeld. Go back & enjoy watching Two and Half Men.


What would be interesting is for Mourniho to return to Chelsea, and to acquire Rooney in the transfer window

Rooney is going to want out.  Bayern? That would make them a super team the likes of Barca with a healthy Messi.

Is Rand Paul already running for 2016?.. We haven't realized... lol

Ha! Agreed.  Here's a good piece on what all he is doing:

More of a comment than a question. Found it interesting how Steven Colbert went out of character on his show the other night in regards to "made up accusations" against his sister. Was he really naive to think this doesn't happen in politics? Or was he just mad that it happened to his sister?

I tend to give people -- in both parties -- defending family members  a pass.

Any indication of an unexpected (ie, Republican) win in Mass Senate race?

From all the people -- D and R -- I have talked to it's possible but not at all likely.

Steve King is not running. What chance does a moderate Republican have of winning the primary? Over/under of Latham reconsidering his decision not to run?

I would guarantee you there are people leaning on Latham to reconsider.  I am not sure he will but seems to me with King out he would have a much easier path to the nomination.

What are the odds that Ted Cruz goes so far over the edge that the GOP establishment doesn't want much to do with him any more? Or, more accurately, how soon till this happens? I wonder if he'll burn brightly, then flame out quickly.

Not sure. But odds on Ted Cruz thinking seriously about running for president in 2016? 100%.

Fast forward: If the economy is strong in 2016 and the unemployment rate is down, won't the GOP regret the fact that they fixated on Benghazi and Obamacare repeal for the past 3 years, instead of creating policies that might actually help people?

Again, it's impossible to predict how Benghazi plays out politically from here and/or whether we are talking about it in 3 years time.

They are experimenting with a paywall. I can see that The Fix would get his? its? money's worth from it, but as an occasional, casual reader, I don't think I would shell out for it during a non-election year. BTW, what is happening with the Washington Post paywall plan? Will we have to pay for the privilege of chatting with The Fix?

I am building a FixWall.  700 feet high. Made of ice. Winter. Is. Coming.

Which NBA player's game is yours most similar to? I see you as a stretch 4.

I am a 12th man.  The dude who writes the team blog.

Pretty much no way she's on the ticket in 2016 now, right?

Not sure. I think she could be a compelling VP choice for someone or even a candidate in her own right. Remember that the current GOP field is all men....

Boy that move to the Heritage Foundation has really raised his clout. What's their next scientific breakthrough gonna be? That girls can't do math? Not exactly an auspicious start for the ex-Senator.

Agree. I compare New Heritage Foundation to New Coke. Not so good...

OMG, Kramer frantically entered Jerry's apartment. Cue the laugh track because that's hilarious.

Haters gonna hate.

Now that's a genuinely funny show that bridged the era between Seinfeld and AD. It's way edgier and not a safe, boring choice that people say they like because they assume everyone likes it.

Also, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia". Genius.

The Republicans are clearly trying to use Benghazi to attack Clinton for a possible run in 2016. But won't this just play to their base in the primaries but be seen as petty and obscure in the general election? Do they really plan on winning the White House on the Benghazi platform? Good luck to them on that.

Again, they would insist this is about policy not politics. of course, everything at some level is about politics.

I'm actually shocked to find out that the IRS today apologized for abusing government power by singling out "tea party" tax-exempt groups for harrassment. This is about as abusive as the government can get. I think that the Post really needs to pursue this and find out whether anybody was disciplined or fired. Why isn't this being given more prominence as an abusive practice for purely political purposes?

We are working on it literally as I type. I agree it is a remarkable story.

Have you followed Mrs. Coach to Nashville?

Have. I like it. It's no "FNL" (obvi) but it is pretty good stuff.

How is this not going to be an echo chamber, more talking heads not saying anything different?

We are working on that right now. The goal is to approach Post TV like we approach the Fix -- looking for new and interesting angles on the news you can use.

Lived in London and had a flatmate who was a Tottenham supporter and the biggest Phil Collins fan in the world. Who can get excited about Peter Gabriel's former drummer? Go Arsenal!

Phil Collins = incredibly underrated. Best singing drummer ever.

When it involves the other party, it's always about policy, accountability, etc. When it involves your own party, not so much.

Good point.

Why in the world doesn't he want to run anyway? Isn't this a golden opportunity for him?

Because he can hold that House seat with minimal effort for as long as he wants. And because he is best buddies, literally, with Boehner.

He goes from Governor to Rep. Could he have his eye on a coveted SC state senate seat? The floor's the limit!

So good.

Where does Reince rank among recent GOP chairmen? Who has been the best and worst in recent decades?

Still in the middle of his hard to analyze.

But he has gotten the partty back on sound financial footing. And I think he deserves a ton of credit for a very honest autopsy of the 2012 election.

Just read it while waiting for questions to come in. It is excellent, especially the historical comparison with other parties who were strongly committed to ideological purity. Thanks.

It's a thoughtful and well argued piece. I would urge anyone with a passing interest in politics to read it.

Obviously, you never heard Ringo sing Yellow Submarine! ;)

To quote Charles Barkley: "Turrible"

I can read a tweet in a few seconds and it points out the absurdity perfectly. Spending 23 minutes, year in and year out, with people whose characterization *relied* on them never learning or growing or changing in any way? Was tiresome and eventually entirely unfunny.

Seinfeld is a show that could never be made today. 50% of the episodes (maybe more) relied on the characters not being able to meet up with each other. Cell phones would kill Seinfeld.

"In the Air Tonight" is so, so bleeping good. It's sad so many young people think of it as the Mike Tyson song from "The Hangover". And the rest of "Face Value" is a good listen.

Yes. Phil Collins = underrated.

Did you realize that Tom Hanks is an owner of Aston Villa? He chose it just because he liked the name.

I did not!

I do know that Steve Nash is a Spurs fan.  Which is the only thing he and I have in common.

That's all folks! Thanks for joining me! Have a great weekend and hug your Mom.

Also, Mrs Fix and I have been married 10 years today. A public thank you to a woman who, without whom, none of this would be possible.


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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