The Fix Live

Jun 14, 2013

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

Follow @TheFix on Twitter.

Good morning everyone. Happy Friday!

Soundtrack for the chat: "Southeastern" by Jason Isbell. If you haven't heard it, you need to immediately.

With a grande mocha already deposited in my stomach, I am ready to go.

Let's do this thing.

Can the Republicans stretch these scandals out for another year in order to help with the 2014 elections?

Well, you can be sure that you will hear about the IRS scandal in 2014. It's a terrific issue for the GOP base and might even sway some indies -- depending on what (if anything) else comes out.

The NSA revelations don't seem likely to me to move the political needle much at all. First of, most politicians agree that this is necessary to keep America safe. Second, the American public doesn't seem to really care.

Marc Theissen hit the nail on the head--who we call is not private. The phone company keeps a record of it; we've known that for years. I simply don't understand why people are so freaked out by this news. Also, I am absolutely fine with the NSA tracking this information. If knowing who called a terrorist's number prevents even one attack a fraction of the size of Boston, I'm fine with that.

And in that view, you are in the majority of America.

As a political junkies, I'd imagine you guys dream up third party scenarious the way Simmons dreams up NBA trades. How do you like this one for 2016: -The GOP swings hard right and nominates Cruz or Paul -Hillary takes a pass -Dems go left with Warren -Christie sees the gaping hole in the middle and mounts an independent bid Where's the weakest link in this chain? I'd say it's probably HRC--I just can't see how she avoids walking down the yellow brick road that seems to be laid before her right now. Ah, well, a Fixista can dream.

I don't think, ultimately, Clinton will be able to pass up what looks like such a sure thing to the Democratic nomination.

And, as for Christie running a third party bid, I don't think that happens. For one, he's never shown any indication that he is anything but a Republican. For another, it's VERY hard to even qualify for the ballot in all 50 states as an independent.

But, yes, a Fixista CAN -- and should -- dream.

Hi Chris -- thanks for taking questions today. As summer starts to kick into gear, where are we at in terms of the scandal scoreboard? Are they stuck in neutral, fading, gearing up? Has the Obama administration made any headway in changing the subject?

Well, the NSA has pushed the IRS out of the news. And, as I said above, I don't see how the NSA works in either parties favor heading into 2014 since there seems to be broad consensus that the surveillance is necessary to protect the country.

Democrats are found among some of the strongest critics (Ron Wyden) and strongest supporters (Dianne Feinstein) of NSA surveillance. Do you see a clear dividing line? What explains these splits among Democrats?

Well, civil libertarianism sort of cuts across traditional party lines. Rand Paul and Ron Wyden don't agree on much but they are quite close in their view of the NSA's surveillance activities.

They're still an important constituency within the GOP. (They certainly explain why so few Republicans have endorsed same-sex marriage). Who should be among their favorite candidates for 2016? Rubio? Santorum? Scott Walker?

My guess is that it will be Scott Walker.  Santorum seems to me to be a second tier candidate (at best) in theb 2016 GOP field. And Rubio as the frontrunner will try to avoid being pigeon-holed as any part of the party's "favorite" candidate

Of these Republicans up in 2016, who do you see as most vulnerable: Mark Kirk Ron Johnson Rob Portman Richard Burr Kelly Ayotte Pat Toomey Marco Rubio It's early, but I'd pick as most vulnerable Kirk (popular guy, but very Democratic state, might face Tammy Duckworth) and Johnson (Tea Party guy wildly out of sync with a blue-ish state).

Good question!

In order from most to least








Republicans keep stepping in it! Trent Franks on preganncy and rape, Jeb Bush this morning calling immigrants more fertile (though that last one is correct purely from a demographic standpoint and countries without young people do struggle economicallY). But do these comments harm them or do voters forget?

People forget.  Unless it happens in your state and/or right before an election.

These are molehills in the grand scheme of national elections. BUT, they do distract Republicans from focusing on re-branding the party in a way that makes it more appealing to the center of the country.

Will you hide behind the Post's new paywall? Just let the NSA know, they'll pass it on to me.

I wrote a big-ish piece on the paywall. It's here:

Polls find very different results for different question wordings about the NSA -- whether they mention the need for a court order, whether they mention that the programs are aimed at stopping terrorism. These sorts of wild swings are usually a sign that (1) many people don't have "real" opinions on the subject and (2) harbor conflicting feelings that can be activated by different question wording.

All true. But, I think, by and large, that the American public is comfortable with the government monitoring phones and the Internet if they believe it helps prevent terrorist attacks.

Tim Kaine can effectively run as the Clinton alternative? He was perceived to be a good governor, has an interesting background (his political hero is his father in law, former republican governor) and can win statewide in the most purple state. Thoughts?

I was JUST thinking about this yesterday.

I don't think Kaine gets in (or even thinks about it) if Clinton is in. But if she doesn't run, Kaine has a great story to tell and is good at telling it. He could be a dark horse in a non Clinton field.

Will this affect your material? Or can we still get our Fix free?

Fix will be behind the paywall. (See the explainer I posted above.)

You can still find Fix content via search and social without running into the wall.

And Post TV -- with a new Fix-hosted show called "In Play" -- will be totally free. More on "In Play" here:

What happens if Republicans are never able to tie IRS misbehavior to the White House -- or even to anyone actually appointed by Obama?

It still gets their base VERY revved up and allows them to raise money from it.

Quick (but important) Question: Does looking at this chat page count as one of the 20 "free monthly" Pages on the WaPo Paywall? I usually have to hit the "Refresh" button a lot of times to update, does each one count against the 20?

Clicking the URL will count towards the paywall. But refreshing won't.

Chris, I realize you didn't endorse that comment, but just so you know, there are lots of us who are NOT fine with this kind of complacency. To paraphrase Ben Franklin (a much more impressive thinker than Marc Thiessen), those who would sacrifice liberty for security will end up with neither.

The other side.

Do you consider yourself a celebrity (not like Brad Pitt)? Do you get recognized when your out and about? I would find that annoying.

Um, no.

I suspect if Republicans focus on any issues regarding the NSA, it will be whether any Obama administration officials misled Congress. Much easier than attacking the actual substance of the programs, which many Republicans support.

Good point.

What odds do you give Hagen keeping her seat? And is Richard Burr the new Jesse Helms (not the controversial part). A guy who may never break 54% but will continue to be re-eected? In Burr's case it's due to a weak bench and is building seniority.

It's a tough race for her. North Carolina is becoming more and more competitive between the two parties at the presidential level but in a midterm election for a Senate seat it's still a GOP-tilting place due to the difficulty of replicating presidential level turnout in the black community.

Republicans have a credible candidate is state House Speaker Thom Tillis.  If he avoids a serious primary fight, Republicans' chances of beating Hagan goup.

Who will win the NJ Senate Seat? What if Bruce Springsteen ran for Governor?

It's Cory Booker's race to lose.  He is solidly over 50 percent and Reps. Rush Hotl and Frank Pallone are in the low double digits/high single digits.

Who Won?

That was awesome. "Christie cream donut". If you missed it:

Paid for my digital subscription today. You guys are worth it!

THANK YOU.  Way to set a good example. :)

Can dems hold the youth vote together through social issues (gay marriage contraception) or does student loans, internet freedom and other issues threaten to send them to a more libertarian party or to disengage them from the system?

Well, we know that Barack Obama was able to consolidate the youth vote like no politicians -- Democrat or Republican-- before him.

We don't known whether the next Democratic presidential nominee or GOP presidential nominee will be able to do so...

Thoughts on the finale?

It STUNK. Though people who have read the books tell me they needed to make it like that to set up what is coming next season.

People that need more air time:

Tywin Lannister

Margary Tyrell

Margaery Tyrell's grandmother

The Hound

Jaqen J'hagar

People who need less air time:



Jon Snow

If Hillary Clinton runs, who else does? I'm guessing Joe Biden and Andrew Cuomo don't. Elizabeth Warren? Martin O'Malley?

I think O'Malley runs no matter what because he can't afford to wait another 4-8 years. (It's like Pawlenty and Romney in 2012.)

I think everybody else takes a pass. 

it doesn't look like there's much potential for surprises. If he wins by a decent margin, does this tell us anything about 2014 the way brown did in 2010?

I think Markey wins by 5-10. And we never think about this race again. As in, it doesn't mean much except that in most circumsatnces a Democrat wins in Massachusetts.

to all the Dads out there. What will you be doing?

Hanging out with the Fix family. It's the best father's day -- or any day -- possible.

Polls show a lot of Republicans concerned about NSA surveillance. But, with the exception of some of the hard-core libertarians, you haven't seen many Republican lawmakers speak out -- except to call Snowden a traitor. What gives?

Because most Republicans are supportive of surveillance if it helps stop terrorist attacks.

Does the special election, assuming he wins, make a Booker presidential campaign or veepstakes slot more likely and if so how much? Should he win, is he a realistic 2016 contender (esp. if Hillary doesn't run) or is this just beltway talk?

Possible for sure.  He doesn't run if Hillary does. If she doesn't, I bet he gives it a look.  Not sure how hard a look.

Why not Tim Kaine in 2016?

Without Hillary in the race, I agree that he should take a long, hard look at it.

Blackhawks -- Bruins ??

I care about only one kind of hockey: field hockey.

Ever since the Whalers abandoned Hartford I have boycotted hockey.

Oh well, we'll always have "Brass Bonanza":

A little breaking news.....James Clapper wins "Worst Week in Washington"! Congrats, or something.

Where do I go to sign up? I want to set a good example as well. While the editorial page can infuriate me I do find the post's coverage fair and balanced, and should help the cause.

Thanks. Click this link:

Have you ever been in ALL 50 states?

Not even close.  It's one of my goals before I ride into the sunset.

I gave you The Americans before. Now, you should watch Orphan Black. It's on BBC America. Only 10 episodes. The lead actress's stock is like LeBron's circa June 2003.

Awesome. We are in the middle of "The Americans" right now. I love it. Though Keri Russell scares the crap out of me.

Christie already won when he pulled a donut out of his pocket while talking to Letterman a few months ago. Can't make fun of somebody when they beat you to it themselves.

I agree. Self-deprecation always wins.

Didn't it look like a sure thing for the nomination in 2008? And isn't the biggest question about Clinton whether - besides her health - whether she can really manage a campaign this time?

Sure. She was a very clear favorite in 2008 too.  No question. But, at least at the moment, there is no Obama-like figure lurking to upset that Clinton applecart. 

We shall see.

I agree that it was uneventful, but that's how these seasons have gone. The second to last episode is always the big one. In Season One, the second to last episode saw Ned Stark die, in Season Two it was the Battle of Blackwater Bay. This time it was the Red Wedding. The finales have basically been promos for the next season. The real question is what to watch Sunday nights now. The Newsroom? Ugh...

Yeah...I need some new TV show suggestions.  "Orphan Black" is one. What else do I NEED to be watching -- either current shows or past ones?

I heard someone on Hardball say he thought the top 3 contenders would be Rubio, Santorum, and Walker. I think Rubio obviously and Walker could be in the mix, but Santorum? Is that the old GOP think that the last runner up is next in line?

Rubio, Walker , Rand Paul and Christie are my top tier at the moment. If Jeb runs, he's at the head of that class.

any chance of getting a running counter of how many articles we've viewed, or is it just wait and see? The warnings NYT has when you're down to the last 5 aren't enough imo.

Not sure. I can ask...easier solution: Just subscribe!

Jason Isbell is great. Loved his work with the Drive by Truckers too. Great story telling, imagery, poetry in a southern rock setting.

I was a big DBT fan. Lost interest when he went solo. But this new album is AMAZING.

I'm female, about same age as Hillary, but think she's a terrible executive. She doesn't "read" people very well and can't manage big endeavors (1992 healthcare proposal, 2008 campaign, State Department). I think she'd be a great VP: loyal soldier. Doubt she'd ever accept that role, though.

Interesting perspective...not sure most people -- at least at the moment -- agree with you though.

Why are some so eager to get Elizabeth Warren to run for President? Seems to me she's doing great things in the Senate standing up to Wall Street. Why so eager to move her out and possibly into the presidency, where she, like Obama, can end up stymied by obstinate Senate and House.

She is to many liberals what they thought they were getting when they elected Obama.

If Hillary doesn't run in 2016, Warren is a top tier candidate. And I don't buy the talk that she wouldn't even consider running in that scenario.

With Michaud likely in, does that give dems a chance, considering indies typically lose a lot of their support as the campaign goes on, and because of their lack of infrastructure, or does Cutler still pose a threat because it's maine?

Maine checks in our our BRAND new Friday Line rankings as the 2nd most likely state to switch parties next year.

Full rankings here:

Don't make us laugh. It's not like the guy is Carolyn Hax.

That cuts me to the core. It also happens to be true.

Can you please let us enjoy the summer, and maybe even the fall, of 2013 before riding your 2016 hobbyhorse? Come on, people!


I am getting a "never too soon" tattoo...

new season of Venture Bros. at 12 AM. Catchup with the first season through netflix.

Check. Thanks for the rec!

I have no problem voting for a centrist republican for President but I just don't see ANYONE getting thru the primaries. The nut cases are not shutting up. I'd rather be wrong. Am I?

Centrist very rarely win presidential primaries -- in either party.

I'm a Spurs man myself.

My in laws lived in San Antonio for a while so I am rooting for the Spurs. But I don't get why people hate the Heat and LeBron either.

Polls well with everyone EXCEPT conservative Republicans. How much of a problem would this be for a presidential campaign?

It will be a problem.  He will have to win New Hampshire and hope he can survive not winning South Carolina and probably Iowa.

So the Iranian election is going on right now. Do you know if there is a Persian Fix equivalent over there?

I do not.  That would be awesome though.

Just how many states have you visited?

I have been all over Westeros...King's Landing, the North, Casterly Rock. I even once vacationed on the shores of Yunkai.

Is there any chance that the Virginia Republican nominee for Lt. Governor does not negatively impact Cuccinelli's chances in the gobernatorial contest?

Marginally. I tend to think that people vote for the top of the ticket almost always. I am sure Cuccinelli would rather have someone other than EW Jackson running for LG. But Cooch is going to win or lose because of Jackson.

If HRC DOES get in, who else is a sure thing? Martin O'Malley? Anyone else? Making enemies with the Clintons doesn't seem to be a smart strategy for an up-and-coming pol, but then again those are the type who could benefit the most from exposure that a (most likely losing) presidential bid would bring.

I mentioned it above. I think the only people who run are those who feel as though they can't wait...that's O'Malley for sure. Not sure if it's anyone else.

I read that Sarah Palin's returning to Fox News. She and Bristol were also guests on Joan and Melissa Rivers' show this week. I gather that the Tea Partiers et al. still love her, but she's said some uncivil things lately that I'd think would turn off mainstream Republicans. So how successful do you think Sarah 2.0 will be in reviving her political career?

Not.  I think she is done running for things.

Ayotte seems a likely POTUS of veep contender in 2016. What about shaheen, Hassen, or less likely Kuster or CSP?

Ayotte for sure. I don't think any of the others get real mentions in the Veepstakes.

You might be surprised to learn that at least some of your readers are in Mitt Romney's "47%." We don't ever buy fancy coffees, rarely eat out, and regard $120/year as real money.

Oh, I know it's real money.  I get that it's a big commitment. I am just hoping that you decide the quality of journalism the Fix and the broader Post does is worth it.

Besides the Governor races, what elections should we watch? The NYC Mayori's race seems like a snooze (except for Weiner).

It's a little bit barren. Here's our list:

best place in Westeros. Relatively progressive on women's issues (best in the kingdom) good food and it's always warm. Change to a democracy and they've got the whole package.

So good.

Awww, don't hate on the GoT finale. We saw Arya take her first step on the assassin road, Ygritte's arrows of love were stupendous and Tywin/Tyrion had a nice(!) father/son moment and Cersei finds out she's going to have to love less man. Totally agree about less Theon, though.

Eh. The Theon/Lord Bolton's bastard son storyline is stomach turning. I am done with it.

Does Pallone blow through his $3-million cash on hand to try to defeat Booker? Or is he just going through the motions?

I don;t know why he is running...other than it's a free shot since he doesn't have to give up his House seat. Unless Booker makes a big mistake, he's going to win.

What do you prefer: Presidential elections or primaries?

Primaries. Just more fascinating storylines...

Is Christie's setting of the special election 3 weeks before the general likely to cost him much? What happened to all of that posturing about not wasting money? This seems to be an enormous waste of money for no good reason.

If Chris Christie winds up losing in the 2016 presidential primaries, it ain't going to be because he set a special election for Oct. 16 rather than Nov.5.

My wife and I are making our way through the entire West Wing box set (we're super cool). But the almost exact parallels in the plots 10 years after the fact are spooky. Just watched the debate over where whether tax cuts or stimulus would help/hurt economy, buttressed by take-down of sound byte versus nuanced discussion of issues. Was the show that prescient or is all politics all the same all the time forever?

The latter.

That's all folks!

Thanks for spending an hour with me. I'll be back next Friday at 11 am for more of the same.

Until excellent to each other.


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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