The Fix Live

Aug 23, 2013

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

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Good morning everyone. Having polished off an old- fashioned donut and a grande Awake tea, I am sufficiently ready to chat.

While we're at it, tell me who you think had the "Worst Week in Washington".... Bring it on.

All the hosers are up in arms about Cruz's Canuck citizenship, eh? But has it been definitively ruled out that he doesn't hold Cuban citizenship, as well?

Prediction: Clinton-Kaine or Gillibrand-Warner. What do you think?

I think the former is far more likely because I think Hillary is much more likely to be the nominee than Gillibrand. And, as for Kaine, I tend to think he is overlooked in a way he shouldn't be. He proved himself a VERY able candidate in 2012 in winning a tough Senate race.

More than a third of congressional Republicans told their leader on Thursday to shut down government rather than pay for the Obamacare health care law, according to the Associated Press.

For most of them, it reflects where their constituents are on the issue. Remember that redistricting has made about 400 of the 435 House districts entirely safe for one party or the other, meaning that the only thing these members need to worry about is a challenge in a primary.

I thought he had the Worst Week in Washington. He got heckled at a town hall, birtherism made a return and is losing steam on shutting down the government over the ACA.


He's headed to NH later tonight...will be interesting to see how he is received. I wrote a piece about it this AM:

Ben Affleck as Batman. I have a hard time seeing it working out, especially with the last time he played a super hero in Daredevil.

I am opposed to the whole Superman and Batman in one movie concept. I like Affleck though unlike, seemingly, all of Twitter.

Did you and Simmons go to prep school together?

We did not.

Hi Chris -- thanks for taking questions today. Though we couldn't be further apart on our political views, I had the impression that Sen. Colburn was fairly reasonable and pragmatic about things...and yet here is, talking up impeachment. What's going on here? And what has Obama done to put him on the precipice of impeachment?

The lack of detail from Coburn was the problem for him.  I think Coburn is a very straight shooter, a quality that built some level of friendship between he adn Obama when they were both in the Senate.  I have no doubt then that Cobnurn thinks there are very real problems but until he enunciates them he's in a sort of political no man 's land.

Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte begins Sept. 4


Quinnipiac has MaCauliffe +6. Is this an outlier or is the opposite party going to fail to continue the trend?

I don't think it's an outlier. Most people I talk to in both parties say that McAulliffe is ahead but not by 6 points -- more like 2-4 points.

Christie's support dipped 10 points to a 20% lead over (I have no idea who he is running against) the Democrat. I'm wondering if this could be a very close, or if Christie could even lose? The economy in Jersey still stinks, and Christie is still way to the right of the electorate.

Any time there is a vote, a candidate can lose. But, will Christie lose? It's hard to see. Buono, his Democratic opponent, has struggled to raise money or to convince national Democrats that she has a chance. because NJ is a lean D state, it's hard to imagine Christie winning by 20+ points but it's equally tough to see Buono making a real run at him.

Make sure to read Maggie Haberman's smart piece about Dems inability to go after Christie:

Did you watch SummerSlam? What did you think of the CM Punk match

I didn't watch but read and listened to a ton of commentary about it. Sounded like Punk-Lesnar was amazing. And I am strongly pro Daniel Bryan.


What's the downside for individuals like Cruz to play to their base and demand a shutdown?

If he becomes the nominee, it's a bit harder (or maybe a lot harder) to move it to the center. But, usually, candidates worry about that problem once they become the nominee.

Is the uproar over his impeachment comment a classic August story? He did not call for it, and made clear he did not have the legal background to say where the line was.'s a bit of a news vaccuum story. I also think the storyline is made more interesting by the Obama-Coburn friendship or perceived friendship.

But what is the better movie "The Big Lebowski" or "Groundhog Day"?

Lebowski.  Not that close though I love both.

Cruz should have attempted to grow his hair like fellow Canadian Barry Melrose.

No one can argue with this.

I have to assume that Obama believes that his frequent digs at Rush Limbaugh are serving a useful function. But what does he think IS that function? To me, all these digs eleveate Limbaugh above his real life status and make the President look thin-skinned and petty. Can you interpret this for us?

1. Shame some more establishment and/or moderate Republicans who view themselves as independent thinkers into working with him.

2,. Rev up his party's base for the coming budget fight.

President Obama..... He riding on a bus through Upstate New York, and he slept in a Holiday Inn last night.


How much of a drag is McDonnell on Cuccinelli's campaign?

He hurts him, no doubt. There is some tarnishing on the Republican brand in VA because of McDonnell. I don't think cuccinelli ultimately wins or loses the race because of McDonnell, however.

Both Cuccinelli and McAulliffe are well known and very divisive in terms of peoples' opinions of them. That well knownnness makes McDonnell a side issue.

How many years until someone in his own party stands up to Cruz and says, "Have you no sense of decency, sir?"

I have advocated for Chris Christie to do that with Sarah Palin. I think doing it with Cruz is a bit more dangerous -- particularly for someone who wants to run for president in 2016.

Here's my Christie-Palin piece.

How does O'Malley run before Hillary Clinton announces? Does he simply attack Republicans? It seems hard to see him drawing too many distinctions between himself and Hillary or Obama lest he face a backlash.

I think he  attacks Republicans and spend a lot of time talking about his record in Maryland. I can't imagine him going too aggressively at either Clinton or Biden for fear he might sacrifice a chance at the Cabinet...

Upstate New Yorker here. A late summer tour of upstate New York? Sounds like a certain president is having the Best Week in Washington!

It is beautiful that time of year in that neck of the woods.

Has he decided he can have a much more enjoyable life commentating on politics rather than swimming upstream in a very left leaning state?

I think so.

If I had to make an educated guess, is that all of the "maybe I will run for president" stuff is aimed at Brown increasing his speaking fees and earning power.

He has a nice gig now and I don't see him giving it up for what would be a long shot New Hampsghire Senate bid or an even longer shot presidential campaign.

Since we're supposing - if one of them ends up a winner, what kind of Democratic bench is there in Virginia to replace him? And would any possibility hinge on who wins this November?

Tom Perriello, who served a single term in Congress, would definitely be a leading contender for D's.

On the R side, Jill Holtzmann Vogel is ambitious.  Maybe Bill Bolling?

How soon till he plays for Real Madrid?

Not too long now. Some of the moves we are making -- Willian etc -- suggest we are spending with the expectation that we are going to get $90 million or so for Bale.

The odds of Chris Christie losing are slim, but can't be counted out in such a rigidly blue state, especially since the last poll shows Dems are coming home. If Buono pulled it off, is her name in the conversation for 2016 or 2020?

I mean, no.

How much trouble is Mitch McConnell in for re-election?

I asked and answered that EXACT question last week!

Short answer: A significant amount although I think he remains a slight favorite to win.

Long answer:

And how would it finally be broken? Tea Party splits off into a third party? Defeat after defeat for the presidency? Wait for another Clinton or Reagan? Tell me it's not hopeless, Fix!

Poilitics has a way of working itself out.

That said, I don't think anything resolves itself until the next round of redistciting in 2021.  

Maybe it is because I'm not in the area, but it doesn't feel like the race has really started. Agree?

It's just really starting now...Ad wars heating up etc.  That's why I think we should all be slightly skeptical of what McAuliffe's current lead actually means.

Read this smart piece on why McAuliffe is ahead right now:

You said that shutting down the government to defund obamacare "reflects where their constituents are on the issue" when it comes to Republican congressmen but in a poll just done by Republican pollster David Winston only 37% of REPUBLICANS supported shutting down the government to defund Obamacare. Why do you think shutdown is "where their constituents are" when polls like this contradict that?

That's a national poll, not a district by district poll. My guess is if you asked the shutdown question in the districts where Members have signed on to the proposal, supoport would be far higher.

I don't really understand the opining about Boehner's future. Sure, he's got an unmanageable caucus and he has no real power, but he's THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE. He's got a big office, a big staff, and after the veep, he's next in line to the presidency. Life could be worse.


But I also think he is in a very very tough spot since his main mission is to lead a House Republican conference that has very little interest in being led.

No amount of staff or stature changes that equation.

If this matchup were to happen in 2016 who would be the initial favorite?

For Senate?  Not sure.  Would be a very good race. And the presidential race in what could be a swing state  might make a difference.

Where have you taken your talents this morning?

Sitting in the Post TV empire, plotting today's "In Play". You haven't bookmarked our new daily politics web show yet? COME ON! (Gob Bluth voice.)

Do it now:

Will voters decide early in September or on into November for a vote in the U.S. Senate for New Jersey?

The special general election is on Oct. 16. Then Booker will run for a full term next November in the regular general election.

Obama resigns. (Hey, the pope did it.) O becomes head of Microsoft. Biden becomes POTUS. Republican right winger heads explode because Biden makes deals with old friends in Congress to get legislation moving. .


Dark horse or darkest horse? I can see him being the compromise candidate between anti-Christie folks and anti-Rand Paul/Cruz Republicans.

I always thought he would have been an intriguing pick for Romney's VP.

I m not sure Toomey has the charisma to pull off leading a national ticket but he has a nice fiscal conservative profile and is from a state that Republicans would love to put in play in the next presidential election. So, maybe VP list?

I am hooked. I just don't get the no playoffs thing. If you are a middle of the road team, and you are not close to winning it all, and no chance of being in the bottom 3, why are we playing?

You are playing to either force teams into relegation or keep them from the top 4, which ensures a spot in the Champions League.

I LOVE that 3 teams get relegated. I wish we did something like that in American sports.

Will Republicans pay a price for blocking it in the House? Do House members see a connection between what they do/don't do and winning a presidential campaign? Do they care about it?

I think the team player mentality is in short supply for most House Republicans these days. BEcause so few of them have heavily Hisdpanic districts, there's little direct political danger in being seen as having blocked the immigration bill -- and it might well be seen as a benefit for many of them.

But, nationally and in 2016, it's almost impossible to see how a failure to get some sort of immigration bill is anything but a strong negative for the party.

Why is Martinez in NM laying low?

Trying to catch Heisenberg?

I've decided to make them my team in the EPL, is this a solid choice?

I think so. Off to a surprisingly strong start and Christian Benteke is GOOD.

Former state Auditor Jack Wagner is now testing the waters for running against incumbent Tom Corbett for Governor of PA. The Democratic field is getting pretty crowded now. Your best guess on who wins the Democrats' nomination?

I still think allyson Schwartz has the inside track because of her fundraising ability and base in the Philly suburbs.

I still wonder whether Corbett is the Republican nominee when all is said and done.

Can you think of any Republican in the state that could run statewide and not get humiliated? Peter King, Chris Collins?


And even him probably not.

BTW I'm okay with a gov't shutdown as long as the screenwriter's guild doesn't strike at the same time. We need one of those two for the country to function properly.


They need to think outside the box and go with John Goodman... Who's with me!!!

His Walter Sobchak is one of my favorite film characters ever.

I suggested Clinton-Kaine before. He meets the experience threshold-both legislative and executive-and can speak Spanish and is Catholic. No surprise why he was close to be chosen before. More importantly, I think he comes across as very friendly, something Hillary doesn't always do. (And, no, I don't work for Kaine, nor am I related to him :) )

Yes. Also fluent in Spanish from a stint as a missionary. Really good personal story. Intriguing guy. And good political judgment; he was the first prominent politician to endorse then Sen. Obama in the 2008 prez race.

The president says "when it comes to shutting down the government to kill ObamaCare, his "Republican friends" tell him "privately" that they agree with him but are afraid of Rush Limbaugh and the Tea Party." Well, of course his Republican friends tell him that. He's only talking to McCain and Graham, and they should be scared.

Fair point.

Although my guess is Obama was using "friends" in the political sense. When ytranslated into regular-speke, "friends" actually means "people I loathe."

Tom Hanks is a part owner of Aston Villa.

Another reason to root for them.

I'm really liking the Bridge on FX, a crime drama that takes place in the border area of El Paso and Ciudad. Compelling and gripping television. Also, Luther when it returns to BBC America. Idris Elba is the best. Best TV though...the EPL on NBC Sports


I am into BroadChurch on BBC America..

Mr. Blake thinks he and Prince could take you and Otto Porter. Agree or disagree?

Um., no.

Given their impact on setting the gerrymandered Congressional districts for this decade, are the 2010 state legislative elections (with 19 chambers switching parties nationwide) one of the great overlooked political stories of recent years?

Yes. This year and every year.

Lucky for all of us that WaPo has started a new blog dedicated to covering state and local politics and policy. It's called GovBeat and it's well worth your time.  Check it out here:

I'm stunned Republicans haven't been able to come up with a strong candidate in that state. It's one of the ultimate swing states that seems to always be competitive. What's up over there in Iowa? Does the state have a slightly more Democratic lean than assumed, or is the Republican Party there in disarray to the extent they can't field a strong candidate for the seat?

Agree. If Republicans come up short in trying to win the majority next November, they will look back at their inability to find a top tier recruit in Iowa as one of the main reasons.

That's all for me this week folks!

Remember to check out In Play here:

And we do this every Friday at 11 am. So, tune in 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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