The Fix Live

Oct 11, 2013

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

Follow @TheFix on Twitter.

I moved my live chat to noon today so I could go head to head with Carolyn Hax in a David vs Goliath sort of thing. Except that Goliath wins this one.

Soundtrack: The AMAZING 2012 album by the Mountain Goats "Transcendental Youth".

Drink: I am one grande mocha to the wind already

Let's do this thing.

Is Noon start a one-time thing, or a something that will continue for awhile?

A one-time thing. 11 am is my jam. Also, I really don't want to compete with Crolyn Hax for eyeballs. She is the Floyd Mayweather of live chatters. I am more like the Gerry Cooney of chatters.

Who is more at risk of losing in 2014 -- Rick Snyder, John Kasich, and Scott Walker.

In order of risk:




The Susquehanna goalie has a league-leading 82 saves and a save percentage of .828, second in the league, but has also faced 99 shots this season. By comparison, the stingy Cardinal defense has allowed only 51 shots. What's the over-under on shots made tomorrow?

Hard for me not to love this question. Catholic U field hockey on a 2 game winning streak. Looking to extend it to 3 over the Crusaders tomorrow!

Is there any chance Cory Booker doesn't win this thing?

Always a chance until the votes are counted. But, I would say it's a very small chance.

But, winning doesn't mean success for Booker. Check this out:

Okay, so the CW seems to be that McAuliffe is ahead of Cuccinelli. But the margin seems to be 3-5 points with the third party candidate, Sarvis, polling close to double digits, which seems likely to drop as we get closer to election day. Given Libertarians tend to be closer to the GOP, aren't Cuccinelli's numbers a bit understated?

Of course there's a chance.

That said, McAuliffe's lead has been pretty steady for the last month or so.  And steady leads -- even if they are small -- matter.

I think Cuccinelli needs to find something to change the arc of the race to win.

Since it looks like the shutdown could last awhile, do you think a Cuccinelli loss in November could create movement among Republicans to cut this crap out, vote for a clean-ish CR, and reopen the government?

I don't think it will go that long.

If Republicans needed  a wake-up call about how bad the shutdown is for them politically, the NBC-WSJ poll released last night should serve that purpose:

Why has the MSM decided to focus on the NBC poll (in my opinion NBC News is the press office for the DNC) over other polls that show the blame is more evenly split?

I don't think we have. I extensively covered the WaPo-ABC poll earlier this week. And, that too showed Republicans coming in for far more blame than President Obama on ther shutdown.

I mentioned this on Twitter last night but it's worth repeating: Simply because you not like the results of a poll as credible as the NBC-WSj doesn't mean it's wrong. The numbers are the numbers.

With all the shutdown and debt ceiling news focusing on the bad things that could happen in the future, there isn't much good news these days. But, did you see that Fox has given the go-ahead to do a Broadchurch series in 2014? Not only that, David Tennant has been signed to star in this one as well. If it's half as good as the British version, it'll still be better than most shows we usually see here.

SO psyched.  Man that BBC America version was amazing. I loved David Tennant.

Why must you and the WaPo anger Scalia, Fix?

I don't know what we did wrong!  

Why would the President offer anything at all in return for a 6 week extension of the debt limit? This will just keep getting repeated by the Republicans every 6 weeks until 2016. How did this President become President by being such an awful negotiator?

Because the alternative is not raising the debt ceiling and that would have catastrophic implications -- a fact the President knows well.

Rubio is a young man. He's up for re-election in 2016 in a swing state. His presidential prospects seem to have dimmed after the failure of immigration reform. And the grassroots conservatives seem upset as he as moved to embrace the establishment and found a new champion in Ted Cruz. Obviously, there's a lot of time before 2016, but do you think it would be smart for Rubio to sit out 2016, run for re-election, and wait for another opportunity?

Nope. Because 2016 will be an open seat race on both sides (assuming Biden doesn't run) and that opoportunity doesn't come around all that often. Plus, the GOP will still be looking for its future and a young Hispanic Senator for Florida has a strong case to make that he is it.

Given her age and the difficulty of a political party winning the elusive "third term," do you think Clinton could shock the political world and promise to serve only one term?

No.  I think any presidential candidate would be crazy to do that.  You are ensuring lame duck status.

What does the Democratic field look like if Hillary Clinton doesn't run? Joe Biden, Martin O'Malley seem like definites either way. Andrew Cuomo, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Elizabeth Warren seem likely, though, I've never understood the Democratic obsession with Warren. What about Tim Kaine or Mark Warner? Or are they more likely to be in the VP mix? Any names out West? I think the donor class would reject Brian Schweitzer after screwing Democrats over by not running for the Senate. And Howard Dean, really? Just a gadfly candidate at this point, right? Russ Feingold?

I don't think Biden is a definite if Hillary runs. Or O'Malley.

If Hillary doesn't run, Biden is in. O'Malley too. I think Kirstin Gillibrand would run in that circumstance as would Andrew Cuomo. Maybe Howard Dean too. Elizabeth Warren would have to think about it. Cory Booker? DeVal Patrick?

Not at WaPo anymore? Whaaaa?

She moved to China!  She is working for AFP over there.

Taking on Carolyn Hax's chat directly... Any smack talk?

Hax ain't nuthing.

Does Boehner realize what a catastrophic waste this whole process has been? I don't see any positive for him or the Republican party coming out of this. Is this the biggest strategic blunder by a Speaker in recent memory?

He knew that shutting down the government would be a strategic mistake. But, he also knew he liked being Speaker and to cross his party on something they wanted so badly (healthcare repeal) would have sealed his political fate.

Do you think any of this will matter when we're voting next year?

Don't know. But the best news out there for Republicans right now is that this is October 2013, not October 2014.

Do you ever think about what it means to be an evenhanded reporter? At what point is one side or the other just wrong? Even if you feel that one party is unreasonable could you say anything or are you required to pretend to be fair and even?

I report. You decide.

I can see that the president is really trying to link talks to both the debt ceiling and the shut down so that he can get both a raise in the debt ceiling and a clean CR together. Is it working? I don't see that he can possibly not sign a bill raising the debt ceiling (or that Harry Reid could hold it up in the Senate), if the House sends it along, but will they also send along a CR, even for a short time? The coverage is kind of confusing right now. The debt ceiling is more important, but they have to send us back to work eventually, right?

Boehner et al  need something in the form of a concession on re-opening the government. That could be something like chained CPI or some other entitlement reform, which President Obama has publicly supported in the past.

I can't see the House passing a clean CR and a clean debt ceiling bill.

What is the reason he has no chance of winning.

New York City is a very Democratic place. And without a Republican with the profile of Giuliani or Bloomberg, the Democrat wins.

Chris - I haven't seen you write about McCutcheon before the Supreme Court this week, but you've written about campaign finance a great deal in the past. Why the absence?

Well, we did a huge explainer on it here:

And we will continue to write on it. Remember that the Court simply heard oral argument this week. When they offer their ruling, we will be all over it.

Why would Obama agree to the GOP offer, especially when it doesn't include a clean CR, and the House has made it clear a CR will have MORE strings attached. The GOP owns this for the most part. If Obama takes a deal, isn't he claiming a bigger share?

Because he wants to avoid defaulting on our debts and wants to re-open the government.

Given that a lot of people saw this PR disaster coming a mile away, did Ted Cruz decide that his personal war might be bad for the party, but good for Ted Cruz?

Yes. But I also think that he genuinely believes Obamacare is a bad law that is bad braodly for the country and its economy and should be repealed.

You will answer questions about our love life?

Bring them on.

Just saw a headline that the House Republicans have offered to open the gov and raise the debt ceiling in exchange for more cuts. What are you hearing?

Right, They want to lessen some of the sequestration cuts in exchnage for entitlement reforms. Read this:

What odds to you give that the full government will be back to work on Tuesday a.m.?

70-30 they will.

Uh, not in Azerbaijan there isn't!!!

Good point.


I think it's a long shot, but if he loses, who leads the Republicans in the Senate, Cornyn or Thune?

That's the fight. I'd give the edge to Cornyn but predicting internal Senate votes is VERY tough.

I choose you! Well, okay, at least I'm clicking over while waiting for Carolyn to finish typing. My question is if there is any real potential for primary challenges of GOP candidates from the center? I know some business PACs are making noise but I don't know how organized it is. Seems to me that that is the answer to the current extremism - if everyday folks started participating in primaries the chances of getting reps that are interested in governing instead of grandstanding goes up.


And, not really. Remember that the primary electorates in both parties are primarily comprised of base voters who are more conservative (for Republicans) and more liberal (for Democrats) than the overall populace.

Running as a centrist then tends to be a recipe for losing.

Broadchurch although it aired on BBC America was actually from ITV, not the BBC. ITV does Downton Abbey and Broadchurch. The BBC does Doctor Who and who really cares what else because Doctor Who is awesome.

I feel like I have missed the Dr. Who boat. 

Will we still have our opportunity to heckle you on Columbus Day or has your question-writing staff been deemed "non-essential"?

It's Oct 21 this month!

Umm, to whoever questioned the validity of the NBC poll due to perceived bias: you did see the other acronym, WSJ, right? Wall Street Journal, home of Peggy Noonan and Karl Rove editorials?

The poll is jointly conducted by a D and R polling firm both of whom have sterling reputations in the industry.

Worst Week Winners. In your experience are most of these "winners" awarded because of self-inflicted wounds, or because they were the victims of difficult circumstances? (Though I would say this week's awardees are definitely there because of their own ill-considered actions.)

Almost always self inflicted.

Take this week:

What changes between now and then?

Not much, politically speaking. I think we have this fight all over again.

Do either of you even work in the WaPo building? Have you ever met? I assume the Fix posse walks around the newsroom like the Jets or the Sharks from West Side Story.

I work in WaPo building. And, the Fix posse is more like the Ron Burgundy posse in "Anchorman".

Will the GOP want Marco Rubio as the V.P? Not the Pres but Hispanic .

I think he's absolutely in the mix fvor VP if he doesn't get the top prize.

Hasn't Boehner pretty much turned into Mr. Rooney, the ineffectual principal from Ferris Bueller's Day Off?

Nine times.

The Milk Carton Kids -- modern country-folk, knocked 'em out last week at the Americana Music Awards. Highly recommended.

I dig them. Thanks.

What are the risks that Boehner will be primary-challenged, from either a GOP moderate or the tea-party movement? Could a Democrat defeat him in 2014?

Definitely not a Democreat. A primary challemge is possible but hard to beat him.  Boehner, I think, goes out of Congress on his own terms.

How soon till we get the contest we have all wanted: Fix Aaron v. The Cillizza?

It's only a matter of time now. We are on a collision course.

You report. I deride!


Thinks that this whole sordid shutdown interlude will have little effect on the 2014 elections because the election district makeup is so skewed to elect incumbents. Also, the collective public attention span will have been jostled by so many other "major crises" that this will have faded into the the mists of time.

Definitely possible.

How does it work? Do you scroll through questions and pick ones that interest you? Or is there an editor/assistant forwarding ones that they think are interesting? Is it better to submit questions early or wait until the chat begins?

There is a team of 50 culling questions. They present those that make the cut to me on a gold platter. I select one, dictate my answer to one of my 6 assistant who then tells one of his assistants what to type.


Have you listened to The National yet? If not, what are you waiting for!!!?

Have. Latest album is amazing.

All I listen to now is Jason Isbell. Dude is amazing.

Riddle me this: why does he even want to be speaker? I know it's a whole power thing, but the fact of the matter is that he has very little power anymore, is going to be blamed for the shutdown, and seems to be disliked by pretty much everyone. Plus, he's been doing it for a while, so his CV is covered. What am I missing?

It's a good thought and why I wonder whether he stays on beyond the 2014 election -- even if Republicans hold the House.

Real simple; two part question: 1. Percentage chance that Ted Cruz is the Republican nominee in 2016. 2. Percentage chance that he gets elected. For me, the answer to #1 is 25%. The answer to #2 is no more than 10%, absent some MAJOR upheaval.

I generally agree. Though general elections are shaped by so many external factors -- economy, how the public feels about itself etc -- that it's far harder to game out in my opinion.

Sure, the R's had a bad week, but this has to be a close runner up.

Not a great moment. But Bob Lewis, who wrote that story, is a tremendously careful and good reporter. We are all human. We make mistakes. The key is to explain why you did it and try not to make it again.

Do you think that Tea-Party members like Ted Yoho really do think that there are no consequences to breaching the debt ceiling or are they just throwing red meat to their base?

I think there is a significant chunk of people who believe the Obama Administration is, in the words of Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, "scare mongering".

Some down here in the Tampa Bay area think Crist might run for the seat of retiring Representative CW "Bill" Young (who was my Rep when I was in high school!). He lives not far from Young's district in St. Petersburg. But given his sizable lead over Rick Scott in the race for Governor, I can't see how he'd go for that. Any thoughts?

He's said no.

Check this out:

Carolyn, I cannot get rid of my crazy ex. What should I do?

Thanks for asking!

Here's my recommendation -- via the words of Gang Starr:

Had a great date with a new guy. I'm a pretty sterotypical lady liberal (Liberal Arts degree from a Seven Sisters school, work at a non-profit, drive a Prius...) and being Virginians, the election came up. Can a liberal and a libertarian find love in this crazy world?

Sure!  Hell the first first letters of your ideological positions are the same!

I like having you up against Hax. You answer a ton of questions, she answers a few questions but with long answers. The timing going back and forth is PERFECT. I'm going to be able to go the entire hour without even thinking of work!

Hax? Never heard of her.


Mama Said Knock You Out! We have faith the Fix is in, for this Battle Royal

Oh yeah. I love me some LL.

When are you going to be on?

[staring at phone expectantly]

It's never too late for Doctor Who. Ignore the original that aired from the 60's through the 80's because it's much more of a kids' show. Start with the 2005 continuation, get passed some rough writing in the first season, enjoy how David Tennant's love for the show shines through in every episode, and then the high-flying Matt Smith years are nonstop fun. Also, Karen Gillan. Red-headed beauty. With commitment, you can catch up in time for the Christmas special and the debut of Peter Capaldi aka Malcolm Tucker from The Thick of It.

Alright. I will literally watch anything with david tennant in it.

When starting your meetings, do you normally start it with, "Do you smell what The Cilliza is cooking!!"

Well, we have someone read the following warning: "Do not make eye contact with The Fix. If you happen to make eye contact with The Fix, apologize and rapidly leave the room."

Except for seeing him last Friday at lunchtime walking down PA Ave with the President, we haven't seen him much. Is he working behind the scenes to help negotiate an end to the shutdown?

He has been kind of quiet. Remember that he was the closer in the fiscal cliff deal....

I'd always envisioned your crew involved at least one Fix-er (Fixette?) fanning you throughout the chat.

Ever seen Despicable Me?  I have a room like Gru doesbelow his house that is just chock full of minions.

Press conference. Let's loose. Resigns. Points to Cantor, says it's his problem now. Mic drop. Walks out the Cannon building smoking a cigar giving the finger to every Member he sees.

Well, I would watch that.

You seem to have a good range in musical likes--have you listened to the album (I suppose that's what they are still called) All the Little Lights by Passenger? Nice.

Will check it out.  Also, Goat that album.

Can we have a TV Chat again? There are just so many things wrong with the new season, especially all the shows with the Crying Orange Guy!

Things we need more of on TV: David Tennant, Connie Britton

Things we need less of: Christina Aguilera, Simon Cowell.

Anyone who vacationed in DC this week...


Loved the story on the OR gov in the mix today. Of the three long-running return governors--Jerry Brown, Branstad, and Kitzhaber--who has the easiest path to re-election next year?


And it was a great piece. Read it here:

How do you negotiate with people whose demands center on your utter annihilation?

Ask the Cylons.

I picture the duties of your interns include cutting your lawn and driving you to field hockey games...

You picture right. Also, getting me pumpkin spice lattes. 

Is the Speaker really incompetent, or is he just in an impossible situation? Is there a politician you can think of who could have played this hand better? LBJ? Henry Clay? Who?

I think he's in an impossible situation. Who else in the House would be doing a better job managing an unmanageable Republican conference?

I could not understand a word he was saying. Sounded like he was speaking a foreign language in Broadchurch (which I loved).


Did you see the picture of the little kid in the bear hat outside the locked zoo in DC? Tears. But like, what did the parents think -- the zoo was going to magically be open? The government has been shutdown for a little while now.

And that's it. I have to jump out 5 minutes early -- thus ensuring I lose by battle against Hax.

Thanks for joining this week. We'll be back to 11 am next week when I can re-join my ongoing chat feud with the DC Squirrel.

Thanks 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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