The Fix Live

Jan 10, 2014

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

Follow @TheFix on Twitter.

Good morning everyone. It was a slippery on in DC, hope everyone got in safe -- or didn't go to work at all.

Chris Christie had a bad week:

That and much more in this chat. Let's go.

Hi Chris, now that your biased colleagues have decided it is time to take Christie out, in hopes of giving Democrats a clear path to 2016, who is the next Republican on their list? My money is on Scott Walker or Paul Ryan. Thanks!

Er, did the media order several lane leading to the George Washington Bridge be blocked to cause a traffic jam in Fort Lee? Or allegedly lie to the governor of that state about her involvement?

I didn't think we did. It's convenient (and common) to blame the media when a politician steps wrong. But it's almost always wrong.

He's been getting questions about this for months, and it's been over a month since his sarcastic tirade in his press conference. And yet he professes that this is all news to him -- he didn't ask questions himself? Didn't ask for records? Didn't know any of this until the press brought it to his attention? If that's true, it doesn't speak well for his management skills. Nevertheless, I'm not sure I understand how a scandal like this hurts him in winning the Republican nomination in 2016. If we're still talking about it at all, he'll very easily play the Conservative Hero who crossed the liberal media and became the subject of a smear campaign. Mainstream rules don't apply in Republican nomination contests, after all.

I totally agree that this is a bump -- albeit it a medium to large sized one -- in his road to 2016 if nothing new comes out that ties him in any way shape or form to this traffic closures.

If anything comes out that shows he knew about it, it contradicts his unequivocal denials during his presser Thursday and absolutely dooms his chances.

Here was my take in the immediate aftermath of his press conference:

is anyone seriously surprised that this republican governor is one nasty SOB? Chris Christie is blunt, pugnacious and refreshing in some ways, but still a nasty SOB. I don't believe that these staffers decided on their own to bollox traffic to teach that mayor a lesson. Maybe Christie didn't directly say "stop traffic", but I'd bet my pension that if nothing else there is a culture of payback there. New Jersey? He's lucky Christie didn't order him into cement overshoes!

The "New Jersey Way" is a double edged sword for Christie -- and always will be if he runs for president.

People love a blunt talker who doesn't take any guff from anyone. But, viewed in only a slightly different light, that appealing bluntness can look like bullying,

He has and always will walk a very fine line on it. Angry Birds. Still surprised you somehow ended up in my weekly Facebook tournament, but dude...let Aaron throw your birds. Oh, and WWIW? Chris Christie and Bridgegate? (We are calling it that by now, aren't we?). --Arlington Gay

Whoa Whoa. That is Fix Jr on Angry Birds -- not me! He loves that damn game.

And, yes, Christie had the Worst Week. Runaway victory.

Sorry Chris, This Christie thing is manufactured political stories to get page view & ratings in a slow period. I don't care if it happened or not and all it shows is that the press has nothing to talk about. The President's appointees likely used the IRS to target whole segments of the country who disagree with him, that is far worse then slowing down traffic, even if it came down from Christie himself.

"Manufactured"? His deputy chief of staff sent an email to one of his appointed people at the Port Authority signaling to close lanes to create a traffic jam as a form of political payback.

I don't get how this is "manufactured". I understand people can disagree about whether this will impact Christie's future ambitions but it's hard to see how anyone thinks this is trumped up. Christie sure doesn't.

It's a little hard for me to get too worked up about the NJ traffic scandal (although I'm sure I would feel differently if I had to go through those four days of traffic). Yes it was petty and oh-so-high-school but come on, we're talking about NJ politics here.

Sure.  I get that. And, as I have said, if Christie really didn't know anything then it's a bad story for him but far from a career ending one.

On the other hand, if it comes out that he did know something, his unequivocal denials will doom him.

It's always the coverup, not the crime.

What is happening to Chris Christie should be a cautionary tale to all Republicans. If you are interesting, and bipartisan, the media will pretend to love you, but the second Hillary Clinton's posse makes clear she is running in 2016, there aren't enough "Rock Center" or "Morning Joe" segments you can do. The MSM will destroy you.

I do not get this line of thought. At all.

A crop of Republicans in vulnerable seats have retired: Frank Wolf, Jon Runyan, Jim Gerlach,, Tom Latham. etc. Any chance that Republican leaders think that 2014 will be a good year for the GOP and have told members thinking about retirement: "If you gotta go, go now.." It might be much tougher for the GOP to hold those seats in a presidential year, or a year that didn't look good for their party.

Maybe. But remember that Mike McIntrye and Jim Matheson -- two Democrats -- have also announced theuy are retiring in 2014. And both of those seas are far harder to hold than any of the current Republican retirements.

How about Chris Cillizza for writing last week: "The idea that the bridge story is somehow going to bring Christie down in 2016 seems a little much to me."


Worth noting: No one knew until this week that Bridge-gate involved a deputy chief of staff in Christie's administeration putting a clear political payback move in an email that would go public.

Circumstances and context change things.

How are Republican officeholders / activists / big donors reacting to all of this?

I think he helped himself quite a bit with his presser yesterday. You can argue he went on too long but I think the general takeaway I heard from Republicans was that he did everything he could in a tough situation.

What remains to be seen is whether anything else comes out. If it does, the good he did for himself on Thursday will disappear.

You have new additions to the Fix. Have they been given the ritual in officially joining?

And more to come!

Make sure to follow them.

Jaime Fuller:

Wes Lowery:

More to come too!

Ahhh, you missed it this week. The worst week this week has to go to Jay Gruden. In four years it is guaranteed that he will be leaving Washington with his reputation in tatters. It has been said that the Redskins are like a reverse car wash. You come in clean, you leave very dirty. If it happened to Gibbs II and Shanahan, it will happen to him. Whatever the Redskins are paying him, he still had the worst week, just by taking over the team.

But he will be leaving with a lot more $$$$$

I thought he did as good a job as could be expected yesterday, but boy he got eviscerated by the NY tabloids today, including the NY Post, not exactly a bastion of liberal thinking.

He is going to have to endure a few rocky days (or even weeks or months.)

The key for him is that nothing else comes out that implicates him. If so, he absolutely survives.

I kept waiting for Little Steven (in his Sopranos wear) to walk into that press conference yesterday. Christie needs a new consigliere, to be sure.

Or Tom Hagen.

I am waiting for the day when Fix Aaron writes the unauthorized biography of his time with the Fix and airing all that laundry.

Holy cow. That will be awesome. I will run a carptbombing campaign savaging him in response. Should be good for people who own TV stations.

Twelve bucks each way to cross the bridge?! We only pay $6 to get onto Sanibel down here in Dunk City, and it's free to go home after the best beach in America.

On my drive to Long Island over Xmas, I spent $15 to cross a bridge. One way. Unreal.

My wife and I watch Christie's press conference yesterday. We are both Dems but found him to be honest, forthright, and indeed compelling in his explanation of this scandal. A small sample of sentiments from friends finds the same conclusion. Do you think avg voters will give him a pass on this matter (assuming he is telling the truth)?

Yes. Assuming the truth.

The guy is a very gifted communicator. Imagine any other Republican politician doing the press conference Christie did yesterday and pulling it off.

Will there ever be a time when Chuck Todd takes part in this chat?

Maybe he already is....

Are you making the trip down to Richmond for McAuliffe's inaugural festivities tomorrow? Forecast calls for rain with a chance of Clintons!

No. But former Fix operative Fix Rachel (aka Rachel Weiner) is down in Richmond to help cover the session for WaPo! You should follow her at

as to be able to rig dirty tricks like the one it pulled on Christie, why hasn't it fixed Obamacare, created peace in the Middle East and caused all of Marco Rubio's hair to fall out by putting something in his coffee?


I agree with you that the media did not manufacture the facts of the GW Bridge closure. But I do agree with the poster that the media, which leans liberal, which I believe not even you would deny, puts more emphasis on the foibles of Republicans than it does Democrats. Almost every liberal commentator in the Post addressed Christie yesterday, and there was an editorial against him as well. That does NOT happen with Obama or Clinton stumble.


If this same type of incident would have happened in say.... Kansas City, MO, or Nashville, TN it would not even be a blip on the radar.

Maybe. But it happened in NYC/NJ to someone who is either the frontrunner or one of the frontrunners to be the 2016 Republican presidential nominee.

Context matters.

People with a vested interest in promoting this story: Every Democrat in the country, but especially in New Jersey Any other Republican thinking about running for president Every media outlet in the Philadelphia & NYC markets A national media obsessed with 2016 and bored with a slow news period Every late-night comedian Conservative groups who don't want Christie to be the presidential nominee Who has an incentive in helping Christie? Are there many Republican rallying to his defense.

That is correct.  And, remember that Christie's style is appealing to voters but leaves a lot of fellow politicians cold...

Of a persecution complex today, I must say.


Some folks need to get outside their sidestream media bubbles. Christie did not hold an hour long presser just because of a phony MSM crisis. He understood the gravity of the situation (and he's a man who understands gravity).

Correction: Almost two hours!

I get he is a higher tier candidate, but many questions remain. Can he actually run, not just rakse money? Will the tea party let him go without a challenge, can he win without a scandal for warner? If he's really funning for gov in 17 will other moderate republicans, davis and bolling, let him go unchallenged in 3 years?

Absolutely. And I think that is why Ed Gillespie is taking it slow in making his intentions clear.

I also think he is realistic. His goal is to be the GOP nominee and, if everything breaks right, be within shouting distance of Sen. Mark Warner three weeks before the election. 

You all need page views and its a slow news period. It is a story right now, but in the realm of things this will have little to no impact on the 2016 election. Can you really see Hillary running a national ad based on this? Can you see anyone in Iowa (or any primary outside of NYS/ NJ) casting a ballot on this issue? Heck, even in people in NYC don't care what happens to NJ most of the time. This is an event where people who are already out to get Christie (and likely would never support him anyway) can go on the attack. Its red meat for the 50 people a night who watch MSNBC (at least according to their ratings). Except those in a hyper-political environment, its hard to see this story having legs.

Here's the thing: No one may remember the bridge story in 2016. But, the existing narrative about Christie is what? That he is brash/bullying.  And this story plays directly into that idea.

Ditto why the Gates memoir is bad news for Clinton in 2016. Will anyone remember that Bob Gates says Hillary said that her opposition to the Iraq surge in 2007 was politically mptivated? No. But if they have a sense that she is too political/without conviction, the Gates anecodte will have played some part in that.

I wrote about that here:

Has she moved back to NOVA yet?


I wrote about why her campaign was doomed here:

I am probably preaching to a small choir (apparently consisting only of you), but it is not the fault of "the media" when a political official in the party you like screws up. The disaster of the Obamacare rollout is an important news story, not a creation of Fox News. Chris Christie's staff punishing a perceived political opponent by creating a traffic jam is an important news story, not the creation of the Washington Post. Just wanted to say that.


Sanity prevails. 

If Christie is out, whether because of BridgeGate or the teahadists won't vote for him anyways, does this mean that a true, dyed-in-the-wool teahadist will be the nominee? If so, wouldn't that be a boon for the Dems?

I don't think Christie is out.

I think the top tier is: Christie, Rand Paul, Scott Walker and Ted Cruz. If Jeb Bush runs, he is quite clearly in that group and may be at the front of the line.

Are you as troubled as I am when hearing talk of hearing a remake for Point Break.

Um, yes. Keanu Reeves will ALWAYS be my Johnny Utah.

I was expecting Paulie from the Sopranos to be in attendance yesterday.

Look, let's just say "it's time from som traffic in Fort Lee" and leave it at that.

Not a Christie fan but I feel like Democrats are overplaying their hand (from everything we know now). Even normally mild mannered collegial politicians like Bill Pascrell were on TV proclaiming this is the worst scandal ever. It smacks of politics.

Barbara Buono, who lost to Christie last November, said he is running a "paramilitary organization." Um....

liked your best worst map, why isn't that tweetable?

Should be! Just tweet this link:

So, who sent those messages that had the name redacted? Shouldn't we assume they are from the governor? Why else would they be redacted?

I think Christie would be INSANE to say what he did yesterday if he knew his name was the redacted one in those emails.

He's a prosecutor, a litigator. Any lawyer can tell you that litigators love the sound of their own voices.

I think it was a political calculation...he and his people wanted to make clear that he was being totally open and was going to answer any and every question until there werent' any questions left.

Rob Ford, what happened on the GWB has made the world forget about him..... for at least 48 hours.

Come on, for $15 you got to cross the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge - and to enter the garden spot of New York - Staten Island.


Their elected officials might find other ways to torture an entire community to punish a mayor, but a couple of traffic cones cannot turn a fairly easy commute every day into a nightmare. There just isn't enough traffic.


How would you feel if Rooney moved over to Chelsea in the transfer window?

I love Wazza.  He and Chelsea seem, culturally, a bit of an odd match...

I didn't even know John Gruden had a sibling.

You are not alone.

If Liz Cheney had known that Frank Wolf would be retiring this year, do you think she still would have set off on her Wyoming adventure, or would she have jumped into that race instead?

I think you know the answer to that question.

"I do not get this line of thought. At all." Chris, there is a widespread view that the MSM media is biased and thus lacking in integrity. If it were just a few cranks who felt that way, I can understand why you would not "get this line." But this is a view held by a substantial portion of your fellow citiizens. Don't you think it's worth your time to really think through this dismay with a perceived liberal bias and truly, seriously consider if the widely held view might be valuable information on how you're conducting your job. As a journalist, you're supposed to be able "to see" all perspectives, even if you don't agree with them.

All I know is that myself and the people who work for me do EVERYTHING we can to find interesting stories to bring to people. Whether that involves a Republican or a Democrat is absolutely not part of that calculation.

Any predictions? Personally I am waiting for "Outstanding Achievement in Coaching D-III Field Hockey," but those things can be SO political...


I did like "American Hustle" quite a bit...

Do any of your messages to Fix Aaron ever get redacted?


Perhaps he's thinking of following the Mark Warner roadmap, losing once statewide, before winning. Republicans don't have an obvious candidate for governor in 2017...

Correct. Run a good campaign, lose and be in the front of the line for 2017.

Christie does run a paramilitary organization. Governors have plenty of say-so over the national guard.

I don't think that's what she meant ;)

Can all the political writers quit using "Gate" when describing an infamous event? It's such a lazy way to write. If you have any editors anymore, they should put an end to it.

Hey, I have been on the -Nado train for a while now. Bridge-Nado rules 4 evah.

When people make comments about "the media" don't you think they are lumping too many clusters of the media together? Of course pundits and talking head from one side of the aisel or the other are going to have slanted views. Opinion is not the news- its opinion. Then there is reporting and analysis (of which I think you do a nice job of staying balanced). GW Brdige (busiest in the world) is huge news- not some political witch hunt.


Futurebirds: Johnny Utah:


Listen to his radio show on podcast every day when I get home from work. Heard you on it about a week or two ago, do you do it often?

I get on there occasionally. it's a GIANT thrill because I have been a longtime listener and fan of all things Mr. Tony.

I willl be on again Jan. 20. Circle it on your calendar!

Some of the questions today seem based on the idea that all media except Fox hates the GOP and is under the control of Clinton or some part of the DMC. Could you please tell those folks that it ain't true?

DMC? Like Run DMC?

A belated happy holidays:

You didn't think Christie spent too much time yesterday turning himself into the victim in this whole mess?

A little...but overall I thoight he was quite good.

You or Mrs. Fix watch?

We do not.

By and large, the economy is looking up. Which governors might be saved by a stronger economy this fall? Pat Quinn? Rick Scott?

Kasich. Rick Scott. Rick Snyder.

Nothing will save Tom Corbett.

How about something old school "Bridgepot Dome." Sure, it doesn't make any sense, but at least it's different.

-Dome has real potential.

"Throw it down, Chris Cillizza! The alliterative, bespectacled one from the Nutmeg State." Of course, this is fictional because you'd never dunk.

This comes from my tweeted desire to have Bill Walton do color commentary on my life.

And, sadly, you are so very right about my dunking.

Are we to believe that Bridget Kelly directed David Wildstein to close lanes on the GWB, and somehow Wildstein resigned without mentioning that fact to Christie or his chief of staff? I'm not buying it.

These are the questions...

The guy who nominated you, because you said "The idea that the bridge story is somehow going to bring Christie down in 2016 seems a little much to me." Unless I'm mistaken Christie has not resigned from office, and no one knows how this will end.

Yeah! Take that!

Alright folks. I need to wrap it up.

But, as a special Friday treat, check out my latest Fix post which shows the top rated movie set in every state in the US. Happy Friday!



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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