The Fix Live

Jul 25, 2014

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

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Good Friday morning and welcome to the 2nd Fix chat of the week! (If you missed the first one, I also chatted on Monday. Look it up!)

The big news in politics this week is that Sen. John Walsh plagiarized a bunch of his thesis at the Army War College. Whoops!

It won him "Worst Week":

Which is probably all he is going to win this year. BOOM!

Ok, to the questions.

Where are you posting from? Who are you listening to? What beverage are you drinking? Will you take the Silver Line?

Shaking it up this week.

FROM: Panera in McLean

LISTENING: The Muzak they are playing

DRINKING: Earl grey tea


Which is more Lost, Congress or the Russian Lizard Sex Satellite?  

Russian Lizard Sex Satellite is my second favorite story this week.  Number one you ask?


In 2000 there was no one major issue that captivated the electorate will there be one in 2016 Dems may talk about inequality but I'm not sure that will be a defining issue for the whole electorate?

Oh, I disagree.

Economy will be a big one. (Inequality is a part of that)

Immigration too.

Energy policy

Education policy.

Chances the former Fla. Governor will run for President from 100 (Putin blaming the US for something bad) to 0 (Putin admitting he F-ed up)?


Does Marco Rubio's path to the nomination rely more on the establishment or the grassroots after immigration and the rise of Rand Paul and Ted Cruz?

A little of both. He's the best hybrid candidate on the board right now -- with an ability to appeal to the base and the establishment. Immigration doesn't help him but I don't think it kills him off either.

I also think Rand and Walker have a chance to be hybrid candidates. Christie and Jeb, if he runs, will try to be the same but not sure conservatives will ever accept them.

Which Fix deputy will be doing the on the ground reporting of the Alaska Senate race?

Right now the clamor is to be the Hawaii bureau chief of the Senate and governor's primaries ;)

Do you think he pulls out the primary win?

I think narrowly. But Hawaii politics are like Alaska politics; they are simply different and much, much harder to predict.

Which primary ends up closer than expected -- Kansas Senate (Pat Roberts/Milton Wolf) or Tennessee Senate (Lamar! Alexander/Joe Carr)?

I think KS Senate will be closer.

She has to make a move at some point, right? Is it the Senate seat in 2016 or the governor's race in 2018?

I think Gov.  I think that's what she prefers. That said, she could have in either the Senate or the governor's mansion already and took passes on both.

I hear she wants to wait until her dad -- the speaker of the Illinois state House -- is down with his career....

Is there any pressure for him to drop out? Or is the race just a lost cause and who cares?

Not yet...

But, I think he handled the whole thing terribly.  Aaron Blake, Fix 4.0, did a nice piece on it here:

Do you take polls showing Walker in a virtual dead heat with Mary Burke seriously? I know Walker won his initial election (in a great GOP year) and the recall election in mid single digits, but is he in real trouble if the national environment isn't very pro-Republican in a purple state like Wisconsin?


I think he is in a very real race.  What we know about the electorate in Wisconsin is that it is deeply polarized on party lines because of the recall. It also tends to favor Democrats at the statewide level.

I still think Burke has yet to be defined in the eyes of most voters and how that happens will matter a lot to her chances.

But, Walker seems to me to be in the most trouble out of the three midwestern governors in Ohio, Wisconsin and Michigan.

Gut feeling -- the Senate Majority Leader in 2015 is???

Odds are Republicans pick up the chamber. I don't think it's a slam dunk but I do think it's greater than a 50 percent chance.

So, Mitch McConnell. (And, yes, I think he probably wins narrowly over Grimes.)

My husband and I were watching the Nats game on Sunday, and up you popped on the TV screen (wearing a green t-shirt). I assume that was Fix Jr. sitting to your right? Hope he (and you) had fun; was that his first major league game? We couldn't tell if you were in the Lexus seats :-)

That was us!

And no not in the Lexus seats.  But front row on the Nats dugout. Our former neighbor has amazing seats and was kind enough to invite me and Fix Jr.

We had an awesome time: 2 hotdogs, chips AND dippin dots for him!

Chris, we saw the White House again restrict access to the President during his latest trip to the West coast. How can the media persuade this administration (and future administrations) to increase transparency?

It's a giant battle.  And one the media is losing.

I wrote a big piece on it yesterday:

In trouble or still statistically even against his opponent?

Those two things are not mutually exclusive. I think both are true.

Was his Master's Thesis really only 19 pages long? I went to the wrong Graduate School!

It wasn't exactly a master's thesis but rather a sort of end of program paper.

And, if it was only 19 pages, why would you even need to plagiarize?

He may be right in that its a problem of citation, not out & out Plagarism, but I really see it as a bell that can't be unrung. Has the Primary happened already? Can the Montana Democrats nominate someone else before the November Election?

Yes, primary is over. I am sure there is a way to get him off the ballot but we're not there yet on this story.

Any shot he runs as an independent in 2016? I feel like if he were to run he would win.

I don't see it -- in either case. Show me how 40% of America votes for Bloomberg.

I know you think Tim Kaine should be the choice to be Hillary's VP should she get the nomination, can you rank these potential Veeps in order from most to least likely should Kaine pass. O' Malley, Jay Nixon, Cory Booker, Joaquin Castro, Hickenlooper(should he get re-elected). Thanks Chris. Have a nice weekend.






Why does it sink Walsh in 2014 but not Rand Paul in 2016?

Borrowing in speeches is one thing. Borrowing in something you hand in at the War College with your name on it is another.

That's not to excuse Paul. But in my reporting on him, his use of other peoples words looks like laziness not a purposeful attempt to pass off others work as his own.

Walsh feels different than that.

Washington Redskins fans, because they have yet to lose a game.

And they now have actual practices to over-analyze.

What is Chris McDaniel's endgame in Mississippi? A reality TV show? National conservative leader? An actual new election? Or he doesn't want to give up his campaign bus?

I genuinely have no idea. In fact, I wrote that:

Rubio. He's flopped when in the limelight. Big difference between looking good on paper and performing well. He's a lightweight.

We shall see. I would point you to his speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention, which I thought was the best speech of the entire proceedings.

How did common core become so controversial to republicans? Was it like the ex im bank - a why to differentiate yourself from the establishment?

Good question. Read this:

Who has had the most Worst Weeks in Washington and is there a link to a list of multiple winners?

See the start of the chat. John Walsh. And, yes. Check out that post.

So you got out for less than $100, then?


Is Sonny Purdue around to help his brother? What does the Campaign Cash look like?

It's his cousin. And I think the Perdue last name definitely helped in the Republican primary.

Perdue is probably Republicans best nominee against Michelle Nunn because it counteracts her attempts to paint herself as the only outsider candidate.

The one thing Republicans have to worry about when it comes to Perdue is whether he has something(s) in his business background that could make him look like the second coming of Mitt Romney.

Chris, Why do you think the president didn't allow the press in when the astronauts came to the White House?

I have absolutely no idea.

And isn't it cool that there are plenty of questions for the second get together?

Yes! Makes me happy.

Wow, somebody really, really needs to get out of NYC and visit America.

Yeah, this is the Bloomberg problem. In the Acela corridor between DC and NYC, he'd do great.  Aside from California though, I am not sure where else he would even get votes.

He desperately wants to be POTUS but let's be real, he likely isn't getting the nomination nor the veep nod, does he get a "prime" cabinet position in a potential Clinton 2.0 Administration? If so which one?

I think he is running to be VP or a high profile cabinet member. AG would be a good fit for him.

I tackled the question of why people who won't win run last Friday:

Any polls out in Mississippi after the runoff? Can McDaniel ask to be a write-in?

The race is over. I know it, you know it and the American people know it. Chris McDaniel, interestingly enough, doesn't know it.

Hello, I'm Joe Biden. You may know me from such plagiarized speeches as Neil Kinnock's, among others.

Yup. Timing matters too.  Biden happened in the midst of the presidential campaign. Rand's happened two years before the race.

The discussion on "Morning Joe" was about how people are tiring of Hillary. Your thoughts?

Her biggest challenge (or one of them) is somehow casting herself as new and future-focused. That won't be easy.

That said, while some people may be sick of talking about her, I think the majority of the electorate isn't following every little thing she does all that closely right now.

Is Fix, Jr. in Pre-School yet? What if insists on playing field hockey?

HA! He is going into kindergarten next year!

Also, he loves field hockey but his favorite sport right now is soccer. He is obsessed.

So yeah, what's up with that?

I still don't totally understand why he decided to run for the Senate. He's been a very mediocre candidate to this point in the race, which is strange because he stood out in 2010 for how good he was on the stump.

At this point, Brown's only path to victory is if the bottom totally falls out for Democrats nationally.  Possible? Yes. Probable? No.

Politico ran a surprisingly interesting piece about the potential changing of the guard in California politics with Feinstein, Brown, Boxer, and Pelosi all inching toward retirement. The new generation, for better or worse, appears to be Kamala Harris, Gavin Newsom, Antonio Villaraigosa, and Eric Garcetti. Both Newsom and Villaraigosa have skeletons in their closet -- affairs for both and alcohol abuse for Newsom -- while Harris barely won her AG race in 2010. Villaraigosa and Garcetti represent or represented the more populous LA, while Harris and Newsom have a base in the Bay Area. Do they try to sort out the state offices like in Delaware where there was essentially a detente between Biden, Castle, Roth, and Carper for 20 years, or do you expect to see a free-for-all? If Boxer opts for another term in 2016, do you see any of the four challenging her renomination?

This is a FASCINATING question.

So, I think the big prize is the 2o18 governors race.  Kamala, Newsom and Villaraigosa are all circling it.  Then there's Boxer, who is up again in 2016, and Feinstein, who is up again in 2018.

Either or both could retire. I think there will be a staring match between that trio for the governor's race but one (or two) of them will balk and run for Senate if one of those seats come open.

Harris seems to me to be the strongest of the three at the moment. 

As for Garcetti, he is newly minted as mayor. Not sure he belongs in that category with the other three right now.

How do you explain how she turned this race into a tossup? Is it more Braley's missteps, the message Ernst is pushing, the national environment, or something else entirely?

She built a ton of momentum in the primary and Braley has proven to be a so-so (at best) candidate so far.

And, Iowa is a very competitive state.

So how did the NY Times decide to investigate his papers? Did they get a tip?

I am sure they got a tip.

In the wake of the story Walsh's campaign blamed the story on Republican dirty tricks. But, even if the story came from a Republican oppo research dump, does it make Walsh's plagiarism any less true?

Answer: No.

Biden apologized and dropped out, Rand denied and is called the frontrunner. But, yeah, no double standard.

Yes, of course, it's the old "the media is too conservative" attack.

Timing matters. It just does. Biden's plagiarism came in the midst of the presidential campaign. Rand's didnt'.

Does he just ride off into the sunset and become a kingmaker for the Democratic Party?Sort of like a Bob Dole type figure if you will.

Well, Dole was the party's 1996 presidential nominee...

I think of Hillary runs, Biden doesn't -- even though he wants to. If Hillary doesn't run, which seems extremely unlikely at the moment, then I think Biden is in for sure.

Why does Senate control matter in November? It's not like Obama is getting anything done with Republicans controlling the House anyway.

Fair enough.

Because being in the majority is better than being in the minority.

Maybe the White House looks at the clown college at Fox News-all rant, all the time-and sees little value in sharing. The media treats its own bad actors like most doctors treat malpracticing colleagues: see no evil, speak no evil. After bowing and scraping for the majority of W's terms, the media's yet to find a bad spin to put on Obama's actions. I've been disappointed in some of his actions, too, but there are very few media outlets that are credible as impartial reporters.

It's hard for me to tell whether you are seeing this through a liberal lens or not....


Which celebrity would make the best presidential candidate in 2032? It has to someone who has no political experience at the moment, but would start building it from now on. Natalie Portman? George Clooney? Phil Mickelson?

I feel like Justin Timberlake would be a good president. That dude is good at everything.

Was he actually a good candidate in 2010 or was Martha Coakley just so bad?

I think both.

He effectively figured out what people wanted (someone who didn't look or sound at all like Washington) AND benefited from how bad she was.

Which hurt more for her after winning the straw poll? The John Wayne (Gacy) gaffe or seeing her effeminate overweight husband dance?

Michele Bachmann could never expand beyond the smallish slice of the Republican electorate who really loved her.

How much trouble are Hickenlooper and Udall in? According to polls, a lot, but it's early.

I think both are favored but not strongly so.  The personhood thing hurts Gardner in the Senate race, especially among the suburban Denver women he needs to win.

Rubio may have given the best speech at the GOP convention, but the bar was pretty low. His major competition may have been a chair that didn't say a word.

I believe he directly followed Eastwood.

Josh Earnest should knock off the sarcasm re the W Post not being in the seat etc. Sarcasm didn't help Carney and won't help Earnest.

The idea that you have to occupy the seat at every White House briefing to effectively report on the White House is absolutely ridiculous.  And Earnest knows it.

Two years is a long ways away, but do you see Sen. Ayotte as vulnerable at this point? Among Maggie Hassan, Fmr. Gov. Lynch, and Reps. Kuster and Shea-Porter who would you say is the strongest to challenge her at that point?

I think Hassan-Ayotte would be a very good race.  And I think it may well happen.

If Hillary runs and Biden takes a pass on the race, what does he do next? Can he run for Amtrak Commissioner? Train King?

King of the Rails!

And, I don't know.  

The dark horses are Merkley and Patrick. Markley should win this fall and he might ease concerns about the Democrats being too pro-NSA. Patrick is just good. Really good. If he weren't from MA he'd be Hillary's biggest challenger.

I don't see Merkley AT ALL.

Agree with you on Patrick. Good profile. But Hillary's biggest challenger would be Elizabeth Warren.

Walsh's cribbing of text came in fulfillment of an academic requirement to receive an advanced degree, which is a big deal in academic circles. It sounds like in political circles the punishment is more related to where the unveiling comes in the campaign cycle.

Interesting point.

If for no other reason, it matters for getting executive and judicial branch nominees confirmed.

Yes it does.

Am I right in thinking that Rand Paul's way- probably his ONLY way- to the GOP nomination is for things to continue to be as bad,or get worse, internationally. Iraq is falling apart, Afghanistan never got put together, Gaza is a slaughterhouse, Russia and her pro-Russian rebels killed almost 300 people. Isolationism is starting to sound like a not-all-that-bad idea.

Well, his foreign policy is the thing on which he is the furthest from the establishment of the GOP.

I think you have to remember that the presidential nomination fight is a state by state process, not a national race. 

And, as of right now, Rand is in strong shape in Iowa and New Hampshire.  That's a good place to be.

How does the conservative base react if the GOP nominates either Cruz or Paul and they go on and get destroyed in then general?

That would be very interesting.

I have heard some establishment types insist that the only way to satisfy the conservative base is to have another Goldwater moment -- a conservative is nominated and gets blown out.

Not surprised that he trails the two Floridians, Rubio and Bush, but he also trails Ted Cruz. Furthermore, he's -16 vs. Hillary. Canary in the coal mine?

He's just not that well known in the state yet. If I were him, I'd rather be running well in Iowa and New Hampshire, which he is, than in Florida at the moment.

Charlie's lead seems to be slipping in the polls as t he Libertarian candidate (don't remember his name, and I live in Florida) gains strength. Do you still think Charlie will pull it off?

It is going to b incredibly expensive and incredibly nasty. I think Crist probably has a slight edge but voters in Florida are going to wind up hating both of the candidates by the end.

Having to follow that "Empty Chair" act meant no one watching TV coverage caught the speech.

Probably true.  But, the question was has he ever performed on a big stage. And the answer to that is clearly yes.

Two words. Supreme Court.

Two more words: You're right.

How much of a threat would Warren be to HRC in the Dem primary? Any serious movement to get her in the race?

A big threat. And, no, not really any serious movement.

Walker is tied and Snyder is ahead by a few points, but still under 50. How's Kaisich doing? Most like to get reelected at this point Kaisich > Snyder > Walker?

yes for sure.


If the Dem Presidential nominee takes Florida in the 2016, is it curtains for the GOP? If so, isn't having Crist beat Scott one of the most important goals for the Dems?

It's tough. Lose Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania (as well as assumed losses in New York and California) and Republicans have an uphill electoral college climb.

I've written this before but Republicans right now are where Democrats were in terms of the electoral college in the 1980s. They start with a clear disadvantage.

Rand Paul? Ted Cruz? Chris Christie? Rick Perry and those ugly eyeglasses?

Hey! I like his glasses.

Alright folks. My typing fingers are worn down!

Have a great rest of your Friday and a good weekend. And don't forget that we do this chat every Friday at 11 am. 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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