The Fix Live

Aug 08, 2014

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

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Good Friday morning! 

It's a three primary day week -- Hawaii is tomorrow! -- so I am having a good old time.

Armed with nothing more than a soy chai tea latte and the tunes of Todd Terje, I am ready for your questions. 

Bring it.

Chris, I saw your recent post on the Montana Senate race. Maybe I am missing something. They have a Democratic Governor and Senator. Plus it's a relatively inexpensive media market. Why can't the Ds at least make it a competitive race? Thanks

1. No good candidates. Schweitzer was their best hope -- and even he was a mixed bag. Walsh had the advantages of incumbency. Anyone they put in now will have around 80 days to build an entire campaign.

2.  State is R leaning. Montana isn't as Republicans as Idaho or Wyoming, but leans toward Republicans -- especially in a midterm election with an unpopular Democratic president in the White House.

I was reading a discussion on the McDonnell trial and someone (anonymous, of course) wrote that the McDonnells threw a joint birthday party prior to the trial. Wouldn't that cast doubt on their claim that their marriage was broken, shattered, etc. and they couldn't conspire? (The anonymous writer also said that the McDonnells set up a "make me a meal" plan on the web for their friends to bring them food during the trial too.)

No idea about that stuff though I would be wary of what anonymous people say in general.

One thing I know for sure: Maureen McDonnell had the Worst Week in Washington.

After being found in a car with a woman that is not his wife at 4:30 a.m., and being found without a driver's license for several years, is he still competitive in the Ohio governor's race?

Very hard to imagine he is.

John Kasich was already pulling away here. FitzGerald has been an absolutely terrible fundraiser and not a very good candidate.

This latest incident is probably the beginning of the end.

Where are you taking your talents this weekend?

This weekend? It's our last free weekend before the Catholic Field Hockey season starts up so we are going to party pretty hard.

Probably a trip to Target. Might even go twice!

No Hax chat today. I am suppose to do now?

Follow mine live. Then re-read it in real time between 12 and 1.

I have Rand Paul as the winner of Worst Week. From running mid burger to his flip flop on aid to Israel.

Admittedly not an act of political bravery. But watching what happened with Steve King after Paul ducked out, I think he probably did the right thing.

I'd like to nominate the Cincinnati media market consisting of three states as the worst place to reside in an election year starting in September. With the McConnell U.S. Senate race and the Ohio gubernatorial race dominating the news, watching sports on television will be excruciating!. Good thing Indiana is relatively quiet this year. (Side note: worst week in a governor's race: Ohio Democratic nominee Ed Fitzgerald found to be driving illegally for ten years because he was too busy to obtain a driver's license. He was 12 points behind in the polls and this won't help. An editorial in the Cincinnati Enquirer noted a poll in which people were less aware of Fitzgerald in July than in May. How does that happen!)

Worst place? Or BEST place?

Hi Chris -- thanks for taking questions today. The reaction to Rand Paul's reaction to Rep. King and his interaction with the DREAMers at the Iowa event has been interesting to watch. Some are praising Sen. Paul's instincts to stay clear, while others claim it was the cowardly thing to do. Speaking as a neutral observer of all things political, what did you think?

See answer above. Not his finest hour by a longshot but probably the lesser of two political evils.

You always give it to Democrats or irrelevant Republicans. You're easier to predict than a Globetrotters game.

I keep waiting for the Washington Generals to win.

And I guess Eric Cantor, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell are "irrelevant" Republicans to you. All of them have won Worst Week at least once this year.

Ever thought about an app for people's phones so they can follow and participate in your weekly discussions? Maybe some $$ in that too. You could even share photos of your half-eaten sandwiches and partially empty cups of what you drink (since folks seem to want to know this every week)...just a thought...

[immediately calls marketing department]

I was watching the Tiffany network's news last night and they did not mention Walsh's departure from the Senate race. Would this only be news in Montana?

I think the reasons are:

1. Most people don't know who John Walsh is

2. The race was a likely GOP win before he dropped out. It's a likely GOP win now.

There's been so much talk the last few weeks about how spotty the polling is in Hawaii, but is there any sense for what a hurricane is going to do to election day turnout? If turnout is understandably low, what impact should that have on the Governor/Senate races?

My guess would be that it would lower turnout -- by how much I do not know.

Last I heard Gov. Abercrombie was planning to go forward with the election.

Low turnout in theory favors the machine candidates: David Ige and Colleen Hanbusa.

Favorite quote from "The Wire"?

"I got the shotgun, you got the briefcase. It's all in the game." -- Omar Little 

How do you see the Senate Race in Kentucky?

Very close. Grimes has been better than many people thought she would be. McConnell's numbers in the state are worse than at this point in any previous election.

But, he is running for reelection as a Republican in a Republican state in what should be a good year for Republicans nationally.

Who are your picks to finish in the top four in the Premier League? Who will win this year's title? How will Tottenham do?

Man U

Man City



I think Tottenham finished 7 behind Everton. and Liverpool. Similar to last year.

Is Braley really in trouble over chickens? And because his opponent can castrate pigs and shoot well? Weird stuff in Iowa...

It's not the chickens. It's the idea that Iowans don't sue each other over chickens.

This story by Phil Rucker is absolutely amazing.

Who won?

Grimes, I would say. But she is more tailor made for an event like this than McConnell. Interested to see what the debates look like.

Could Schweitzer be lured into the Montana Senatorial election now, as his state's party savior?

He tweeted last night that he wasn't interested. I suppose he could be picked as the nominee anyway and put on the ballot, but that would be very odd.

How much trouble is he in?

A decent amount.  It's the closest race in the Midwest for sure. Walker is a very gifted candidate and campaigner though. Wouldn't bet against him.

I haven't read a single word about the McDonnell trial. He's out of politics for life, no matter what the verdict is. Why are political reporters interested, given that he's a non-entity in terms of political involvement. Nobody will even ask him for contributions. He's more toxic than Weiner, and his wife isn't an aide to a future presidential candidate. So why is the Post covering this like he's a sitting governor?

Um, he's the just-former governor who allegedly took all these gifts while in office. It's a very big story.

At one point, I believe you noted that Obama's approval ratings were similar to those of George W. Bush at the same point in his presidency. Now, however, Obama's ratings seem to have stabilized, albeit at not-so-great levels, whereas Bush's continued to decline into the basement. From a political analyst perspective, what do you think is the cause of the difference (I'm trying to avoid the partisan debate as to who was the better/worse president).

I have talked to a lot of pollsters -- in both parties -- about this. They believe that Obama's floor is far higher than Bush's floor because of the strong support Obama has always enjoyed African Americans.

That support is not the sort that ebbs away as a president's political fortune slips.

Krusty's Accountant: Let me get this straight. You took all the money you made franchising your name and bet it *against* the Harlem Globetrotters? Krusty the Clown: Oh, I thought the Generals were due! He's spinning the ball on his finger! Just take it! Take it!

So so true. Wise words.

Chris, Do you believe Rand Paul when he says he was scheduled for a meeting at that time and was grabbing a few bites of hamburger before he had to hurry to the meeting?


Well, given that Bob McDonnell -- much less his wife -- has ZERO future in politics, I have to agree that he's not relevant any more. I'm not reading about his trial, because it doesn't really matter now.

Ah. Thanks for your opinion!

i live in TNs 4th Congressional District and woke up to find "Dr. Love" Scott DesJarlais won yesterday -- i'm in shock -- think the Dem. candidate (Sherrell) has any chance in November??

He hasn't won yet (AP still hasn't called) but he IS ahead.

Check out this great map on just how close the race is:

As for how DesJarlais won -- assuming he wins -- I have no idea.

What's his end game? Obviously it isn't running for elected office again, unless he wants to be governor again. He's making himself irrelevant.

Oh, I think he would like to run (and be) president.

Harry Reid should be in the running just about every week for WWIW. Not only is he devisively nasty, he's obstructing debate and voting in the senate.

The Senate was out of session this week.

Kentucky votes for Democrats at the state level, Republicans for President. There's a difference even if most "experts" look at only the latter.

At the federal level (president, senate and house) they tend to vote Republican. Democrats can and often do win state offices like governor.

The McDonnell trial matters because most of the case broke while he was still Governor. This will be the denouement.


Who would you pick to give you the most epic race?

Clinton vs Reagan would be a REALLY good one.

Other ideas?

Why is he being treated seriously as a 2016 contender? Everything written about him is deja vu from last time.

He's still the governor of the largest Republican state in the country with a very conservative record that, in theory, should appeal to base voters in places like Iowa and South Carolina.

His problem is that first impressions matter a ton in politics. And what he did (and didn't do) in 2012 won't be forgotten by voters.

Chris, Do you know if the McDonnells rented out the equivalent of the Lincoln bedroom in the governor's political donors?


Check out this chart. It's mind-boggling.


Right now - if you had to - predict the biggest upset in November with a Democrat winning.

Michelle Nunn.

Did you see the Colbert Report the other day when he went retro over Nixon's resignation? I thought it was brilliant! I must admit, though, that I was disappointed that his guests, Buchanan and Dean, didn't play along.


If you missed:

TR vs. FDR. Obviously.

Oh man. YES.

Teddy Roosevelt VS. Andrew Jackson

Abercrombie looks like he is headed for retirement, but could a good response to the hurricanes bolster him?

I suppose.

He doesn't look like he is in good shape but, as Aaron Blake, my right and left hand man, wrote this week: Polling in Hawaii tends to stink.

William Henry Harrison vs. Calvin Coolidge

Why, I wonder?

JFK vs. Nixon. Oh wait, just reread Teddy White's "The Making of the President 1960."


To Hillary?


Then Elizabeth Warren, who isn't running.

Would Richard Carmona make the seat competitive (with or without McCain in the race) considering Senate Dems have a better map then? If not him, what about others?

If Fred Duval loses the governor's race, I could see him running for Senate. Maybe Krysten Sinema on the D side too.

Not sure Carmona would do it again.

But apparently he didn't sue over the chickens, but only talked to the HOA lawyer about it as they were roaming and pooping all over his yard.

Oh, I get it. But I am not running for the U.S. Senate in the Midwest.


The driving force of most peoples' lives!

How much outside money flows into the Wisconsin governor's race to insure Walker's "availability " for the 2016 presidential run ?

Well, he has already raised a massive amount and will raise more.  By the same token, lots of D groups nationally are pumping up Mary Burke in hopes of keeping Walker out of 2016 too.

If this is still a margin of error race in October, is that a bad sign for Mitch McConnell?

Presumably, he's not going to win a ton of people who aren't already for him by October.

I can't imagine this being more than a 2-3 point race either way and it's likely going to be closer than that.

Richard Nixon v. LBJ (in 1968)

Harrison would be too weak to talk and Coolidge would never say anything.

That WOULD be interesting.

Many are saying that Hillary's Colbert appearance just highlighted her lack of ability to be smoothly funny....and that it was too soon to attempt it after such a bad book tour. Your thoughts?

Not sure you have to be "smoothly funny" to run and win a presidential race.  Have a sense of humor though? For sure.

It's funny that you said that voters "won't forget" what he did or didn't do in 2012. I'm trying to remember what he DID do that was so forgettable. I don't think I can recall anything memorable. But I've seen him on TV recently, and the conventional wisdom that he's a dumb cowboy (if that is the CW) isn't true. He's clearly knowledgeable and intelligent, and I acknowledge that even if I wouldn't vote for him for president.

Um, the three departments he would eliminate if he were president? Does that ring a bell?

Did this really happen?!

I think it might have. AMAZING.

I wouldn't mind seeing a 1-on-1 primary with LBJ and Clinton. It would get so ugly so fast, with so much dirt available on both.

That would be the nastiest race. Straight out backstreet brawl.

Well, Eric Cantor is one NOW. (Heh.)


Do you have any odds on a majority vote for independence?

Any other states besides Michigan where Democratic candidates have a chance of making significant hay over Koch brothers' support for the Republican opponent?

I don't buy that the Michigan race or any other race rises o falls based on how much money the Kochs spend. With the exception of the media and the Democratic base, i think that's inside baseball that voters don't care about.

Lincoln v. FDR Washington v. Lincoln Bush 41 v. Bush 43

Lincoln vs FDR would be fascinating.

Robert Kennedy vs. Nixon in 1968. An RFK term (or two) could plausibly have changed the course of world history.

Gore vs. McCain?

Gore vs Quayle. Nothing but ratings for that one!

Millard Fillmore vs. John Tyler. At least one would then have an election victory.

The "someone has to win this" matchup. I like it!

Chris, could you please ask any nearby teenager to explain to you how to post links in your responses so that they actually link? I've heard rumors that it's not difficult. All the other chat-kids can do it. Thank you.

I am, admittedly, an idiot. I will figure this out before next Friday. This I pledge.

Harding versus Nixon, or Harding versus Clinton. Either one.

Love you some Harding eh?

Perry is clearly "intelligent" because he wears glasses now, right? This stuff really works!

I wear glasses. Just saying....

OK, you remember what Rick Perry forgot. But you're a professional political reporter and remembering that kind of error is your job. Do you really think that a majority of voters who aren't professional political reporters will remember or care when 2016 rolls around?

I am putting "professional political reporter" on my business cards ASAP.

Carter vs. George W. Bush. Both would come in last.

Down here in The Wang, the foreclosure crisis has led to herds of feral cats living in the abandoned houses. We USED to have vermin problems, but no more. Sounds like Iowa needs more yard cats.

And we have a winner for "weirdest 'question' of the chat"!

Lincoln vs Clinton...over the use of the Lincoln bedroom to raise money.


Eisenhower vs. Bush 43, to see who was the better painter in retirement.


I've been on a roll with early TV show bandwagons-Homeland, VEEP, The Americans, and Orphan Black. Get past the pilot and jump on board with Manhattan.

Mrs Fix and I are burning through Season 1 of "Orange is the New Black" right now....

You've been busy hyping Rand Paul for months. I get it-he's a good quote-but it's absurd to think McDonnell's wife had a worse week than Rand Paul. He's supposed to be able to connect with young voters and minorities-he ran away.

"Hyping? Do you mean writing about his chances in the 2016 race?

Also, he didn't have a great week. But, nowhere near as bad as Maureen McDonnell.

Thomas Jefferson v. William Jefferson Clinton. Scandal sheet gold!

I don't see why the poor state of their marriage is a good defense anyway. It seems to prove the point that Maureen was willing to do anything for more more more attention; and Bob was willing to do anything for her--that was constant no matter whose gold she was digging for.

Because it suggests that the gifts weren't taken out to get or give something but rather because Maureen had a platonic crush on Jonnie Williams. There was no attempt to influence public policy, the defense argued, just a lonely woman looking for attention.

It doesn't paint Maureen McDonnell in the best light but it may keep the two of them out of jail.

Ok folks! That's all for me today.

If you live anywhere near DC, make sure to come to "Politics and Pints" THIS MONDAY at the Capitol Lounge. Invite here:

And thanks as always for joining me. We do this chat every Friday at 11 am.



Good morning everyone! I am taking today off -- but i NEVER miss a chat if I can help it.

So, fresh off of watching Fix Jr. play soccer, I am sequestered at a local Starbucks bringing my chat game to you.

Let's start off the chat with a question. As of today, what is the ONE race you think decides the Senate majority -- and why?

Bring it.

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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