The Fix Live

Sep 05, 2014

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

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Good morning everyone! 

It's been a busy week in my world -- Fix Jr started kindergarten!

Also, Bob McDonnell got convicted of 11 counts of public corruption, Joan Rivers died and the NFL season kicked off.  

I am ready, willing and able to talk about all those things and more today. So let's do this thing.

Dear Virginia, Welcome to the club! We're delighted to have you and hope you make yourself comfortable. Love, Illinois

Also, Louisiana and New Jersey.

Guess the hands down winner for worst week belongs to Bob McDonnell.


Chris, everyone knows McDonnell rejected a plea bargain. But had he taken it, what would the sentence have been? Would he have avoided jail altogether?

It would have been a single count -- and not on corruption. I am not a lawyer -- sorry Mom! -- but have to believe that he would haver faced zero jail time.

Last week you indicated you would be the "guy in the stands ranting about the referees" at the CUA field hockey games. First, how does this make your wife feel? Follow up, do you now say to people that when you hear the word "sir" you expect to hear "you're making a scene" after it. (Wink and a nod to Homer Simpson.) I'll hang up and listen to your response.

Mrs. Fix can't hear me. She's on the other side of the field actually, you know, coaching.

As for my cheering philosophy, it is working. Catholic started the season 2-0.  That's because of my wild-eyed rooting, right? Right? Hello?

So, is this the new paradigm, then: If you can't win elections against popular governors, you throw criminal charges against them and see what sticks? As always, just when I think I'm too cynical, something reminds me that I'm not cynical enough.


I think you have to separate out McDonnell from Rick Perry and others.

McDonnell accepted almost $200,000 in gifts from a businessman trying to curry favor with him.  And, a jury of his peers convicted him of public corruption.

This doesn't seem to me to be anything close to a partisan witch hunt.

Obviously, Chad Taylor's withdrawal makes life more difficult for Pat Roberts. But given the new campaign hires and the history of Kansas Senators, I have a hard time believing Kansas would elect an independent to the Senate. Thoughts?

Well, the ruling by the KS Secretary of State (a Republican) that Taylor's name would stay on the ballot seems to take a lot of steam out of the "Democrats might pull this one off!" idea.

I am skeptical that in a two way race (or a three way with Taylor not campaigning) Roberts loses.  This is Kansas. And Roberts is a Republican.

That said, he seems not to get that he is something short of beloved by the state's voters.

Orman has said he'll caucus with the majority or be a king maker. Where would you put, or how would, Angus King react to that? I don't see Sanders ever going over to caucus with the GOP but I could see King trying to stay relevant by offering to caucusing with the GOP if the chamber is nearly evenly split.

Or Joe Manchin....

The 2017 Virginia gubernatorial nominee for Republicans will be A) Bill Bolling, B) Ken Cuccinelli, C) Ed Gillespie, D) Mark Obenshain, E) E.W. Jackson, F) Tom Davis, or G) Someone Else (please list). Do not make the tired Simpsons joke about "Can't Someone Else Do It?"

I think Gillespie is the frontrunner unless his gets absolutely killed this November against Warner.

Bolling and Cooch seems like yesterday's news. Jackson is a non starter. Tom Davis would struggle to win a statewide primary because of his moderate profile.  Obenshain lost the race he needed to win to be positioned as the frontrunner.

Why don't Democrats or Democratic groups drop some money on South Dakota to prop up the third party guys and maybe steal some votes from Mike Rounds. The marginal value of each dollar spent in South Dakota has to be a lot higher than in Arkansas or Louisiana or North Carolina -- it's not like any of those candidates are hurting for money.

Because a) they have other problems in other winnable states and b) they ain't winning in South Dakota even if Larry Pressler gets more viable. (Pressler is taking as many if not more votes from the Democrat as the Republican.)

Where does she stand in her race against Thom Tillis?

Basically tied. I think either that race or Iowa will be the majority maker/breaker.

While I see that the WaPo and NYT have similar projections, why does WaPo project Michigan and Iowa to flip Republican? I haven't seen any poll that shows Teri Land leading in Michigan, and in Iowa every poll shows a tie, but the undecided lean towards Braley.

Remember that Election Lab is a statistical model that takes into account polling, past election results, candidate etc.

So, yes we have Iowa as a tie. But we don't have Michigan going to Lynn Land.  We have it as a 99% chance the Democrat wins.

Link here:

Will the absolute implosion of Corbett drag down Republicans in state legislative races and/or congressional seats?

It could be. He obviously isn't going to win.  Now the goal has to be keeping him from dragging everybody else down with him.  It's similar to the dilemma facing Democrats in Ohio with Ed FitzGerald.

I haven't heard anyone talking about challenging Mark Kirk in 2016. Democrats can't blow their best pickup opportunity. Who are national Democrats pushing to get in this race (and don't say Tammy Duckworth)? Does Kirk run for another term?

He is, without question, the most endangered Republican incumbent in 2016. If he doesn't run, it's hard to imagine Republicans holding the seat.

Democrats will talk about Lisa Madigan (as always) first. If says no (like always) people like Duckworth will get lots of mentions.  Democrats will find a top tier candidate here.

True/False: Nancy Pelosi never serves as Speaker of the House again.

Mostly true.

Angus King and Joe Manchin. More likely to switch parties (or at least who they caucus with) after November?

Probably King.  But Manchin would be HEAVILY targeted by Republicans if they retake the majority.

Barring something major, GOP picks up West Virginia, South Dakota, and Montana without even breaking a sweat. What, in your mind, are the next three seats most likely to fall into their hands? Arkansas, Louisiana, Alaska in that order?

Arkansas, Louisiana and then either NC or IA.  I still don't see Alaska since Begich is running well. But, the underlying dynamics of the state suggest it SHOULD be very competitive.

Orman v. Roberts. Give us a breakdown of the race. Does Brownback drag Roberts down?

See above.  But, if Roberts pays attention (and he clearly hasn't since he won the primary last month) he should win.

The biggest shocker on election night will be __________________. eating 10 pieces of pizza in a single seating.

I'm calling it: Rainy day, low 64*... it's weather that is worthy of the first PSL of the season.

Oh snap. I think you may be right.

Hi Chris -- thanks for taking questions today. Now that the McDonnell's trial is concluded (at least until it gets to an appeals court), some pundits are focusing on what this means for other politicians who receive gifts: how much is too much? What can get you into trouble? As an observer from afar, it seems to me that the quid pro quo nature of their dealings with Williams was pretty clear, but others disagree. What do you think? Do politicians need to be scared, or is this a situation unique to VA?

Politicians shouldn't be scared, they should be smart.

It's inconceivable to me that McDonnell, a supposedly astute pol, didn't realize what he was doing was wrong.

Here's my analysis of him:

What are you Drinking? Where are you posting? Who are you listening to? And how psyched is Coach Fix?

Downed an extra hot soy chai tea latte earlier today. And a yogurt.

Listening to "Southeastern" by Jason Isbell, which is my default music these days (and for a long while now) because it's so amazing.

Mrs. Fix -- aka the John Wooden of collegiate field hockey -- is optimistic.

and do you have a tan suit on?

Blue suit.

My strategy: Make it do what it do.

Some pregnant women want you to know that they need to recline the airline seat.

An absolutely acceptable exception.

The issue is it's NEVER the people who SHOULD recline the seat who do. It's always a 20-something dude.

Should the McDonnell's ask for prison tips from Rod Blagojevich about now?

I can't find anyone who doesn't think they are going to jail at this point.

Do you believe McDonnell's defense that he and his wife were on bad terms, or was it all strategy?

If they weren't before the trial, they definitely are now.

Is standing (not sitting) at a desk as sanctimonious as sitting (not reclining) in an airline seat?

How I rank it (worst first):

1. Reclining your airline seat

2. Walking on the elevator before other people who were on it get off

3. Not saying thank you when someone holds the door for you/not holding the door for people

4. Standing desk

5. Everything else annoying in the world.

Is Sam Brownback in trouble with his re-election bid in KS?


Kansas has been riven by disagreements between its moderate and conservative GOP for years. Brownback, a conservative, badly exacerbated them during his first four years.

And remember Kansas has some recent history in electing Democrats governor. Kathleen Sebelius served two terms.

That joke never gets old. Its a classic Simpsons line.


Speaking of Bernie Sanders....why doesn't the media identify him as a socialist...the way he identifies himself?

We do!

Why don't you tell Senator Heitkamp about that?

Fair enough.  

Although I would note that Kansas is more Republican than North Dakota.

The VA politicos seemed genuinely surprised by the verdict against McDonnell. Any idea why?

I think people figured he would be found guilty on a few counts but not ALL of the public corruption ones.

I think I saw that Nate Silver said a 64% chance of the Senate flipping. It seems like the Post's equivalent (or copy) had a much higher percentage that struck me as extreme at the time. Where does the Post stand now on the chances of the Senate flipping.

We are at 53%.

Will they teach the little ones how to properly hashtags current events?

I assume that's first day type of stuff. "This is Twitter. It is the only way you can communicate with other humans."

Obama putting off issues (like immigration) until after the election highlights how political his administration is. Doesn't this hurt Democrats?

All Administrations -- and ALL politicians -- spend a lot of time thinking about the political ramifications of what they do (or what they are thinking of doing).

If Chuck Todd called you to ask for one Question to ask the President, what would it be?

Working on a Fix post on this right now! Stay tuned to the Fix this PM!

i get manchin becoming a republican, west virginia is almost complete in its transformation into a gop stronghold, but king? snowe and collins were likely the only republicans who could have been elected as a senator without a split in the vote. if king switches, doesn't he piss off a huge chunk of voters, likely larger than the voters he pick up as a (caucusing) republican?

Much more dangerous politically speaking for King. Agree.

How much OT is Fix Aaron going to be given for working Election Night?

He sleeps in the office anyway...

What do you think your trainer's reaction would be to you a for mentioned election menu?

No comment.

McDonnell wasn't running for anything.

Well, he would have loved to be vice president in 2016....

Is Rick Scott getting a pernament lead on Charlie Crist? Are they going to debate at some point?

Scott is spending LOTS of money on TV and bashing Crist.  It's working.

Joe Scarborough said that he's seen many in media joyous about what happened to McDonnell. Do you count yourself among them?

Absolutely not. It's more remarkable to me how far he fell and what bad judgment he exercised. But I take no joy from the struggles of others.

was going with barry zuckerkorn when he should have hired Bob Loblaw.

"Can I have a moment alone with my client, please? (to Michael) Did you follow any of that?"

You've answered three times more questions than the car duo on the other chat. Way to go!

Take that car people! BOOM.

All three are up in 2016 in states that went for Obama twice. Please rank them in order of most to least likely to get re-elected. I'm biased, but I always found Ron Johnson's tone surprising - almost as if he forgets the overall political tenor of the state he represents (i.e. Wisconsin, not Texas). The other two, to their credit, seem to be much more effective in that regard.




RonJon is going to be in a very tough race in a presidential year in Wisconsin.  Ayotte looks likely to have to run against Gov. Hassan. Toomey is a more able pol than you might think at first glance.

How do things look in the Senate Race?

Close but with an edge to Mark Udall.

The personhood stuff hurts Cory gardner -- especially among women in the suburbs of Denver, which is where he needs to overperform past losing Republican nominees.

Have you seen Maddow pushing the idea of McCaskill for President? I assume Elizabeth Warren wouldn't run in 2016 under any circumstance, so imagine a primary with Biden, McCaskill, and O'Malley. Who wins?

I think if you are looking for a darkhorse, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar is the far more likely pick.

Does "smart" mean "not get caught while breaking the law"? Politicians shouldn't be scared, they should be ethical.

Good point.

Do we now institute the term "of Blagoyevichan proportions"? It's right up there with whoever came up with the brilliant "self-deception of Michael Jacksonian proportions."

It's a mouthful. But I endorse.

I think you wrote them in the reverse order from what the questioner asked. Didn't you mean to say that Toomey would be most likely to be re-elected?

Oh, sorry. Yes. I am dumb.

Indeed. It's been entertaining to watch Bob claim that he had no idea how that Rolex got onto his wrist, or who was paying for his daughter's wedding.

I mean, the sheer number of things they accepted from Jonnie Williams is appalling.

Click on this:

Yes, McDonnell fell fast...but there are others who could fall just as fast...if they were investigated.

Well, remember someone named John Edwards. Faster fall from greater heights, I think.

When it's pointed out that McDonnell wasn't running for answer that he would have liked to have run for president in 2016. Doesn't that tell you why he was investigated when so many others are not? It is political.

He was investigated because WaPo's Roz Helderman reported on a massive number of gifts he and his family had accepted from a single donor -- and what they had done to help push his product!

This is WAY beyond partisanship.

He may have rejected the plea deal since it was still a felony which plays into his law license. Even so, bad move.

Or he thought he could talk his way out of it,

Like you said, either way it was a very bad move.

Either "Not so easy from the big chair, is it?" or "The big question about your presidency is 'Titleist or Top-Flite?'"

Mine would be: "Seriously, are you dodging me on the pickup hoops court?"

The lesson to take from it: never take a nude photo on a phone! DUH!

Um, ok.

Any Thoughts? I grew to like her more the last few years or so, think back in the day she was ahead of her time (female comicwise).

Literally none.

What on earth is offensive about people who choose to work at at a desk where they can stand instead of sit (or in some cases have a desk that would allow you to do either). You do know that this can be good for you too? (I do not have a 'standing' desk by the way, but wouldn't object to one coming my way.)

There's a sanctimony that oozes off of them. You know I'm right.

What about opponents of your wife's field hockey team?

There are exceptions to every rule.

Do you think people alter their opinion on abortion after going through the experience of having a child...seeing sonograms etc?

I think you may have wondered into the wrong chat.

so, what's going on here? polling always seems to have 15-20% undecided or weird models. cnn's poll has cotton up 2 with likely voters, but behind 9 with registered voters, which seems bizarre. an overly narrow likely voter screen? is it basically just democrats deciding if they want to support the dynasty and party they always supported, or the repeublicans who they agree with?

I think Cotton is probably ahead narrowly. Which means Pryor could win -- but, as of today, is not the favorite.

Oh, Virginians, Illinois actually has laws against governors being bribed. It's cute that you let it happen and then mock other states that bother to put the laws on the book.

Oh snap. it is ON.

Connecticut had a governor go to prison too, governor rowland. stop ignoring connecticut's criminal past/horriblness.

But, Reid Wilson said CT is the best state in the country!

That album is SO,so, good.

It's my favorite one of the last decade.

Actually, the former governor's mansion chef turned over docs to the FBI after he was canned. Which means the lesson here is keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Though I can't imagine who would want a chef as an enemy.

I always tell Mrs. Fix that we need to be nice to chefs. Either they spit in your food or they dime you out and start the process of you getting convicted on 11 counts of public corruption.

Governors push products from their states all the time Chris.

For people who think that McDonnell's relationship with Jonnie Williams was perfectly above board and that this is all a partisan witch hunt, I say to you: "Ok."

Yeah, like those non-smokers and their fancy clean lungs!

Or those people who eat well.

Ok. I have to run. Thanks for spending an hour with me. Remember we do this 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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