The Fix Live

Feb 12, 2016

The Fix's Chris Cillizza discussed the latest in political news. Join his live chat every Friday at 11 a.m.

Follow @TheFix on Twitter.

I'm late. But better late than never. Let's do it!

C'mon, man, this is no way to Make America Great!

I know. I am the worst. But I will go long -- 2:15 here I come!

. . . would you show up on time?

It's green tea. And I make no promises.

What gives?

The answer, as always, is I am an idiot.

It says, "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." That's all lovely. No mention of Mr. Tony, you ungrateful wretch? He MADE you, Cillizza!

Must change immediately.  Embarrassing oversight.

Is this on?

It's me.

Were the PBS moderators covering for Clinton? Not one question about her email? Not one question about the ongoing FBI investigation, or the findings of the State IG?

Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff are the best.  You won't have me ever say a bad word about them.

I was surprised that there weren't any questions about the investigations surrounding Clinton or her paid speeches since honesty was such a big issue in the New Hampshire primary.

I think Bernie Sanders is almost if not as bad as Marco Rubio. I also would advise Hillary Clinton to tone back the Obama rhetoric, lest she start sounding that way too,

If you watch him enough, he comes across as sort of a broken record. But, for the people who love him, that's just proof of his conviction and steadfastness.

Who do you think will win on Sunday?

Leicester. They are unstoppable.

In 8 1/2 months, assuming Hillary is the Democrat's candidate....who gives her a closer race in the electoral vote area: Trump or Cruz?

Good question. I think, probably, Trump because his appeal is so unorthodox.  She would be favored against either of them though.

So many to choose from: Fiorina and Christie, obviously. But also Rubio and Hillary, for under-performing. And the Carolina Panthers...

I can't wait for Veep to come back. I was trying to imagine staffers for Rubio and Carson backstage during that debate and all I can picture are the Veep staffers.

Veep is the best and most realistic political TV show out there.

Can the Washington Post just publish its endorsement of Hillary Clinton for President now and save time? On the front page of the web site there are no fewer than 12 articles or columns praising her and/or excoriating Sanders. At least three of those seek to highlight parallels between Sanders and Trump. I think it's fine that a newspaper seeks to support its chosen candidate; I just ask that you be open and honest about it.


I can send you the roughly 10 emails I get every day from people who insist we are in the bag for Sanders. Or the 10 who say we want any Republican to win.

I am still confused as to why Henry Kissinger was invoked at a Democratic debate last night.

I genuinely don't know either. But, it was THE moment of the debate

You are looking to replace Fix Aaron?


Aaron served as the editor of The Fix for the past year but with the presidential now in full swing he wanted to get back to reporting. So, he's going to do that -- still within The Fix umbrella.

We need a new managing editor to work with me and our team.  Know anyone?

Since Hax Cancelled todays chat, am confused about what to do for Valentine's Day on Sunday. What should I do?

Whatever you do, do NOT get one of those life-sized teddy bears that the Vermont Teddy Bear Company is hawking. Those things are creepy as hell.

What happened? The first live chat date after Iowa and you are a no-show - ?

Total fail by me. I am in charge of setting up the chat and in the melee of Iowa week I didn't do it.

The lesson, let me reiterate, is that I am an idiot.

......for WWIW, right?

I thought she saved herself from "winning" with how well she did in the debate last night. 

This chat is the highlight of my Friday...other that the fact that it IS Friday :)

Sorry! I did a bad thing. Won't happen again. 

And, yes, I was channeling Marco Rubio post New Hampshire just then.

I thought Cristie would have held on for at least one more primary. I personally will miss him on the debate stage beating up on Robot Rubio. How long do you think Carson will hang on and what's his incentive for doing so?

Nah.  Christie can't sell in a conservative state like South Carolina unless he has momentum from NH. And even then it was going to be hard.

I think Carson stays on through SC and then gets out and endorses someone other than Cruz, who he loathes.

Who is better positioned to win on 3/1? Will that decide who gets the nomination?

Trump. He's just ahead in virtually every state right now. What happens in South Carolina could change that.

And I think by 3/15 we will have a very good idea of whether there will be a nominee before the convention 0r not.

Have you picked up Will Johnson's "Swan City Vampires" yet? Goooood stuff.

No. But will listen now. Also, one from last year you should give a listen to "Faith in the Future" by Craig Finn.

Who's the best debater on either side? Right now, I'm thinking Hillary.

Hillary for sure. For Republicans Cruz or Rubio.

Hi Chris! Love these chats. Which of the presidential candidates has the best track record of bipartisanship? I'm voting on March 1 and want to get behind a candidate who can work with both parties. Thoughts?

Probably Kasich and Clinton. Jeb too.

Can those commercials be more insulting to women? You better get her something or she's going to murder you. Don't get her chocolate, because she'll ask you if she looks fat. Just get her a four-foot tall stuffed animal and she'll be tickled pink because God knows your wife/girlfriend has the tastes of a five-year-old.

Valentine's Day gifts like teddy bears, chocolate and perfume are SO lame.  How about be thoughtful and original?

That's why I'm getting Mrs Fix season tickets to Georgetown hoops. And, yes, I am the best husband.

Maybe the PBS moderators thought that since she has already been asked about it more than 100000 times, they would start asking other questions.

I see what you did there.

I thought you were the Grand High Potentate of Post Politics? Is this like your administrative assistant or your enforcer?

Manages the day to day of The Fix so I can spend my time writing 15,000 word breakdowns of what Hulk Hogan and Donald Trump have in common.

Would you like to moderate one? From the current crop of candidates, who would you like behind the podiums?



Shouldn’t a media member or debate moderator ask Bernie what his plan is to accomplish anything if his great “revolution” doesn’t materialize as he intends?

People do.  His answer is always the same: If I get elected it will mean there is a political revolution. So, it's sort of impossible to get him to actually answer the question.

Why does the media take it as a given that Rubio is a foreign policy “expert” simply because he’s sat through a few committee hearings?

Not sure he's a foreign policy expert. He IS trying to position himself as one though because he recognizes how thin this field is on foreign policy.

Reminded me of Leave it to Beaver when the Beav was in a big jam, and just couldn't figure out how to talk his way out of it. Only the Beav's dad was nicer to him than Uncle Chris Christie was. Such wince-worthy moments--may they continue throughout the election season.

It was hard to watch.

I think it's mostly due to the fact all of the guys are exhausted and stressed and so they make mistakes. I don't think Rubio is an actual robot.

How do you follow a particular team if there are only a few games a week on NBC Sports? Is there an all access pass that is sold? Forgive my naivete, I just started watching the Premier League after seeing all my childhood NFL heroes diagnosed with CTE.

Spurs! And you can watch every game on NBC Live Extra on your computer. It's amazing.

Georgetown hoops tickets are a good idea. Since nobody will be cheering, you'll have more time to talk with Mrs. Fix.

That is cold. Ice cold.

It looks as though we're in for two of these. Which party has more to lose from a long, drawn-out fight? Which candidates stand to benefit most from a long, drawn-out fight?

I agree.  I think Republicans have a bit more to lose because their brand at the national level needs some rehabbing and they might not get time to do that. Or as much time as they might want at least.

I thought you would give Mrs Fix an autographed picture of yourself.

Oh, she already has a ton of those. What do you think my Christmas and birthday presents are for her every year?

I love politics, and I have a degree in journalism, but I am in no way qualified to run the day to day operations of the blog, can I still apply?

You have 1 more journalism degree than I have...

Imagine Ted Cruz is the republican nominee. How many minutes would Bernie Sanders last in a debate with him? It would be ugly.

Disagree. I actually think Sanders is a pretty good debater because he believes so deeply in most of what he's saying, and he's been saying it for so long that he knows it through and through.

Would you moderate a debate in the style of Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone?

I'd model myself more after Roddy Piper in his Piper's Pit heyday.

Rubio? Really? Dude suffers a severe lack of composure under pressure.

He made one  mistake. A big one, I grant you. But he was excellent in the debates before the one in New Hampshire.

Let me clarify. Who is the best debater out of all of the candidates? I still say Hillary.

Hillary or Cruz, I think.

Her de facto slogan, and her best argument, is "I'm The Grownup We Need To Face Today's Tough Challenges." But that means two specific problems. First, it doesn't really sing, the way that "Change We Can Believe In" or "Making America Great Again" does. Second, it plays into all the worst parts of her candidacy: the "entitled" problem, the fact that she doesn't react well when she's challenged, and the predictable bouts of tone-deafness. All the great slogans signal hopefulness and unity -- even "We Need a Political Revolution" and "New American Century" address that, in different ways -- and she doesn't have a go-to argument on either of those.

Right. She is, at heart, making an argument for the status quo and incrementalism. And she is running against a guy who is arguing for blowing up the whole system.  It's tough.

Is there some chance that there could be some backroom dealing to get some more of the establishment Republicans to drop out, maybe sooner than they otherwise would? Because it looks to me as though they really need to do so if they're going to have any chance of stopping Trump or Cruz.

Well, no one is getting out until after South Carolina. And even then I am not sure anyone gets out. Kasich will get something of a pass if he finishes at all respectably because the state is a bad for him.  Jeb needs to finish ahead of Rubio and Kasich or there's no reason for him to keep going.  I think Rubio might be able to survive a fourth place but it would really damage him.

What is WITH Ben Carson? It's pretty bad if you can't even walk on stage properly. I loved Seth Meyer's crack that maybe Carson came by his title sarcasticly: "Oh, that Carson - he's a real brain surgeon".


Look, I think we assume that because someone is superior in one field that they will be great in a totally different field. Brain surgery is not like politics and vice versa.

It's like when a great athlete goes into the commentator booth and struggles. Talking about and analyzing sports isn't the same as playing sports.

So, Carson is not a good fit as a politician. Doesn't take anything away from his obvious abilities as a world class surgeon.

Didn't he kinda telegraph his eventual endorsement by saying he'd be interested in being Trump's VP? Also, howzabout all those Republican senators who sprinted to endorse Rubio post-Iowa?

I do think he eventually endorses Trump.

As for Rubio, I think the establishment was/is so desperate to find "their guy" in hopes that they can keep Trump or Cruz from winning.  Not sure it will work but New Hampshire was a major setback for the establishment hoping to winnow the field.

Have a shot? It's hard for me to see it at this point. Especially assuming Trump wins SC.

It's tough. The top tier is Trump and Cruz, probably in that order. I think Jeb, Kasich and Rubio need to decide who the guy is going to be -- and soon. 

He is still running for President. Why?

You say why. I say why not?

If it is indeed right, what does Rubio do after SC? How does he carry on?

Well, the primary isn't for another 8 days.  But I think if Rubio wants to regain some momentum, he needs to get above Bush into 3rd.  

If he doesn't he can probably still make it to Nevada but he would be limping there.

You forgot to make it live...AGAIN.

I didn't this time. I was just late!

Chris, you've watched so many debates now(so we don't have to), in what ways would you say you've been harmed?

I am a little haggard. Need some more sleep. But otherwise I am unaffected.  Or so I think.

Why don't you like Bernie?

I don't "like" or dislike any of these people. I try to cover them as objectively as possible based on what I know about politics and what I glean from talking to smart people on both sides of the aisle inside and outside of DC.

Best case for Rubio in South Carolina? Is 3-5-1 off the table? Can he get to second? what percentage of the vote would be viewed as a success?

I think he needs Cruz to slip to get to 2nd.  Could happen but not likely. I think he needs to be first in the establishment lane of the SC primary.

My confidence in America is shaken with this late chat.

Together we will make America great again.

If bush beats rubio in SC is rubio done? Does he hold on to see if his mormon connections helps in Nevada? Stay for Florida?

Close to done but not done. I think he stays for Nevada, hoping it gives him a shot in the arm heading into Florida.

How well does Sanders have to do in SC and Nevada to keep his campaign alive?

I am not sure he can win SC no matter what. But I would say he needs to avoid being blown out like Clinton was in 2008. 

In Nevada, it depends on how they manage expectations. I think he has a shot at actually winning but if the expectation becomes that he will win then if he comes close but doesn't get over the top it becomes a problem for him.

Saw the 94 movie Blue Chips, didnt think I would miss the acting ability of Shaq and Penny Hardaway.

God Penny Hardaway was so good before he got hurt.

So you can post some real questions, not posts like this one. Please don't post this.

You got it!

Just heard that Christie's big money man (Home Depot guy...) is switching his allegiance to Kasich. Is this as big as it sounds as far as keeping him in the game?

Ken Langone.

It doesn't hurt that's for sure. Having a big wheel like Langone helps logistically with money but also from a perception perspective. Makes Kasich look like a momentum candidate to the major donor world.

You are on Twitter when you should be on this chat. Time and time again you let us know this chat is at the bottom of your priorities. Why can't you turn it over to someone else who respects his/her audience?

Ok, ok. I was 12 minutes late. Let's not make a federal case out of it.

Sorry, but Saturday Arsenal will break your heart.

I am a Tottenham guy. Arsenal always breaks my heart.

We desperately needed insight post-Iowa and pre-NH, and we got nothing. What are we doing out there, man? You weren't scared of Hax, were you?

It was the squirrel, man. He threatened me.

What % chance would you give that Obama would endorse while the Dem primary is still competitive?

I think he really doesn't want to. So, he'd probably only step in for Hillary if he thought Sanders was going to win and thought an endorsement might actually change the race in some meaningful way.

Whether you feel the something-or-other or not, dial up and thank me later.

can south carolina save her? virtual tie in IA, thrashing in NH and a loss in nevada can't look good

It would make her situation close to dire. Although I still think SC might vote for her over Sanders. She's up by so much she'd have to really collapse in order to lose SC.

now have 4 potential nominees. trump, cruz, someone who lost IA and NH, which would be a first for the GOP in the modern era, or a convention choice. Why isn't the party more freaked out about this.

I think many within the party ARE freaked out. But being freaked out doesn't mean you can fix what you perceive to be the problem.

As I've said before, if the establishment could have snuffed out Cruz or Trump, they would have already done it. They just can't.

does anyone drop out after? Carson seems scared to leave, trump and cruz are sure in for a while, but what about the other three? Can they all survive a low showing?

I think Carson will be out after SC.  If Jeb finishes below Rubio, he probably needs to get out.

so, rubio cracked his tooth on a twix. WHile pretty small, given how quickly he went from on the rise to marco robotio should he worry about becoming a joke if he doesn't get a W soon?

To be the nominee, you need to prove you can win.  Only Cruz and Trump have done that so far.  As the race widens out to the broader country, Rubio needs to find a place to win and soon. 

It seems like Kasich doesn't have much room to move up until the midwest primaries in that too late for him?

That's the question, for sure. He will try to hold out for Ohio's winner take all primary on March 15 but not sure if he can still be relevant then if he doesn't win a state between now and then.

If Cruz wins the nomination, and even the presidency, will the lesson for ambitious politicians be that compromise is a bar to advancement?

Yes. How could it not be?

Will be celebrating Franklin Pierce on President's Day!

Chet Arthur for me!

I wouldn't make a federal case out of it if you medias didn't hate Hillary so much. Also, Bernie. And Trump, and Cruz, and Rubio, Jeb, Kasich, and all the other people you hate.


Who are some of the nicest prominent politicians you've covered?

Lindsey Graham. Such a nice guy. Good senator too. Bad presidential candidate. Or at least one who never got a real shot.

Ok, folks, that's it! We made the full hour. Profuse apologies for being a little late. Let's dispel with the fiction once and for all that I am organized. I am not organized.

Next week. 11 am. Friday. Book it. I will be there.

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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