The Live Fix: Chris Cillizza on Creigh Deeds vs. Bob McDonnell, New Nicknames and Chris Daggett's Chances

Chris Cillizza
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 16, 2009; 11:00 AM

Every Friday, The Fix goes live, as Chris Cillizza discusses the latest news about Congress, the Obama administration, upcoming elections and all the latest political news.

A transcript follows.


Chris Cillizza: Good morning everyone.

It feels as though it's been cold and rainy in DC for a week but it's actually only been six days!

Drink of choice for this chat: Earl Grey tea latte (underrated!)

Food of choice: Blueberry oat bar (old reliable)

Location of choice: Falls Church Starbucks

Music of Choice: "Grant Street" by Sonny Landreth (Hat tip to former Fix neighbor and drummer extraordinaire Pat Hagan)

Let's do this thing.


NY, NY: I'm thinking of loading up on Corzine stock on Intrade. What do you think? He's currently trading at 60%. Will he pull it out?

Chris Cillizza: Stock and Jon Corzine eh....

Just before I started this chat, I was working on the governors Line for the Fix and grappling with where to rank NJ.

Here are the things we know:

1. Voters don't like Jon Corzine

2. Voters don't like Chris Christie

3. Voters don't know Chris Daggett, the independent.

4. All other things being equal, New Jersey elects Democrats.

Number four is probably the most important point above. Corzine seems to have successfully turned the race into a "devil you know" situation and may wind up convicting 43 or 44 percent of the state's voters to pull the lever for him.

Critical to Corzine winning -- since he isn't likely to get more than about 44 percent of the vote -- is Daggett staying relevant and pulling double digits in the vote share.

It's not over yet but Corzine has pulled off a remarkable feat to be be in the position he is today.


Fairfax, Va.: Democrats have been on a relative roll in Virginia this decade, winning the governor's mansion in 2001 and 2005, winning back the state senate, both Senate seats, and in 2008 going blue on the presidential level and electing a majority Democratic congressional delegation. Why is Creigh Deeds having such a difficult time gaining traction against a pretty conservative opponent like Bob McDonnell?

Chris Cillizza: Take a little longer look at VA political history for the answer there.

In 1992, Bill Clinton got elected president and the next year Virginians elected George Allen (R) governor. Clinton was reelected in 1996 and in 1997 Virginians went with Jim Gilmore (R).

In 2000, George W. Bush won the presidency only to be followed by a Mark Warner (D) victory in Virginia the next year. Ditto for Bush's 2004 re-election and Tim Kaine's (D) victory in 2005.

Virginia is till very much a conservative-minded swing state and looks ready to return to those roots this fall.


Ann Arbor, Mich.: Hey Chris!

When can we expect a Weingarten-Cillizza tag-team Dylan chat? Probably should happen at least once a year.

And have you heard the new Xmas album yet?

Chris Cillizza: Wow. That would be awesome.

Given the relative size of our chat audiences, Gene would be the whale and I would be one of those tiny animals that latch on to him and eat the crumbs he leaves behind.

Which is fine with me.

I have not heard the new Dylan xmas album but like all things Dylan I am scared/interested in it.


Richmond: Have you ever listened to "5 years time" by Noah and the Whale? It is annoying hipster music, but I'll be darned if it isn't catchy.

Chris Cillizza: I have not.

But I always like that movie "The Squid and the Whale".

And, I dig -- for some strange reason -- the new Owl City song called "The Bird and the Worm". []


Minneapolis: Today's WSJ reports on a Sienna poll showing that NY-23 is tightening, primarily due to increased support for Hoffman, the Conservative/TEA candidate. In an election cycle the GOP is trying to claim as favoring their party, are they in for a rude surprise from the TEA activists?

Chris Cillizza: NY-23 is a problem for Republicans nationally.

The special election is set for Nov. 3, the same day that Virginia and New Jersey will pick their governors.

If VA and NJ split, then a Democratic win in NY-23 will be played as a sort of tie-breaker by the media.

If Republicans sweep VA and NJ (still a real possibility), the n a Democratic win in NY-23 will keep the national narrative from being one of a Democratic party in trouble.

Of course, that all assumes that Democrats win in NY-23. But, with the Club for Growth pounding away at state Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava (R) and Doug Hoffman, the conservative party nominee, moving up in the polls, it is looking more and more likely that Bill Owens (D) is going to shoot the gap and win.


San Diego: Why completely discount the scenario whereby Daggett wins? Stranger things have happened.

Chris Cillizza: "Stranger things have happened" = Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura.

I don't entirely dismiss the possibility that Daggett wins although I think some of the things that allowed Ventura to surge (same day registration etc.) aren't present in New Jersey.

Still, Daggett's support is based almost entirely on the fact that people dislike Corzine and Christie. Ventura had a celebrity (of sorts) that gave him a far higher statewide profile than your average underfunded independent candidate. Daggett doesn't.


Princeton, NJ: What should an old guy who likes classical music and retail politics do with your chat?

Chris Cillizza: We could find common ground on field hockey. Princeton is one of the pre-eminent Division I programs in the country.


Eugene, Ore.: Is it Fall's Church, Virginia or Falls Church, Virginia?

Chris Cillizza: Falls Church.,_Virginia

Wikipedia knows all!


Evanston, Ill.: Sexy Lexi Giannoulias meets with Axelrod at the White House. Any buzz on how the meeting went? Will we soon have to say Senator Sexy Lexi?

Chris Cillizza: Great use of the "Sexy Lexi" nickname.

I am in the market for a nickname myself.

I kind of like "The Big Guy" or "The Big Ticket" or maybe "The Truth"

But all of those are taken.

Soo.....suggestions welcome.

Giannoulias did indeed meet with White House senior adviser David Axelrod this week as first reported by HuffPo's Sam Stein. (Not to be confused with John Prine's "Sam Stone".)

Giannoulias is seen as the preferred candidate of the party establishment in the state and has Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin in his corner.

But, former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman dumped $500LK of his own money into the race last quarter and just released a poll suggesting Lexi is weak.

This one could get interesting.


ben_nelson's_hair: Good Morning,

I have read elsewhere that Reid is working behind the scenes to get the public option in the bill. I just find this very hard to believe and wonder if he his peeps are just saying this to placate progressives. The man is in deep trouble and if there isn't a public option I do not see how he wins reelection.

Chris Cillizza: Senator Nelson's hair! Thanks for joining the chat.

How Reid handles the health care bill will have real impact on his re-election prospects.

His allies insist it is a chance to showcase his ability to work across the aisle and forge compromise.

His detractors argue that no matter what happens, the bill will be a loss for Reid politically. If a bill with the public option passes, conservatives will be further inflamed and if a bill without the public option passes liberals will be further inflamed.

Not sure where I come down yet in that debate. But, what I do know is that Reid is rivaling Chris Dodd (Conn.) as the most endangered incumbent standing for re-election in 2010.


Fairfax, Va.: With the news that Dodd was outraised by Simmons last quarter, do we start to hear whispers (or more) from Democrats urging Dodd to drop his re-election bid and letting a less tainted Democrat have a shot?

Chris Cillizza: Speaking of Dodd....

That Dodd was outraised by Simmons is not a great public relations moment for the incumbent as the political vultures are already circling him given his desultory poll numbers.

But, to hear the Dodd people tell it, he had to cancel a number of events in August due to his surgery for prostate cancer and the death of his close friend Ted Kennedy.

And, we generally agree with Dodd allies, that the Connecticut Senator isn't going to lose next November because he doesn't have enough money.

Retirement rumors have flown around Dodd for months but everyone I talk to insists he is in the race to stay. Things change quickly in politics, of course, but I would be surprised if Dodd bowed out.


Amherst, NH: Cripes, more coffee and music. You're channeling the old Mike Myers "Coffee Tawk" routine.....I'm outta here. Give me something I can use.

Chris Cillizza: Um, ok.


Claverack, NY: Plus Jesse had an action figure. Chris Daggett? I think he has a Beanie Baby or something.

Chris Cillizza: Yes!

Related questions: Why are there no Chuck Todd beanie babies or bobble heads currently in production?

This is a million dollar idea!


Atlanta, Georgia: Does the Fix play fantasy football?

Chris Cillizza: LOTS of it.

Three leagues. Currently on a three game winning streak in the league I am in with Olbermann, Rich Eisen, CTodd and sabermetrics genius Nate Silver.




Oxford, Miss.: You want a nickname? Umm... Perhaps The Fix since that's what you call yourself?

Heck, even Chris is a nickname for Christopher.

Chris Cillizza: The Fix doesn't seem to have the same cultural cache of The Big Ticket or The Machine

Of course, I tend to fall a bit short in comparisons to Kevin Garnett or Albert Pujols anyway...


Lawrence, Kans.: State Sen. Raj Goyle raised over $400,000.00 since this July. Pretty impressive and far out-shinning his potential Republican opponents.

What do you know about Raj Goyle and does he have any real shot at winning is the highly gerrymandered 4th congressional district?

Chris Cillizza: I know that Raj Goyle (or his supporters) have a directed campaign to get some mention of his money #'s in the chat...this is one of three questions I have on the race.

Met Goyle at the Yearly Kos convention a while back. Smart candidate with potential. of course, when you are running as a Democrat in Kansas, you start at a significant disadvantage.


Nicknames: The Big Fix, The Fixer, The Big Tuna, Small Biggies, The guy who needs to write a book to cash in on all his media appearances.

Chris Cillizza: "The guy who needs to write a book to cash in on all his media appearances"

It's a little long but man is it on point ;)


Virginia: Isn't the salient point on the Virginia election that Creigh Deeds is a dull-as-dishwater politician, with no real base of support other than the Post's editorial board?

Chris Cillizza: Deeds is not the most charismatic of politicians. He is, in fact, no Mark Warner.

And, I think that while that "aw shucks" demeanor played in his favor during the primary fight with Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran, it's not helped Deeds in the general election.

Deeds is not particularly good on television and so the campaign seems to be hesitant about letting him make his own case to voters.

Instead they have focused almost exclusively on McDonnell's thesis which has had some backlash as voters now tend to see Deeds as running a campaign built on negativity and nastiness.


Eugene, Ore.: Thanks.

Do the locals call it The Falls or The Church or another nickname like The F.C.?

Isn't Chris a nickname for Christopher? We called it 'The F.C.' when I was growing up. I'm a Falls Church City native, though I believe Chris is located outside the 22046 in what's known as 'Greater Falls Church.' Is that right Chris?

Chris Cillizza: It's true! I don't live in Falls Church City.

Andrea Caumont, the Live Fix chat producer, is a native and that's her riff on what people call it.

I am trying to start a movement to call Falls Church "that place where Chris Cillizza lives".

It's off to a slow start ;)



Ithaca, N.Y.: Chris is usually short for Christopher, but I don't presume to assume.

What's your full legal name?

Chris Cillizza: That information is given out on a need to know basis....

Christopher Michael Cillizza.

If I ever become a novelist, I am going with C.M. Cillizza. that just sounds cool.


Northern Virginia: I like Creigh Deeds. If he loses, which I hope he does not, I hope people don't brush off the counter-cyclical pattern in Virginia that you mentioned.

Consider this: Mark Warner, a Democrat with no previous elective office, won the governorship in November 2001, right after the September 11 attack that included deaths on Virginia soil at the Pentagon, while George Bush was in the what, 80s or 90s in favorability? And a Democrat still won. Kudos to him for his victory, and candidates do make a difference, but just think about that. That's how powerful the counter-cycle is here.

Chris Cillizza: Fair point.

And the incredible irony in the VA-Govs race is that Deeds is being hurt by the perception among voters that he is not a nice guy.

Anyone who has spent any time around him knows that he is actually a little too nice for politics.

It's just like Alanis Morrisette said...


To me you'll always be: Cillizzabeth Taylor

Chris Cillizza: Well said.

And, I know who this is. And, I will find you.


Beau Biden: Saw him speak at a campaign event for his dad in early 2008. Was much better at time management for his speech, and the crowd responded very positively to him. Looked a lot like Brian Williams though.

Chris Cillizza: He DOES look like Brian Williams. People tell me I look like Chris Klein, which doesn't really sound like a compliment.

Lots of beau Biden questions today....

Yes, barring some unforeseen event, he is going to run for his dad's old seat in the Senate in 2010.

And, according to new polling out of Daily Kos, Biden and Rep. Mike Castle are in a dead heat at 46 Castle, 45 Biden .

This should be one of the closest races in the country next year. it may also be one of the most polite as the small size of Delaware means that politicians (and voters) shy away from the sort of negative campaigning that characterizes other high profile Senate races.


Manassas: "I don't entirely dismiss the possibility that Daggett wins although I think some of the things that allowed Ventura to surge (same day registration etc.) aren't present in New Jersey."

There was also a debate the week before the election. Ventura dominated the debate. His size made the other two look like children and while you may not agreed with his answers, he didn't give the usual politicians answers.

Chris Cillizza: Ventura IS a really big and imposing guy. Neither Norm Coleman, the Republican nominee, nor Skip Humphrey, the Democrat, was.

Good point about how optics matter in politics.


Lawrence, Kans.: Oh sorry, all three Raj Goyle questions were from me. I didn't know understand how Live Chatter works. Sorry, again.

I'm more of Democratic supporter then a Raj Goyle supporter because I honestly don't know much about him and never figure the 4th would go Democratic until I saw his fundraising numbers on the web. I was really curious if you know him and if could actually win Tiarht's seat, so thanks.

For after the chat is done, you might enjoy these news clips when you've an extra second. They're more interesting then you'd think.

All the best We only send questions through to our guests one time, no matter how many times you might submit them...Dunn Loring, I'm looking at you.

Chris Cillizza: The Raj Goyle mystery explained!


Jackson, Miss.: Chris: Is Harry Reid actually in trouble? What are the odds he loses?

Chris Cillizza: See above.

He is in real trouble. Any incumbent who goes on TV more than a year before the election to re-introduce himself to voters isn't in good shape.

The strongest argument for Reid's re-election may well be the weak Republican field against him.

You can't be something with nothing after all.


Arlington, Va: Does the Democrat have any chance for New York Mayor over Bloomberg?

Chris Cillizza: Not really.

My guess is that Bill Thompson, the NYC Comptroller and the Democratic nominee against Bloomberg, will get between 45 and 47 percent of the vote.

But, having just spent a day in NYC earlier this week, it's hard to find people who have something negative to say about how Bloomberg has run the city.

That general sense of satisfaction coupled with the fact that he will spend whatever it takes to win make it hard to see Bloomberg coming up short.


Bethesda, Md.: As of 11:39 am, you have posted more questions about yourself than politics. Could you give the self-absorption a rest for maybe 10 minutes? Honestly, most readers tune in for your political insights, and not your beverage and music selection and favorite color.

Chris Cillizza: Thanks for counting!

Does this count as a "self absorption" question?

If so, I would like to appeal.


Ellicott City, MD: Apparently yesterday, when the President was in Louisiana, Bobby Jindal was booed pretty loudly by the crowd. Because is was a crowd of democrats or because the people in Louisiana don't like him these days? Even after the iffy speech, is he still considered a darling of the republicans?

Chris Cillizza: I think it's because the crowd was largely composed of Democrats.

Polling suggests Jindal is on very strong ground in the state when it comes to how voters see the job he has done.

I do think Jindal -- Kenneth the Page speech aside -- is still one of the rising stars within the party. I am also convinced that he will not run for president in 2012 but could wind up on a ticket as the veep pick.


Don't get carried away: I think you're overstating the case that a McDonnell win in Virginia is a sign the state's returning to its conservative roots. Would you have made that claim after Ehrlich beat Townsend for the Maryland governor's seat a few years back? He won in large part because she was an awful campaigner. I think this race will be as much about Deeds losing as it will be McDonnell winning, if that's the way it turns out.

Chris Cillizza: Well, no, because Maryland has almost no recent history of electing Republicans.

Ehrlich's victory was an anomaly built on a pro-Republican environment post Sept. 11, 2001 and the fact that KKT was not a good candidate -- at all.

I am not trying to downplay the fact that Deeds is not the candidate that McDonnell is. Race after race proves that candidate quality matters.

But, I also think that Virginia still retains significant Republican roots and may be returning to them this November. After all, President Obama was the first Democratic nominee to carry the Commonwealth since Lyndon Johnson in 1964.


Indianapolis: You don't want to hear the Dylan Christmas record, believe me. Sounds like tree frogs singing. I suspect the herald angels will sing a little louder this holiday season to drown out Bobby.

Chris Cillizza: He just really can't sing anymore.

I was listening to an old recording of "Boots of Spanish Leather" the other day and he actually sounded pretty good.

By the way, if you don't already listen to "Theme Time Radio" on XM/Sirius, you should.

Bobby D (or is it Z) is a genius.


Illinois: David Hoffman in Illinois. That David Hoffman who threw sand in Richard Daley's face? Sorry Chris. You'll have to get real. It's Alexi in a landslide. And with Kirk going off the charts waaaaay right, the independents will hold their collective noses to vote for Senator Sexy Lexi!

Chris Cillizza: Again, I can't resist any post that uses the "Sexy Lexi" nickname...


Speaking of fundraising for 2010: Who's raised more thus far for his 2010 Congressional campaign, SC Rep. Joe Wilson or his likely opponent (who enjoyed a huge boost right after Wilson's "You lie" outburst during the President's speech to the joint houses of Congress)?

Chris Cillizza: Believe it is Joe "You lie!" Wilson.

Last count he had brought in WAY over $2 million.


If I yell something at the president, will people rally behind me and give money to Catholic U. field hockey?


Dunn Loring, Va.: Actually, according to at least five Post reporters, you never send through conservative questions. Bias much? That's not true. We send through a good balance of questions. Some chat audiences may be tilted more one way than the other, but we certainly don't screen out conservative Q's, in fact, I look for those to help balance the chats. Our guests choose which questions to answer. We do however screen for profanity, hate speech, libel, etc. And of course we delete questions submitted two, three or even 12 or 15 times after sending the first attempt through, a tiresome business as you (ahem) might imagine.

Chris Cillizza: HEYOOO!

Andrea Caumont vs Dunn Loring!

It is on!



New York & 15th NW: Chris "lizard" Cillizza.

I also think any number Liza Minnelli nicknames would be appropriate.

Chris Cillizza: Right. Because a dude nicknamed after Liza Minnelli is oh so cool.


Minneapolis: You need a Raj Goyle question that doesn't come from Kansas. So: will Raj Goyle make an appearance on the next list of awesome, or not-so-awesome political names?

For giggles, I also mention Elwyn Tinklenberg, who should win office just so we can keep his name in circulation.

Chris Cillizza: AWESOME.

Tinklenberg is an all-time classic.

other greats: Rod Blagojevich, Sarah Steelman (just sounds tough), Erskine Bowles....


Arlington, Va.: VA race: The republican reminds me way too much of Gilmore; just an empty suit with no real substance. Deeds may not be corporate looking; but I pick him over McDowell. McDowell was running for Governor well before he left the Atty General's office. Was a lousy AG; will be a lousy governor to 75% of the VA population. I guess people have a very short attention span. McDowell is just sooooooo slimy.

Chris Cillizza: When you say McDowell are you talking about Jack (former Yankee/Chisox hurler) or Roger (former Met great).

Also, the Virginia Republican nominee is named Bob McDonnell.


Ehrlich: And don't forget how sick people were of Glendening by that point. Though Townsend still could have overcome that with a better campaign.

Chris Cillizza: Paris Glendening!

Another classic political name!


Native New Jerseyan: Excuse me, but that would be - Caufee tawk!

Chris Cillizza: Well said.

Also, it takes a lot of guts to admit you are a native New Jerseyan.

We are all proud of you for coming forward. The first step is admitting you have a problem.


Dunn Loring, VA: Questions about Rak Goyle, ok, questions about Anita Dunn, avoided. Isn't the WH communications director and her crusade against Fox more newsworthy? Are you afraid of what she might do if you address her admitted love of Mao in your chat?

Chris Cillizza: HMMM. No.

I think the WH made a strategic move to publicly hammer FNC and they used Anita Dunn to do it because she is a veteran communicator who also happens to be the White House communications director.

Happy now, Dunn Loring?


Chris Cillizza: And that's all the time we have for this week. But, never fear: we'll be back with more self-absorption, coffee talk, Dylan musings and political talk next Friday.

Same bat time, same bat channel.

I leave you this week with this gem from Bob: "My love she speaks like silence/without ideals or violence/she doesn't have to say she's faithful/yet she's true like ice, like fire"


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