The Live Fix: Sarah Palin's book tour, Senate primaries, Chris Dodd, Lou Dobbs, will Rudy Giuliani run again?

Chris Cillizza
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 20, 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.

Check out the discussion archive.


Chris Cillizza: Hello to one and all!

After taking in an episode of "Hip Hop Harry" with Charlie Fix this morning, I feel primed and ready to chat.

I am on a streak of gingerbread lattes of late, meaning that I will get sick of them right before Christmas actually gets here.

As for the lowfat very berry coffee cake, I shall never tire of you.

I am in dire need of a soundtrack for this morning's chat so suggestions are welcome. I am currently listening to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros on a loop:

And, of course, there's politics. So, to quote Ty Pennington, let's do it!!!


Des Peres, Mo.: Hey Sizzle man. I have a plan for you; slurp down three of your favorite Starbucks lattes before you go on Chris Matthews. Maybe you could get more than five words in edgewise that way. But seriously, is there a chance this whole heath thing could blow up in Reid's face? Why didn't he just take the trigger option a month ago and not invite one more chunk of Dems to threaten to withhold support? Any chance cloture will fail tomorrow? Thanks

Chris Cillizza: Des Peres! Love it. Mrs. Fix= St. Louis native. Eat some Ted Drewes this weekend and think of me.

There is ALWAYS a chance with legislation this complicated and controversial that it could go off the tracks. To be honest, I am amazed that the bill has made it this far -- between the public option, abortion, immigration etc etc etc. All of those things could have derailed it but they didn't.

That doesn't mean, of course, that it is going to pass now. The Senate is almost always the tougher nut to crack on major legislation because of the cloture -- meaning that 60 votes are needed to end endless debate on a measure and bring it to a vote.

My guess is that Reid gets cloture tomorrow on the measure to bring the bill to the floor. But, don't assume that getting over that first hurdle means he has won the race. (Bad metaphor alert! Bad metaphor alert!)

Until the President signs the bill, it's not a done deal.


Minneapolis: I toasted a pop tart & topped off my coffee in preparation for this chat. I've finished both before the chat began. Have you made this mistake before? What's my next move?

Chris Cillizza: I have.

My advice. Get more coffee and another pop tart. Excess is at the root of the Live Fix chat.


Indianapolis, Indiana: So with the entire congress, both Democrats and Republicans in a mutiny because of many different issues, what are the chances of everybody sticking around during December to pass health-care reform? Or will they all pick up their toys and go home before voting just to spite the administration? (That's assuming they get cloture on the present bill.)

Chris Cillizza: I believe that something on health care will pass simply because the Obama Administration and now Harry Reid, who faces a very tough 2010 race, have too much invested in the bill for it to fail.

The timeline on when that happens in fungible. ($5 word!). Remember that President Obama said in the spring he wanted health care down before the August recess. Well, here we are at the end of field hockey season and it's still not done.

Do I think Democrats want this done by year's end so they aren't grappling with it in an election year? Absolutely. But, the hands of Congress move slowly and I think the President would rather a bill in January than no bill in December.


Dallas, Tex.: Your light-hearted demeanor is refreshing in a political world that often digresses into an angry shouting match. How do you maintain your teddy-bearish image while covering a beat with so much angst? Surely you want to punch something sometimes ...

Chris Cillizza: That's what Politico's Jonathan Martin is for....


USA: Hi Chris. This is a dreaded policy question, so if you can put on your Ezra Klein hat for a moment. . . Given that liberal economists (like the Nobel Laureate who writes for your competitor) have called for more quantitative easing, what do we know about the people who Obama has/will nominate to serve on the Federal Reserve? Are they likely to be cautious, or to push more employment friendly easy-money policies?

Chris Cillizza: Um, what?

Quantitative easing? Is that like what I do when I lie down on the couch to watch TV?

Also, I like easy money.


Gainesville, Va.: Hello Chris,

Thank you for taking my question. Do you think that Sarah Palin is sacrificing a Presidential run in 2012 for the sake of promoting her book and other self interests?

I get the feeling that she knows she doesn't have a snowball's chance in 2012 and this book and promotion are a vehicle for generating an income. She does have knack for taking advantage of the situation and milking it.

Why else would she write a book that clearly makes her look even more undesirable as a serious politician? I mean accusing Couric of badgering by asking her questions like what she reads? Good thing Katie did ask her "What is your favorite color?". This seems to be verse for Palinites and people who would buy the book just to read what else in in there. Thanks again.

Chris Cillizza: Ok, I am going to take one AND ONLY ONE question on the Palinator since I have written my fingers to the nubs about her this week.

(Note to Fix Live chat producer extraordinaire Andrea Caumont: Can we post a few links to the stuff I have written about Gov. Palin below this post?)

I think that the book tour and all of the media interview -- although not one with the Fix! -- that Palin is doing at the moment are in pursuit of her financial interests and have little to do with political calculation.

Palin acknowledged when she resigned the governorship over the summer that she wanted and needed to make money and it seems to me that the way in which she has approached the book tour -- interviews with Oprah, Barbara Wawa and NO serious political reporters -- reveals that she wants to drive book sales first and foremost and worry about 2012 later.

I also think the score-settling element of the book -- against Couric, Steve Schmidt, Nicole Wallace etc -- suggest that political considerations are not at the top of her mind currently.

Does that mean she won't or can't run in 2012. Nope. I got out of the Palin political prediction business a long time ago.


re: lattes: Hey, Chris - can you do some recon for me? Do they have eggnog lattes yet? Those things are like Christmas Crack.

Chris Cillizza: TOTALLY. They also have something called a white mocha peppermint latte.

But, as a dude, I am incapable of ordering that even if it is the greatest thing since the caramel macchiato. I mean, ordering a gingerbread latte is bad enough...


Brooklyn: Rudy Giuliani & Sarah Palin: two figures making money off their political prominence but who will never run for office again. Agree or disagree? Remember Rudy is a 65-year-old cancer survivor. If he doesn't run next year, another opportunity in New York State might not come along until 2014 or 2016 or even later.

Chris Cillizza: This one is only tangentially about Palin, so I am making an exception.

I wrote yesterday that Giuliani isn't likely to run for anything in 2010 and, if he does run, it will be against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand rather than for governor.

I think Giuliani legitimately misses politics and the 2008 presidential race in which he came nowhere close to winning a single state has left a bad taste in his mouth and he would like to get back in the game.

The problem is that Andrew Cuomo is almost certainly going to be the Democratic nominee for governor and he is close to unbeatable.

Gillibrand can be beaten -- she is unknown in the City and surrounding suburbs -- but Giuliani is so temperamentally NOT a Senator that it is hard for me to see him running.

Also, on a New York note: Check out the Felice Brothers "Penn Station" if you haven't already. Awesome song.


Washington DC: Chris, For us, the morning early show of choice is "Ni Hao Kai-Lan"-- it's fun, colorful and holds her 9-month-old attention pretty well.

Chris Cillizza: Absolutely watch it. My favorite of the Nick Jr (formerly Noggin) shows is "Oswald".

I see a lot of myself in Henry, the neurotic penguin who is Oswald's -- he is an octopus -- best friend.


New York, N.Y.: If you don't like coffee, does the gingerbread flavor and milk drown out the coffee flavor? You are tempting me to try one of these things, but I want to know what I am getting into before I do it. Should I take any classes or perhaps a few hours of yoga meditation before trying a gingerbread latte?

Chris Cillizza: They are SO good. Do it. You know you want to. The first one's free...or $4.75.

_______________________ Here are some Palin posts:

Morning Fix: GOP leaders hesitate to embrace Palin

The "Going Rogue" tour -- by the numbers

Morning Fix: The Palin index

Malek on Palin: "She's obviously touching a need"


Portland, Ore.: The scene at the Beaverton, Oregon Borders last night, at Bill Simmons' book signing:

Me: So this Washington Post political blogger Chris Cilizza has been saying on his chat for a while now that he would be satisfied to be known as the "Homeless Man's Bill Simmons".

Bill Simmons: Who?

It's ok, Chris. He certainly sounded intrigued and said he was going to start checking your blog.

Chris Cillizza: Ok, this is awesome.

For any of the rest of you Fixistas out there in the country, if you happen to go to a Bill Simmons aka "The Sports Guy" book signing, bring up my stated desire to have him refer to me as the "homeless man's Bill Simmons".

He'll start to think to himself "Hey, maybe I should check this Cillizza guy out" and once he does my obvious charm good looks will win him over.

Oh yes, it's all coming together now....


Illinois: Hey Chris! A non-political comment/question. Are you a techie by heart? I am impressed by your embrace of social media/internet/technology, etc. Have you always been interested or is this a recently acquired "addiction"?

Love your posts about Charlie Fix!!

Chris Cillizza: I am willing to embrace anything or anyone who hugs me back.


Boston, MA: It seems like things are heating up in the Massachusetts Senate special election, especially with the candidates recent posturing on healthcare. What are your thoughts? Is Attorney General Martha Coakley going to have an easy win? Do either Celtics Co-Owner Steve Pagliuca or Rep. Mike Capuano have a realistic path to victory?

Chris Cillizza: TONS of Senate questions so let's bang them out.

The Massachusetts special election has been pretty disappointing for a political junkie like me. This race was rumored for years to be a clash of titans between the like of Joe Kennedy II, Ed Markey, Marty Meehan and others.

Instead we got Martha Coakley, Mike Capuano and Steve Pagliuca. Nothing against any of that trio but they simply don't have the star power to drive the race to national prominence.

Coakley, barring some HUGE shake-up in the race, is going to win the primary. My guess is that Capuano will take second and Pagliuca will be third but Pagliuca's heavy personal spending could make him more viable than he currently appears to be.

And, once Coakley wins the Dec. 8 primary, she is a HUGE favorite to beat state Sen. Scott Brown on Jan 19 and claim the seat of the late Ted Kennedy.


Kent, Ohio: I know you do your senate primaries list by state AND party, but it was just the state, I'm betting Kentucky would be near the top spot.

What's your take on the Democratic and Republican primaries to replace Jim Bunning? Any predictions (c'mon, nobody will call on it if you're wrong but we'll only celebrate you if you right)?

Chris Cillizza: The Fix is like a weatherman. You don't remember when I am wrong and I can take credit on the off chance I am right!

I think that both primaries in Kentucky are fascinating for different reasons.

On the Republican side, Rand Paulhas proven far more serious a challenger to Secretary of State Trey Grayson than anyone -- me included -- thought he would be a few months ago.

I still see Grayson as a slight favorite -- Paul has advocated some semi-wacky policy proposals that may not play well with Republican primary voters -- but wouldn't be stunned if Paul won.

On the Democratic side, it's quite clear that Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo and state Attorney general Jack Conway don't like one another, which always makes for a good primary.

Mongiardo has been a disappointing candidate so far -- raising far less money than Conway and drawing press primarily for audio tapes in which he can be heard badmouthing Gov. Steve Beshear (D). Not good.


Nashville, Tenn: Saw Springsteen in Nashville Wednesday night. An inspired show. Any thoughts on his upcoming hiatus from touring (he's 60, will he ever tour again?) and the book he plans to write?

Chris Cillizza: My thought: I will buy anything Springsteen does.

Was doing a lot of driving in Jersey over the last few weeks for field hockey and listened almost exclusively to the Springsteen channel on XM-Sirius.

Just affirmed my belief that he is a true genius. Go listen to Darkness on the Edge of Town. Just incredible.


Jim Tressell: I think the Senate should talk as long as they want so they can punt just before the clock runs out. Always works for me.

Chris Cillizza: Maybe they should try to pass the bill in a last minute, crazy gambit this year rather than just punt it into January and do the basic blocking and tackling to get the legislation passed.


Bill Belichick


Washington DC: I recently met Bill Simmons' BFF Joe House. I forgot to mention you and your desire to be recognized as the Homeless Man's Bill Simmons.

Sorry. I'll try to remember next time.

Chris Cillizza: COME ON. These opportunities don't come around much.

We need to turn Simmons' response from "Who?" when asked about me to "Is that the guy stalking me?"


Chicago, IL: Chris - interesting potentially CW-setting article this week on the Giannoulias' weakness as a candidate. Any sense as to whether this sentiment is shared among establishment types (who seem to be aligned more with Alexi)? Seems significant in and of itself that Geoff Garin is working for Hoffman.

Chris Cillizza: Illinois is an absolutely fascinating state on the Senate side.

I think Lexi is still the favorite on the Democratic side but it's clear Hoffman is going to go hard at him and try to raise doubts about whether nominating Giannoulias is tantamount to handing the seat to Mark Kirk.

Kirk has primary problems of his own although they seem less serious than those of Giannoulias. I met Patrick Hughes, the developer who is running against Kirk, yesterday and was generally impressed. Still not clear how Hughes raises the money he needs to show primary voters there is an alternative to Kirk though....


Athens, Ga.: Is Kendrick Meek too weak a candidate that it doesn't really matter if Charlie Crist or Marco Rubio gets the nomination since Florida's new junior senator is going to be Republican?

Chris Cillizza: I do think that there is a general sense in this town that Kendrick Meek can't win the Florida seat no matter who Republicans nominate.

And, I agree with Adam Smith -- the political editor of the St. Pete Times -- that that sense hurts Charlie Crist because it robs him of arguing that he is the only candidate who can keep the seat in Republican hands next fall.

Polling clearly shows Crist would run away with a race against Meek while Marco Rubio would be in a much closer contest.


Syracuse: If Giuliani and Pataki do not run, who opposes Kirsten Gillibrand? Republicans have a very weak bench in New York State.

Chris Cillizza: No one worth noting. And, Pataki isn't going to run.


Philadelphia: Mike Castle's poll numbers have been slipping in his race against Beau Biden. Do you think this is one race where opposing Obama on health care could be a real problem for the Republican? Delaware has some cheap radio and cable buys; maybe some outside liberal groups might like to remind voters of Castle's newfound conservatism.

Chris Cillizza: I am not so sure Castle's numbers are slipping. I know that the Susquehanna poll showed him losing a bit of ground to Beau Biden but remember that no one poll should be taken as a indication of broader trends.

This is going to be an absolutely terrific race. Biden is a skilled and able candidate and Castle is a known brand in the state.


Belair, Md.: I don't know if this is good or bad--I have no idea who Bill Simmons is, but I know who you are...could it be that he may end up having some secret desire to be some incarnation of you?

Chris Cillizza: Take that Simmons!


Aiming Too Low: No, no -- Bill Simmons is the sporting man's Sizzlah (as I assume he would pronounce it)!

He writes mostly about himself, his family, and his friends, using sports to (very) loosely weave things together.

As Ferguson would say: "Remiiind you of anyone?"

Chris Cillizza: yes, yes. "Loosely weaving things together" may be the new slogan for the Fix.


Boston: How messy will the Ayotte-Lamontagne primary turn out to be in New Hampshire? Messy enough to help Paul Hodes get to the Senate?

Chris Cillizza: It has the potential to be very messy.

Lamontagne has made no bones about the fact that he believes Ayotte to be insufficiently conservative to represent the party in the Senate.

An ideological fight over who is the real conservative in the race could well hamstring the eventual nominee as she (or he) tries to reach toward the center against Hodes.

Remember that while New Hampshire retains a solid base of fiscally conservative Republicans, the state has moved strongly toward Democrats in the last two elections.

So, being labeled a conservative Republican is not a great recipe for success


Goyalite: @Chicago, Ill.

Lexi? I thought Live Fix has officially renamed him Sexy Lexi?

Chris Cillizza: Of course. My mistake. Sexy Lexi. And, for the record, I didn't come up with that nickname. But, I am trying to push it into common usage.


New York, N.Y.: Is McCain in trouble in his primary? A recent poll showed him up only 2%. Furthermore, Bill Kirstol just predicted McCain's going to win, and that's practically a kiss of death.

Chris Cillizza: I think McCain will be ok but the poll you are referring to -- a Rasmussen survey that showed him at 45 percent and former Rep. JD Hayworth at 43 percent -- has to be concerning.

It's no secret that the Republican base in Arizona (or nationally) have little love for McCain. And Hayworth, an ideological bomb thrower during his time in Congress is the perfect candidate of the tea party crowd that seems to have an increasingly loud voice within the GOP.

If Hayworth gets in, this could be trouble for McCain although Hayworth, who lost a race for re-election in 2006, has LOTS of problems in his own right.


USA: Ok, Ok, an actual political question. Now that polling shows DE state AG Biden performing well against Castle, doesn't this suggest Delaware is less of a prospect for a Republican Senate pick-up? And are these poll numbers more likely to entice Biden the younger into the race?

Chris Cillizza: I have been taking lots of political questions. See my answer on Delaware above.

And, as for Beau Biden, I don't think there is much enticement necessary to get him to run. From everything I have heard, he is going to be in. The question is when not if.


Los Angeles: Am I out of my mind or is Jerry Brown waltzing back into the governor's mansion? He has no challenger for the Democratic nomination. And Meg Whitman doesn't look like a strong GOP nominee.

Chris Cillizza: Don't forget that Dianne Feinstein made sure that people know she is still considering a run in the immediate aftermath of Gavin Newsom dropping out.

My bet is that DiFi stays out ultimately but if she does run, she immediately becomes the favorite.

If it's Brown as the Democratic nominee, he is definitely favored against any of the three Republicans running. BUT, Whitman is worth more than a billion dollars -- a sum of money that can serve as a great equalizer in a state as big and expensive to run campaign in as Cali.


Bloomington, Ind.: FYI

She spells her name Nicolle Wallace, not Nicole Wallace.

Chris Cillizza: Double LL. Just like Cillizza.



New York City: What do you see Michael Bloomberg doing with his life after he leaves City Hall? His narrow victory has to be a bit of an embarrassment.

Chris Cillizza: He could either

a) run for president in 2012 or 2016 as an independent

b) consolidate power and become emperor

c) swim, Scrooge McDuck style, in his piles of money.

If I were him, I think you know which option I would pick.


Fairfax, Va.: The white mocha peppermint latte is AMAZING. Seriously, go order one now. It doesn't make you less of a man - I played o-line in college and don't hesitate to order them.

Also, have you started the new Simmons book yet? It's a pretty good read although I'm only about 1/3 of the way through its 600 plus pages.

Chris Cillizza: I just don't think I can do it.

If I was a giant former offensive lineman then that is one thing. But I am a skinny goofball...just won't work.

As for Simmons book, I haven't read it yet. But, the guy rocks. I will buy and read.


Pittsburgh: What are the odds that Chris Dodd decides not to run again? And would Richard Blumenthal be a prohibitive favorite as the Democratic nominee? Would that make Joe Lieberman breathe easier?

Chris Cillizza: I think Dodd is going to face serious pressure to step aside or take a spot in the Administration if his poll numbers don't pick up some time soon.

Up until this latest Quinnipiac poll, which showed him losing to former Rep. Rob Simmons by double digits, Dodd's numbers had been moving in the right direction since his disastrous spring.

But, the erosion of his numbers suggest that Dodd's perception problems in the eyes of Connecticut voters aren't fixable.

The White House plays political hard ball -- ask David Paterson -- and if they don't think Dodd can win, they will do everything they can to get him to step down, making way for state Attorney General Dick Blumenthal (D) to step in and easily win.


Jersey City: Do you see Lou Dobbs entering politics, maybe as a Senate candidate in New Jersey? He has a more coherent worldview than Sarah Palin.

Chris Cillizza: What about on the Republican side for governor in Connecticut?


Arlington, Va.: How 'bout the Hoyas? A win's a win, right?

Chris Cillizza: I guess.

Man, that Temple game felt like watching the Redskins play the Browns. You know that if you weren't a fan of the team you would have been channel-surfing about halfway through the first half.

The issues:

*Monroe MUST be more assertive.

*Wright has to BE a point guard not look to shoot or create for himself first

* Freeman needs to have a break out season. Like 2nd team Big East level.


Charlotte, N.C.: Democrats keep dropping out of contention vs. our Senator Burr. Do you think Burr is in good shape for reelection? Your blog is great!

Chris Cillizza: My guess is that Democrats wind up with Cal Cunningham, an attorney and Iraq war vet as their candidate.

Cunningham said no last week but is being worked on to change his mind in the wake of Rep. Bobby Etheridge's decision not to run against Burr.

Burr;'s numbers are not great and, if he was running in a political environment like 2008, I think he would be dead meat no matter who Democrats nominate.

2010 is looking like a better year for Republicans and my guess is that Burr hangs on.


Chris Cillizza: Folks that it's for today. I won't be chatting next week as I am off for the Thanksgiving holiday -- Fix Jr's first!

So, have a great Turkey Day. And, do some quantitative easing in front of some football games.

Don't forget to check the Fix for the latest and, dare I say, greatest political news.


The Homeless Man's Bill Simmons


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