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The Live Fix with Chris Cillizza

Chris Cillizza
Friday, August 13, 2010; 11:00 AM

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Chris Cillizza: Hello everyone.Welcome to my second chat of the week! For those who missed the announcement, I will now be chatting three times a week -- Monday, Wednesday and Friday -- at 11 am. (The only drawback? The chats are 30 minutes long each.)We are a few days removed from the last big primary day of the summer on Tuesday but the fight over what it means/meant rages on. We will be listening to it during the chat to further assess.Let's get to it.

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Family dinner: Watching Rangel's House floor speech, I was reminded of a family dinner where the family's "a little off" uncle makes a scene. It is usually followed immediately by someone quickly moving to another topic like nothing happened. I didn't see it live, who spoke right after Rangel and how do you follow something like that up? Awkward...

Chris Cillizza: As I write, Rep. Maxine Waters and her grandson/chief of staff are laying out an EXTENDED defense of the ethics charges brought against her.Between she and Rangel this has, um, not been a good week for House Democrats.I named Rangel the winner of my "worst week in Washington" competition earlier today -- make sure to check out the live video reveal every Friday at 10:30! -- for his seeming tin ear to how his decision to push back on the charges against him plays nationally.One of my colleagues suggested that Rangel was checking off his own personal bucket list without much concern for what its impact is on his party.That sounds about right.

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Mid-term races & wacky weather: I'm convinced that DC's wacky weather this year is directly related to the number of wacky people (I'm looking at you Ben Quayle, Rand Paul, Sharron Angle, etc) running for Congress in November. Should I lay off the caffeine or am I on to something?

Chris Cillizza: Lay off the caffeine (he says as he sips a campfire mocha from Caribou)

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Ice Island and 2010: The giant ice island broken off from Greenland and drifting toward the coastline of North America over the next two years will make global climate change something tangible in the eyes of American voters. That and other yet to be seen environmental calamities may profoundly influence the debate for the 2012 Presidential elections. President Obama and his support of energy/climate change legislation will clearly have been proven to be on the right side of history. Just to what extent may leading environmentalist Al Gore play a major role in his support of the President in the run up to the 2012 elections? As for me I am taking the family on a fishing trip to Cape Hatteras today. I fear for our children the Outer Banks and other precious coastal environmental assets may be lost by rising sea levels caused by the melting of polar ice.

Chris Cillizza: Um, ok.

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Primary narrative: My favorite comment from media analysis Re: tuesday's primary was by Chuck Todd. (Paraphrasing) "The only thing one can say about the results of Tues. primary is that the candidate with the most votes won. " I love seeing the pundit class prognasticate and then watch The Daily Show or Colbert do a bit on how wrong, silly or far-fetched they were. I know that it is their job( and yours too) to make sense of what elections mean, but sometimes the stretch to find a narrative to fit what is a diverse country with diffferent problems in different areas seems ridiculous. Also, there seems little emphasis on the actual performance of the candidate. I will never beleive that Scott Brown could have been elected if he had run against a better campaigner than Martha Coakley turned out to be. If Harry Reid ends up winning in NV, it will be because of the candidate he was running against, not some larger, sweeping narrative of " lincumbant's rule" or 'white men make comeback against Grizzlies.""

Chris Cillizza: Look, I think there is a tendency on the part of the media on days/nights when there are multiple states voting on the same day to try and find the common thread that links them all.Sometimes there is a common thread. Sometimes there isn't. (Michael Bennet, Nathan Deal) won. Establishment candidates lost (Jane Norton, Scott McInnis).The tea party guy -- Buck -- won. But, Buck is also the guy who called some elements of the tea party "dumbasses". So, not sure he is in the same cartegory as either Sharron Angle or Ken Buck.Sometimes the trend on a certain primary day is that there is no trend. Or, to quote Ty Webb quoting the Zen philosopher Basho: A donut with no holes is a danish.

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Iced Via: How does this iced Via work? How does the powder know it is being poured into iced coffee? Does it explode or disintegrate or something if you accidentally pour it into hot water?

Chris Cillizza: I have wondered the same thing. Is this a Pop Rocks and Coke phenomenon?

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Pundits on Gingrich: Do the pundits and wise people in the GOP think Gingrinch's family values as described by the Esquire mag effect his chances of winning the nomination for president in 2012 or keep him from running? There was no new info in the article and I have not seen very much about it in the media, so I wondered how much "character" or "values" will matter in 2012. Has America moved past its puritanical roots or will bad economy trump messy divorces and nasty treatment of ex's.. How did this same issue effect Rudy G. try for the GOP nomination?

Chris Cillizza: I think that Esquire piece, which is VERY long but worth reading, effectively lays out the case for why it will be hard for Gingrich to be the nominee in 2012.There is no question he has a big brain -- one of the biggest in politics -- but his personal life has been messy over the years and in the withering spotlight of a presidential primary race much of that background will come out.And, while political junkies know about Gingrich's past, many potential voters don't. When they find out, Gingrich could struggle -- particularly with social conservatives in places like Iowa and South Carolina.

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McMahon: I was watching Hardball and they had an interesting debate on what the CT senate race. They were debating whether McMahon could actually win or if her sole purpose was to cause the DNC and DSCC to spend more money on Blumenthal and sacrifice money that would have gone to people like Brad Ellsworth who has the potential to make Indiana competitve. What are your thoughts on this?

Chris Cillizza: I think anytime a candidate wins a primary and is pledging to spend upwards of $50 million on the race, he/she has a chance to win.McMahon is obviously the underdog in the race against state AG Dick Blumenthal who has been around the state forever and is quite popular.But, her money and her VERY outsider profile could allow her to step in if Blumenthal slips.I think Republicans are thrilled to have her as their nominee since she can fund ads in the very expensive New York City media market (it reaches much of southwestern CT) and they don't have to.

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Linda Mcmahon: Is Richard Blumenthal's campaign destined to put Linda McMahon in the Iron Sheik's camel clutch?

Chris Cillizza: Thanks for giving me a perfect segue to discuss the best finishing moves ever for wrestlers.1. Undertaker's tombstone pile driver (that looks like it would really hurt)2. Ric Flair's figure four leglock crippler crossface4. Jake the Snake's sleeper hold5. Triple H's pedigree6. Diamond Dallas Page's Diamond Cutter.The two worst finishing moves ever? Hogan's leg drop and The Rock's People's elbow. Both lame.

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Arcade Fire: Greetings from Austin....I've only listened to the Arcade Fire a couple times through at this point, but it strikes me as not nearly as dark as Neon Bible, which I really loved. Your thoughts - is it too sunny? Did you hear this year's release from Thee Silver Mt Zion? It's got more of that undercurrent of discontent that I was hoping for from the Arcade Fire (and it's a damn fine album, too).

Chris Cillizza: My initial reaction is that I like it. Funeral to me was amazing, Neon Bible less so.Arcade Fire takes themselves REALLY seriously -- too seriously for me -- but makes good music.

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Minnesota governor's race: HI Chris -- Thanks for taking questions today. What's your take on the Emmer/Dayton race in MN, now that the primary is over? Emmer's taken some hits for his no minimum wage for restaurant servers gaffe, but is Dayton's at times flaky tenure in the U.S. Senate also a liability for him?

Chris Cillizza: My initial read is that Dayton is probably somewhat too liberal for the state and Emmer is somewhat too conservative.So, they will fight for the middle.I tend to think Dayton has a bit of an edge thanks to his personal money and the state's Democratic tendencies.

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Georgia Gubernatorial Race: With the DGA and now the White House weighing in on Georgia's gubernatorial race, how do you like Barnes' chances in November?

Chris Cillizza: I think a Barnes-Deal matchup is Democrats' best chance at winning in the Peach State.My guess is that national Democrats do spend some money in Georgia to try and steal one in a cycle where they are going to incur significant losses.Still, it's Georgia in a good Republican year nationally.

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Chris Cillizza: Maxine Waters is STILL talking.

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Blumenthal versus McMahon: Your last chat featured a lot of joking about Linda McMahon and wrestling. All I know about pro wrestling I learned by watching Mickey Rourke in his film "The Wrestler" a year or so ago, but why are Democrats so confident that lying about one's military career is a better way to run for office than being an executive for pro wrestling?

Chris Cillizza: The general argument is that Blumenthal is a known and liked commodity in the state -- as proven by how he weathered the revelations that he had repeatedly misspoken about his military record.McMahon, on the other hand argue Democrats, is still unknown to many, many voters in the state and if the wrestling affiliation is made front and center they will be turned off by her.The next three months will test that theory.

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Jake the Snake: He didn't use the sleeper! The DDT was his finisher!Now if you want the sleeper, Verne Gagne was your man.

Chris Cillizza: But didn't he used to put people to sleep and then get the snake out?Or was that the DDT?Am I confusing him with Brutus the Barber who put them to sleep and then cut their hair?

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Vitter: Could he possibly have a leadership position in the next Congress given his own problems? He seems to think he will.

Chris Cillizza: No.

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Presidential Endorsement?: Lots of the scuttlebutt that came after the primaries seemed to indicate that it was a win for Obama since Bennet succeeded. But doesn't the bar for this seem low, being as it was only a primary rather than a general election? Thanks.

Chris Cillizza: Well, the White House -- and the president personally -- was VERY visible for Bennet.So, while it was only a primary, had Bennet come up short (as another Obama-endorsed candidate named Arlen Specter did earlier this year) it would have been a major news story.By dodging that storyline, the Bennet win amounted to a win for the White House.

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Oh dear god, what is that awful song?: "Rococo" is hilarious. Massive put-down of some of their biggest fans, but hilarious. Also, that weird ice island comment earlier was based in some truth: this ginormo chunk of glacier broke away earlier this month and is currently drifting across the Atlantic.

Chris Cillizza: I am going to write a song about "stucco" or "plaster of paris" when I form my band. The name of that band? The Dale Peterson Experience.

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Heart Punch: Banned by the WWF now WWE many years ago by Stan Killer Kowaloski.That's the best finishing move ever. One punch to the heart.What's his name the Ag of CT reminds me of Spitzer from NY swarmy and pretentious! I bet he has a few skeletons in his closet. Hope Linda wins!

Chris Cillizza: Punch to the heart!

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More or less of you: Hi Chris, 3 times a week seems good, but a half hour goes by too quickly - would you like your "fans" to lobby for return to just Friday hour or do you get more free time this way?

Andrea Caumont: A half an hour 3x per week equals 1.5 hours of Chris! That's a 50% increase!

Chris Cillizza: I was told there would be no math.

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Prediction: What's you prediction for the biggest surprise in the November Senate races? I say Delaware stays in the Democratic column.

Chris Cillizza: HMMM. Surprises. I feel like everything is so known these days -- damn blogs! -- that there aren't as many surprises.I agree that Chris Coons is a quality candidate and Rep. Mike Castle (R) doesn't have a great resume for this sort of outsider cycle.BUT, Castle is well known and liked in the state. And, personal connections matter in a small state like Delaware.

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Arlington, VA: How will the increasing success of out-of-the-mainstream candidates in this year's election cycle impact Georgetown men's basketball and Catholic women's field hockey?

Chris Cillizza: I am currently developing an algorithm -- in consultation with Google -- to figure this very question out.Just days befor the Catholic field hockey season begins. Hard for me to describe my level of excitement.

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