The Live Fix with Chris Cillizza

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Chris Cillizza
Friday, December 3, 2010; 11:00 AM

Get your Friday Live Fix as Chris Cillizza discusses the Friday Line, the Worst Week in Washington, Congress, the Obama administration, the recent elections and all the latest political news.

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Chris Cillizza: Good morning all!Armed with only a grande white chocolate mocha ($4.86) and my wits, I am ready for your question barrage.Give me your questions. I will crush them in my mind vice.

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Turnout...: Turnout was critical in consolidating the Dems gains in 2008 and then in reversing them in 2010. Do you see this as an on-going issue with the Dems doing better in Presidential elections years and the Repubs, due to their base historically voting in higher numbers in off year elections? Could we be seeing the House swing back and forth for the next decade due to the cycles and turnout? Ken - Flatonia, TX

Chris Cillizza: It's a great question.I think midterm elections almost always amount to a battle between the two parties' bases since non-base voters just aren't all that interested in non-presidential elections.When you have a base energy disparity AND independents go overwhelmingly for one party over the other, you get the sort of wave elections we saw in 2006 and 2010.

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Call the GOP's bluff: Why don't the Senate Democrats call the GOP's bluff and adjourn if the the Republicans refuse to vote seperately on tax cuts for the wealthy or vote on anything else? They can blame the Republicans for being the party of 'NO'. Senator Reid could always call them back if the Republicans give in.

Chris Cillizza: Because there are 21 Democrats up for reelection in 2012 including people in GOP-leaning states like North Dakota, Montana, Nebraska and Missouri who don't want to go that route.Remember that this lame duck comes after a major electoral windfall for Republicans and everything that happens in it is framed by what happened on Nov. 2.

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Palin in Gop Primary debates: As much as I would love to see Palin in a bunch of GOP primary debates, I don't think it will happen. I'm sure the other potential cadidates don't want her to to run so they don't have to attack her on national TV in a debate. To Pallin suppporters, it doesn't seem to matter how foolish or inane her comment or position, she just dismisses criticsm with a "lamestream" or "gential area" remark. The press seem just inept at questioning her as they cannot get to her to even ask questions. I will always be sorry I will not be able to see her interviewed by Tim Russert. Can you image her appearing on MTP? So I can see why Romney, Barbour, etc... are scared of her and don't want to confront her headon. They want her endorsement and her followers and excitment, but not her views and wacky syntax. So while Palin plays at being Fred Thompson, can the others start to gear up their campaign staffs and Money? How will her holding out effect things in the early states?

Chris Cillizza: I have said -- and will say again now -- that Palin is a prime mover and maybe THE prime mover in the 2012 race.No one has the star power or the loyalty within the tea party faction of the GOP of Palin. And, it's not even all that close.That doesn't mean she will win the nomination if she decides to run. But, it does mean that Romney, Barbour, Daniels, Pawlenty and everyone else be keeping close watch over what Palin says and does over the next six months.

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2012 DNC Site: How do you rate the four cities (Charlotte, Cleveland, Minneapolis, and Saint Louis) vying to host the Democratic National Convention in 2012? Being a Charlottean, (by the way, contrary to national news articles, I don't think the city needs to be referenced by its state) with the city being in a Right-To-Work state and NC becoming more Republican as a result of the 2010 elections, my opinion is that Saint Louis is probably the favorite due to its swing state status.

Chris Cillizza: Mrs. Fix is a St. Louis native -- like Nelly! -- so I am partial.If it's in St. Louis, I pledge to go to Ted Drews every single day during the convention.

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Fix Articles: After writing one of your Fix articles, do you do the customary WOOOOOO, a la Ric Flair?

Chris Cillizza: I actually take a ride on Space Mountain.

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Palin: Just curious if you know if there has been any polling going on while her 30 minute or hour long publicity stunt has been running on TLC? If so, have her numbers changed at all?

Chris Cillizza: But, I generally think that if you liked Palin going into theshow, you will really like her coming out of it.And, if you didn't like her before the show, you aren't going to like her now.I think it gets at one of the biggest potential problems Palin has if she tries to run for president: Can she change minds? Can she convince people -- independents in particular -- that she is someone they can like and vote for?

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World Cup: On a scale of 1-10, what was your level of disappointment that USA lost the 2022 bid? I'm about a 4. Would have been great, but other world regions deserve their chance, especially if they've never had it.

Chris Cillizza: 8.I would have really like to go to a few games...the atmosphere would be amazing.Of course, I am sure Russia and Qatar will be the same. NOT.

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2012: The Dems are so bad at framing, I can see two scenarios for 2012:* economy still stinks reps blame Obama and sweep in* economy improves reps take credit and sweep inHow do the Dems get credit/place blame? Do they need some sort of boot camp to learn this stuff?

Chris Cillizza: I think Obama's fate in 2012 is tied directly to the economy -- no question.If the unemployment rate stays above 9 percent -- it's 9.8% right now -- Obama will face a very difficult road to reelection.But if the trend line on unemployment is moving in a downward direction heading into 2012, Obama can reasonably make the case that not only did he avert an economic disaster when he took office but he put policies in place that helped turn things around.The last two years have taught me to be VERY wary about making any assumptions about how things will look in two years time.....

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Obama in Afghanisan: How coincidental is is that he is abroad with such poor unemployment numbers; tax hike looming; Rangel censure, etc? Is he better off outside of DC today??

Chris Cillizza: I think many White House strategists -- including the Prez himself -- thinks he is better off outside of Washington.I would expect him to do more stuff from the states in the next year as the White House tries to keep him in the "outsider" mold as he prepares to run for a second term.Not sure the Afghanistan trip fits into this mold. But, I would say that how Afghanistan goes will be a factor -- how big of oen remains to be seen -- in the calculus of whether Obama will get reelected.

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RE: Palin: Are you starting to see more push back to Sarah Palin from moderate Republicans who dont think she has a chance in a possible general election match up with Obama?

Chris Cillizza: You are starting to see more establishment Republicans go public with their concerns/doubts about her.We did our daily "Fast Fix" video about it today: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/the-fast-fix/

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New York Senate Race 2012: If Chris Lee decided to jump into the Senate Race in two years, would he have a chance?

Chris Cillizza: Perhaps.Kirsten Gillibrand proved herself to be a powerful campaigner in the last year and a half and, as importantly, a dynamite fundraiser.Under the right circumstances -- continued economic struggles, growing unpopularity for President Obama -- I could see New York being somewhat competitive in 2012.But, with 22 other Democrats up for reelection in November 2012, Gillibrand would be WAY down the list of potential Republican targets.

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Fee FIFA Foe Dumb: Then in "Field of Dreams": If you build it, they will come.: Today in Qatar: "If they come, we will build it." I guess we're not in a position to promise $50 billion for a World Cup?

Chris Cillizza:

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Taxes: Perhaps I'm being too simplistic about it, but I say let all the tax cuts expire. I know that means that I'd be paying more in taxes, but the fact of the matter is, cutting taxes adds dramatically to our national debt, and raising taxes is unfortunately a necessity to climb out of this economic hole we're so deeply entrenched in. Unfortunately, we can't please everybody in trying to fix the economy, which means we can't have it both ways--which is to say, keeping taxes low while maintaining so many entitlement programs. One hand has to wash the other.

Chris Cillizza: Right.The problem is that no one wants to be the person who is asked to make sacrifices.Another example: everyone like the idea of universal health care coverage in theory but when it comes to paying for that sort of coverage it becomes less popular.Ah, human nature.

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And Old Lace: I think it has been a bad week for phosphorus based life forms. It seems we don't need phosphorus afterall to be alive. I am not an expert, yet I sometimes wonder, as scientists debate complex theories on how this can be, that perhaps the simplest theory may be the best. If DNA, as far as we now, is universal, I presume the DNA directs life to adjust to the conditions it faces. I presume any possible combination of elements may be possible for there to be life, given the conditions, so, if there isn't enough phosphorous around, a little arsenic will do.

Chris Cillizza: Yeah, me too.Wait, I have no idea what you are talking about.

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Chris Cillizza: Musical interlude: Starting to put together my best of 2010 list...suggestions are welcome...either here or email at chris.cillizza@wpost.com

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Whither Worst Week in Washington?: Did I miss something? Where did it go?

Chris Cillizza: Oh, it's here. I've written it but we haven't published it out yet. Tune in to me on Andrea Mitchell at 1:50 pm today (MSNBC, natch) for a reveal!

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Chris Christie's Weight Loss Challenge: Question: Whatever happened to Christie's sort of deal with Mika Bzrezinski on Morning Joe to team up to lose weight? I like Christie, and I bet it would have the same publicity benefit's it did for Huckabee.

Chris Cillizza: I saw a segment on CNN earlier this week asking whether overweight people -- Christie and Haley Barbour -- could be viable candidates.WOW.Weight is obviously a touchy subject in anyone's life -- even those people who run for president. Huckabee did get some amazing press for his weight loss. But, would he have done as well as he did in 2008 if he was his original weight?

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9.8%: Chris - with today's unemployment news, it seems like just nothing is working out for Obama. Every week it's something new: the midterms, Wikileaks, economic news. I'm thinking that, at this rate, as long as the GOP nominates someone credible in 2012 (read: not Palin), that candidate will cruise to victory without great effort. Agree or disagree?

Chris Cillizza: See my answer above about how much things can change politically in two years.Obama has clearly been knocked back by the state of the economy as well as the questions surrounding his major initiatives like health care and the economic stimulus package.But, comebacks are nothing new in politics. And, any politician worth anything has been knocked down, gotten up and kept fighting.So, while today the political landscape doesn't look great for President Obama, I don't think it makes sense to assume that we will be dealing with that same political climate in November 2012.

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Rougher sport?: Politics or field hockey?

Chris Cillizza: It can get nasty.

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world cup: is the WP not going to send you to the games in either Russia or Qatar? If that's the case, we need to lobby for you to GO!

Chris Cillizza: Forwarding this to the bosses as we speak...

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Pence for pres/gov: Everyone here in Indiana agrees Mike Pence wants to be president. Some just think he needs to be governor first to gain experience.It is too big of a risk for him to run for gov against a sitting lieutenant governor in the primary and Evan Bayh in the general? Lose and his prez hopes are over?

Chris Cillizza: I don't think Mike Pence thinks he needs to be governor first.Everything he says -- and everything I hear -- is that he is focused on a national bid.Running from the House is a tough thing to do but Pence's natural speaking skills should help distinguish him from the pack a bit if he does decide to get in.His biggest challenge? Raising the money necessary to run active campaigns -- simultaneously -- in Iowa, NH and South Carolina.

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World Cup (with apologies to Yakov Smirnoff): In America, you go to World Cup. In Soviet Russia, World Cup go to you!

Chris Cillizza: TERRIFIC Yakov Smirnoff reference. Now, if I could just work an "Alf" reference in we'd had our "only in the 80s" quotient filled.

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Next big topic?: Now that the elections are over, and as the lame duck session runs out of days, can we please move onto the next big topic? When will FNL come back on NBC?

Chris Cillizza: Seriously. This is one of my big two TV questions. The other? When will "Ed" come to DVD?

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The Fix chat schedule: Will you be resuming your online chats on Mondays and Wednesdays as well as Fridays?

Chris Cillizza: I am going to be unveiling a new chat on Monday....stay tuned...

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Appearance: Have you ever been welcomed the way Lebron was welcomed back to Cleveland last night?

Chris Cillizza: Amazing that Fix Jr. can boo so loud.

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Baby Fix: How is baby fix or should I say "little fix" as I am sure he is what three or four now?

Chris Cillizza: Fix Jr. is 21 months. And a ball of energy. He rocks.

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World Cup: But can't you still go to games in Russia and Qatar? You could just fly over there on Air Fix One and hang out with your fellow oligarchs/robber barons.

Chris Cillizza: A fair point. Also, Air Fix One just made my day.

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Thune: Does anyone (GOP insiders) really think Thune has a chance? No one knows who he is--- and he won't get the same play as Obama did as he will not be the first serious white male candidate. Please try not to use any qualifiers in expressing your opinion.

Chris Cillizza: No one knowing who he is isn't that big an impediment. Raise the money, spend time in the early states and that all changes.Remember, no one knew who Mitt Romney was at this time in the last presidential election.Not one qualifier!

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World Cup 2018: I was more disappointed England didnt get the World Cup in 2018. They only received two votes in the first round of voting

Chris Cillizza: England: always disappointing in international soccer.Ok, that was a low blow. But, seriously. And Wayne Rooney needs to get back into form soon...Berbatov is hot on his heels.

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Michael Steele: I find it odd that the news media keeps talking "if Michael Steele runs for re-election..." really - his guy is barely hanging on - why doesn't the media just call it - like they do everything else.... and start to focus on the others who will take his place.

Chris Cillizza: Ah, yes. The media decides it.To the substance of your question, I think Steele is genuinely still undecided about whether or not to run. And, if he does run, he would be a real force.That's not to say he would win -- he probably has 50-ish votes and would need 85 -- but he would be a factor.So, that's why we cover it. We also cover, by the way, the people who are thinking about challenging him.

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Christine O' Donnell: Christine O'Donnell would fit into your 2010 list, and this fulfills the quota of questions about Christine

Chris Cillizza: Quota filled. And that's "Christine O'Donnell, author" to you.

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McCain endorsement: Can you imagine McCain endorsing Palin for President-- and I wonder if McCain had the power of the mind vice like Donagy if he would squeeze Palin out of it?.

Chris Cillizza: HAROLD!And, I think McCain is standing by Palin and her abilities at this point because has to. He picked her. He said to the world that he thought she would be ready to be president if he was somehow incapacitated.Going back on that would raise major questions about his own decision-making.

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Bloomberg 2012: I just dont see how Mike Bloomberg is going to enter the 2012 race as an independent

Chris Cillizza: Me neither.But, thousands of words will be spilled on the possibility between now and whenever Bloomberg decides to say something definitive.

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Royal Wedding: Have you gotten your invites to the Royal Wedding? I keep checking the mail, and for some unexplained reason I have not received them

Chris Cillizza: Ditto. I assume they sent it to the old Fix address and haven't gotten the news that we moved yet.

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Dem primary opponents in 2012?: Is President Obama likely to face any well funded, serious primary opponents from the left in the Democratic primaries? Someone who could argue "Elect me and I'll actually do the things Obama only promised to do." Any idea who might challenge Obama?

Chris Cillizza: No.Russ Feingold said AGAIN yesterday that he will not run and supports Obama. Howard Dean has done the same.Outside of the two of them, I can't think of anyone who could make a serious -- and that's the operative word -- primary bid against the sitting president.

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"no one wants to be the person who is asked to make sacrifices": What are the chances that sacrifices will actually get made? Will the parties be willing to each give up one thing to get one thing (or something along those lines)? Or is everyone just going to get territorial about their particular sacred cows for another two years?

Chris Cillizza: I tend to think that only cataclysmic events can trigger genuine movement on these sorts of intractable issues. I know that's a terribly cynical view but it's one based on watching how Congress has acted over the last decade or so.There's just no appetite to do anything unpopular.

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Best music of 2010: Single: F** You by Cee-lo: highly, dangerously singable.

Chris Cillizza: Have heard same.Have also heard new Kanye is just incredible. But, I am opposed to spending money on Kanye and supporting his antics. Do I need to get over it and just buy the new one?

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Jim Morrison: Any thoughts about Charlie Crist contemplating pardoning me? Will I rise from the dead and thank him? Actually, interesting downfall all together. Potential VP in 2008 reduced to pardoning Jimbo to get some attention after massive defeat.

Chris Cillizza: Just terrific stuff.This is the end/my one and only friend/the end.

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Host city for 2012 DNC: If I remember correctly, the four candidates for host city of 2012 DNC were Charlotte, N.C., Cleveland, Ohio, Minneapolis, Minn. and St. Louis, Mo.With the results of the midterms and the potential Republicans getting more and more into focus, which city is having the edge?If I were factoring in the midterms, I'd pick Cleveland, but that's me.

Chris Cillizza: Cleveland finally wins something!Too soon?

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Chathouse with Cillizza: Are you taking over the Chathouse discussion on Monday afternoons now that Wilbon is leaving?

Chris Cillizza: Wait, Wilbon is leaving???!(I kid.)I am still waiting for the PTI guys to groom me as Mr. Tony's ultimateb successor. We are both cynical, don't like flying and had affiliations with the Washington Post.What could be more perfect?

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And that's "Christine O'Donnell, author" to you: Um no. To be an author you actually have to be the one writing your books. James Patterson is the exception that proves the rule.

Chris Cillizza: Heyoooo!I love going negative on James Patterson.

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White chocolate...: ...is NOT chocolate, no way, no how! Get with the REAL stuff, bittersweet chocolate!!!

Chris Cillizza: Chocolate snob.

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Toast to Leslie Nielson: Surely, you cannot be serious?

Chris Cillizza: A hospital, what is it?It's a big building with patients in it. But that's not important right now.

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Michele Bachmann for Senate?: Tell me it's just Internet chatter that Michele Bachmann is considering seeking the Republican nod to challenge Sen. Klobuchar?I thought so until she was interviewed on local news and basically gave a Sarah Palin response about "looking at how Amy Klobuchar votes" and "if the door is open" or something like that?I don't think she'll win, but I just don't want all the national press attention to Michele Bachmann statewide campaign brings nor the TV and radio commercials from "Liberty for America" or "Amercan for Liberty" for her I'll have to put up with.

Chris Cillizza: I think the chatter is based on the fact that Bachmann raised $13 million in the 2010 cycle. That is an eye-popping sum and would suggest that if she ran statewide, she could raise much, much more.But, money doesn't equal success. Ollie North raised tens of millions from national conservative donors when he ran for the Senate in 1994 and didn't win.

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Feingold: What will Russ Feingold be doing after he leaves the Senate? Go on a reality show?

Chris Cillizza: HMMM...I think Feingold would love to get back to the Senate.Sen. Herb Kohl (D) is up for reelection in 2012 and is talked about as a potential retirement. If hKohl does step aside, I would bet Feingold takes a very serious look at running for the open seat.

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Outside of the two of them, I can't think of anyone who could make a serious -- and that's the operative word -- primary bid against the sitting president.: To paraphrase your own words - It's early.

Chris Cillizza: Fair enough.

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Dunn: Since Boz quit early, how bummed are you that Adam Dunn signed with the White Sox? I wish the Nats could keep him, but $56M for 4 years is too steep a price.

Chris Cillizza: The guy is incredibly productive in terms of home runs and on base percentage. Plus, he stays healthy.I feel like franchise is generally moving in the right direction but that one was a tough pill to swallow.

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Fundraising: How much money will GOP candidates need to raise to be a viable primary contender? Do you have any Q1, Q2 benchmarks?

Chris Cillizza: Between $25-40 million. It's hard to know because we don't know the shape of the field or how long the race goes.But it seems to me that $25 million would have to be the floor.

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Chris Cillizza: That's all folks.Make sure to check out the Fix for our ratings on the 10 senators most likely to retire in 2012.And tune in at 11 am on Monday for a new kind of Fix chat!Have a great weekend. Read the Fix!Chris


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