The Live Fix with Chris Cillizza

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Chris Cillizza
Friday, January 7, 2011; 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 everyone and welcome to the first Live Fix chat of 2011.I am ringing in the new year with a wicked chest cold courtesy of Fix Jr. Good times! Let's do it.

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Rudy Guiliani: Rudy thinks there's going to be room for a moderate with national security credentials (which he for some reason believes he has) in the Republican presidential primary. Do you think he'll bother to show up in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina this time?

Chris Cillizza: The report this am in the New York Post that Rudy was considering a 2012 race was absolutely baffling to me.If we learned anything in the last election, it was that moderates are going to have a VERY hard time winning GOP primaries.And, Giuliani didn't even come close last time he ran for president.It seems far fetched to me that he would look at 2010 and conclude that a moderate Republican from New York could win the party's nod.But, like Tim Pawlenty said of Michele Bachmann, if you're over 35 you have every right to run ;)

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GOP Insiders: I think the National Journal did a poll of GOP insiders that listed Mitt Romney as the most likely 2012 Republican nominee. Given his well-documented weaknesses (flip-flops on abortion, Romneycare's similarity to Obamacare, and wariness among some because of his Mormonism), what do you make of it?

Chris Cillizza: I think he is the favorite RIGHT NOW because of the fact that he has run once before and has kept his political team largely in place.As you note, Romney has some major weaknesses that he'll have to overcome to win the GOP nod. But, every other candidate (or potential candidate) in the race has problems too.I think people predicting Romney's ultimate demise are getting too far in front of the story. Politics is an unpredictable business. So, while Romney has problems, I am not sure they are entirely disqualifying just yet.

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Gingrich & Huckabee: A lot of the 2012 GOP primary polls out have significant support for Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee. But given Gingrich's history and the fact that Huckabee is making serious cash as a TV and radio host, where do you think their supporters would turn if neither ran?

Chris Cillizza: I think that depends on who DID run.For my money, I think Gingrich is very likely to run. I think he wants to know whether he can run and win and this is probably his last, best shot.Huckabee, for the reasons you cite, is a much dicier proposition. If I had to guess, I would say he stays out because he has a very nice life right now and a presidential race would make things much more difficult -- and it's tough to see him as the nominee.I think for all of the social conservative/tea party candidates, the prime mover is Sarah Palin. What she does will give us considerable insight into what Huckabee, Gingrich, Santorum and Pence do.

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Favor: Can I stay at your Italian villa during the third week of April? I need somewhere to stay during that leg of my European vacation. I promise that I'm a clean and considerate house guest.If that's already spoken for, then could I stay at either your London flat or Swiss chateau?

Chris Cillizza: Absolutely.

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on repeat: Are you going to remind us again in February that Barack Obama had a great December?

Chris Cillizza: Don't want to spoil the surprise.

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Mayor of Chicago and White House Chief of Staff: Rahm Emanuel resigned as Chief of Staff to run for Mayor of Chicago. President Obama named the Mayor of Chicago's brother (William Daley) as the new Chief of Staff. Would it be legal for Richard Daley (current Mayor of Chicago) to endorse Rahm Emanuel as his successor?

Chris Cillizza: Absolutely. I think, though, that Daley (Richard, that is) stays out of the race to replace him.Remember though that Rahm was the finance director for Richard M. Daley's first run for mayor back in the 1980s so you can safely assume there remains some closeness there.

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Bachmann: Ok Chris, who is going to be the first person to announce for the GOP nomination? When will they do it? Six months?

Chris Cillizza: I think Rick Santorum will be first. Followed by Pawlenty. Palin will be the last person to make a decision, methinks.What that decision is I have NO idea.

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reading: Just curious....would you have referred to yesterday's reading of the Constitution as a "political stunt" if the Dems had suggested it?

Chris Cillizza: Well, the piece you're referring to asked a question: Was reading the Constitution a political stunt or a serious endeavor.I concluded it was a little bit of both. You can watch it for yourself here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/the-fast-fix/

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Paid for by the Committee to Re-Invade Vietnam: What are we more likely to see: Alec Baldwin run for Congress or Jack Donaghy run for Senate?

Chris Cillizza: I, personally, would MUCH prefer a Jack Donaghy candidacy. Of course, he'd have to explain what went down between him and Cheney....but he does have a bumper sticker already in place: "Happy holidays...is what terrorists say. Merry Christmas."

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Whoa!: John Edwards and Rielle! Are you shocked or what? I am.

Chris Cillizza: To quote Jane's Addiction (AWESOME band): Nothing's Shocking.

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FNL?: Can we finally address an important question - when will the final season of FNL begin on NBC?

Chris Cillizza: Have been wondering this myself...does anyone on the chat have answers?Also, SAY NOTHING of this season so far...I do not have DirectTv.

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Who is more likely: Who is more likely to be the next U.S. senator from Maryland, Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown or U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen?

Chris Cillizza: Chris Van Hollen. I think CVH would be a terrific Senate candidate. He's likely to have to wait until 2016 to run though. I can't imagine Mikulski running for another term.

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Thune handsomness: I am always surprised that any mention of John Thune is accompanied with the qualifier the he is handsome. I protest. I do not think he belongs in the Handsome Man Club and am taking my protest to Jimmy Kimmel. How do you vote?

Chris Cillizza: "Handsome".But I know Kimmel, as president of the HMC, always has veto power.And, no, I am not wearing spanx right now.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyGJXLxtVEo

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2012: Why all the talk about Jon Huntsman as a serious contender in 2012? Like you said in the Giuliani question, moderates are going to have a very tough time winning GOP primaries. If he runs what do you think his chances are?

Chris Cillizza: VERY hard for me to see Huntsman -- an Obama appointee! -- winning the GOP nomination for president after what we saw in 2010.Stranger things have happened but it seems to be that 2016 (or later) might be a better time for Huntsman who is quite an impressive candidate.

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NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION ALREADY DASHED: And I was hoping (against hope) that the Fix Q & A in 2011 was going to be a Palin-free zone for a least a couple of cycles. Alas.

Chris Cillizza: Until she make her mind up about running for president, she's going to be in the chat -- and the news.Like her or not, she is the prime mover in the GOP presidential race. She acts, others react.

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Savage v Hogan: Which was better, the Madness or the Mania?

Chris Cillizza: Hogan was a great showman and a mediocre wrestler. I would take Savage.But, there are SO many guys better than both of them: Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Triple H....

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Political Handicap: Does Vegas lay odds on major political races? You must be able to bet on it in the much more permissive London betting houses. I ask because I'm curious how much the odds of Obama's reelection have changed from the day after the November elections to today. Maybe you could start a lucrative new side business of laying political odds for Vegas/London.

Chris Cillizza: They don't (or I at least don't think they do).We need to all move to England where they gamble on everything. And where soccer teams are sponsored by gambling conglomerates.

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Ed Muskie: I can't help recalling the alleged crying incident by presidential contender Ed Muskie in 1972 when I watched John Boehner tearing up while presiding over the House this week. The incident destroyed Muskie's image as a calm and reasoned leader and is thought to have brought down his campaign for the White House. The incident was later revealed to be part of the Nixon White House's dirty tricks campaign. Then as now the public has a low tolerance for such public displays of emotion. How would conservative media outlets have reacted if Nancy Pelosi had ever cried in public? At some point if Mr. Boehner continues to cry in public it seems to me it will start to take a political toll.

Chris Cillizza: And don't forget the "did she/didn't she" cry incident with Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire during the 2008 primary season.Muskie's excuse for crying -- a snowflake flew in his eye -- is an all time classic excuse.As for crying more generally in the public sphere, I tend to have a pretty high tolerance for it. As a cryer myself, I get that public officials occasionally get overwhelmed.

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Why remind us of Chicago: Let's face it between the Blagojevich corruption trial and the failed Summer Olympics 2016 bid, Chicago hasn't been helping Barack Obama's image lately. So why remind of his Chicago past with selecting William Daley?

Chris Cillizza: I did think it was interesting that Obama would double down on the Chicago connections by picking Daley, a member of the first family of the Windy City.My guess is that the President is just not all that concerned with the impression that he has too many advisers from Chicago or believes it's a sort of inside-the-beltway storyline that average people don't care about.

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DON'T STAND UP ALL AT ONCE: Santorum? Really? Has the GOP painted themselves into that tight a corner that he would rate consideration as a serious candidate? (Not that Santorum isn't totally serious, but really?)

Chris Cillizza: I think the question was who would get in the prez race first, not win it, right?I think Santorum has to have a LOT of things go right in order to be a real player in the race -- most notably Palin and Huckabee not to run.

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Edwards/Hunter: 1. I would be perfectly happy never to spend a moment thinking about either of these narcissists ever again.2. That said, wonder if they've booked the Dave Matthews Band yet?

Chris Cillizza: Thank you for reminding me of that detail. I will now puke.

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Political tomes: Does anyone READ these obligatory pre-campaign books? Would love to see the final sales figures as I would bet the campaign has to end up buying them in order to avoid them languishing in the remainder bins.

Chris Cillizza: There is but one campaign book you have to read: "What it Takes" by Richard Ben Cramer. All other books pale.

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Jon Kyl: I heard Jon Kyl might retire, rather than run for another term in 2012. What are you hearing about that?

Chris Cillizza: I haven't heard many retirement rumors around Kyl. Things change, of course, and he could step aside but he's not someone who comes up in the regular retirement conversation.I do think he could have a real race in 2012 if Rep. Gabby Giffords (D) decides to run. She survived a brutal election cycle for Democrats in Arizona in 2010 and her base in southern Arizona could make her an appealing candidate.I think Kyl would still be a favorite but a slight one.

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Stabenow: Of all the potentially vulnerable Democrats, I haven't heard of any big names whispering about challenging Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow. Who are some of the Republicans that might challenge her in 2012?

Chris Cillizza: A few names: former Rep. Pete Hoekstra and Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard.Both of them ran unsuccessfuly for governor in 2010 and Bouchard lost to Stabenow back in 2006.I think Stabenow is underrated as a candidate and a campaigner but the economic woes in Michigan could complicate her path to reelection.She will benefit from running in a presidential year, however, as President Obama will help drag lots and lots of Democrats in the state to the polls.

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Dick Lugar Primary Challenge: With a primary challenge to Indiana Senator Dick Lugar looking more likely, do you see a serious Democrat like Joe Donnelly or Brad Ellsworth jumping into the race in hopes of becoming the next Chris Coons?

Chris Cillizza: I think Lugar will almosty certainly have a serious primary fight from the tea party wing of the party. Who it is remains to be seen.It's an interesting thought on Donnelly or Ellsworth taking a flyer on the Senate race in the event Lugar is toppled in a primary.The governor's race is also open, which might be a slightly more appealing opportunity for both men...

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Montana: Charlie Cook's first rating placed Jon Tester of Montana in the "Likely Democrat" category, even though he won in 2006 by a few thousand votes in a heavily Democratic year. Does that mean Cook's predicting a top tier candidate like Denny Rehberg is going to sit out the race?

Chris Cillizza: I think Charlie's rating is based on the fact that he doesn't believe Rehberg ultimately runs. (The governor's seat will be vacant in 2012 and Rehberg might have an easier time running and winning that race.)I think Tester will, ultimately, have a serious race no matter who Republicans nominate because of the state's Republican nature, a tendency that will be exacerbated in a presidential year.And, remember that Tester narrowly won in 2006 despite Conrad Burns running a disastrously bad campaign.

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2012 Minnesota Senate Election: I very skeptical about Republican challengers to Amy Klobuchar. She has very high approval ratings in a Democratic leaning state. My guess is that the Republicans will save their energy and money until 2014 when Franken will be up.

Chris Cillizza: I tend to agree. I think Klobuchar is a very able politician who has done everything she needs to do to avoid a seroious race in 2012.

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Professors Specter and Feingold: Which class would you rather take -- the one taught by Professor Specter at UPenn or the one taught by Professor Feingold at Marquette?

Chris Cillizza: Ooh. Tough one.I will take Specter and UPENN just because I really like Philly.

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Virginia: On Monday, you said you thought neither Kaine nor Webb would be running for the Senate in 2012 for the Democrats. That seems to leave Tom Perriello as the only somewhat notable Democrat to run. Size up a Perriello-Allen Senate race! Or do you see another Democrat possibly emerging to run like Gerry Connolly?

Chris Cillizza: I am not sure if Perriello gets into a race like that and, even if he doe run, he likely has primary opposition -- from Connelly or maybe even other candidates.I think George Allen would be a favorite in a race against Perriello largely due to the fact that Virginia appears to have swung back toward the GOP in the last few years.Allen will, of course, have to get beyond "macaca" and the 2006 campaign to win but my guess is that his comment is water under the bridge for lots of voters by now.

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Connecticut Battle Royale: If Lieberman runs for another term as an independent and divides up some of the Democratic vote, what kind of odds would you give Linda McMahon in such a royal rumble?

Chris Cillizza: Well, most polling I've seen suggests that Lieberman would eat into the Republican nominee's support as much or even more than the Democratic nominee's support.Things can change in the course of a campaign but Lieberman remains persona non grata for many Democrats so I am not sure they would back him no matter the other candidates in the field.

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Russ Feingold: Do you think he will run for Senate in 2012 if Herb Kohl steps down? I don't think he was ready to leave the senate.

Chris Cillizza: I think he loved the Senate and really didn't see his loss coming.Feingold would be a potentially strong candidate for Democrats. Paul Ryan would be Republicans' first choice and I think would run if the seat came open even though he haqs a nice perch right now as chairman of the House Budget Committee.

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Requisite Christine O'Donnell question: With the inquiries into her use of campaign funds, will she be toast, finally (even if she beats the charges)?

Chris Cillizza: Thank you for filling our COD quota.I think Christine O'Donnell will likely run for office again at some time in the near future, and lose.That is all.

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Sorry I'm late to the chat: Can you swear me in or do we have to start over?

Chris Cillizza: Heyoooo!

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Updating your state blog list: I was reading your list of the best political blogs by state and REALLY needs updating.Some of the blogs have been shut down and also new blogs have popped up. Considering this about the longest possible time until the next election cycle, will you be updating the best state blogs list since we'll need for 2012 presidential, senate, congress and governors races...

Chris Cillizza: Look for a Fix post on it...

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Metro DC Hoops: OK, maybe it's not actually in the area, but Richmond Spiders better than the Hoyas come March? I think so, especially with your Hoyas looking offensively-challenged come crunch time. They're going to fade in the tough Big East.

Chris Cillizza: Still early...I think we have been pretty bad the first 3 big east games and are lucky to be 1-2.We need Freeman, Wright and Clark all playing well to beat really good teams. We need two of those three playing well to beat anyone.

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Just who are these people: I saw part of the debate among people vying to replace Michael Steele as RNC chaorman. Is that really the best field the GOP can muster for chair? And the questions were equally inane: ("How many guns do you own?")That said, who do you think will be the new chair?

Chris Cillizza: Reince Priebus -- Wisconsin state GOP chair -- is the frontrunner.And, agree that it wasn't exactly the most impressive collection of candidates I have ever witnessed. I felt like I was watching the Harry Reid-Sharron Angle debate again.

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2012 Democratic nomination: Lets say Obama doesn't have a substantial challenger for the bid. What will the process look like? Will Obama debate a couple of nobody's?

Chris Cillizza: No way.He would NEVER agree to debate the random people who inevitably will challenge him. And, I am pretty sure no one who is not related to those people would care.

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Giuliani & Gingrich: Don't their appalling dating and marital histories effectively preclude them from winning the presidency?

Chris Cillizza: I think Gingrich is going to have to deal with the fact that he has been married three times during the presidential primary process.To win -- or overperform expectations in Iowa -- Gingrich will need social conservatives on his side. And I think it's a real question mark as to how they will react to his marital past.

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RNC Chair Race: Do you think Wagner and/or Anuzis still have a shot at winning the RNC Chair race, or is this a Steele vs. Priebus game? Also, considering her lack of public commitments, do you think Cino should drop her bid?

Chris Cillizza: I think the top tier remains Priebus/Wagner/Anuzis.Until something changes, Steele is a spoiler.As for Cino, I am not sure what she is doing. She has nine public commitment and appears to be running to court GOP strategists types -- just the sort of people the actual members of the committee really don't like.

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Huh?: What's going on with John Edwards and Rielle Hunter? Or do I want to know?

Chris Cillizza: National Enquirer reported that he had proposed to her.Now, it is the National Enquirer. But, they did break the news of the affair.So, do with that information what you will.

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Pete Sessions: He thinks a swearing-in is optional? What a palooka.

Chris Cillizza: Just tremendous use of the word "palooka".

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Follow-up on Paul Ryan: FYI Paul Ryan told Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he would be interested in the U.S. Senate run in 2012, but only if Herb Kohl retires.

Chris Cillizza: Yup. That seems right. Everyone in the state is waiting to see what Herb does.(Sidebar: NO ONE under the age of 18 is named "Herb". why not?)

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2012 Democratic Presidential Primaries: I'm related to Mike Gravel (my granddad's first cousin) and I don't care if he runs.

Chris Cillizza: But what about the "rock"???http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rZdAB4V_j8

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New Congress: How productive do you see the 112th Congress being? Are we about to see another year of gridlock or will they play nice for a little while before 2012?

Chris Cillizza: I think we might see some moments of bipartisanship -- education maybe? -- but, by and large, I think gridlock will rule the day.Maybe that's the pessimist in me but I tend to think with divided Congressional control and a presidential race on the horizon, the default position will be to do nothing.

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Fix Deputies: So now that FixFelicia is apparently on the congressional beat, does that mean she'll no longer be attending Politics and Pints?

Chris Cillizza: Speaking of which, the next "Politics and Pints" -- our monthly trivia night -- is on Monday.Facebook event page here: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=171707662871139&num_event_invites=0And, although Felicia is leaving me to start a new Congress blog for the Post, I am REALLy excited about our new hire: Rachel Weiner. Rachel has been running postpolitics.com for the last year and is going to be a GREAT addition.

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Herb: Q: "(Sidebar: NO ONE under the age of 18 is named "Herb". why not?)"A: Because the full name is Herbert. And nobody wants to be nicknamed Herbie.

Chris Cillizza: Kirk Herbstreit!

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NO ONE under the age of 18 is named "Herb". why not?: Would YOU name your son after a VW Beetle? I think not.

Chris Cillizza: Fair point.

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(Sidebar: NO ONE under the age of 18 is named "Herb". why not?): Because we all grew up watching WKRP in Cincinatti with Herb Tarlick and his loud polyester suits. The name just screams "1970s."

Chris Cillizza: I NEVER watched that show. Huge gap in my pop culture knowledge.

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double down on the Chicago connections : Great Jane's reference. As such, I predict Obama bringing in the adopted-native sons, Wilco, to ramp up for 2012 "Via Chicago." I'm a little ashamed of that shill...

Chris Cillizza: Well done.Speaking of Jane's, does it get any better than this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kAIMlISHhU

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The Donald: Will he Run?

Chris Cillizza: I care less about whether the Donald runs than about who is the next celebrity apprentice. And that's saying something.

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Chris Cillizza: That's all for me folks. I am going to go and get some chicken soup and rest.If u can't get enough of the WaPo chats (who can?), make sure to check out Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (or DWS, to me) at 12:30. LINK: http://live.washingtonpost.com/new-congress:--01-06-11.htmlHave a great weekend. See you next Friday!


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