The Live Fix with Chris Cillizza

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Chris Cillizza
Friday, January 21, 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!I am back after a week's hiatus due to the Republican National Committee inconveniently scheduling their chairmanship election at the same time I normally do the "Live Fix".The nerve! I can only assume it was a scheduling oversight.This week has been a busy one: two Senate retirements, a Hu visit and now the news that Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan will be giving the Republican response to the State of the Union.Plus, Idol re-started! Let's do it.

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Jon Tester: How vulnerable is he? I don't think he will be as vulnerable if Rehberg doesn't run. Your thoughts?

Chris Cillizza: Good question ad a good chance to plug the fact that we will have our brand spanking new Friday Senate Line up on the Fix shortly after this chat ends!Tester does make our top 10 -- barely -- due to the GOP-leaning nature of the state and the fact that his narrow victory in 2006 had a lot more to do with people not liking COnrad Burns than loving Tester.That said, Republicans don't have a top tier candidate in the race yet as everyone waits to see what Rep. Denny Rehberg (R) wants to do. (The Montana governorship is also open in 2012.)Businessman Steve Daines (R) raised decent money in his early fundraising, which is a hopeful sign for the GOP if Rehnberg doesn't run.

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2012 Senate race in CT: I am very skeptical of any republican attempts to put Lieberman's seat in play. In 2010 CT Democrats flipped the governorship blue for the first time in 20 years, Blumenthal defeated McMahon despite the Republican wave and the fact that she dropped $45 million into the campaign. Not to to mention, none of the 5 house democrats lost.

Chris Cillizza: VERY hard for me to imagine that this winds up on the final GOP target list.Republicans best chance to win this race was with Lieberman in it -- splitting enough votes to allow a Republican to win with 30-something percent.In a two way contest, it's hard to imagine any Republican candidate getting to 50 plus 1.I am excited to see how the primary between Susan Bysiewicz and Chris Murphy plays out though. That should be a doozy.

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North Dakota: Anyway the Dems can hold onto North Dakota? I think it helps that the GOP doen't have anyone as popular as Hoeven, so it is not a complete write-off.

Chris Cillizza: There's always a chance -- especially when the field is as unformed as it is currently.But, it's an uphill climb for Democrats. President Obama lost North Dakota by 8 points in 2008 and almost certainly will lose it by more than that in 2012.Democrats lost both federal offices on the ballot in 2010. Their bench is relatively weak. It's not a great situation for them.The race isn't over like the 2010 contest was once Byron Dorgan (D) retired and John Hoeven (R) got in. But's it's still a VERY tough hold.

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Texas Senate 2012: The Hill recently gave a glowing review for San Antonio mayor Julian Castro, calling him the Democrats Marco Rubio. I know he is viewed as a rising star in Texas politics. If he ran, could he keep the Senate seat in play or possibly win since minority turnout will be much higher in 2012 than it was in 2010?

Chris Cillizza: Maybe.But, Democrats have shown little ability to be competitive in Texas statewide races in recent years and it's hard to see why 2012 would be an exception.Democrats' best chance to sneak out a win is a crowded and nasty GOP primary where Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, the clear favorite at the moment, comes up short.It's not the most likely scenario at the moment but as 2010 proved, strange things can happen in Republican primaries.

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Missouri: How do you see the Republican primary shaking out in Missouri? Sam Graves seems to be making noises about running against Sarah Steelman.

Chris Cillizza: Hard to know until we see what the entire field looks like.I think Sarah Steelman is underrated -- remember that she almost beat Kenny Hulshof in a 2008 gubernatorial primary -- because she isn't a known commodity in Washington.The big question for me is whether former Sen. Jim Talent gets into the race. That seems to be a less and less likely possibility but if he runs, it would set up an epic fight with Steelman and perhaps Graves too.

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Christie to answer Obama: Hey, Chris. Do you think Gov Christie would be well-advised to accept the Republicans' invite to answer next week's State of the Union address? If he is serious about waiting for '16, wouldn't it seem too coy by half? I think he should lay low--or give , ahem, Gov. Jindal a second shot? thanks

Chris Cillizza: Well, Paul Ryan (from Wisconsin) is the GOP's choice to respond to SOTU.Young, midwestern and wonky, Ryan is one of the rising stars within the GOP.I think it's a solid choice.

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Retirements: How many more Senate retirements do you realistically expect there to be?

Chris Cillizza: A significant number.I think Senators looked around at people like Bob Bennett, Arlen Specter and Blanche Lincoln in 2010 and thought "I DO NOT want that to be me."It's why, I think Joe Lieberman and Kent Conrad decided so quickly not to run. Incumbency is not what it once was and I think there are a number of senators who want to go out on their own terms in 2012.Remember that there were 15 open seats in 2010 -- a modern record. Not sure if 2012 will approach that number but it might come close.

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Virginia: With Kaine saying he won't run, who do Democrats turn to if Webb opts to retire? Gerry Connolly?

Chris Cillizza: Tom Perriello, Gerry Connolly....the bench isn't all that deep to be honest.

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Chicago Mayor: What is Fix's prognostication for the Chicago mayor's race?

Chris Cillizza: Easy. Rahm. No runoff. Poll out this am showed him at 44 percent (he needs 50) and he has 5 times as much money as his nearest rival.You do the math.

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Steele: If Michael Steele's chairmanship were a Bruce Springsteen song, what song would that be?

Chris Cillizza: "Your Own Worst Enemy"

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Red (Really Red) State Democrat: Have you heard of any one else experiencing a warm fuzzy nostalgic feeling for George W. Bush while listening to Sarah Palin's 8-minute rebuttal speech? I'm really starting to like the guy.

Chris Cillizza: The Bush comeback begins!

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Michigan senate: How seriously will the GOP be targeting Stabenow?

Chris Cillizza: I think pretty seriously.Her numbers are not great and the state's economy has voters in a state of perpetual unrest.Of course, Stabenow will be helped by running in a presidential year as President Obama will pull out every Democrat in the state.It's not a top 5 target for Republicans but if they find the right candidate it's a top 10 target.

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Vicki Kennedy: With Vicki Kennedy bowing out of a possible run, who is the strongest Democrat left in the field? Is Boston Mayor Tom Menino right that Brown can't be beat?

Chris Cillizza: I thinK Brown is stronger than people realize. His poll numbers are terrific and without Vicki Kennedy in the race, the Democratic field is going to be GIGANTIC.That will allow Brown to stay above the fray for months and months while Democrats slug it out all the way through a September 2012 primary.Brown can never rest eays though -- not when he represents one of the most Democratic states in the country in a presidential year.

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Waiting for Palin?: Is the GOP field waiting to see what Sarah will do?

Chris Cillizza:

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Steele's Sour Grapes Tour...: Is this coming to an end soon...PLEASE?????

Chris Cillizza: Wait, you want it to end? Where's the fun in that?

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O the CD: Chris, have you considered the idea of creating an anonymous presidential album? Or, better yet an anonymous presidential playlist?

Chris Cillizza: Who's to say I wasn't the author of "O"?

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SNL: Zach Woods, who plays Gabe on NBC's "The Office," should TOTALLY play Rep. Paul Ryan on SNL, right?

Chris Cillizza: YES.Gabe is the best awkward guy ever. I wonder if Zach Woods is awkard in real life or just a good actor.

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Ryan: Interesting pick. He's a little nerdy, very wonky, and is not, for all his talk of budget realities, a true tea party-type. Not the star studded type they could have trotted out there - Marco Rubio or Nikki Haley come to mind. Thoughts?

Chris Cillizza: I think the GOP probably figured they should go substance over pure star power.And Ryan is a nice combination of both.

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John Ensign still pretty guarded: The Reno Gazette-Journal has a very interesting interview with Sen. Ensign discussing THE scandal of sleeping with Cynthia Hampton, his wife Darlene's best friend since high school. He still coming off very guarded. Wondering if he'll be able to get through a general election campaign or even a Republican primary without this becoming THE issue for him.

Chris Cillizza: He won't.Ensign is giving every indication he plans to run for reelection and I take him at his word.But, it is a very hard path for him -- particularly if Rep. Dean Heller decides to run. Republicans can't let Ensign be their nominee in the general election or they will almost certainly lose so if Heller takes a pass look for national GOPers to keep searching until they find someone credible to take on and take down Ensign.

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Another job?: Saw you on Harball last night (or was it Wednesday...?) and Chris introduced you as an MSNBC analyst---job responsibility increase, or a second job?

Chris Cillizza: Just a little formalizing of my role with MS. I have been doing Andrea Mitchell's show every day for the past 18 months and Hardball once a week or so for longer than that so all sides thought it made sense to formalize things.Thanks for asking!

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2012 Pres: Palin is down huge to Obama in the latest poll. Can the press stop taking her seriously?

Chris Cillizza: It's hard to ignore her given that in Republican primary polls she runs either first or second.That doesn't mean she isn't way behind Obama in general election surveys -- she is.But, the primary is the first race wer have to cover and as long as Palin is still competitive there, expect her to keep getting coverage -- unless and until she says she isn't running.

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2012 DNC: Should we be buying our plane tickets to Charlotte International Airport now for the 2012 DNC?Rando trivia, one of my ancestors was a lady-in-waiting (still haven't figured out what a lady-in-waiting does) to Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz who became Queen Charlotte, royal consort of King George III. She's the namesake of both the city of Charlotte, N.C. and Mecklenburg Co., N.C.

Chris Cillizza: I am still holding out for Mrs. Fix's hometown of St. Louis.Why? Two words: Ted Drews.

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Chris Murphy's Opening Campaign Ad: Hey Chris, I couldn't help but notice the similarities between Chris Murphy's opening campaign ad and the one Scott Walker ran early last year (he did leave out the Scott Brown imagery of the truck though). Anymore possible ads that might be repeated? Will we be seeing whiteboards galore in 2012?

Chris Cillizza:

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VA Senate primary: Any surprises from the R side? Would Corey Stewart or Ken Cuccinelli get in by surprise? Or are they looking at the gov seat instead?

Chris Cillizza: I don't think so.And, I still think George Allen is the favorite to be the Republican nominee for one main reason: the party will pick its candidate in a primary not a convention.That means a broader, less conservative electorate which makes the possibility of an upset much less likely.

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Re: Steele: What about "Wreck on the Highway" or "I'm Going Down"?

Chris Cillizza: I mean, so many good choices.By the way, Mrs. Fix got me "The Promise" for xmas. Man. SO GOOD.

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Joe Lieberman: I just want to say that I am honestly, truly embarrassed at how brutally he is being treated post-announcement that he is retiring (Daily Kos, Olbermann, Huff Post, etc.). Even if you are still bitter about the Lamont battle and his running as an independent, Lieberman deserves loads and loads of credit for the work he did in the Senate and his vice-presidential candidacy. Liberals are doing themselves no good with average voters by savaging this guy.

Chris Cillizza: Noted.

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Steele Must See TV: If he gets a TV gig, whether on FOX News or the Comedy Channel, I would watch it. Who would be his perfect co-host?

Chris Cillizza: Eliot Spitzer? Me?

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Too many states: Hi Chris, As i see you answering all these questions about so many races in so many places I wonder if you would have preferred to be answering same questions back in 1811when things were less complicated than 2011. I think Georgetown had a better team back then also.

Chris Cillizza: No question.And, I will ignore that jab at the Hoyas. High road and all that.

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Need The Fix to settle an issue: My friend and I disagree on this.Is it wrong for people who don't like and don't support the self-titled "Tea Party" to refer to them as "teabaggers"?

Chris Cillizza: I mean, it's a free country.I tend to think it's kind of crude and juvenile.Of course, my favorite show growing up was "Beavis and Butthead" so I may be in a "pot kettle black" situation.

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Race to 270: Looking ahead to 2012, at this early phase are there any states you expect will be surprisingly in (or out of) play? Or should we anticipate the usual struggle over the usual half-dozen or so (Ohio, Florida, Michigan, etc.)?

Chris Cillizza: I think the usual suspects you identify will be at the center of the fight.But, there will be some big state races worth watching too: Texas, Pennsylvania and, if DiFi retires, California.I think races in those sort of big population states are fascinating...

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2012: Are we likely to see a Palin-Santorum ticket in 2012?

Chris Cillizza: Um....welll...how to say this...no.

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YOUR OWN WORST ENEMY: We'll keep grooving them down the pipe, you keep hitting them out. Nat's BP never looked so good.

Chris Cillizza: I thank you.

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Ben Nelson: Will Ben Nelson be the next to call it quits? I really don't like Jon Bruning. Would Nebraska bother to hold an election if Nelson quits?

Chris Cillizza: I think Nelson is 50-50 on another term. Whatever he decides though, it's going to be VERY tough for Democrats to keep the seat.Nebraska is very Republican and will be even more so in a presidential year.Bruning might not have the primary to himself -- Don Stemberg is mentioned too -- but whoever Republicans nominate has a very good shot at becoming the next senator from Nebraska.

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PA Senate--Bob Casey: What are your thoughts about Bob Casey's Senate re-election prospects in Pennsylvania?

Chris Cillizza: The Casey name is gold in Pennsylvania.I think Republicans will make some noise about seriously challenging Casey but will ultimately have lots of better opportunities in other states.I could be wrong. But, I think PA is a Republican trap in 2012. Like Lucy holding the football and asking Charlie Brown to come kick it.

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The 'OTHER' Side: Is there any good news out there for the Dems? Any R's (Senate or otherwise) likely to face some trouble next time?

Chris Cillizza: Sure.Scott Brown will have a real race no matter what. Ensign, as I wrote above, makes Nevada a problem for Republicans.And, if Jon Kyl retires -- and I think it's a toss up right now -- Democrats could make a real run at that open seat.

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Haha: Loving so hard at the idea of Paul Ryan being played by Zack Woods aka Gabe on SNL. Never noticed it before but they are so alike (even the hairstyle).

Chris Cillizza: Ok, so, um, let's get back to work! He was in "Here Comes Treble!". He went to Cornell!Ed Helms= not the god but a god.

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Lieberman: I'm not a Lieberman hater, but uh, his vice presidential candidacy? VPs are traditionally the attack dogs in the campaign and Lieberman didn't do his job against Cheney and Bush in 2000. And as far as his work in the Senate, other than helping to repeal DADT, he doesn't have much to his name except siding with the GOP on foreign policy and being one of the three guys to lead a failed attempt at climate change legislation. Henry Clay he is not!

Chris Cillizza: Just a terrific Henry Clay reference.

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Auughh: Clearly you didn't take Dana Milbank up on his challenge for a Palin-free month. :-( Are you going to try or are you too addicted...along with your caffeine? And where are you posting from today?

Chris Cillizza: Impossible!And, thanks for asking. I am at Northside Social -- new Fix fav coffee shop. Have already deposited a pumpkin chocolate muffin and a large chai. SO. GOOD.

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Crude or not: I'll stop calling them "teabaggers" when they stop using "Democrat" (no "-ic") as an adjective. (As Rs have been doing for about 20 years.)

Chris Cillizza: Agreed on the "Democrat" thing. Kind of petty too.Can't we have a mutual detente? I hate when mommy and daddy fight!

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2012: What Republican presidential candidate do you think the White House is most afraid of facing in 2012?

Chris Cillizza: HMMM.Well David Plouffe said former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman.I don't think the White House would love to run agains Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels either. Or former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.I think they would relish the chance of running against Sarah Palin.

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What did 2010? Seems everybody has a pet theory.: EVERYBODY seems to have their own pet theory on what exactly the electoral results of 2010 election cylce means... My own theory is HOW QUICKLY the modern electorate can switch. You have massive Democratic waves in 2006 and 2008 yet then a massive Republican wave in 2010. The electorate right now is fickle.So I don't agree that 2010 means good thing for Republicans in 2012 since the electorate seem to switch its mood within a day. Tell me how I'm wrong or (which would make my day) how I'm right.

Chris Cillizza: That makes good sense to me.I think we have an unhappy electorate who feels like politicians don't understand and/or solve their problems.So, they vote out whoever is in office and try the other guy/gal. When that doesn't work, they go back.That's particularly true with independents who swing from heavily Democratic in 2006 to heavily Republican in 2010.

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Mike Huckabee: Let's face it, Mike Huckabee isn't running for president. Where do his supporters go? Thune and Pawlenty seem to have evangelical ties as does Sarah Palin, obviously.

Chris Cillizza: But some would undoubtedly go to Santorum, Newt and Mike Pence if he ran.

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Macaca moment: Can George Allen ever overcome his "macaca moment," even in a Republican primary, let alone a general election versus a Democrat?

Chris Cillizza: We are going to find out. He is running in 2012 -- make no mistake.I expect "macaca" to be something of an issue but not sure how much traction the attack will get.

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Obama's 2012 theme song: Any predictions on what the re-election anthem will be? "The Rising" and "City of Blinding Lights" worked well in 2008, but may not apply today. I'm predicting Bon Jovi's "We Weren't Born to Follow", though I'm always amazed that no one has capitalized on the crowd-pumping energy of the Hulkster's theme song, "Real American." Maybe there's a concern it would work TOO well.

Chris Cillizza: Not sure...great question.When I run for president, my intro music will be the Dx anthem.

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Daniels?: You don't think the White House would relish running against someone who's an establishment Republican, worked for Eli Lilly, and directed George W. Bush's budget?????

Chris Cillizza: Of course, there are holes to be poked in any of these people. I just think Daniels profile -- successful midwestern governor with a track record on fiscal management issues -- is a good one.

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John Boehner: Bad form to stand up the president again by not going to dinner? What is his point?

Chris Cillizza: Harry Reid didn't go either, fwiw.

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Newt Gingrich: I know Gingrich polls in the low double digits, but doesn't his support evaporate once he gets attacked on his marital history (he cheated on two of his ex-wives, one while leading the charge on impeachment for Clinton). I mean, Rudy Giuliani led in the polls in 2007, but then he didn't win a state in 2012. Why should we expect Gingrich to perform better?

Chris Cillizza: I actually think Gingrich could be a major factor in the race.Yes, the marital stuff is not helpful. But, Giuliani was not brought low in the 2008 race by his marital shortcomings but rather by his pro-choice and pro-gay rights stances.Those issue positions are non starters in a Republican presidential primary. Gingrich has none of those issue problems.

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Ted Drewes: If you are going to speak of the world's best frozen custard, please spell it correctly! Gosh, I love that place. You are correct that it's the best reason to hope for St. Louis - for any event.

Chris Cillizza: Apologies. Greatest frozen custard ever. Convention should be there for the custard alone. That and the off chance I might be able to catch a Cardinals game during the convention.

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No sports yet?: Who's going to make it to the SB?

Chris Cillizza: Kind of rooting for Jets/Packers.I wound up liking Sanchez from "hard Knocks" and Fix friend Jim Brady is a die-hard J-E-T-S fan.As for the other game, i really don't like Cutler. He seems like the kid who beat me up in high school.

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Paul Ryan and Zach Woods: If Zach Woods does appear on SNL as Paul Ryan next week, can The Fix Live Chat claim credit?

Chris Cillizza: I absolutely will claim credit. And rightly so.

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Democrat? Democratic?: Who really cares? No one outside the Beltway. (Metaphorical Beltway)

Chris Cillizza: I don't feel strongly. I just think it's petty. Like tea bagger.

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Obama's 2012 theme song: "Born in the USA," obvs.

Chris Cillizza: Heyooo!

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SOTU: What do you expect to be the main topics of the SOTU? What will the president turn his attention to first with a Republican House?

Chris Cillizza: 1. Economy2. Economy3. Economy4. Tucson shooting

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Gingrich: I would think the WH would LOOOVE to run against Newt. I loved that he schooled Palin on thinking before she speaks.

Chris Cillizza: If you like politics -- no matter your paty affiliation -- you should want Gingrich in the race.He is endlessly entertaining and makes for great copy.

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"When I run for president, my intro music will be the Dx anthem.": You officially have my vote. Man if only people could just have fun in politics...

Chris Cillizza: My biggest pet peeve: People who take themselves too seriously.Politics is serious business. I get that. But it is also a theater of the absurd. Both of those things can co-exist.

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pumpkin chocolate muffin : Did you have to . Some of us are working on svelt figures.

Chris Cillizza: SO GOOD.

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TP vs TB: Just a reminder. Members of the Tea Party originated the name Tea Bagger for their group on none other than Fox.

Chris Cillizza: Ok, fine. Not looking to start a fight. Simply saying I don't use it and think it's a bit petty. That's all.

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Friday Night Lights: My wife and I have burned through all the episodes per your recommendation and others here. Please tell me there is some chance that the series will be picked up after this year. Any news from the grapevine?

Chris Cillizza: I don't think there is and it break my heart.It is quite simply the best show on TV. I can never forgive the American public for making the Kardashians TV stars while not paying attention to Coach and Tammy Taylor aka the most realistic marriage on television.

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"Dancing with the Stars": After conservatives Tucker Carlson, Tom DeLay and Bristol Palin, which Democrats do you think would be the best choices to compete on "Dancing with the Stars"?

Chris Cillizza: Or Rahm. He is a trained ballet dancer.

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re: "SO GOOD": Giada DeLaurrichgrandaddy called and said you have to get your own catchphrase.

Chris Cillizza: I believe that is actually a Jonathan Martin (of Politico) catchphrase.Also, Giada and I are good. We are both italians after all.

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Re: Obama's 2012 Theme Song: Poster recommends: Bon Jovi's "We Weren't Born to Follow." I'm seeing Bon Jovi in February. I'll let you know how the crowd likes the song...

Chris Cillizza: If I told u when Slippery When Wet came out that Jon Bon and Sambora would still be rocking, you would never have believed me. Never.

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Chris Cillizza: And our hour is up!Thanks for spending it with me. And remember to check out the Fix later today for our latest 2012 Senate rankings!See you next week. Same Fix time, same Fix channel.


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