The Live Fix with Chris Cillizza

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Chris Cillizza
Friday, February 18, 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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The survivors: After the New Hampshire primary, four will be left standing: Romney, Pawlenty, Gingrich, and Christie.The eventual nominee will be Pawlenty. Please discuss.

Chris Cillizza: Let's start on 2012.I think this is a very plausible scenario though I might sub out Christie, who I don't think is going to run, for Haley Barbour or maybe slightly more likely Mitch Daniels.This scenario you've laid out means that you believe Tpaw wins Iowa which is a real possibility -- especially if neither Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee run.Of late, I have begun to think that Pawlenty has a real course to the nomination. If you analyze each of the candidates' flaws, Pawlenty's are the least potentially damaging. (He's too nice or not charismatic enough.)Also, he is playing seriously and gaining some traction in Iowa and New Hampshire -- one of the few people in the race (I think) who will try to play in both.Having a course or path to the nomination isn't the same as winning the nomination -- or anywhere close. But, there is a path.Sidebar: Chris Christie should run.

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Protests in Wisconsin: Any chance Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee will be making the trek to Madison to show solidarity with the governor?

Chris Cillizza: I doubt it. Romney has been careful not to jump into every issue under the sun and Huckabee seems, at least to me, to be more focused on his new book and TV career than on Scott Walker.I do think what happens in Wisconsin will be telling...lots of other states have similar budget shortfalls and Walker will either wind up being a blueprint or a warning sign for how to handle things.

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Romney & Iowa: There's been a lot of discussion about what Mitt Romney plans to do in terms of dedicating resources and time to the Iowa Caucus. If Romney doesn't make a strong push in Iowa, where does he have to place to not seriously harm his chances at winning the nomination?

Chris Cillizza: It depends if you think Iowa and New Hampshire are intertwined.In 2008, they weren't. John McCain never competed in Iowa but won New Hampshire and went on to win the nomination. Mike Huckabee won Iowa but petered out.So, if Romney makes only a for-show attempt in Iowa, I am not sure it matters where he finishes. He could, however, surprise folks and make a major poush in Iowa -- figuring that if he can win the caucuses, he will almost certainly win the NH primary and those two victories combined would deliver him the nomination.

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Star Trek: I like how when asked if you preferred Star Wars or Star Trek, you talked about Battlestar Galactica more. I mean, yes, Ron Moore wrote for TNG and DS9, too, but come on.

Chris Cillizza: I love me some Battlestar Galactica.LOVE.Also, I have started to wonder whether there are cylons among us. Is that crazy?Also, Captain Adama for President.

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Tim Kaine: Tim Kaine is scheduled to speak at the J-J Dinner on Saturday where it's said he'll announce his intentions. It'd be kind of a downer if he said no. What are you hearing?

Chris Cillizza: Apparently Kaine won't be making any announcement this weekend at the J-J.I think that's good news for those who want Kaine to run as the longer he delays, the more it likely means he is rethinking his past resistance to running for Senate.If Kaine doesn't run, there is a real drop off. Former Rep. Tom Perriello would likely be the candidate but he is a single term member of Congress not a popular former governor.

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George Allen: What does he want to do in returning to the Senate? He seemed, at best, disinterested during his six years there. He never stood out of the crowd, no signature issue. He was just biding his time until a possible presidential run. So why go back?

Chris Cillizza: I am a little surprised he decided to run for the Senate again too since he always told anyone who asked that he liked being governor more.My guess is that one of two things helped decide it:1. Bob McDonnell had the govs race in 2009 locked up and Allen didn't think he could win.2. With Obama in the White House, the Senate becomes the prime policy battleground and Allen wants back in.

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Tell these unions what the private sector gets: I am having a really hard time mustering any sympathy for a group that is still getting half their pension paid for and only has to pay around 10% of their health care costs. This is still pretty far ahead of the private sector. Do they really think the average voter (who has to work and is probably not at these protests) really is going to be sympathetic when the details of the unions benefits packages are analyzed?

Chris Cillizza: This sentiment is why Scott Walker in Wisconsin thinks he will ultimately win the legislative stand-off over his budget.

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Wisconsin Showdown: Hey, Chris. Don't you think what's happening in Madison is a harbinger of the near future? State pensions are at the heart (I'm a community college English professor, so I know) of the huge debts states are confronting, and this is true coast to coast. It's a hot button issue and will only get worse. On the other hand, maybe the populace at large will be more appreciative of that stimulus money that went to the states the last two years and has now been sepnt. Maybe they won't be so dismissive, eh? Thanks

Chris Cillizza: It's a HUGE harbinger of what's to come.Walker is the leading edge. Republican governors in Iowa and Michigan are likely to head down a similar path and even D governors in California and New York are promising cuts.This is rubber meets the road time in states.

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Ex-Guvs: Guess this fits more into The Fix's Weekly Face-Off, but got more then 2 options here so far. Could you place these names in order of Patty Murray and David Plouffe being most happy about them running for U.S. Senate. Just for fun, I'll make them all ex-Guvs. Ex-Guv Janet Napolitano in Ariz. Ex-Guv. Phil Bredesen in Tenn. Ex.-Guv. Tim Kaine in Va.

Chris Cillizza: Tim KaineJanet NapolitanoPhil Bredesen

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I'm on a bus: I would have been here for the chat, but it looked like you were going to do something I didn't like--so I beat it to whereabouts unknown, and you can't find me. Neener neener.

Chris Cillizza: This snarky email reminds me of this:

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Parks & Recreation: I think the Fix needs to start pushing for a cameo appearance by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels on Parks & Recreation. Let's say it humanize Daniels like when Richard Nixon appeared on Laugh-In.

Chris Cillizza: Holy cow. That would be awesome. Not as awesome as me appearing as the Riggins nerdy, long lost uncle in the mythical season 6 of Friday Night Lights....but still cool.

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Buddy Garrity for Congress: If you had to compare one state's redistricting process to the the redistricting in Friday Night Lights at the end of season 3 , where they split East Dillon and West Dillon trying to pack the good players in West Dillon, what state would you say is most similar to this?

Chris Cillizza: Greatest. Question. Ever.I have no answer. But I would vote for Buddy Garrity if he ran for anything.Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can't Lose.

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Chris Christie for President?: NJ Governor Chris Christie (Boss #3, after Bruce and Tony S.) crooned "Born to Run" during his inaugural gala, and after this week's news, many across the country are singing his praises. But is the smart political move to wait until a 2016 run, or is his window of opportunity now? Thanks!

Chris Cillizza: As I noted above, I think Christie should get in this time.If you watched his speech at AEI earlier this week (and I did), it's clear that he is the perfect embodiment of a sort of economic populism that the field currently lacks and that the electorate craves.I think President Obama's success should be a guide for other national candidates. Waiting often doesn't work.

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Bill Nelson: I think Mason-Dixon had a poll out with Florida Senator Bill Nelson under 50%, but generally leading his potential opponents (besides Jeb Bush). I know 50% is the magic number for incumbents, but considering Nelson is ahead and generally in the 45 to 49% range, how bad is his position right now?

Chris Cillizza: Decent.The problem for Nelson is all of his potential opponents (and Jeb ain't running) are not very well known.Theoretically, that gives them room to grow in terms of vote share while he is likely stuck in the high 40s or low 50s -- barring Republicans nominating Katherine Harris again.So, Nelson is not on political life support but neither is he on terribly strong footing at the moment.

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Bob Corker: I saw a poll I think from PPP, so I take it with a grain of salt, that had Corker running behind ex-governor Phil Bredesen. Any chance Democrats can talk the former governor into making a run?

Chris Cillizza: Zero. Though he would be Democrats' best candidate by far.

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Kaine or Perriello: Do you think Tim Kaine or Tom Perriello would be the stronger Senate candidate for Democrats? Obviously Kaine won statewide in 2005, but Perriello performed well in 2010 in a district that is pretty hostile to Democrats. With base voters likely going to the polls to support Obama, is Kaine's experience running statewide much of an advantage?

Chris Cillizza: Kaine.I think Perriello is very able and a rising star. That said, winning a single term in a great Democratic year nationally against a flawed Republican incumbent who wasn't paying much attention isn't exactly the strongest resume point ever.Kaine left office popular and has shown an ability to run and win statewide. That should not be underestimated.

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In and Out: On the Chris Matthews show last Sunday John Hielman gave his list of who is going to run and who isn't. Can you do the same? Thanks.

Chris Cillizza: I already have!http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/eye-on-2012/surveying-the-2012-field-in-ou.html

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Herman Cain: I am sure this will not discourage Herman Cain, but after seeing his name several times in FIX chats I had to Google him to see who he was. Am I out of it or does this presidential hopeful have low name recognition? Ok, maybe both are true.

Chris Cillizza: Low name recognition would be kind.No name recognition would be accurate.I offer no opinion of your out-of-it-ness.

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Watson on Jeopardy: How long until Watson replaces our politicians?

Chris Cillizza: I for one welcome our new computer overlords.

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The Rock: Did you catch the Rock returning to the WWE this past week?

Chris Cillizza: Finally, the Rock has COME BACK to wrestling.Hard to overestimate how excited I am. This almost makes up for the Linda McMahon loss robbing me of regularly inserting wrestling lingo into these chats.

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Worst Week Nominee: Governor of Wisconsin?

Chris Cillizza: Not this week. I went with the Debt Commission.

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Like us and Namesakes: I read Dan Balz piece on GOP hopefuls in Iowa. Some of the people interviewed talked about how a potential candidate is like us or could be a neighbor or would be welcomed into a living room, etc. I know it's been going on a long time, but I am kind of tired of this obsession for candidates and voters to have the candidate be like one of us. I would prefer the candidate to be an elite, someone who is smarter and more capable than average and can tackle the big issues. I don't care if he or she is aloof as long as he or she gets the job done.As for namesakes, a chatter in the Reliable Source discussion pointed out that the last three presidents have been named for their fathers, sort of. It's also interesting to note that the challengers (John S. McCain III and Al Gore Jr) were also named for their their fathers. I guess it's not so surprising that ambitious men who like themselves so much that they name their sons after them may also transfer their ambitions to their sons along with a name.

Chris Cillizza: I would encourage everyone to check out Dan's piece -- it's a great window into how Republicans in Iowa are thinking about the race.As for your bigger question, I think there is a constant push-pull between wanting someone who is "like us" and wanting someone who is the "best of us".Usually candidates who run as the best of us -- Bill Bradley jumps to mind -- don't win.But, Barack Obama ran as that sort of candidate in 2008 and won a historic victory.So, who knows?!

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2012: Palin: Any change in the tea leaves on whether Palin will run? WaPo reports that Iowa GOP folks are lukewarm on her, but didn't she just hire a chief of staff? Thoughts? Prognostications?

Chris Cillizza: She did just hire a chief of staff and in a speech yesterday on Long Island she (again) hinted at the idea she might make the race.I really don't know. If I had to guess, I would say she runs. But, it is really a guess. No one knows and there really is no way to know unless you have a direct pipeline to Sarah or Todd Palin.

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Mitch Daniels: How tall is Mitch Daniels? How much will his stature hurt him?

Chris Cillizza: 5'7".Which is not tall.I don't think it helps Daniels UNLESS Republican voters are in the mood to nominate the anti-Obama. Then, Daniels -- from his size to his approach to governing -- fits nicely.

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Mitch Daniels: Isn't Mitch Daniels' achilles heel the time he spent as OMB Director in the Bush Administation?

Chris Cillizza: Absolutely.If Daniels winds up as the GOP nominee, that is the first place President Obama and his team will attack.

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Donald Trump: Let's say Donald Trump decides to run for President. What are some likely scenarios on how that changes the race for the Republican nomination?

Chris Cillizza: Scenario 1: He doesn't have any impact.Scenario 2: He doesn't have any impact.Scenario 3: He doesn't have any impact.

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CHRIS CILLIZZA : I love me some Battlestar Galactica.: You CANNOT be talking about the Lorne Greene/Dirk Hamilton mess, can you?

Chris Cillizza: I am talking about the Edwards James Olmos and Mary McDonnell BSG. It. Is. Awesome.I am on season 2 right now so NO ONE send any spoilers!

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chris christie: Yes, he should run, but not til 2016. It's too soon.

Chris Cillizza: Fair enough. But by 2016 he could be a former governor. Remember that New Jersey is a pretty Democratic state and there is absolutely no guarantee Christie will win a second term in 2013.

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Frank Luntz focus group: Hey Chris, I love watching the Frank Luntz Fox focus groups. They are so very revealing. Last week he had Iowa GOP primary voters. What i've noticed in several of these is the downright hostile attitude these voters have towards Mitt Romney. They won't explicitly say it but it seems like the Mormon thing is a non starter for them. How much of an albatross is it for him in Iowa and other "evangelical" states? Should he kiss the Rick Warren ring?

Chris Cillizza: I have been told repeatedly that it was a problem for him in 2008 so I assume it will again be a problem for him in 2012...

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For what it is worth: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is doing an online poll. Current resuts show support foe Gov. Walker 60%-40% with 70,000 + partcipating.....despite DNC & OFA efforts

Chris Cillizza: Online polls do tend to be bunk.But, with that many people voting, it's worth taking note of.

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ARE CYLONS AMONG US?: They are, but the tax breaks we extended to them are key to continuing job creation. So deal with it.

Chris Cillizza: Dang it!Also, I am CERTAIN that Watson screwed up the final Jeopardy answer to throw us off his scent.Like he didn't know the answer was Chicago. Toronto? Hello?When Watson becomes sentient, don't say I didn't warn you.

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Christie 2012: Chris, I found your sidebar comment on Christie extremely interesting. In 2007, I felt that then Senator Obama had to run if he ever wanted to be president, which he clearly did. Politics has repeatedly shown us that timing and luck is almost as important as talent. If nothing else, Christie has shown the courage of his convictions. What would you say the odds are on him running in 2012? I can't help but feel that his re-election in New Jersey isn't out of the question for 2013, but two terms in a blue state will ultimately bring down his popularity and rule out the option of a national campaign.

Chris Cillizza: 15% chance. Maybe less.But, whether he will run or not is an entirely different discussion from whether he should.As you rightly note, timing/luck has a lot do with politics.

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Wasserman-Schultz: Whats more dangerous: to be between a camera and Chuck Shumer or between a camera and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz?

Chris Cillizza: Neither. Between me and an eight-foot basketball hoop. Dunks galore!

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Did you hear what christie said?: Milbank quoted it. He said: "What do I have to do short of suicide to convince people I'm not running?" he asked. "Apparently I actually have to commit suicide."

Chris Cillizza: Yeah...so that's probably a no.But he ALSO said he "sees the opportunity". So there's that.

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George Allen: VA Senate Race: Allen's campaign slogan should be "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in."

Chris Cillizza: So good. Don't go near any tollboths, George.

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Getting ahead of ourselves: Obviously VP nominees have a lot to do with who is at the top of the ticket, but after the GOP nomination race is over, who do you think the top 5 VP candidates will be? Would a Christie as VP nomination put too much electricity at the bottom of the ticket?

Chris Cillizza: Assuming Christie doesn't run, my guess is he is right at the top of the veep list.others: whoever finishes second for the nomination, Marco Rubio, Bob McDonnell, Thune

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South Carolina: Since 1980, no Republican has won the presidential nomination without winning the South Carolina primary. If Huckabee doesn't run, whose chances do you like there?

Chris Cillizza: Haley barbour would be strongNewtSarah PalinAll of that is dependent, however, on what happens in Iowa and New Hampshire and whether it slims the field or creates a clear frontrunner.

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George Allen: Maybe this is wishful thinking, but it seems to me that the one kind of scandal a politician can't recover from is one that makes him look ridiculous, and that's what the "macaca" thing did to Allen. No?

Chris Cillizza: We shall see.I think the problem for Allen isn't "macaca" but rather what that gaffe told us about him. It revealed an arrogance and an unwillingness to admit when you've made a mistake.This campaign will show whether Allen has learned that lesson. Those close to him insist he has.

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Steel Chairs and Wisconsin: I think the Seante leader in Wisconsin should trick a Dem into coming back into the state, and then just when they think they have a comprimise, strike him with a steel chair and drag him into the senate. All this while Jerry "the King" Lawler yells in horror (preferably over CSpan). Then the Governor holds the vote, puts on a belt (Aaron Rodgers Style) and then plays his own theme music.Regardless of your opinions on the actual topic, how much would you pay to see this happen?

Chris Cillizza: I believe this is the most likely end to the standoff.Only change. Jim "JR" Ross would be the one doing the yelling.Also, Rowdy Roddy Piper should be the union negotiator.

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Watson: Chris, as a member of the media could you be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground caves?

Chris Cillizza: Absolutely! Reporting for duty, sir!

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THE PRESIDENTIAL DUE: ... and thank you for referring to the current sitting president as President Obama. Haven't we had a partisan tendency since Bill Clinton's term in office to attempt to de-legitimize an opposition president by referring to him without title? Or have we just become lazy Americans? (or both)

Chris Cillizza: Always try to refer to politicians by their titles. I figure they've earned it.As for me, I answer to "Hey you".

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Pro-Christie in The Fix?: Maybe it's me, but The Fix seems pretty pro-Christie, right? Where is "on the other side, here is why Chris Christie sucks" (I'm kidding, but you get my idea). Yes, he toke on political corruption as U.S. Attorney, but it's New Jersey. Talk about shooting fish in barrel and the corruption is very much alive and well. Christie was more flash then getting the roots of why New Jersey poltics is so corruption Yes, he is cutting taxes, but New Jersey still have super high taxes. What he cut is much lower then people expect and there are accounting tricks (like not paying pensions or pushing off stuff in the budget of 2012). Also Gov. Christie makes a deal yesterday about saying raising the retirement age didn't turn him into dust. That's true, but didn't turn him into the President of the United States either.

Chris Cillizza: NO question he has problems. And those problems would be on full display in a primary and, if he got there, a general election.I am not advocating for Christie to be president or even the GOP nominee. I am simply pointing out that there is some running room for a candidate like him if he did get into the race.I said the same about Obama in 2008. He listened to me and see what happened...(Before I get "you are an arrogant jerk" emails, I am kidding. Or am I....)

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My candidate for Congress: Buddy Garrity would be OK for Congress, except he comes across like a used car salesman. My choice: Eric Taylor. Doesn't say much (won;t put his foot in the mouth), but always seems to know to do the right thing, or close to it.

Chris Cillizza: The best politician on that show would clear be Tammy Taylor.Already has navigated the shark-tank politics of being a high school principal.Eric Taylor is more like a campaign manager/political svengali type.Buddy Garrity is the dude who carries out dirty tricks unbeknownst to the candidate.

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Cain: How much name recognition did obama have when he actually declared? The thing is, everyone I know who knows Cain loves him - once you hear him speak, you can be mesmerized. It's so easy. So yes, name recognition matters, but once you hear him, you can't help but love him.

Chris Cillizza: Obama was a sitting US SENATOR who had spent the 2006 cycle receiving the rock star treatment everywhere he went after delivering the keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.So....not exactly the same.

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Captain Adama birther: Look, we already have enough controversy over a President with a foreign sounding name who actually was born in the country. How are we ever going to nominate a guy who's nickname is Apollo who was born on another Planet? War record or not, that's going to be a heck of an uphill climb.

Chris Cillizza: Apollo is his son!Captain Adama is a SAINT. A SAINT, I say.

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Adama as president?: Colonel Tigh would make Washington a much more interesting place.

Chris Cillizza: Declaring martial law, drinking up a storm and having a wife who manipulates you and everyone around you tends to make life interesting...

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The slogan writes itself: Mitch Daniels: A Small Man for Smaller Government.

Chris Cillizza: And it fits on a bumper sticker!I still like the Homer Simpson slogan best: Can't someone else do it?

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Wisconsin Showdown: Chris, The point of what's happening in Wisconsin is not just that unionized workers are getting reduced benefits--as that's true of all workers whether public or private sector. The more troubling thing is that the governor wants to take away the right of collective bargaining. Obama is not sending Dems there to argue against benefit cuts, which are unavoidable, but to preserve collective bargaining.

Chris Cillizza: Fair point on Wisconsin.

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2012 operatives: Mike DuHaime is a big get considering the disaster that was the Giuliani and McCain campaigns?

Chris Cillizza: Well, he was the senior political person for Chris Christie in 2009 and ran the independent expenditure program at the National Republican Senatorial Committee in 2010.And both of those turned out pretty well.

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New Caprica: Bleh, no! Never liked Adama. In almost every episode he made the wrong decision at first, then eventually came around and did a 180. Karl Agathon for president!

Chris Cillizza: Gaius Baltar is my president.

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Celebrity Hoops: Is it bad that I'd want to deliver a flagrant foul on Justin Bieber on behalf of the silent majority of rational folks who can't stand his mindless lyrics and weak singing?

Chris Cillizza: Baby Baby Baby.Baby Baby BabyYeah yeah Yeah.That is all.

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Please don't despair: Watson will never develop an intentional sense of humor.

Chris Cillizza: Take that, you, ah, computer!

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New Word: For the people who tarnish the pundit title via off the wall blather (Beck, Palin, others) I propose:Pundidiots

Chris Cillizza: Me likey.

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Chicago: What are the chances we get a run off in the Mayor's race?

Chris Cillizza: Not high. I think Rahm wins outright (50+1) on Tuesday.

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Delegate: You are an arrogant jerk, but we love you.The Obama-Hillary races was a battle for delegates. Any chance of that for the GOP in 2012?

Chris Cillizza: Thanks, I think.Always a chance. I think unlikely but I would NEVER have predicted that in June 2008 we would still have a contested Democratic primary fight either.The lesson? I am an idiot.

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career switch: Just wondering since you often point out that you could never coach field hockey as well as Mrs. Fix, how good is Mrs. Fix with political analysis and predictions?

Chris Cillizza: It's refreshing.

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Best Political Tweeters by State: Just wondering which state(s) still hasn't gotten any suggestions yet?

Chris Cillizza: We are still gathering...I will have a full list of what we have and what we need (hopefully) by Monday.If you haven't chimed in on our search for the best political tweeps in each state, please do!

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"Declaring martial law, drinking up a storm and having a wife who manipulates you and everyone around you tends to make life interesting... ": Yeah, I know you miss FDR...

Chris Cillizza: HA!TIGH!

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Chris Cillizza: Ok, folks...that's all he wrote.Make sure to check out the Fix shortly for our latest Senate race rankins and DON'T FORGET that Tuesday at 11 am I will be back with the Fix Face-offs live video chat!See you then and have a great weekend.Chris


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