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The Fix: November 29, 2009 - December 5, 2009

Baucus acknowledges affair with former staffer

Late last night, Fix alma mater Roll Call newspaper broke the news that Montana Sen. Max Baucus (D) had an affair with his former state director and had put her name forward for a vacant U.S. Attorney's job.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 5, 2009; 8:31 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (49)
Categories:  Senate  
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Live Fix: Texas governor's race, Mass. special election and more!

We spent an hour this morning chatting with Fixistas -- on topics ranging from the primary battle between Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R), the upcoming Senate special election in Massachusetts and our ongoing quest to get Bill Simmons aka the "Sports Guy" to refer to us as the "homeless man's Bill Simmons".

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 4, 2009; 5:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Fix Notes  
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The most important number in politics today

0 That's the percentage of people who didn't recognize Sen. Harry Reid's name in a new independent poll that shows the Nevada Democrat in deep electoral trouble.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 4, 2009; 2:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (103)
Categories:  Most Important Number  
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Friday House Line: Open seats in focus

If you are trying to gauge what sort of year 2010 will be for House Democrats, look no further than their open seats. Open seats -- those being abandoned by a sitting member either for retirement or a run for higher office -- are perennially the most likely to switch parties as they represent the closest thing to a fair fight that you get in Congress.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 4, 2009; 12:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (55)
Categories:  The Line  
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Morning Fix: Obama speechifies on the economy

President Obama is set to deliver an economic-focused speech next Tuesday at the Brookings Institution, a recognition by he and his inner circle that as the calendar turns to 2010 they must do everything they can to convince the American people he is paying close attention to the nation's fiscal health. The speech will come just days after a jobs summit convened by the president at the White House, a largely symbolic gesture designed to show the American public he is working on fixing what ails the economy. But, one of the backdrops of the speech is almost certain to be double-digit unemployment numbers for the month of November, data that will be released today by the Labor Department. (The unemployment rate stood at 10.2 percent in October.) The challenge posed by the perception of a jobless recovery is that he must simultaneously seek to instill confidence in Americans by citing so-called "green shoots" of progress while not appearing to be too ebullient about the financial fate of the country for fear of appearing out of touch with the concerns of everyday Americans. (Ask former President George H.W. Bush what being perceived as out of touch on everyday economic concerns can do to one's political career.) It's very fine line to walk politically but one that Obama must walk if Democrats want to avoid broad-scale losses at the ballot box next November.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 4, 2009; 5:33 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (88)
Categories:  Morning Fix  
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NC-Sen: Democrats get Cunningham

Iraq war veteran and former state Sen. Cal Cunningham (D) will challenge Richard Burr (R) in 2010, reversing his earlier decision to opt out of the race and giving national Democrats a candidate they believe can out the freshman North Carolina senator.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 3, 2009; 2:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
Categories:  Senate  
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The most important number in politics today

That's the percentage of Americans who said the country should "mind its own business internationally" in a new Pew poll, a potentially troubling isolationist sentiment for President Barack Obama in the wake of his commitment of 30,000 more American troops to Afghanistan earlier this week.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 3, 2009; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (70)
Categories:  Most Important Number  
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Canaries, Coal Mines and House Democrats

The retirements of Reps. Dennis Moore (Kans.) and John Tanner</strong> (Tenn.) over the past few weeks has spawned a series of stories about the hand-wringing currently going on in the House Democratic Caucus.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 3, 2009; 10:52 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (63)
Categories:  House  
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Morning Fix: Obama's job summit symbolism

Poll after poll shows that jobs and, more broadly, the economy, are the overriding issue for most voters as 2010 approaches. Democratic strategists are sure to breathe a sigh of relief at the gathering of bigwigs (the CEOs of Disney and Google will be in attendance) as well as small-wigs and everyone in between.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 3, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (63)
Categories:  Morning Fix  
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First Thoughts: Obama's Afghanistan Speech

President Barack Obama tonight delivered his long-awaited strategy going forward in Afghanistan -- 30,000 more troops in the country beginning in early 2010 -- in a sober address at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point that sought to lay out the stakes of the conflict while also making clear to the American public that this was not another Vietnam or Iraq

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 1, 2009; 9:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (201)
Categories:  White House  
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Tanner to retire

Tennessee Democratic Rep. John Tanner will retire next November, creating an open seat in an area that strongly favors Republicans.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 1, 2009; 8:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  House  
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Republicans, examined

The Fix is still on a bit of extended Thanksgiving vacation but the new Washington Post poll on the state of the Republican party -- released today -- is something every political junkie worth the name should check out.

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 30, 2009; 10:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (167)
Categories:  Eye on 2012 , Republican Party  
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MA-Sen: The Globe goes for Khazei

The Boston Globe, a potentially significant force in what has been to date a very low- profile Democratic primary to replace the late Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy (D), threw its endorsement behind City Year co-founder Alan Khazei today.

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 29, 2009; 11:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Senate  
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