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The Fix Errs

Today in our "Monday Fix" column, we reported that the National Republican Senatorial Committee was going up with ads in the Maine Senate race -- a sign, we argued, that Sen. Susan Collins (R) might be in real trouble.

We were flat wrong.

The NRSC did buy time on Friday in the Portland, Maine media market, a move that when we learned of it, led us to conclude that the committee was set to go on television in support of Collins.

What we failed to realize (dumbly) is that the Portland, Maine media market also reaches into parts of New Hampshire where Sen. John Sununu (R) is fighting for his political life against former governor Jeanne Shaheen.

The time the NRSC bought in Portland then was for the New Hampshire race NOT the Maine race. It's a rookie mistake and one that we simply should not make.

The Fix always strives to bring our readers the best information first, but in this instance we leapt at what seemed to be a good story without appropriately running the traps on it.

And for that, we owe an apology to the Fix readers who trust us and specifically to Rebecca Fisher, the communications director at the NRSC, and Mike Slanker, the political director.

We truly regret the error.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 13, 2008; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Fix Notes  
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Posted by: transav | October 14, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Harvard Law Review, like many law reviews, does not credit student authors of note and comments to individual students.

Posted by: ksullivan17 | October 13, 2008 6:42 PM | Report abuse



A great deal has been said of Obama as head of the Harvard Law Review - however the evidence is that he was voted into that position because the people thought it would be "cool" to have a black in there, not because he was more qualified than the other students.

Having said that, Obama NEVER wrote for the Harvard Law Review.


There is a pattern of Obama getting positions or jobs through affirmative action and then NOT doing those jobs.

1) First, he took a position in the class at Harvard Law School (from a white student) however Obama NEVER became a lawyer,

2) Obama became head of the Harvard Law Review, however Obama NEVER wrote a law review article.

3) Obama became a State Senator however Obama RARELY voted yes or not, voting present many many times - Emil Jones placed Obama's name on numerous bills which were Emil's work, and Obama took credit for Emil's work because someone decided that Obama was going to be pushed forward.

4) Obama was selected to be the Chairman of the SubCommittee to review NATO's role in Afghanistan however Obama NEVER held any hearings of this SubCommittee.

5) Obama was elected to the US Senator, however instead of doing his job as a Senator Obama went on a book tour and started a campaign for President - HOW MUCH TIME HAS HE REALLY SPENT ACTUALLY BEING A SENATOR ???

Sorry However NONE OF THIS IS IMPRESSIVE. In fact, it is rather sad.



Posted by: 37thandOStreet | October 13, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

The Collins campaign is going to accuse you of starting rumors.

Posted by: Budikavlan | October 13, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

You're still making the GU Class of '98 proud.

Posted by: ComoPark | October 13, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Democracy must rely on the goodness of it's citizens. I sleep nights confident that the voters in Maine - who might otherwise be effected - were able to detect your error in judgement and life a long and happy life regardless.

Having set that bar - let's go looking for the guy that keeps repeating that Obama is an Arab.

Posted by: DonJasper | October 13, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Chris - Say three Hail Mary's and one Our Father and all is forgiven.

Posted by: Verrazzano

Verrazzano, you forgot some spraying of holy water and a contribution to the nearest orphanage! :-)

Posted by: Kruhn1 | October 13, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Alec MacGillis, in the 'ground game' chat, notes:

"we noted this morning that the RNC is now pouring money into Maine to help Susan Collins, whose lead is shrinking."

Is he making the same mistake that The Fix made?

Posted by: bsimon1 | October 13, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Sununu actually ran an ad a few weeks back in the Boston market that said "he's even faster" than Shaheen. Easily the lamest political ad ever.

Posted by: hiberniantears | October 13, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Chris: Don't feel too bad about this. Considering this part of the original article, "The NRSC did not respond to a request for comment about their latest ad buy," it is clear that you tried to give them a chance to respond.

In a fast moving news-cycle, campaigns that are not actively communicating with the press forfeit their right to complain. If they had told you earlier that this was for NH instead of ME, you wouldn't have written this article.

Posted by: ooooomaha | October 13, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Hey Chris

I am glad you cleared that up...

although Collins is playing ads...the Shaheen Sununu fight is the one that is ..."tense" to say the least.

I think one of the ads from Sununu looks like a Halloween" advertisement for some kind of bad local "scary event"

all with dark cloudy night skies and rumbling thunder... can almost see the "foley' guy banging on the sheet of metal in the background...

not much for production values in NH

Posted by: klondike2 | October 13, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

It is okay, Chis. This still one of the best columns for politics in the country, and the only one I read everyday 365 days a year.

Posted by: jameshauser | October 13, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Well said, Chris. Honest, accept responsibility, explain how the error was made, explain the scope of the error and promise to try to avoid it in the future. The perfect mea culpa. I wish I saw more of that, both in the media and our politics; which explains why this is absolutely the FIRST place I look on the internet every day. I think you're an honest analyst who tries to look beyond his personal filter. There's enough news out there .. Just not nearly enough analysis without an agenda.

Posted by: keilprti1 | October 13, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

When are you gonna apologize for the dozens of other errors you've made this cycle?

Posted by: info42 | October 13, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for your honesty, honestly.

It's hard to admit a mistake, but it's always best to do it and move on.

See if you can reach Governor Palin and convince her to do the same.

Posted by: seemstome | October 13, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

If Chris had consulted with Drudge first, I'll bet he wouldn't have made that mistake.


Posted by: castanea | October 13, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

If and when the NRSC and/or a like-minded 527 goes up with ads against Collins, please be sure to write another correction saying your hunch was right!

Posted by: scrivener50 | October 13, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Chris. In this day and age, the media reports the fact of the accusation (or, in this case, assumption) and doesn't stop to determine whether or not it's true.

You've done something that's incredibly rare these days: accepted full responsibility for an error. You put your retraction and apology front and center, instead of burying it.

Again, thank you.

Posted by: cam8 | October 13, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Wow, someone that actually admits a mistake.

Hey Chris, What are you doing for the next 4 years?

Thanks for your honest and accountable reporting

Posted by: milow369 | October 13, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

"The Fix Errs"

ergo The Fix is human.

Posted by: bsimon1 | October 13, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Chris.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 13, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

who cares? this is a small-ball mistake. I care much more about the mistakes that misrepresent candidates or their ideas.

Posted by: freedom41 | October 13, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

You go, Chris--at least someone admits their mistakes!

Posted by: caraprado1 | October 13, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

The one time we made a mistake was when we thought we were wrong when we were really right. We are grateful for the Fix - you do well with your analysis - thank you

Posted by: glclark4750 | October 13, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Wow, Chris, you're harder on yourself than the posters who accuse you of being in the tank for either candidate.

Honest mistake with a thoughtful follow-up. Credibility unaffected. Moving on.

Posted by: JohninMpls | October 13, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Chris - Say three Hail Mary's and one Our Father and all is forgiven.

Posted by: Verrazzano | October 13, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

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