The Fix Talks Back
I spent an hour this morning fielding questions during a live online chat. As always, there were alot more questions than I could get to so I kept a few of the best and answered them below. Don't forget to check The Fix tomorrow morning for the latest Friday Senate Line.
Alexandria, Va.: But Chris, you didn't answer the question -- would Barack Obama as VP on a losing 2008 ticket hurt his future changes (my view, hey, it's free advertising, unless he's involved in a major screwup). Would be interested in your thoughts.
The Fix:: It's hard to imagine a scenario under which Obama would hurt his chances at the presidency by agreeing to be on the national ticket. Should that ticket lose, Obama would run the risk of being painted as yesterday's news by some insiders but he could easily explain that away by pointing out that he didn't lead the ticket. The one caveat, which you rightly note, is if he was to commit a major gaffe on the campaign trail that took some of the shine off of him in the eyes of voters and insiders. Given his political skills, a mistake like that seems highly unlikely.
Denver, Colo.: One appeal that Mark Warner has is the appeal of "competency". Having sucessfully negotaiated the challenges in Virginia he makes an appealing candidate nationally at a time when so much is in disarray. What do you think?
The Fix: The majority of Warner's stump speech, not surprisingly, is devoted to the successes he has created in his life -- from cell phones in the private sector to his four years as governor of the Commonwealth. I think the competence argument only goes so far, however, especially on foreign affairs. Warner's biggest problem is that he has little experience on foreign policy and must convince Democratic primary voters to take a chance on someone who has no track record. His demonstrated competence in the business world and in Virginia politics should help him make the case but it will be a struggle.
Boston, Mass.: How big a deal is it that both the Democratic campaign committees for the House and Senate are outraising their Republican counterparts? Did the Busby-Bilbray race erase the NRCC's cash advantage (by forcing the GOP to spend $5 mil to defend a "safe" seat)?
The Fix: It's an important -- and shocking -- development that the Post's Jim VandeHei documented well in a recent article. After the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act went into effect after the 2002 election, Democrats to a person predicted it would cripple their ability to remain within financial shouting distance of Republicans. That has not been the case. In 2004, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee outraised its Republican counterpart and through May 2006 both the DSCC and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had more cash to spend than the Republican committees. Republicans got a huge boost from the President's Dinner and, at least on the House side, should jump into the lead again when June reports come out later this month. The underlying trend is intriguing, however, as Internet fundraising has created a new reservoir of cash for Democrats that Republicans have been unable to match to date. The real test of fundraising parity will be in the 2008 presidential campaign when both sides go full tilt to raise hundreds of millions of dollars.
Louisville, Ky.: Do you any word on Ky-3? The Dem challenger John Yarmuth released a poll putting himself one point above incumbent Ann Northup. Do you have any other numbers? Louisville is by far the most blue area in the state. Any chance for a Dem pickup here?
The Fix: Northup is perenially targeted by national Democrats who see the tilt of her Louisville area district, which went for Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry by a 51 percent to 49 percent margin in 2004. But Northup has shown incredible resiliency, having won tough re-election fights since 1996. I saw that poll, and I can believe the numbers, but remember it is still early in the campaign. Northup will spend millions touting her accomplishments and attacking Yarmouth and it's not immediately clear he will have the resources to respond. That said, in a year with Democrats enjoying a strong wind at their back, this could be a race to watch.
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