Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 24, 2014

July 23, 2014

John Walsh, Your Canned Response Is Ready

John Walsh, Your Canned Response Is Ready

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

After intently studying the last project Sen. John Walsh turned in to the United States War College, New York Times reporter Jonathan Martin has uncovered what appears to be a heavily plagiarized final product.

This startling revelation, compounded by Team Walsh’s head-scratching misrepresentation of the Montana Democrat’s academic credentials earlier this year, means Walsh suddenly has a lot more ‘splaining to do.

His best bet? Committing the following to memory:

Confidence is high George Costanza won’t mind you cribbing from the best.

Making the Most of a Swing Through Charm City

What’s a D.C.-based reporter to do when faced with ferreting out a worthwhile repast while on assignment in neighboring Baltimore? Solicit recommendations from Maryland’s congressional delegation, of course.

At least, that’s how Bloomberg BNA scribe Anthony Adragna played it Wednesday morning before hitting the road for an out-of-town conference.

 

 

According to Adragna, the dining S.O.S. was very much a spur of the moment thing.

“First time ever reaching out and didn’t put much thought into it,” Adragna told HOH. He said he meant to pose the question to Maryland Democrat Benjamin L. Cardin in person a day earlier — the two, evidently, chatted here on Capitol Hill Tuesday — but just never got around to it.

No matter.

Cardin came through on Twitter anyway. Full story

Vote for Your Favorite Distractions Abound Capitol Quip

Vote for Your Favorite Distractions Abound Capitol Quip

The five finalists for this week’s caption contest are ready for your votes.

Using the comments section below, vote for your favorite caption until 5 p.m. ET Thursday.

Here are this week’s finalists:

  • Now that’s what I call regulatory relief!
  • Get in gear! Or do you also have a faulty ignition switch?
  • If we quietly leave, maybe they won’t recall
  • Warranties are hell.
  • With every crisis comes opportunity…run!

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on July 28 and in the following print edition of Roll Call. The contest winner will receive a signed color print of his or her Capitol Quip cartoon from the cartoonist, R.J. Matson.

By Rebecca Gale Posted at 4:24 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Fantasy Baseball Winners Hit a Home Run

Fantasy Baseball Winners Hit a Home Run

Rep. Linda T. Sánchez at the 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Roughly one month after the 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game, players and fans have another reason to celebrate their performances at Nationals Park.

The winners of the Roll Call Fantasy Baseball competition were announced Wednesday, granting some coveted prizes to the top three fantasy teams.

As part of the competition, contestants could choose nine players from either team and earn points based on each player’s performances. A player earned 10 points for a single, 20 for a double, 30 for a triple, etc. Full story

Jim Himes Rains on Conspiracy Theorist’s Parade

Rep. Jim Himes unleashed a flood of Twitter rage Wednesday morning after baiting a current events troll with news of his “secret” powers.

The social media implosion occurred shortly after a Twitter user self-identified as Danny Anson (@1Anson1) decided to dig into the Connecticut Democrat’s background and demanded to know about any underlying affiliations.

 

 

“None. But on Tuesdays they do let me control the weather,” Himes quipped when quizzed about his allegiance to surreptitious power brokers.

The taunt clearly fried Anson’s circuits, sparking some 40-odd replies (and counting) that bounce around a bevy of hot-button issues: destabilization of the Middle East, religious persecution, global intelligence gathering, morality, free trade. You name it. Full story

July 22, 2014

John Dingell Stumped by Kardashian Craze

Rep. John D. Dingell has spent nearly 24 hours trying to wrap his head around the dizzying world of celebutantes. And it ain’t working.

After being stumped by a seemingly random tweet from someone at the Environmental Protection Agency — which has, of course, since been scrubbed from existence — trumpeting their standing in reality TV star Kim Kardashian’s nascent iPhone-friendly time-suck, the Michigan Democrat apparently turned to staff for a crash course in all things O. J. Simpson’s-former-lawyer’s-since-remarried-wife’s-brood’s plans to prove Andy Warhol wrong.

(Et tu, EPA?)

Team Dingell did not respond to queries regarding whether the debrief on the reigning tabloid queen/bride of hip-hop mogul Kanye West/mother of North West included “A Clockwork Orange”-like screening of TMZ clips, binge-watching of E!’s burgeoning Kardashian-centric programming (have the pets been given shows yet?) or a quick flip-through men’s magazines.

 

 

It’s obvious, however, that the pop culture cram session clearly didn’t take. Full story

John Mica’s Makeover Plans Ain’t Gonna Happen

If Rep. John L. Mica had his way, a lot of people who currently inhabit some of the most cherry spots on the House side of the Capitol would be looking for new places to hang their hats come November.

“It’s something that we need to look at in the next Congress, … opening up more of these historic spaces,” the Florida Republican told HOH about his quest to carve out additional meeting rooms and reception areas for entertainment-minded lawmakers.

Per Mica, the current crop of reservation-required options is woefully limited to the Speaker’s Dining Room (H-122) and the Henry J. Hyde Room (H-139).

John Mica’s Makeover Plans Ain’t Gonna Happen

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

By comparison, Mica noted that senators have access to the cavernous Lyndon Baines Johnson (S-211) and Mike Mansfield (S-207) rooms. “We don’t have those equivalents. And we should,” he argued. Full story

Congressional Baseball Game Box Score Tells a Tale

Congressional Baseball Game Box Score Tells a Tale

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Hot off the presses comes the box score for the 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game, which tells a tale of offensive firepower and creative defensive statistics, combined with an attendance of 8,503 at Nationals Park.

For those who attended the June 25 game to watch the Democrats’ 15-6 victory over the Republicans before the game was called due to rain in the seventh inning, the standout statistic might be that the Democrats’ runs came off of 11 hits, while the Republicans only managed those six runs off of nine hits.

Pitching was a key differential for the two squads. Democratic ace Cedric L. Richmond of Louisiana pitched six frames, while four Republicans combined for six-and-one-third innings: Reps. Marlin Stutzman of Indiana, John Shimkus of Illinois, and Patrick Meehan and Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania.

Richmond walked only 3 batters, while the GOP walked 12 batters. That, combined with two errors from the GOP team, allowed a tough Democratic squad to capitalize and put the game out of reach.

Related Stories:

The Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game in 3 Minutes (Video)

Could Congressional Sports Fix Washington? It’s a Start

Richard Nixon: Cookbook Connoisseur, Fan of Sophie Leavitt’s ‘Penny Pincher’s Cook Book’

While the Washington Post is poised to revel in the 40th anniversary of its administration-toppling Watergate investigation, we here at HOH would prefer to reflect on the positive things President Richard Milhous Nixon brought to the table.

An appreciation of cheap eats, for one.

These days, no one thinks twice about having the White House weigh in on what’s on their plate because first lady Michelle Obama has made it her mission to keep nutrition and healthful dining in the public consciousness. One could argue that Nixon helped plant the seed for sustaining a public discourse on maximizing hard earned food dollars by standing firmly behind author Sophie Leavitt’s “Penny Pincher’s Cook Book.”

Richard Nixon: Cookbook Connoisseur, Fan of Sophie Leavitts Penny Pinchers Cook Book

(CQ Roll Call)

The 1971 book — which this reporter just happened to stumble upon while poking around one of those “take a book, leave a book” bins in Old Town Alexandria — encourages would-be cooks not only to adopt frugality, but to embrace it as a source of inspiration. Full story

July 21, 2014

Chubbies’ Gadsden Flag Shorts Bare All for Freedom

Chubbies Gadsden Flag Shorts Bare All for Freedom

(Screenshot)

Just when you thought it was safe to wear shorts again, Chubbies — the uber-shortmaker of the fashion world — brings to you its Gadsden flag edition, a model of leg-baring boldness with its coiled snake and thigh-high “Don’t Tread on Me” motto.

“Don’t even think about treading on me. Ever,” the cheeky short-seller states in its description for prospective bro-tastic buyers, before adding, “If you do, these shorts will come at you like a coiled pit viper that just found out he can’t text his girlfriend because he lacks opposable thumbs.”

Within days, possibly hours, the “Sold Out” sign went up, undoubtedly as tea-party fashionistas got word and the weekend approached. CQ Roll Caller Scott Campbell, upon finding out of HOH’s interest in the libertine fashion statement, wanted to know, “Is HOH going to swagger-jack me?”

He was kidding, we think, because he went on to detail his long-time pining for the yellow item. “I’ve been wanting to buy those shorts for a long time. They’ve been sold out,” he said, noting, ” They’re comfortable shorts.”

Lucky for the Chubbies set, more are on the way, according to the company. “We’re working like crazy to make more of these bad boys. Find out when they’re back in-stock by signing up below,” the website states, inviting you to join its freedom-loving email list.

Take Five: Rep. Cheri Bustos

Take Five: Rep. Cheri Bustos

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH talks with a member of Congress about topics relatively unrelated to legislative work.

This week, Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., speaks about her career as a journalist at the Quad-City Times and growing up in the Land of Lincoln among politicians right at her kitchen table. A lightly edited transcript follows.

Q: You earned a master’s degree in journalism and worked as an investigative reporter in Illinois. What was it like?

A: I believe that every day, you could walk into the newsroom and you were in the position to make a difference. I’m a pretty competitive person. My goal every day was to make sure I was making a difference in the community but also to have the above-the-fold, banner story as many days as I possibly could.

Q: You grew up around politics. Your dad was a chief of staff to Sens. Paul Simon and Alan Dixon. What lessons did you pick up from being around politics at such an early age?

A: Sitting around our kitchen table from a very early age on, we talked politics and we talked policy. Never once can I ever remember my dad saying, “Go away, this is an adult conversation.” I could sit around and listen to these guys as long as I wanted to listen to them.

Q: You recently spent Mother’s Day in Afghanistan. What was your biggest takeaway from it?

The most moving part of it was to sit down with our American troops on Mother’s Day when they were away from their children. … If there’s something that has meant a lot to me during my short time here in Washington, it is getting to know a lot of veterans and those who serve to a level that I have a deeper understanding of the sacrifices they’ve given for the country and what their families have given.

Q: You were MVP of the 2013 Congressional Softball Game. How do you keep in shape?

A: I get up at 4:30 a.m. pretty much every morning during the week. I work out for an hour and a half. I do weights and I ride the bike, I run or I play tennis. It’s my release.

Q: You’re finishing your first term in Congress. What advice could you give to incoming freshmen?

A: Have great people around you because this is very much a team effort. If there’s any success that I’ve had, it is a direct reflection of the people I work with. We have a very smart team and an extremely hardworking team, both here in Washington and back in Illinois. We all understand why we’re here.

By Cady Zuvich Posted at 4:06 p.m.
TakeFive

July 20, 2014

Distractions Abound for Capitol Quip

Distractions Abound for Capitol Quip

Sometimes you have to take your medicine and go before Congress, like General Motors this past week. Until, of course, other events interfere and blow things a little off course. Which brings us to this week’s Capitol Quip captioning contest.

Send us a caption for this week’s contest by leaving it in the comments section. Editors will pick five finalists on Wednesday, and everyone can vote for the winner through Thursday.

To see our previous winners, check us out on Pinterest.

By Jason Dick Posted at 7:05 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Sign of the Times For Capitol Quip

Sign of the Times For Capitol Quip

Thanks to the many readers who contributed captions for last week’s Capitol Quip contest. Here’s the winning entry, as voted by readers of Heard on the Hill.

The winner will receive a signed color print suitable for framing from Roll Call cartoonist R. J. Matson. Check out our past winners on Pinterest.

By Jason Dick Posted at 7 p.m.
Capitol Quip

July 18, 2014

FLOTUS Tweaks Congress Over School Lunch at Kids’ State Dinner

First Lady Michelle Obama’s battle for school lunch reform continued to heat up Friday as she urged a room full of kids and parents to become advocates for healthy lunch programs, despite “grownups’ ” attempts to block reform.

“And while the vast majority of the schools are doing just fine with these new standards, those few complaining voices happen to be the loudest voices and they’re getting the most attention right now,” the first lady said at the third annual Kids’ State Dinner, slamming Congress for “undoing some of the progress” made.

With 54 kid representatives from each state and territory attending the dinner after submitting winning recipes, Obama took the opportunity to center her remarks on school lunch, suggesting the voices of parents and children are necessary in the fight for healthy, nutritious lunches. A panel of judges — which included White House chef Sam Kass — picked the tastiest and healthiest recipes among the 1,500 submissions. Full story

Rep. Ruiz Assists Passenger During Flight Home

Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Calif., was called into action while flying home Thursday when a young woman a few rows in front of him began having a seizure.

A Ruiz spokesperson confirmed Friday that the former emergency room doctor did assist the woman on his flight. Ruiz checked to make sure her condition was not serious enough to warrant an emergency landing.

According to the Daily Caller, the woman Ruiz helped, Lisa De Pasquale, is a columnist for the conservative Breitbart News and Townhall websites. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee saw fit to send out an In Case You Missed It email with Betsy Rothstein’s DC story.

De Pasquale told HOH that she was “very grateful that Congressman Ruiz was there!” In an email, the scribe related that “I didn’t let on to how scared I was that I didn’t remember anything that happened before, during and immediately after the seizure. He sat and talked to me for the remainder of the flight. We talked about religion and books, and nothing about politics. It was great!”

This was not the first time Ruiz lent a hand during an in-flight medical emergency.

In October, Ruiz was headed to Texas when a passenger collapsed during the flight. Ruiz helped stabilize the passenger and, in that case, the passenger’s condition caused the plane to land in Raleigh, N.C.

Thursday’s incident occurred during the California Democrat’s typical flight home, which stops in Phoenix. Ruiz’s fellow House member, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., was on the flight and witnessed Ruiz assisting the passenger.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated Rep. Sinema’s party.

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