Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 29, 2014

July 29, 2014

Life on Sarah Palin’s Wavelength

After years of randomly popping up on cable new shows, conservative documentaries and in single-season series, one-time GOP vice presidential hopeful Sarah Palin is ready to build a programming empire all her own.

The former governor of Alaska has teamed with digital media platform TAPP, to launch the subscription-based Sarah Palin Channel. SPC marks the second outing by TAPP, which waded into the online market this past March with the religiously themed “New Life TV with Steve Arterburn.”

“Together let’s live life vibrantly, purposefully and boldly,” the Alaska Republican implores viewers in her welcome video.

A TAPP aide told HOH that Palin’s new project has been in development for several months, and currently features a series of “sample” video clips — watch her frag President Barack Obama in response to a reader-submitted query regarding political leadership and weave a pro-energy independence pitch through commentary about Ukraine and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The company has plans to court additional constituencies (a word cloud touts “fantasy sports,” “addictions” and “paranormal” content as viable contenders) in the future.

For $9.95 a month, or $99.95 per year, subscribers get all the current content — selected “behind the scenes” videos; the word of the day from Palin’s mother, Sally Heath; a real-time countdown till the end of Obama’s second term — plus the ability to comment and contribute to Palin’s planned infotainment portal.

There’s also a two-week, no-obligation trial period for those unsure about the self-styled news aggregator.

Those who register before Aug. 1 are promised two additional months of free viewing. Military personnel currently on active duty are encouraged to email SPC (proudlyserving@SarahPalinChannel.com) to receive free access to the evolving site.

Per TAPP, programmers are still working on the exact formula for populating the channel. “It will be 95 percent original content,” our contact said.

But they are leaving the door open to revisiting some of Palin’s greatest hits. Full story

July 28, 2014

Bill Maher Flip a District Contest: Ellmers in Final Four

Bill Maher Flip a District Contest: Ellmers in Final Four

Bill Maher’s Flip a District project added Ellmers to the final four. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Bill Maher’s attempt to oust a Republican member of Congress is nearing its final stage, with the liberal comedian announcing July 25 on his HBO show that Renee Ellmers of North Carolina has made it to the final four of his viewer-driven “Flip a District” contest.

Ellmers joins John Kline of Minnesota and Blake Farenthold of Texas. Maher will announce the last of the quartet on Friday night, his final show before “Real Time” takes a summer break. The aim appears to be the selection of one Republican in the final stretch of the midterm cycle and then support for that lawmaker’s Democratic challenger with both money and attention. The Flip a District “loserest loser of all,” as Maher dubs it, will be announced when his show films from Washington, D.C., on Sept. 12.

He went after Ellmers, who was among the “tweet 16″ finalists, on July 25.

Full story

The Bard Brings Schumers Back Together

Sen. Charles E. Schumer finally caught up with his comedian cousin, Amy Schumer, this past weekend at Shakespeare in the Park.

 

 

An aide said the New York Democrat just happened to bump into his rising star relative — Ms. Schumer has been nominated for an Emmy for the writing of her Comedy Central series “Inside Amy Schumer,” and is currently working on “Trainwreck,” the feature film she penned and which filmmaker Judd Apatow is directing — at the annual theater festival in New York’s Central Park.

Per Team Schumer, the boss did not know the stand-up comedian/actress and her Hollywood pals were also headed to “King Lear.” Full story

Pete Gallego Saves Choking Child During Flight Home

Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Texas, jumped into action during a flight home to Texas on Friday night to help a young boy next to him who was choking on a chicken nugget.

“I had my headphones on and was listening to some news articles,” Gallego told CQ Roll Call during a phone interview Monday, when he heard a commotion next to him.

Beside the freshman congressman was a 3-year-old boy and the boy’s mother, who was also holding a baby. The woman stood up and started shouting, “Oh my God, my son is choking! He’s choking!”

“I turned around quickly and I had to unbuckle his seat belt,” said Gallego. He then put one hand on the child’s back and one on the child’s sternum, and gently pushed forward. “As I did that he turned around to look at me and I ended up with chicken nuggets on my chest,” but the child was alright. Full story

July 27, 2014

About That Do-Nothing Congress … | Capitol Quip

About That Do Nothing Congress ... | Capitol Quip

The 113th Congress is on pace to be the least productive in modern memory. So what does a do-nothing Congress do on recess? This 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

Start Your General Motors | Capitol Quip

Start Your General Motors | 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.

July 25, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of July 21 (Video)

As members discuss ski resorts, bears and rivers, the Vice President reminds us why America should be “number one.”

Murkowski Tells Alaskans to Show Their ‘Inner Ted’ Stevens (Video)

Murkowski Tells Alaskans to Show Their Inner Ted Stevens (Video)

Murkowski is encouraging fellow Alaskans to honor the late Stevens, seen here posing with the Incredible Hulk in 2003. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In a new video message, Sen. Lisa Murkowski is encouraging her fellow Alaskans to celebrate Ted Stevens Day on Saturday.

“Sen. Stevens, or ‘Uncle Ted’ as many of us knew him, was the Alaskan of the 20th century and always put Alaska above partisan politics,” the Alaska Republican said. “This year, Alaskans have seen me put on my Hulk scarf and channel my inner Ted Stevens to fight in the Senate for what is important to Alaska.”

Full story

Angus King Gussies Up Dirksen

Unlike Florida Republican John L. Mica’s grandiose plan to clean house on the other side of the Capitol, Sen. Angus King had a much more modest desire: brighten up a little corner of Dirksen.

Mission accomplished.

Angus King Gussies Up Dirksen

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

“I walk that corridor two or three times a day … and often wondered to myself, ‘Why is this blank?’” the Maine Independent said of the once-barren hallway leading up from the internal subway to the Senate office building.

Now inspired, King set out to seek a resolution to the featureless landscape members, staff and visitors were faced with each time they trekked over for a visit. Full story

Wes Morton Pops by DGS for ‘Schmutz and Schmaltz’

With just under a week to go before he cuts ties with D.C. for good, outgoing Art and Soul toque Wes Morton has carved out time to inject a little Southern flavor into DGS’s inaugural “Summer Roadshow” dinner.

Morton is scheduled to take over the DGS kitchen on July 29 for a pop-up dining experience dubbed “Schmutz & Schmaltz.”

Even though DGS’s founding chef, Barry Koslow, has since moved on — Koslow split from the restaurant earlier this year in order to help the W Hotel reinvent its fine dining program — Morton said the Dupont Circle deli remains near and dear to his heart.

“Barry was very instrumental to me when we first moved to D.C. So much so that I followed him to Circle Bistro from Citronelle,” Morton shared, recalling culinary battles waged alongside Koslow and Brendan Cox (who has since established his own restaurant, Oakleaf, in Pittsboro, N.C.).

“The DGS guys will definitely be missed along with their fantastic smoked meat!” Morton said. Full story

Howard Coble Rocks the Madras Plaid

Howard Coble Rocks the Madras Plaid

Coble, rocking the madras plaid on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

If there is any doubt that we’ll miss the fashion flare of retiring Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., in future congresses, we certainly hope this photo dispels those doubts. We love madras!

Silver Line Launch Has Been the Ride of Gerry Connolly’s Life

Silver Line Launch Has Been the Ride of Gerry Connolly’s Life

Connolly is all in on the Silver Line opening. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Perhaps no one was more excited to have the first Metro car roll out of Northern Virginia’s brand-spanking-new Wiehle-Reston East Station than Rep. Gerald E. Connolly.

“From the first day I announced running for public life in 1995, I committed myself to making that my No. 1 priority,” he said of the monolithic commuter rail expansion Kennedy-era officials dared not even dream about. “And I am very proud of the fact that almost 20 years later … it happened.”

The Virginia Democrat has spent decades fighting — originally as a member of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, and now as a congressman — to carry the iconic “doors closing” warning into some of the region’s fast growing suburban enclaves. Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 12:39 p.m.
Reps, Sens

July 24, 2014

Capitol Hill Feasts on Hawaiian Hospitality (Video)

“The party was such a big hit the cops were called because we had too many people,” an aide to Sen. Mazie K. Hirono, D-Hawaii, told HOH about the overwhelming response to the Aloha State’s July 23 taste-around.

Capitol Hill Feasts on Hawaiian Hospitality (Video)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The inaugural event was packed during our visit, with waves of people — all wearing complimentary purple-flowered leis (700 were distributed throughout the evening) — flowing in and out of the Kennedy Caucus Room to see/hear/taste/learn all about the island state.

“Aloha!” Hirono greeted each guest as they poured through the front door. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, extended his welcome to the rapidly swelling crowd from up on stage later in the program.

As for Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, well, it turns out she’s a hugger.

Capitol Hill Feasts on Hawaiian Hospitality (Video)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

We thought (for a second) that we’d spotted Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, mingling with native Hawaiians and curious staffers alike, but when we turned to look again the smiling face had disappeared into the crowd, leaving us feeling dejected about having failed to connect with her about the best part of the visually stimulating set-up. Our eyes must’ve been playing tricks, because the congresswoman was actually in Hawaii.

Party planners said Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., was quite taken with the samples of fresh papaya, while Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., was purportedly buzzing about Big Island Bees’ Ohia Lehua Blossom honey.

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy opted for a meatier experience, waiting in line, like everyone else, for a taste of kalua pork. Full story

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

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