Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 26, 2015

April 25, 2015

In the Trenches with Chris Johnson: WHCD Edition

With all the haters throwing shade at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, HOH couldn’t help but wonder whether any of our fellow reporting brethren still get anything (other than a vicious hangover) out of the booze-soaked weekend.

Sure, critics are convinced the event has devolved into an orgy of media one-upmanship. And the crush of celebvocates paraded around at corporate-sponsored parties does tend to steal most of the thunder from the actual journalists being feted.

Then again, sometimes one simply must embrace the absurdity of it all.

At least that’s what Chris Johnson, the White House reporter for the Washington Blade, did a few years back when he came face to face with former Sen. Rick Santorum.

In the Trenches with Chris Johnson: WHCD Edition

(Courtesy Chris Johnson)

Full story

April 24, 2015

Celebrities Schooled in D.C. Statehood on Capitol Hill

Celebrities Schooled in D.C. Statehood on Capitol Hill

Actress Hayden Panettiere was the first celebrity Strauss brought into the D.C. statehood movement. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Celebrities walked the halls of the Capitol Friday to advocate for funding for arts in education, but they also received a lesson themselves: in District of Columbia statehood.

Behind a sign marked “Senators Only” (which actor Haley Joel Osment was spotted taking a selfie with), the celebrities lunched in the Senate Dining Room with Paul Strauss, one of D.C.’s “shadow” senators. Strauss is an elected representative who advocates for D.C. statehood, and he hosted the movie and television stars for lunch between meetings. Full story

Prayer Warriors Want WHCD Refocused on Community Service

Pray at the Pump founder Rocky Twyman Friday plans to put the screws to all the revelers floating around #ThisTown for the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner by publicly petitioning President Barack Obama to prod the host journalists and visiting celebrities to pursue more worthwhile causes.

Prayer Warriors Want WHCD Refocused on Community Service

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“Special prayers will be offered for our partying White House correspondents whose news organizations are spending millions on impressing Hollywood stars instead of using money for investigative stories that impact the nation,” Twyman said in a release announcing his intention to picket outside the White House from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Full story

WHCD Comes to Capitol Hill

Members of the Creative Coalition in town for the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner Friday are expected to pop by a few congressional offices for some face time.

A tipster told HOH nearly two dozen actors, directors and all-purpose entertainers are planning to fan out across the mostly empty Capitol and take meetings about shoring up support for the arts with aides to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as well as whatever appropriations personnel happens to be around.

Some of the better-known performers staff may see peeking through the front door include:

Creative Coalition President Tim Daly

Full story

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of April 20, 2015 (Video)

As Nancy Pelosi and John A. Boehner smooched, members spent the remainder of the workweek protecting turtle passwords, choking up over Sam Houston and threatening to drop activists’ asses.

Full story

April 23, 2015

Making Your Own Fun on White House Correspondents’ Dinner Weekend

It’s time once again for worlds to collide — that extra special lost weekend during which visiting celebs and local reporters kick POTUS to the curb and get hammered together for days on end: the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner.

Those not planning to rack up monumental Uber tabs in the pursuit of party hopping — the schmoozing begins in earnest late Thursday and powers through until Sunday afternoon — might be interested to know there’s more to life than stalking model Chrissy Teigen for a selfie (she’s one of Thomson Reuters’ dinner guests).

And unlike those poor souls destined to be crammed into the bowels of the Washington Hilton for most of Saturday evening, you might just learn a thing or two (and maybe even do some good) by getting out and about. Full story

Adventures in Babysitting With Rep. Gerald E. Connolly

Adventures in Babysitting With Rep. Gerald E. Connolly

Connolly, perhaps prepping for future babysitting. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

On Thursday, Take Your Child To Work Day became “Rep. Gerald E. Connolly Will Take Your Baby And Only Return It Upon Request” Day.

The Virginia Democrat was having the time of his life in the Speaker’s Lobby during the late-morning vote series, holding court and showing off Illinois Democrat Tammy Duckworth’s baby girl.

Connolly held out little Abigail O’kalani Bowlsbey so she could be appropriately admired by lawmakers, aides and reporters in the vicinity. The five-month-old, dressed in a pale pink cotton sweater, leggings and hat, seemed to be enjoying the attention almost as much as Connolly.

“She needed a break from the floor speeches,” he explained, giving his new ward a little bounce. “That last one was a humdinger, wasn’t it?” Full story

Former Hoosier Senator Teases Washington

Former Hoosier Senator Teases Washington

Bayh’s “important announcement” email caught Washington’s attention Thursday. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When a retired lawmaker sitting on nearly $10 million fired off an email with the subject line “An important announcement” just ahead of the Thursday lunch hour, Washington took notice.

Former Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh is the biggest name on the Hoosier State’s Democratic bench — a name that’s been coming up a lot since GOP Sen. Dan Coats announced his retirement in March. Bayh’s been mum about jumping in the race, and with nearly every member of Indiana’s delegation showing interest in the seat, the contest has turned into a free-for-all. Given his name identification and the whopping $9.9 million cash-on-hand total Bayh retired with in 2010, he’d be an immediate front-runner should he get in the race. Full story

#tbt: Reefer Madness and Other Hits

#tbt: Reefer Madness and Other Hits

Roll Call is partying like it’s 1999 … by looking through our archives. So we are celebrating our 60th birthday all year long by posting #ThrowbackThursday trivia via the @rollcall Twitter feed each week.

This week we have a belated nod to 4/20 with a peek at Mary Jane’s history on the Hill. Along the way, we found a few other tidbits — like a non-human lobbyist and other Hill creatures. Previous #tbts can be found here. Full story

Tom Colicchio Displays Hunger for D.C. Advocacy

Tom Colicchio Displays Hunger for D.C. Advocacy

Colicchio, center, was Pingree’s, far right, guest at this year’s State of the Union. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“Guys, this isn’t a one-time deal. You have to keep coming back,” is the message Tom Colicchio said he gives to every chef who comes to Washington, D.C., with him — and it’s the message he follows.

Colicchio, 52, keeps a busy schedule. He’s the founder of Craft Restaurants and owns and operates restaurants from California and New York to Las Vegas and Miami. He’s a judge on Bravo’s “Top Chef,” which will air its 13th season this fall, and he is becoming one of the most identifiable celebrity lobbyists on food and hunger issues. Full story

April 22, 2015

Steve Chabot Confirms Passwords Not Related to Pet Turtles

Steve Chabot Confirms Passwords Not Related to Pet Turtles

Chabot confirmed his passwords are not related to his pet turtles. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In a Wednesday morning House Small Business Committee hearing on cyberattacks, Chairman Steve Chabot offered some sage advice on password security.

“It can’t just be your, you know, cat’s name or your dog’s name. … You’ve got to put question marks after the cat’s name now, or whatever,” said the Ohio Republican, opining on the way Capitol Hill’s password security has evolved during his 10 terms in Congress. “It’s a bit more complicated.” Full story

Doyle Mum on Richmond’s Status for Congressional Baseball Game

Doyle Mum on Richmonds Status for Congressional Baseball Game

Doyle holds the championship trophy aloft following last year’s win. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The suspicious substance incident that happened Wednesday in Rep. Mike Doyle’s digs at the Cannon House Office Building was both inconvenient and alarming.

Having said that, it did provide reporters with a chance to ask the manager of the Democrats how the team’s roster was shaping up for the 54th Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game, where they’ll look to continue their recent dominance against the GOP. Full story

Minnesota Hotdish Banter Is Simply Delicious

Minnesota Hotdish Banter Is Simply Delicious

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

How good a cook is Rep. Betty McCollum? Skilled enough that the eight-term Democrat didn’t have to campaign — or even show up, for that matter — at the fifth annual Minnesota Hotdish Off to clinch congressional bragging rights.

McCollum bested the rest of the delegation with a combination of savory ground turkey, cruciferous greens, meaty mushrooms and nutty wild rice bolstered by just a hint of cinnamon. Full story

Overheard: Even Congressmen Call Their Moms

“Call Mother.”

— Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez, in the Speakers Lobby Wednesday, activating Siri.

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

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Yoga on the Hill Sliding Over to East Lawn

When last we checked in with the Congressional Yogi Association, the nascent group of Hill staffers had selected the West Lawn to serve as the staging area for its debut event.

The CYA has since repositioned itself, bending over backward to make its coming-out party — still scheduled for May 1 — more attractive to the community.

Yoga on the Hill Sliding Over to East Lawn

(Screenshot)

“It will be more convenient for members and participants to access … and easily visible on Independence Avenue Southwest,” an organizer told HOH about shifting the al fresco workout over to the grassy area opposite the Cannon House Office Building.

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, remains on board as official host, while former NFL linebacker Keith Mitchell is still expected to run the show.

All attendees need to worry about is getting there and being well prepared.

“Please bring your own mat and take public transportation,” the CYA implores fellow enthusiasts.

Related:

Yoga Crews Court Congressional Posers

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

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