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

November 24, 2014

Word of the Week: Bold

“Bold: A politician’s most common description of their own or their party’s proposals. It manages to be a punchy, optimistic-sounding break with conventional thinking and deliberately vague all at once.”

— From “Dog Whistles, Walk-Backs & Washington Handshakes: Decoding the Jargon, Slang, and Bluster of American Political Speech,” by Chuck McCutcheon and David Mark.

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By Jason Dick Posted at 12:11 p.m.
Word of the Week

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of Nov. 17 (Video)

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, members spent the week discussing dirty oil, political ads and “dumb-ass liberals.”

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November 23, 2014

Capitol Quip’s Thanksgiving Pardon

Capitol Quips Thanksgiving Pardon

It’s a short week, so Capitol Quip’s captioning contest is taking a break and wishing a happy Thanksgiving to all with RJ Matson’s take on the annual presidential turkey pardoning ritual.

We’ll be back with a new caption contest the week of Dec. 1, when Congress returns for the rest of this year’s lame-turkey, er, duck session.

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

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

Elephants Stampede Capitol Quip

Elephants Stampede 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.

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November 21, 2014

Who Still Has a BlackBerry?

Who Still Has a BlackBerry?

Obama holds up his Blackberry on Friday outside the White House. (Win McNamee/Getty Images News)

Thanks to the White House press corps, we might have found the most high-profile person who still has a BlackBerry: Barack Obama.

The tip comes from the Detroit News’ David Shepardson, who filed this pool report earlier today:

“Before departure, President Obama walked alone along Colonnade at 10:18 a.m. before heading back into the White House. A coatless POTUS walked to Marine One at 10:31 a.m. in near freezing 33 degree F weather checking his watch and waiving to reporters before getting aboard. Almost immediately, he got off helicopter — as his aides were headed across lawn to Marine One. POTUS went back into the White House through the Diplomatic Room doors telling reporters: ‘I forgot something.’

“After returning, he said: ‘Didn’t you guys ever forget something?’ After some shouted questions asking what he forgotten, he held up his his phone. ‘My BlackBerry’ he said as he returned to Marine One.”

As a friend of HOH said, someone get this man an iPhone.

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By Jason Dick Posted at 2:58 p.m.
POTUS

November 20, 2014

Members Rush to Recruit Freshmen to Softball Team

Members Rush to Recruit Freshmen to Softball Team

Love in her running gear in a campaign video.  (Courtesy YouTube)

Think it’s too early for softball? Think again.

Veteran members of the Congressional Women’s Softball Team fanned out across Washington over the past week to recruit members-elect to their softball team. They square off each summer against the Bad News Babes, a team of reporters, in a fundraiser for the Young Survival Coalition breast cancer charity.

“We are pumped to have one of the largest class of new recruits to the Congressional Women’s team since we started the game,” game founder/Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., said in a statement.

“These women are ready to bond, ready to play, ready to win and most of all, fired up to beat cancer and beat the press — again!” Wasserman Schultz said, alluding to her team’s slight win over the Bad News Babes this summer. Full story

Aloha! Tammy Duckworth Welcomes Baby Girl

Soldier. Lawmaker. Mother.

Aloha! Tammy Duckworth Welcomes Baby Girl

(Tom WIlliams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Tammy Duckworth assumed a whole new heap of responsibilities Tuesday, welcoming baby girl Abigail O’kalani Bowlsbey into the world.

The Illinois Democrat divulged she was expecting earlier this year during an appearance on the “Today” show.

“Bryan and I were deeply honored that Senator [Daniel K.] Akaka acted as Hawaiian elder and selected her middle name,” Duckworth and her husband, Bryan Bowlsbey, said in a statement that reintroduced the world to the former Democratic senator, who is now retired and back in the islands. “We are grateful for the love and support of our family and friends. We also appreciate the respect for our privacy during this important moment in our lives.”

No word on what the direct translation or cultural significance of “O’kalani” might be. But a cursory online search seems to suggest the Hawaiian term has something to do with the sky or heaven. Duckworth, who was born in Thailand, grew up in Hawaii and graduated from high school and college in the Aloha State.

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By Warren Rojas Posted at 12:05 p.m.
Kiddies, Nationwide, Reps, Sens

November 19, 2014

Lee Zeldin Making Friends All Over Congress

Rep.-elect Lee Zeldin has only been around Capitol Hill for a few days, but he’s already making quite the impression among the New York delegation.

As originally reported by Newsday, the incoming Republican huddled with Democratic Sen. Charles E. Schumer earlier this week for a strategy session about all things Empire State. At one point during that exchange, Zeldin reportedly asked Schumer if Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel was actually Jewish, to which the senior senator replied, “I think so.”

When word got back to Israel, the House lawmaker gave Zeldin some guff online.

Zeldin attempted to smooth things over by floating a “manischewitz summit” — an offer that’s still hanging out there.

“It has not been scheduled yet,” an Israel aide said of the proposed sit-down. Full story

Vote for Your Favorite GOP Elephant Walk Capitol Quip!

Vote for Your Favorite GOP Elephant Walk 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:

  • Truncated policies are certainly on our agenda
  • There are two elephants in the room. Obama can’t ignore us now.
  • Now we can finally work together to get nothing done.
  • We’ll have to wait two more years for the THREE-Ring Circus.
  • Working for peanuts? Heck, I’d do this for free!

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on Nov. 23 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.

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By Rebecca Gale Posted at 3:42 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Mark Pocan Dishes About Kringle

Square meals, schmare meals. Rep. Mark Pocan is more interested in circular arguments.

The Wisconsin Democrat expressed his love for kringle, an oval-shaped sweet, on social media, declaring the regional treat a “staple of any well rounded Wisconsin diet.”

A Scandinavian baking tradition that’s been carried on by Danish transplants to the Badger State, kringle features overlapping layers of flaky pastry dough historically stuffed with fruit or nut fillings. Modern versions include frosted rings run through with everything from caramel-drenched pecans (want) to peppermint-spiked chocolate cake (need).

Pocan told HOH he’s most fond of strawberry flavored kringle, though he’s open to trying new things.

“There are some good seasonal flavors like pumpkin caramel,” he said. Full story

Laying the Foundation for a Congressional Twitter Feed

Which came first: the rock-star hog castrator or the egg?

In the case of Sen.-elect Joni Ernst, it would appear the chicken embryo wins.

Laying the Foundation for a Congressional Twitter Feed

(Screenshot)

The Iowa Republican, who has already begun making the rounds in #ThisTown after clinching the seat being vacated by retiring Democrat Tom Harkin, must now shift from campaign mode to (*fingers crossed*) full-on congressional over sharer. Full story

November 18, 2014

Pols Rally to Help Veterans Shift Into Tech Mode

A group of bipartisan lawmakers is lending a hand to a newly formed support network aimed at moving returning veterans onto the front lines of data crunching.

Sen. Richard M. Burr of North Carolina and Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan, both Republicans, have signed on alongside Maryland Democratic Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger to serve as honorary co-chairmen of the nascent NS2 Serves Training Program, a workforce-realigning initiative designed to usher military personnel into the field of information technology.

NS2 Serves, the charitable arm of SAP National Security Services Inc., is expected to share highlights from its ongoing efforts Tuesday during a congressional reception. The get-to-know-you event — formally dubbed “Improving the Well Being, Employment Status and Opportunities Available to Post 9/11 Veterans and Their Families” — is scheduled to take place in room SVC 209 of the Capitol Visitor Center from 5 to 7 p.m.

A budding coalition of like-minded organizations — including Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America; Boeing Defense, Space and Security; Special Operations Warrior Foundation; Working Wardrobes and VetNet — should also be onsite for the roll out of the cooperative effort. Full story

Alicia Menendez to Talk Change With Cory Booker at Union Market

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, are two of the highest ranking officials scheduled to share their thoughts Wednesday during Fusion’s inaugural “RiseUp” summit.

Alicia Menendez to Talk Change With Cory Booker at Union Market

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The invitation-only event, which should also be simulcast on Fusion.net, is scheduled to take place at emerging dining hub Union Market.

Fusion host Alicia Menendez has been tasked with chatting Booker up about the “Change Initiative” from 9 to 9:45 a.m., while anchor Jorge Ramos takes a crack at digesting the state of current affairs with Power from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m.

“The overall event will feature conversations and deep insight into youth protests and the role that technology plays in global movements for change,” a conference aide said of the planned discussion threads.

Per the aide, it was decided that waiting until after the midterms would prove more productive than attempting to shoehorn in an ambitious policy discussion into the already overly crowded calendar.

“Fusion decided to take a more global and less politicized approach, and host the ‘RiseUp’ summit after the election to ensure the focus of the event stayed on the importance of bringing a diverse group of leaders and activists into one space to explore how to transform the rising tides of protest into a positive wave of social progress,” the organizer told HOH.

Can’t skip work to hang at the all-day gabfest?

The activist powwow is expected to roll right through the evening courtesy of a VIP after-party (9 p.m. to midnight) featuring world DJs, drinks and dancing.

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November 17, 2014

Congressional Ribbing Devolves Into Game of Moans

Mischief makers in the employ of Tennessee Republican Marsha Blackburn went medieval on one of their own in an ongoing prank war commemorating everyone’s unrelenting march toward grim death.

Deputy Chief of Staff Mike Reynard, who formally entered middle age (Happy 40th!) on Sunday, discovered a certain cherished memory plastered across the entryway to his workplace upon strolling into Cannon Monday.

Congressional Ribbing Devolves Into Game of Moans

(Courtesy HOH tipster)

“Given the history of good family fun in our office, it came as no surprise to me. I figured winter was coming,” Reynard said of the snapshot of him perched atop the ultimate seat of power from HBO’s bloody, incest-driven family drama, “Game of Thrones.” Full story

Capitol Hill Cops Ham It Up in Prospective Doritos Ad

Apart from walking the same beat, Capitol Police Officers Terry Heffernan and Brian Stevers also share a passion for acting — a creative outlet currently being fed by starring rolls in a would-be Doritos commercial.

The aspiring ad, originally conceived and shot by short film vet Antonio Souto, is just one of the current crop of fan-made entries in the chip maker’s annual “Crash the Super Bowl” contest.

Heffernan plays the smug, snack-hoarding mark terrorized by a creepy, tutu-clad Chihuahua for not sharing the famously cheesy grub with a nefarious little girl. By the end of the 30-second spot, the defeated schlub seeks to visit the same ruin on another unsuspecting stooge (Stevers) unwilling to part with a single, orange dust-covered morsel. Full story

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