Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 19, 2014

Posts by Abby Livingston

54 Posts

April 3, 2014

When Politics and Softball Collide …

There is one teensy problem with playing on a bipartisan congressional athletic team: Sometimes politics comes first.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a North Dakota Democrat and star slugger for the Congressional Women’s Softball team, is set to campaign in West Virginia this weekend on behalf of Democratic Senate candidate Natalie Tennant.

An innocuous political move, except that Tennant’s opponent is one of Team Congress’ captains, Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito.

The pair play on a team of female members who battle the women of the Washington press corps in the annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game.

Heitkamp weighed in on the issue in an exclusive interview with CQ Roll Call’s Kyle Trygstad.

Full story

March 25, 2014

Nancy Pelosi’s Epic Photobomb

Usually it is reporters who inadvertently appear in photos of members of Congress.

But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., turned the tables on Tuesday, photobombing a posed picture of two reporters and Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet L. Yellen at a Women’s History Month event at the Capitol.

Huffington Post reporter Sabrina Siddiqui, left, posted the photo on her Facebook page Tuesday afternoon, tagging her colleague (and ex-Roll Caller) Jennifer Bendery, who appears on the right.

Pelosi can be seen on the far right.

Nancy Pelosis Epic Photobomb

“That time Jennifer Bendery and I met Janet Yellen and got photobombed by Nancy Pelosi. Wait what?!” Siddiqui wrote on Facebook.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this post misspelled Siddiqui’s name.

March 11, 2014

Celebrities Running Out of Time to File for Congress

The clock is ticking for any celebrity considering a run for the open-seat race to represent Beverly Hills in Congress.

At 5 p.m. PDT on Wednesday, filing will close in the race to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Henry A. Waxman.

Waxman’s 33rd District covers Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, parts of West Hollywood and Malibu. Early on, we had high hopes that at least one fun celebrity would jump into the mix. But in the waning hours of the filing period, this scenario has not come to pass.

Despite our very best efforts to cajole/Twitter troll various celebrities, not one star opted for a run. Full story

March 7, 2014

Democrats Roast Ann Richards’ Granddaughter, Set Political Bar High

Democratic operatives all over town had a ball Friday afternoon ribbing their colleague, Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Lily Adams, after the 27-year-old was declared the future of the Texas Democratic Party on cable news.

It all started Friday morning, when MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown” featured a segment on political up-and-comers in the Lone Star State.

Dallas Morning News reporter Wayne Slater prognosticated that Adams will likely be a future occupant of the Texas governor’s mansion, her late grandmother Ann Richards’ former crib.

“This is the one that’s just going to cause waves today,” Slater foreshadowed. “She is extraordinary. She is bright.”

Full story

March 6, 2014

Team Congress Triumphs in Annual Hockey Game


Team Congress Triumphs in Annual Hockey Game

Rep. Erik Paulsen prepares for a faceoff on Wednesday. (Abby Livingston/CQ Roll Call)

Team Lawmakers have evened up the record against their rival hockey team, Team Lobbyists, in the sixth edition of the Congressional Hockey Challenge.

It was no blowout — the Wednesday night game was suspenseful to the end at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va., the site of the Washington Capitals’ practice facility. The lawmaker team, made up of members of Congress, members of the Canadian Parliament, Hill operatives and federal government workers, trailed the lobbyists for much of the game.

But in a third-period rally, the lawmakers moved ahead to win 7-5. The record now stands at 3 wins apiece.

Full story

March 5, 2014

Capitol Hill to Face Off Against K Street— on the Ice

Capitol Hill to Face Off Against K Street— on the Ice

From left, Dayspring, Goodwin and Kerry skate in the 2012 game. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The boys and girls of winter are set to face off at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the annual Congressional Hockey Challenge in Arlington, Va.

This is the sixth year that “Team Lawmakers,” comprised of members of Congress, federal staffers and campaign committee operatives, will cross hockey sticks with  ”Team Lobbyists.”

The record headed into Wednesday is 3-2, in favor of the Team Lobbyists.

The game will take place at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington. It’s just a few blocks off from the Ballston Metro. You can buy your $10 tickets here. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the puck drops at 7 p.m.

It all started in back in 2009, with a group of lobbyists and Hill staffers who played informal Monday night pickup hockey.

Full story

February 18, 2014

Staff Assistants Warned: No ‘House of Cards’ Spoilers

Staff Assistants Warned: No House of Cards Spoilers

(JB Lacroix/Getty Images)

If there’s any truer maxim on Capitol Hill, it is this: Don’t mess with the staff assistants. Especially when it comes to ”House of Cards” spoilers.

On Friday when federal government workers were ordered to work, on a delayed start, at least one junior staffer was none too pleased about the circumstances. The aide issued a stark warning at 12:23 p.m. to colleagues on the infamous White House Tours Listserv: leak any details about the Season Two Netflix release and get the boot.

Here’s the full text:

I know a lot of us are excited for the new season of House of Cards and due to Snowchi being fickle with additional snow we can’t watch the new season at home.  So this is just a warning, anyone who mentions House of Cards spoilers in their emails will be automatically kicked off the list.

Officially, the Listserv is a means for office White House Tour coordinators to communicate and trade tour slots for constituents.

So, all of this begs the question: Did anyone spill the beans?

February 11, 2014

Ricki Lake Passes on Congressional Bid

Former daytime talk show host Ricki Lake will not run for Congress.

Granted, no one expected her to do so, but she is part of Roll Call’s ongoing experiment to bait as many celebrities as possible to run in the open-seat, west-Los Angeles House race to replace retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif.

Lake (graciously) responded to Roll Call’s query on Monday night:

Additionally, film director Rob Reiner endorsed Democratic candidate Wendy Greuel on Monday.

Full story

February 7, 2014

Hollywood Producer/Charlie Sheen Foe ‘Mulling’ Run for Waxman Seat

Add television executive producer Chuck Lorre to the group of entertainment people jokingly giving a look at running for Congress in west Los Angeles.

The seat’s incumbent, Democratic Rep. Henry A. Waxman, announced his retirement in late January. The district represents Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Malibu. As a result, California’s 33rd is home to many movie stars and Hollywood players.

Lorre announced on Thursday that he is “mulling the congressional seat.” The comments came in the form of a “vanity card” he writes at the end of each of his television program episodes. This one flashed up on Thursday after an episode of “The Big Bang Theory”:

I’m also mulling the congressional seat recently opened by the retirement of Henry Waxman. Again, I think my complete lack of experience is a selling point. I’m also a big fan of incompetent government, as the overly organized ones tend to put people like me on trains to Poland. For this elective office I’m thinking I need a campaign slogan that alienates no one. Something along the lines of, “Send me to Congress and watch what happens!”

Full story

February 4, 2014

Lorenzo Lamas Mulls Run for Waxman’s Seat

In Heard on the Hill’s ongoing quest to bait as many celebrities as possible into running for the newly opened west Lost Angeles seat in Congress, we got a joking “maybe” from “Falcon Crest”/”Grease” star Lorenzo Lamas:



For context, Democratic Rep. Henry A. Waxman announced last week he is retiring from his west Los Angeles-based district. California’s 33rd is unique in that it covers Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Malibu, parts of West Hollywood and a whole handful of other movie star enclaves.

This is the first time since 1974 that the region will see  an open-seat race, and so we spent part of Monday afternoon trolling various movies stars on Twitter to see if they are mulling a run.

This race has the potential to be the greatest House race in the history of the United States, and we don’t want to leave any stone unturned. (For serious coverage of the race, check out our At the Races blog.)

Full story

February 3, 2014

Richard Simmons Will Not Run for Waxman Seat

Not that he was on anyone’s radar in the first place, but fitness guru (and Roll Call favorite) Richard Simmons will not run for Rep. Henry A. Waxman’s west Los Angeles-based House seat.

Responding to a query tweet from this reporter, Simmons wrote back, “I think not lol.”


Simmons’ fitness studio, Slimmons, is based in Beverly Hills. Simmons is somewhat active in politics. In the past he has testified on Capitol Hill on childhood obesity and he was a source of hope for discouraged members and staffers during October’s shutdown.

Our loss.

January 15, 2014

Party’s Over for Jim Moran

Democratic Rep. James P. Moran is not just through with Congress. He’s done with fundraising, it seems.

On Wednesday afternoon, political donors received an emailed heads-up that an upcoming Moran fundraiser was kaput.

Partys Over for Jim Moran

Said fundraiser was set to take place on Jan. 24 at Art & Soul restaurant.

It was to be a luncheon with “suggested contributions” ranging from $500 to $2,500 that would have gone toward the Moran for Congress campaign.

December 17, 2013

Guess Who’s Not Retiring Today! Ileana Ros-Lehtinen!

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., took an opportunity Tuesday to remind the world that she is not retiring.

In what is quickly becoming known as ”Bloody Tuesday,” three members of the House announced, in a five-hour stretch, their retirements: Republican Reps. Frank R. Wolf of Virginia and Tom Latham of Iowa and Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson of Utah.

Between the Matheson and Latham announcements at around 3 p.m, this reporter tweeted at the masses, sarcastically asking if any members of Congress “want to get anything off their chest before I go on vacation? Anyone? Anyone?”

Ros-Lehtinen, often the target of Democrats pushing retirement rumors, responded.


There is some context to the exchange. Ros-Lehtinen once let this reporter have it for following up on Democratic “retirement suggestions.”

“They have me as the next president of a university,” she told Roll Call in April. “Democrats put out that rumor every six months or so. They always cast a wide net to see what kind of fish they can get.”

December 10, 2013

Fictional Franchise: Christmas Edition

In the latest installment of the Roll Call series that examines fictional characters and who represents them in Congress, we look at our favorite Christmas characters.

The rules for Fictional Franchise go like this: We decide where a fictional character lives and then look up who represents them in the House. (See more here.)

George Bailey (James Stewart)
“It’s a Wonderful Life”
Bedford Falls, N.Y.
Republican Rep. Tom Reed

Seneca Falls makes a pretty good case that the upstate New York town is the “real” Bedford Falls.

And so Seneca Falls is not just the birthplace of the women’s rights movement, it’s where Clarence earned his wings and George Bailey lassoed the moon and his future wife, Mary.

Atta boys.


Clark W. Griswold (Chevy Chase)
“Christmas Vacation”
Shermer, Ill.
Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider

“Christmas Vacation” is part of writer/director John Hughes’ 1980s anthology of life in suburban Chicago. He based his movies in a town called “Shermer.” Hughes spent his high-school years in the Chicago suburb Northbrook, which was originally called “Shermerville.”

Geography aside, “Christmas Vacation” also functions as a public service announcement against the dangers of using a storm drain as a depository for recreational vehicle sewage.


Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell) 
Upper West Side, New York City
Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler

Buddy the Elf moves into the Central Park West apartment of his biological father, children’s book publisher Walter Hobbs, according to several blogs.

And Holy Zuul! Does this building have history!

The building is more famously known as “The Ghostbusters” building (an issue that will almost certainly be revisited in this series) and it was the subject of a 1999 New York Times profile.

But Buddy has connections to another New York City district.  He commutes to work at Gimbell’s and in the mailroom of the Empire State Building in Democratic Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney’s 12th District on the east side of Manhattan.

But for voting purposes, Buddy is a Nadler man. Nadler is a Fictional Franchise favorite, as his 10th District is home to Peggy Olson and Joan Harris of “Mad Men,Alex Forrest of “Fatal Attraction“ and Peter Warren Hatcher of the Judy Blume novels.


Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn)
“Miracle on 34th Street” (1947)
Great Neck, N.Y.
Democratic Rep. Steve Israel

Friend of Roll Call/Long Island native/Hotline Editor-in-Chief Steve Shepard weighed in with this analysis.

Per Shepard: “Just a stone’s throw from the Empire State Building is Macy’s Herald Square location, situated on the western edge of Maloney’s district. But in the film, Kris Kringle actually lived at the fictional Brooks Memorial Home for the Aged in Great Neck, N.Y., on Long Island. That makes Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., Santa’s congressman. And presumably Israel would also represent the bucolic suburban home for which Natalie Wood asked Santa.”

It should be noted that Great Neck is also home to Jay Gatsby and Israel’s 3rd District hosts Tony Miglione of Blume’s “Then Again, Maybe I Won’t.”

We believe.


Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley) 
“A Christmas Story”
Hohman, Ind.
Democratic Rep. Peter J. Visclosky

Writer Jean Shepherd set “A Christmas Story” in Hohman, which is a stand-in name for his hometown of Hammond, Ind.

Even so, the house used in filming is located in Ohio’s 11th. Democratic Rep. Marcia L. Fudge represents that district that is also home to Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn, star pitcher for the Cleveland Indians.


Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin)
“Home Alone”
Winnetka, Ill.
Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky

All sorts of crazy went down over one Christmas break in Illinois’ 9th District. The owners of the “Silver Tuna” McCallister household accidentally left their 8-year-old son at home unsupervised as a crime wave involving a pair of burglars named “The Wet Bandits” hit the neighborhood.

Like other John Hughes films, this one is set in the North Shore suburbs. Schakowsky’s 9th District and Schneider’s 10th District bisect the region. The movie was shot in an actual house in the area that is well-documented on YouTube and various blogs. The McCallister house is an identifiable site in the neighborhood and Kevin, like Regina George of “Mean Girls,” is most definitely a Schakowsky constituent.

We love the Internet:


Rudolph T. Reindeer 
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”
Christmastown, Alaska
Republican Rep. Don Young

We interpret “Christmastown” to be North Pole, Alaska.

Christmastown is a deceptively cheerful name for the fictional village. Just about everyone in Christmastown, from Santa down to the reindeer calves, exhibits deplorable behavior and discriminates against Rudolph for what they perceive to be a birth defect.

It’s one thing for children to pick on somebody, but where were the adults in Christmastown? Comet? Rudolph’s own father, Donner? Santa?!?

Oh, they were there, bullying Rudolph right along with the children. Completely inexcusable. The ostracism was so unbearable that Rudolph was forced to flee the town with his band of oddball friends.

Oh, hey Santa! We hope that crow tasted delicious!

Given the fact that Hermey the Elf likely does not walk at a fast pace, we have concluded that the Island of Misfit Toys is a river archipelago in the nearby Tanana River.

As for Yukon Cornelius, we assume that judging by his name, he is likely Canadian, and thereby ineligible to vote in American elections.


Mike and Carol Brady (Robert Reed and Florence Henderson)
“A Very Brady Christmas”
North Hollywood, Los Angeles, Calif.
Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman

The Bradys are totally Valley, according to our friends at The Los Angeles Times did a pretty in-depth write-up on the house by, yes, a man named Brady.

In 1988, the Bradys reunited for “A Very Brady Christmas,” and the film took a dangerous turn. Mike, an architect, was called away from Christmas dinner after a building collapsed on two security guards. He, too, became trapped when he entered the building. The entire Brady clan raced to the worksite to keep vigil for him.

Carol single-handedly saved Mike through the power of song. Her rendition of “O, Come, All Ye Faithful” summoned the Brady patriarch’s strength to emerge from the rubble.

The district is just barely in Sherman’s stomping grounds, along with “The Bad News Bears” and “The Sandlot” kids.

But the North Hollywood Brady House is only a stone’s throw away from Democratic Rep. Tony Cárdenas’ 29th District. The 29th is also home to  Andrea Zuckerman, star-but-illegal student at West Beverly Hills High of the 90210 ZIP code.

Previous Installments: 

December 2, 2013

Christina Bellantoni Returns Home to Roll Call

If you’ve been anywhere near Twitter in the past hour, you will have heard the big news that former Roll Call Politics Associate Editor/current PBS NewsHour Politics Editor Christina Bellantoni is headed home to Roll Call to run the ship as editor-in-chief.

Here’s to you, Ms. Bellantoni:

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