Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 25, 2014

Posts by Abby Livingston

70 Posts

September 29, 2014

Congressman or American Idol? (Video)

Congressman or American Idol? (Video)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. — John Lennon, Lady Gaga and Bono have all covered Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me.”

And on Sept. 27, Rep. Steve Southerland II took a stab at it.

The Republican sophomore, who faces an election challenge from Democratic attorney Gwen Graham, hosted a “Women for Southerland” rally in his Florida Panhandle 2nd District.

Toward the end of his speech, he sent a subtle hand signal to someone offstage. A shaggy-haired man stepped on stage and strapped on an acoustic guitar.

As Southerland closed out his speech, the opening chords of the 1961 hit began to play.

With Republican Reps. Cynthia M. Lummis of Wyoming and Martha Roby of Alabama (who were in town to support him) clapping behind him, Southerland offered up an able rendition.

Listen for yourself.

 

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July 31, 2014

Seersucker Fashion: Capito and Ros-Lehtinen Clash

Seersucker Fashion: Capito and Ros Lehtinen Clash

Happier times for Capito and Ros-Lehtinen? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

We wish we could blame it on the heat, but it was only 79 degrees in Washington on Wednesday.

Republican Reps. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, a pair often seen hanging out together on the House floor, exchanged fierce words Wednesday over appropriate footwear for Seersucker Day.

It all started on Tuesday, when Capito threw a jab at Ros-Lehtinen.

Both women were surveyed for advice to women ahead of the return of Seersucker Thursday in the Senate. Ros-Lehtinen, approached first, grumbled about her lack of buck shoes because of their price.

“No, no, no, no, no, no, no,” she said. “They need to come down for Mama.”

When Capito was asked about footwear, she pointed to Ros-Lehtinen as the example of what not to do.

“Don’t do what Ileana Ros-Lehtinen does and wear matching seersucker shoes,” she said. “That is a no-no.”

Thirty-nine minutes after the story posted on Wednesday, the Ros-Lehtinen camp emailed this photo and message: “She says she went full Seersucker just to upset Shelley Moore Capito.”

Seersucker Fashion: Capito and Ros Lehtinen Clash

Courtesy Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Ros-Lehtinen stopped on her way into Wednesday evening votes to show off her shoes and gripe about Capito.

Capito’s office responded to the photo with a statement not backing off one bit.

“Not a good look,” Capito said.

Bless their hearts.

Think you nailed the seersucker look? See a member preening around Russell in the threads? A staff colleague? Snap a pic on Thursday, send it here with “seersucker” in the subject line, and we’ll determine “Who Wore It Best.” Can the Senate side can keep up with the House? Only time will tell …

Related:

Trent Lott: Happiest Man Alive Over Return of Senate Seersucker Day

Seersucker Day Returns to House, Who Wore It Best?

Seersucker Day: Trent Lott’s Fashion Do’s and Don’ts

July 30, 2014

Seersucker Thursday: Ladies’ Fashion Do’s and Don’ts

Seersucker Thursday: Ladies Fashion Dos and Donts

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After two years, Seersucker Thursday finally returns to the Senate. Back in June, when the House side hosted its own seersucker celebration, HOH ran an item Seersucker Day: Trent Lott’s Fashion Do’s and Don’ts.

Upon reflection, we realized that most of his advice was applicable predominantly to males. We reached out to Lott for female etiquette. But he shied away, referring us to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., one of the players integral to bringing back the tradition. Feinstein declined to give advice, but did issue a statement.

“Seersucker Thursday is a light-hearted tradition that fosters camaraderie, nothing more and nothing less,” Feinstein said. “It’s a brief, bipartisan reprieve from our normal routine.”

So we took the party over to the House side, and conducted a survey of Southern and Southern-ish female representatives of how to best wear seersucker.

Our panel:

  • Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. (Though there’s much debate, we’re counting West Virginia as Southern for this project.)
  • Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla.
  • Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y. (Born and raised in North Carolina.)
  • Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla.
  • Rep. Terri A. Sewell, D-Ala.

Full story

July 29, 2014

Trent Lott: Happiest Man Alive Over Return of Senate Seersucker Day

Trent Lott: Happiest Man Alive Over Return of Senate Seersucker Day

Lott, right, is tickled pink about the return of Seersucker Day. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ex-Sen. Trent Lott’s dog days are over.

The man who created Seersucker Day back in the late 1990s has been on a bit of a tear ever since the Senate ditched the tradition two years ago.

But thanks to his pal Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and his successor, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Senate Seersucker Day is back on Thursday. And it comes just in the nick of time, in the final week of the summer session. ”Seersucker is great!” Lott said in a Monday phone interview with CQ Roll Call. “When it gets above 80 degrees, you need to be thinking seersucker.” Full story

June 25, 2014

John Lewis Wows ‘Em on Broadway

 

John Lewis Wows Em on Broadway

Lewis, center, entranced the cast of “All the Way” with his tales of the civil rights movement after a performance of the play. (Courtesy the Office of Rep. Steve Israel)

 

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., dazzled the cast of the Broadway play “All The Way”  this past Sunday, according to New York Congressman/Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman/novelist Steve Israel.

“All The Way” is a play about President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s muscling through Civil Rights legislation amid the aftermath of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

It’s a subject that Lewis knows well. At the time, Lewis was one of the founding activists of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Full story

June 18, 2014

Meet the Women Who Could Change the Softball Game

Meet the Women Who Could Change the Softball Game

2013 warmups with Donna Edwards, left, and Kirsten Gillibrand. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s that time of year again.

Trash talk is escalating, just as several dozen women are wrapping up early morning practices. Fangirls are making necessary arrangements.

It is all because the Congressional Women’s Softball Game is Wednesday night.

The annual event pits female members of Congress against the women of the Washington press corps, and it benefits the Young Survival Coalition, a breast cancer charity that aids women under 40 who are fighting breast cancer.

We hear, courtesy of two different press spying accounts, that members are looking strong at the plate during practice. 

“The members looked ready to go,” Bad News Babe/CNN political writer Leigh Ann Caldwell said of a recent reconnaissance mission of Team Congress’ practice. “Their batting was fierce, and their pitching was the strongest I’ve seen it.”

“It’s a good thing the press team has improved as well, or I would be scared,” Caldwell added. “We are going to have to play at our highest level this year to ensure we continue our winning streak.”

Get your tickets here(And don’t forget to fill out your Fantasy Softball brackets!)

Full story

June 17, 2014

Congressional Women’s Softball Batting Practices Get Wild at New York Times, Huffington Post (Updated) (Video)

They ain’t messing around at The New York Times and The Huffington Post.

Both news organizations were the sites of indoor batting practice sessions on Tuesday, in preparation for Wednesday evening’s Congressional Women’s Softball Game. The annual match between female members of Congress and the women of the Washington press corps. The game benefits the Young Survival Coalition, a breast cancer charity. Tickets can be purchased here.

Over at the Times, bureau chief Carolyn Ryan is taking her game debut so seriously that she and day editor Jill Agostino regularly hold pepper drills in Ryan’s office.

“I think it speaks volumes about our confidence going into the game that Carolyn wanted to play pepper in her glass-enclosed office,” New York Times junior reporter Emmarie Huetteman observed.

Ryan, Agostino and Huetteman joined the softball team thanks to the scouting efforts of press coach and New York Times chief Washington correspondent Carl Hulse.

As if she needed any more initiation, Ryan found herself sucked into a Twitter fight with the game’s founder, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., over the last 24 hours.

Step One: Ready the Batting Stance

Congressional Womens Softball Batting Practices Get Wild at New York Times, Huffington Post (Updated) (Video)

Courtesy Emmarie Huetteman

 

Full story

June 12, 2014

Seersucker Day Returns, Who Wore It Best?

Seersucker Day Returns, Who Wore It Best?

Seersucker was in the House! (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Thanks to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary loss, June 11, 2014 will go down as one of the most chaotic days in the modern history of the United States Capitol.

But it will also go on the books as the moment Seersucker Day returned to Capitol Hill.

The hallway leading to the GOP conference meeting where Cantor announced his resignation from leadership served as almost a Seersucker fashion runway as the ranks of the GOP members strutted, (or more often, trudged) their way to the meeting past reporters and cameras.

As one of our faithful readers coined it, Capitol Hill got its “Matlock” on. Full story

June 10, 2014

Seersucker Day: Trent Lott’s Fashion Do’s and Don’ts

Seersucker Day: Trent Lotts Fashion Dos and Donts

Where it began: Lott. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Seersucker Day on Capitol Hill is less than 24 hours away, and the concept can be a bit tricky for those not from the Deep South.

So, as a service to our readers, we called on the originator of the Capitol Hill tradition, ex-Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi, for his advice on how to make the most of Seersucker Day.

“It was one of those rare occasions when something was bipartisan and for both genders,” the former Republican leader said. He added that it was a fun-spirited day where members could “get a picture and laugh together a little bit.”

Trent Lott’s Seersucker Do’s Full story

June 9, 2014

Seersucker Day Is BACK, at Least in the House

Seersucker Day Is BACK, at Least in the House

Where have you gone, seersucker days? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

Somewhere in downtown Washington, ex-Sen. Trent Lott is probably a happy man. His legacy lives on, at least in the House.

This is because a bygone tradition, Seersucker Day, returns to the Capitol this week, thanks to the efforts of Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La.

“Congressman Bill Cassidy is proud to announce that Wednesday, June 11, National Seersucker Day will formally be reinstated,” a Cassidy release stated. “Dr. Cassidy is inviting all Members of Congress to gather after votes for a picture in their seersucker apparel.”

“A bipartisan Capitol Hill tradition, House of Representatives Members typically wear Seersucker on Wednesdays and Senators wear it on Thursdays,” the release went on.

Cassidy spokeswoman Jillian Rogers went so far as to rally her fellow House press secretaries behind the comeback.   Full story

Steve Israel: The F. Scott Fitzgerald of Congress?

Steve Israel: The F. Scott Fitzgerald of Congress?

The gentleman from West Egg? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

The hat rack of Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., is quite full these days.

Obviously, he represents the constituents of New York’s 3rd District. And then there is his side gig running the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. But lately, he’s wearing another hat: novelist.

“I’m publishing my first novel in January,” he said in a recent interview.

“I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Since I knew I couldn’t play centerfield for the Mets, which was my childhood dream, and since I couldn’t get a book published, I became a member of Congress.” Full story

May 5, 2014

So, Nancy Pelosi’s Tattoo Parlor Trip Makes More Sense Now

About a week ago, the Hungry Lobbyist Twitter account posed a truly baffling question:

Now we know.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was shooting a 22-second cameo for a video that aired at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on May 3. The video went completely viral and is now closing in on 1 million views since it was posted online late that night.

Full story

May 4, 2014

WHCD Video of Joe Biden Goes Viral Overnight

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. did not attend the White House Correspondents Dinner, but he was the star anyway.

Mid-way through the dinner, President Barack Obama presented a seven-minute long video of Biden taking “Veep” star Julia Louis-Dreyfus on an adventure around the White House and Washington, D.C.

Biden played a Steve McQueen-esque version of himself, sporting a bomber jacket and driving a Corvette around the grounds of the Naval Observatory while wearing aviators … at night.

Word spread fast online over the video. While dinner attendees rushed off to after-parties, and eventually bed, there were nearly 35,000 views of the video on YouTube as of 9:20 a.m.

Full story

May 3, 2014

Nancy Pelosi: A Good Sport

I learned Friday evening that one of the perils of making fun of people in public is that sometimes you encounter those individuals in real life. And sometimes they confess their epic photobomb was an “accident.”

A month or so ago, I saw a hilariously awkward photo of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in my Facebook feed. I had a bit of fun with it in this column space.

Nancy Pelosi: A Good Sport

The post took about fifteen minutes to write and surprisingly garnered a lot of traffic — more than my usual stories about campaign media buys and Medicare Advantage.

Pelosi gamely responded on Twitter within an hour: “Oops.” It impressed me that whomever handles her account played along with the nonsense, and that I did not catch any hell from her office.

But I wasn’t prepared for actually meeting Pelosi not long after the post. But there she was at the Google/Netflix party, having a good time with a remarkably small entourage.

Full story

April 29, 2014

Gabby Giffords Speech at EMILY’s List Dinner: Yoga Helped Recovery

Gabby Giffords Speech at EMILYs List Dinner: Yoga Helped Recovery

Giffords is a former congresswoman from Arizona. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Back in 2012, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords addressed an EMILY’s List dinner in a pre-recorded video.

On Tuesday evening, the Arizona Democrat delivered her remarks in person.

“It’s been a long, hard haul, but I am getting better,” Giffords said to an adoring, riotous crowd. “I am still fighting to make the world a better place.” Full story

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