Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 10, 2016

Posts by Roll Call Staff

40 Posts

February 4, 2016

Obama, Straight Clownin’ With The NBA Champs


President Barack Obama holds up the No. 44 jersey presented to him by the NBA champion Golden State Warriors on Thursday at the White House.

President Barack Obama gave up basketball in 2010 after a bloody lip required stitches. But maybe the 54-year-old president will find a second career on the hardwood.

Okay, that’s not going to happen. But it didn’t stop Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr from floating the idea during a Thursday ceremony at the White House honoring his 2014-15 NBA championship squad.

Kerr joked that Obama “will be a free agent next year” when his second term ends. He presented the outgoing president a white Warriors jersey with Obama’s name and the No. 44 emblazoned on it and called it “a symbol of an offer that is coming.”

Obama nodded and mimicked a jump shot — although hoops fans know Obama would rather sign with his beloved hometown Chicago Bulls.

Speaking of the Windy City’s professional basketball team, Obama — predictably — found a way to mention the Bulls early in the brief ceremony.

He singled out Kerr, who won three of his total NBA titles with the Michael Jordan-led Bulls. Those in the audience laughed as Obama dropped the Bulls line, prompting a knowing shrug from behind the podium.

The president seemed to issue a challenge to the Warriors, who have the best record in the NBA this season at 45-4. He said they may — or may not — break the 1995-96 Bulls’ record of 72 regular-season wins. (Either way, Obama noted, Kerr can claim the record. He was on that Chicago team.)

The annual event did include some politics.

Seated in the front row were California’s own House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, who wore the Warriors signature yellow and blue colors.

In a fitting — or corny, depending on your current mood — bit of symbolism, there was an aisle between them. That meant as they chatted before the Warriors and Obama entered, they were, literally, talking…across the aisle.

And Obama summed up the 2014-15 Warriors as an entity who achieved some major goals despite being constantly doubted by “the critics.”

“I can’t imagine how that feels,” he said in a tone tinged with more than a little sarcasm.

But the festivities were mostly about basketball, with Obama calling Warriors star guard Stephen Curry “a pretty good shooter.” (Obama rejected Curry’s assertion that the commander in chief beat him in a golf match last year because Secret Service agents intimidated him. “That was not the case,” Obama deadpanned.)

Curry went 19-28 from the field during a Wednesday night win over the Washington Wizards, making 11 three-pointers en route to a 51-point night. How did Obama sum up Curry’s white-hot shooting night during the Warriors’ 134-121 win?

“He was clownin’,” Obama said before imitating a dance the Golden State star often does when he’s scoring buckets in bunches.

Everyone laughed, including the Warriors players standing on risers behind him. But Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th U.S. president and a noted sportsman, remained stone faced in a portrait hanging near the scene.

Contact Bennett at and follow him on Twitter at @BennettJohnT.


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November 5, 2015

Good Looks Win in Presidential Races

Winning Ticket? McCain, left, waxed about what could have been in his presidential runs if he had the looks of Thune, right. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo).

Winning ticket? McCain, left, waxed about what could have been in his presidential runs if he had the looks of Thune, right. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo).

“If I looked like Sen. Thune, I’d be president of the United States.” Full story

October 29, 2015

#tbt: Boehner’s New Rule: Let’s Take Five, and Smoke ‘Em if You Got ‘Em

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As HOH bids adieu to outgoing Rep. John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, we reflect on a time long, long time ago — when CQ Roll Call’s Alan K. Ota filed this story on Feb. 15, 2006, after Boehner was elected House majority leader, and made a few Boehner-specific, tobacco-laden changes:

“Now that John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, is House majority leader, there’s a noticeable change in the air at GOP leadership meetings. It’s the Boehner break.

When Republican leaders broke a long huddle this week in the office of Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., they agreed to reconvene in five minutes. That was just enough time for Boehner to duck into a side room, a pack of cigarettes in hand, for a smoke.

Boehner has plenty of opportunities to indulge, since he acquired a ceremonial office just off the floor with his elevation to the No. 2 GOP leadership position.

Incidentally, aides say nothing but courtesy prevents House members from smoking in meetings, on the House floor or in the cloakrooms.”


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By Roll Call Staff Posted at 10:33 a.m.

October 28, 2015

Congressional Football Game Welcome Letter

Chestnut and Gibson are honored in the Capitol. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Chestnut and Gibson are honored with a sign in the Capitol. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In 1998, two United States Capitol Police officers, Jacob J. Chestnut and John M. Gibson, gave their lives to protect those around them and to preserve the legislative process of our nation’s government — the ultimate sacrifice.

From that heroism, Reps. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., and Rick Renzi, R-Ariz., felt compelled not only to recognize the officers’ sacrifice, but also to lend a helping hand to the families they left behind and families of officers in the future that may be in need due to similar circumstances. Through their efforts arose the biennial Congressional Football Game for Charity. Full story

October 27, 2015

The Senate Is a Sick Place

“Everybody in the chamber has got the flu. I just shook hands with three senators who were like, ‘I’m sick.'”

— Sen. Chris Coons, interrupting a brief interview with CQ Roll Call to use a hand sanitizer stand.

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October 7, 2015

Overheard: Droning On in Committee

Defazio, right, is not amused by drones. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Defazio, right, is not amused by drones. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“We had interruption of critical firefighting activity this summer because of idiots wanting to fly their toy drones.”

 House Transportation and Infrastructure ranking member Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., at a hearing Wednesday. Full story

September 24, 2015

Overheard: Boehner, Keep Hope Alive

The pope's meeting with Boehner is broadcast outside the Capitol. (Emma Dumain/CQ Roll Call)

The pope’s meeting with Boehner is broadcast outside the Capitol. (Emma Dumain/CQ Roll Call)

“I need a lot of hope today.”

John A. Boehner, replying to Pope Francis’ assertion the speaker’s green tie was “the color of hope” during their meeting just before the joint meeting of Congress Thursday. Full story

January 28, 2015

Overheard: Boehner ‘Not Sure’ if He’s Golfing This Weekend

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“I’m not sure what I might be doing tomorrow.”

— Speaker John A. Boehner, boarding a US Airways flight to Fort Myers, Fla., on Wednesday, when asked if he was looking forward to a round of golf

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

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August 4, 2014

Bill Maher Flip a District: Coffman Rounds Out Final Four

Coffman is in a Tossup race. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Coffman is in a Tossup race. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Bill Maher Flip a District effort is going after Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado, rounding out the final four Republicans the comedian wants to give the boot from Congress.

What’s interesting about the Coffman selection is he is the only lawmaker on Maher’s list actually representing a competitive seat.

Coffman’s race in the 6th District is rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. The three others — Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, John Kline of Minnesota and Blake Farenthold of Texas — are in contests rated Safe Republican.

Maher said on the Aug. 1 summer finale of his HBO show “Real Time” that Coffman earned the final slot.

“That’s right, Mike is a deep-red conservative trying to keep pace with a district that’s turning purple and smokin’ green,” Maher said, grinning. “He once said that [President Barack] Obama is just not an American. Wow, you’d have to be high to re-elect a guy like that.”

That’s a reference to a May 12, 2012, fundraiser, during which Coffman reportedly said he isn’t sure about Obama’s citizenship. The Denver Post reported the quote as, “I don’t know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America. I don’t know that. But I do know this, that in his heart, he’s not an American. He’s just not an American.”

Full story

July 28, 2014

Bill Maher Flip a District Contest: Ellmers in Final Four

Bill Maher's #flipadistrict project added Ellmers to the final four. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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

May 6, 2014

Congressional Women’s Softball Rosters Are Out

The Congressional Women’s Softball Team and its archrival, The Bad News Babes, are out with their rosters about a month ahead of  the Congressional Women’s Softball Game.

Both teams feature 20 players. The member team will have strong delegations from Florida and Arizona. The press team boasts strong contingents from CNN, NBC News and The New York Times, and, of course, Roll Call.

Game day is June 18, and it benefits The Young Survival Coalition, a breast cancer charity.

The big takeaway are the rookies. Rep. Katherine M. Clark, D-Mass., joined the team after her December special election win, along with Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash.

Similarly, The Bad News Babes added ABC Deputy Bureau Chief Sara Just and The New York Times’ Carolyn Ryan to its own roster.

Full story

April 25, 2014

Overheard: Only in D.C. or, Tax Extenders Bring Up the Rear

“I think my butt was on TV during the tax extenders markup, though.”

— One staffer to another on Wednesday in the Russell Senate Office Building basement

December 12, 2013

Overheard: Rand Paul’s Hell-Freezing-Over Timeline

“I don’t think there’s going to be unanimous consent on anything until hell freezes over.”

— Sen. Rand Paul

By Roll Call Staff Posted at 12:58 p.m.
Overheards, Sens

July 17, 2013

‘Sneak a Bite’ Offers Bite of the Apple From Korea

Seoree, a Korea-based produce distributor, is marking its debut in U.S. markets by hosting a brand launch reception today, aiming to make the connection between specialty dishes and cocktails derived from its produce and the new U.S.-Korea free-trade agreement.

The “Sneak a Bite” event will feature Seoree products prepared by a Korean chef and and looks to showcase the types of good and products, such as Seoree’s organic apples and pears, that will be shared because of the FTA, as well as promote deeper mutual cultural understanding.

The launch is supported by two other Korea-based organizations: the Kim Chang Joon Future U.S.-Korea Foundation, led by former Rep. Jay Kim, R-Calif., and the Korea Fruit Agricultural Company Federation. The event will be held at the W Hotel (515 15th Street NW). Doors open at 5 p.m. to those with an invitation.

June 13, 2013

Mary Landrieu’s Kid Arrested on DWI Charges

Frank “Connor” Snellings, the 21-year-old son of Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., was arrested Thursday morning on charges of driving while intoxicated, hit-and-run driving and driving the wrong way on a one-way street in the French Quarter, as well as possession of an alcoholic beverage in the car and not maintaining proper control of the car, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.

According to the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office, the car Snellings was driving hit a pedestrian, who was not seriously injured. Snellings and a passenger were not hurt.

“We love our son wholeheartedly, but we are extremely disappointed by his irresponsible actions last night,” Landrieu told the Times-Picayune. “These actions have serious consequences both at home and in our legal system.”

Landrieu asked people “to respect his privacy as we work through this challenging time for our family.”

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