Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 17, 2014

Posts in "AwesomeSauce"

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

DeFazio Swears Small-Brewers Caucus Is Legit

During last night’s debut of Web talk show “Bills and Brews,” congressional reporter Matt Laslo quizzed Oregon Democrat Peter A. DeFazio about his duties as chairman of the House Small Brewers Caucus.

Per DeFazio, the bipartisan crew is not just in it for gratis pours:

Catch the full DeFazio interview — and learn more about Laslo’s beer-centric show — here.

March 4, 2014

Pols Eat Up James Beard ‘America’s Classics’ Honors

Just thinking about the landmark restaurants the James Beard Foundation will formally crown as “America’s Classics” this May has lawmakers who have dined at the treasured eateries licking their lips with anticipation.

The hospitality industry awards celebrate a handful of timeless establishments each year; the 2014 honorees include: Hansen’s Sno-Bliz in New Orleans, Nick’s Italian Café in McMinnville, Ore., Olneyville New York System in Providence, R.I., Perini Ranch Steakhouse in Buffalo Gap, Texas, and Sokolowski’s University Inn in Cleveland, Ohio.

Rhode Island Democratic Rep. Jim Langevin has fond memories of fueling up at Olneyville during his college days.

“I remember going there sometimes after class or after a night out downtown,” Langevin recounted, noting that he prefers the signature hot dogs dressed with meat sauce and celery salt (“Not to be confused with ‘all the way,’ which includes onions and mustard.”)

“It’s been a while, but I’m looking forward to going back,” Langevin said.

News of the national recognition made Rep. David Cicilline nostalgic for a taste of home.

“Olneyville New York System has served the best wieners for decades and when I walk in today, the same smells and sights remind me of my visits there years ago,” the Rhode Island Democrat shared.

In addition to enjoying the food and the familial atmosphere, Cicilline hailed the restaurant for participating in his “Main Street” initiative to bolster local businesses. “I congratulate Olneyville New York System on receiving this much deserved award,” he said.

Rep. Randy Neugebauer hailed the gourmet community for finally getting wise to what he already knows: Perini’s is good eating. Full story

February 28, 2014

Pols Pounce on Kitties of Congress Campaign

Political leaders have famously compared the infinitely frustrating chore of having to steer a majority of their members toward any given goal as being tantamount to herding cats.

Too bad they didn’t have kitten-flinging, relationship builder Benny Johnson in their corners.

 

 

BuzzFeed’s Viral Politics Editor has had lawmakers eating out of the palm of his hand all week thanks to his “Kitties of Congress” campaign, a playful base-broadening ploy he launched on Feb. 21.

While he originally toyed with the idea last March, Johnson told HOH he recently decided to fully embrace the cat-to-congress crossover — and, more importantly, resolved to make lawmakers do the same.

“This year, one of my personal goals is to get followed by every member of congress on Twitter. This kitty campaign partially serves that end, but also provides a fun social interaction component that is far too rare in politics,” Johnson said of his unconventional outreach.

His plan hinges on helping solons shoot past the worst stuff on the web (“corny partisan messaging tools that no one really enjoys or shares”) and embrace some purely-for-the-hell-of-it silliness.

 

 

“Kitties of Congress is about getting members to join in a fun internet meme simply because it is enjoyable, like normal people do,” he suggested. “I’m thrilled that it has been successful and I will continue to make kitties for every member who follows me.“

By his count, over 100 lawmakers have followed him down this particular rabbit hole to date. We tallied roughly six dozen congressional followers — with Republicans outpacing Democrats, roughly two-to-one in terms of reaching out — who had opted in for the feline matchmaking.

Using Johnson’s math, this social media stunt has already dwarfed several coalition-building efforts happening on Capitol Hill right now, wooing five times the number of those willing to rally around the House GOP’s tenuous immigration plan and scores more than those who have formally lined up behind head taxwriter Dave Camp’s pitch to rewrite the Internal Revenue Code.

The response has been rather overwhelming. Full story

February 26, 2014

Reykjavik Provides ‘Simply the Best’ Party Pitch We’ve Ever Seen

REYKJAVIK, Iceland — A Marist College poll released Wednesday shows District Mayor Vincent Gray ahead of a crowded pack of candidates vying to capture the Democratic mayoral nomination on April 1. But when queried about their level of excitement for the upcoming race, only 32 percent of Democrats polled claimed to be “very enthusiastic” about voting. That number might be different if we were in Iceland, where the mayor here told a magazine he would only work with politicians who have watched “The Wire” and agree it was the best thing to happen to TV.

Reykjavik Mayor Jón Gnarr, a comedian turned elected official, took office in 2010 after running mostly on a lark as a Best Party candidate. He promised to “do away with all debt,” get a polar bear for the Reykjavik Zoo and to economize, saying, “We only need one Santa!”

The Best Party platform is worth digging into. Thankfully, they’ve made that an entertaining task by shooting a “We Are the World”-esque music video laying out their priorities to the tune of, you guessed it, “Simply the Best.” (The production values are impressive, but we’d expect nothing less from a party that counts the Sugarcubes’ Einar Örn Benediktsson as a member; he joined the city council in the same election cycle.)

Unfortunately for us, the mayor announced in the fall he would not seek re-election, which means we only have until May to enjoy his antics.

Sure, Gray attends the 17th Street High Heel Race, but being photographed with drag queens is different than donning the wig and gold earrings yourself, as Gnarr did in 2010 at the Icelandic capital’s Pride parade.

Reporter to Boehner: Nice Tan, Sir (Video)

Speaker John A. Boehner has a special affinity for poking fun at reporters’ sartorial decisions. But on Wednesday, it was Boehner who found himself on the butt end of a joke.

The Ohio Republican began his question and answer session Wednesday morning with some classic schoolyard sarcasm regarding Bloomberg reporter Derek Wallbank’s decision to wear a light purple button-down Wednesday.

“Nice shirt,” the Speaker said.

Wallbank took the comment — or at least tried to take the comment — as a compliment.

“Thank you, sir,” he said. Full story

February 25, 2014

Priscilla Presley, Paul Williams Storm the Hill; More Celebs to Come

The latest smattering of fast falling flakes to blanket the area could not keep advocacy-minded entertainers away from the Capitol on Tuesday. And there’s still more help from Hollywood already on the way.

Actress-turned-animal-rights-activist and former Elvis spouse Priscilla Presley made the rounds on behalf of the Humane Society, stumping for equine rights and relief from soring.

Priscilla Presley, Paul Williams Storm the Hill; More Celebs to Come

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A tipster placed Presley at neighboring 701 Restaurant the night before, sharing that the world famous “Naked Gun” co-star broke bread for several hours with friends at the pol-pleasing establishment.

Paul Williams, ’70s-songwriter-turned-president and chairman of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, proved that he’s still a big man on this campus by tag-teaming pressers across Capitol Hill.

Priscilla Presley, Paul Williams Storm the Hill; More Celebs to Come

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Williams helped usher in the new Library of Congress exhibit, “ASCAP: One Hundred Years and Beyond” and shared his thoughts with lawmakers about music royalties.

Bono, meanwhile, didn’t make it all the way to the halls of Congress — sending, instead, 250-odd friends to share his concerns with lawmakers.

Priscilla Presley, Paul Williams Storm the Hill; More Celebs to Come

(Courtesy Ralph Alswang)

A tipster said the U2 frontman surprised members of his ONE Campaign by popping into town Feb. 22 for a brief visit during which he “thanked the volunteers for their time and dedication to the fight against extreme global poverty.” The pep talk must have worked: ONE aides from more than 44 states were expected to take 222 meetings with House and Senate staffers Tuesday.

And the celeb worship is far from over.

Come Wednesday, the Dirksen Senate Office Building will be the place to be, thanks to dueling hearings featuring a pair of Tinsel Town heavies.

Actor/screenwriter Seth Rogen kicks things of at 2 p.m. by joining ex-Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Kan., for the second round of questioning during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education hearing about Alzheimer’s. Rogen, whose mother-in-law has the debilitating disease, serves as a “celebrity champion” for the National Alzheimer’s Association.

Not to be outdone, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has snagged Academy Award-winning director — and the next in line to don Batman’s iconic cowl — Ben Affleck for a discussion poised to begin at 2:15 regarding peace prospects in the Republic of Congo. Affleck co-founded the philanthropic Eastern Congo Initiative in 2010.

February 24, 2014

John Dingell — Young Whipper Snapper

Rep. John D. Dingell, D-Mich., has been around Congress so long, it’s easy to forget he was once the youngest member of the House. But we have proof, as can be seen in this image from the Jan. 10, 1957, edition of Roll Call, that the dean of the House was once among its cubs.

John Dingell — Young Whipper Snapper

Dingell, who at 30 years old was the youngest member of Congress, discusses the upcoming 85th Congress with Sen. Theodore Francis Green, D-R.I., who at 89 was the oldest member of Congress.

February 21, 2014

Brothel Responds to Reid’s Prostitutes/2016 GOP Convention Remarks

One of Nevada’s legal brothels is rebutting Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s argument that the state’s prostitution industry could be a reason Las Vegas loses out on hosting the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Sheri’s Ranch Brothel points to the rates of sex trafficking in Tampa, Fla., as not exactly a disqualifying factor in the city’s hosting of the 2012 Republican convention.

“These serious prostitution-related issues didn’t seem to bother Republicans when they considered Tampa, so why would they have an issue with a state that enforces legal prostitution? After all, Nevada’s licensed brothels only allow safe sex between mature consenting adults in a secure, STD-free environment,” the brothel said in its response. “Sex trafficking and child prostitution are abhorred by representatives of the legal Nevada sex work community.”

Full story

February 20, 2014

Paul Broun To Tailgate Before Saturday Senate Debate

Come Saturday, Georgia Republican Paul Broun will once again face off against the cadre of aspiring Hill climbers eyeing the seat being vacated by retiring GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss.

Except this time, he plans to feast before leaping into the rhetorical lion’s den.

The Broun for Senate campaign is still putting the finishing touches on a planned pre-debate tailgate, dangling complimentary fried chicken, potato salad, coleslaw and sweet tea for those willing to huddle with the candidate ahead of the Georgia GOP Debate scheduled to take place Saturday from 4-6 p.m. at Brenau University in Gainesville, Ga.

Paul Broun To Tailgate Before Saturday Senate Debate

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

A campaign aide told HOH the tailgate concept was a first for Team Broun, but noted that the boss had distributed hot chocolate — “It was cold outside!” the aide shared — to those who waited patiently in line to watch local pols mix it up Feb 1. at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga. Full story

February 19, 2014

Rose’s Luxury Puts Barracks Row on National Dining Map

Capitol Hill diners, your secret’s out.

If anyone thought scoring a table at critical darling Rose’s Luxury (717 Eight St. SE) was crazy hard before, good luck snagging a seat now that chef Aaron Silverman is in the running for a prestigious James Beard Foundation Award.

The captivating locale, which debuted last fall, is one of 30 semi-finalists vying for the coveted Best New Restaurant prize. The winner will be revealed in New York City on May 2 and 5.

Other D.C.-metro entities in contention for the nationwide honors include:

  • The Columbia Room – Outstanding Bar Program
  • Rogue 24 – Outstanding Bar Program
  • Neighborhood Restaurant Group pastry chef Tiffany MacIsaac – Outstanding Pastry Chef
  • Jaleo – Outstanding Restaurant
  • Vidalia – Outstanding Restaurant
  • Knightsbridge Restaurant Group founder Ashok Bajaj – Outstanding Restaurateur
  • Komi – Outstanding Service
  • Marcel’s – Outstanding Service, Outstanding Wine Program
  • CityZen – Outstanding Wine Program
  • Ripple/Roofers Union chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley – Rising Star Chef of the Year
  • Restaurant Eve chef/founder Cathal Armstrong – Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic
  • Iron Gate chef Anthony Chittum – Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic
  • Proof chef Haidar Karoum – Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic
  • Patowmack Farm chef Tarver King – Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic
  • Mintwood Place chef/founder Cedric Maupillier – Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic
  • Rasika chef Vikram Sunderam – Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic

Congrats to all the nominees.

Best of luck in the finals!

February 14, 2014

Joel McHale to Headline White House Correspondents Dinner

Joel McHale to Headline White House Correspondents Dinner

(Ray Tamarra/Getty Images)

“Community” star and “The Soup” host Joel McHale has been charged with bringing the funny to this year’s White House Correspondents Dinner.

The annual “nerd prom” is scheduled to take place at the Washington Hilton on May 3.

“We’re thrilled that Joel will headline the dinner when we celebrate our centennial,” White House Correspondents Association president Steven Thomma trumpeted in a release. “He’s sharp, funny, and just the type of comic who can navigate the unique challenge of our dinner, making fun of Democrats, Republicans and especially the news media. Washington can use a little good-natured ribbing.” Full story

February 12, 2014

Did the RNC Steal Its Beats for Anti-Senate Dems Ad From B.o.B and 2 Chainz?

Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., might not be “booty poppin’ in a headstand,” but he did vote for Obamacare, and the Republican National Committee would like you to know — in seven web ads attacking 2014 Senate Democrats that seem to lift beats from B.o.B. featuring 2Chainz’s song “Headband.”

The 40-second Web-only spots can be viewed here. They hit Pryor, along with Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Mark Udall of Colorado and Mark Warner of Virginia, all of whom are up for re-election in 2014.

“Out of work? It’s tough out there,” the ad reads, before splicing together clips on the health care law and a Congressional Budget Office report about its impacts on the job market (which, of course, lacks the context for what the report really said, because … YOLO, it’s 40 seconds).

Now, here is the video for the B.o.B./2 Chainz jam. HOH should warn you that many of the lyrics are NSFW and there are quite a few scantily clad ladies featured throughout. But everything is sort of amazing when you think about the RNC’s message against the seven vulnerable Democrats set to this beat.

“She broke it down started moving like Shakira/Like she do it in the mirror,” a cleaner lyric reads.

Insert “Jeanne Shaheen” for “she” and you’ve got a solid sequel for the next “HeadBand”-inspired RNC spot: “Jeanne Shaheen’s hips don’t lie … or do they?”

Whatever. Maybe the beats are different and the RNC added a “little bitty ting.”

“I can assure you we purchased this music and didn’t steal anything,” RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said in an e-mail.

By Meredith Shiner Posted at 12:52 p.m.
AwesomeSauce

February 7, 2014

McCain Says Costas ‘Didn’t Know What the Hell He Was Talking About’ With Putin

Sen. John McCain is no fan of a report about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s role in bringing the Winter Olympics to Sochi, Russia, that aired on NBC Thursday.

“Bob Costas ought to stick to sports because he obviously didn’t know what the hell he was talking about,” the Arizona Republican told Fox News of the host of NBC’s Olympics coverage.

“This is being recorded, senator,” quipped Fox News host Neil Cavuto.

Full story

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

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