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

Posts in "Critters"

April 24, 2014

Ted Cruz Kills It on Social Media

Sen. Ted Cruz did a little troll hunting April 23, baiting the entirety of the Internet-enabled world with a perplexing pic of an urban safari that incited carnage across the social mediasphere.

The Texas Republican set the trap by innocently (?) blasting out a snapshot of him and Utah Republican Mike Lee — staff told HOH the tea party pals have been tag-teaming fundraisers across the Lone Star State this week — posing atop a snarling animal pelt.

 

 

Had this Senate bromance finally gone lethal?

What endangered species might be next on the Cruz-Lee extinction tour?

Or was Cruz yet again practicing the art of pressing everyone’s buttons?

“The senator was kidding,” a Cruz aide explained of the spontaneous photo op with a totally fake tiger skin rug. “He ran across it between meetings in Houston yesterday and wanted a picture.”

Joke or not, the stunt unleashed a torrent of passionate reactions on Twitter and Facebook.

After sifting through the thousands of comments furiously scribbled on Cruz’s social media boards, the brunt of popular opinion falls into three main camps:

No Remorse

Ted Cruz Kills It on Social Media

(Screenshot)

Full story

March 28, 2014

Pair Up at Paws for Love

Searching for a wet-nosed significant other?

Pair Up at Paws for Love

(Courtesy James P. Moran)

Congressional Animal Protection Caucus Co-Chairman James P. Moran, D-Va., and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals want to help fill that hole in your heart and the hollow between your arms with a furry-footed roomie psyched to crash at your place for, well, ever.

The first semi-regular adoption event of 2014 is scheduled to take place April 4 from 12-2:30 p.m. in the Cannon Caucus Room.

As usual, expect to find plenty of cuddle-ready pups and kittens — as well as full-grown companions — ready to be sprung from local animal shelters.

By Warren Rojas Posted at 1:17 p.m.
Critters, HillSide, Reps

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

Capitol Hill Fox, Friends Back on the Prowl

The now-weekly snowfalls keep threatening to render the little slice of heaven Capitol Hill dwellers call home inhospitable to man or beast.

Capitol Hill Fox, Friends Back on the Prowl

(Courtesy number7cloud)

Good thing the four-legged friends who’ve taken up residence around town refuse to let Mother Nature ruin their fun.

The last time we checked in on Capitol Hill Fox emotions were still running high after a widely reported death scare. What a difference a few weeks makes.


View Capitol Hill Fox sightings in a larger map

CHF has, apparently, kept busy visiting local landmarks.

In the most well documented adventure yet, CHF kicked off Valentine’s Day by posing right in front of the Capitol, before bolting towards the National Mall for some art appreciation. Full story

February 11, 2014

Tareq Salahi Switches to a Pets-First Footing for Congressional Bid

Aspiring lawmaker Tareq Salahi didn’t seem to get much traction out of the pro-business, anti-regulatory positions he built his failed gubernatorial bid around. For this next act, he’s going to the dogs.

Tareq Salahi Switches to a Pets First Footing for Congressional Bid

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Salahi, who has tossed his hat into the ring to replace retiring Rep. Frank R. Wolf, R-Va., now wants to be the animal lover’s candidate of choice.

“When I am elected to Congress, I plan on introducing a bill to create a national animal abuser registry,” the former reality TV personality announced Tuesday.

The corresponding news release suggests the sudden policy shift was at least partially predicated on the impending arrival of Love Your Pet Day (Feb. 20) — though Salahi certainly appears to have strong feelings about the issue.

“Study after study shows that violent criminals often begin their downward spiral by abusing animals and eventually escalating to abusing humans,” the House hopeful charged.

How best to institute the pet project remains a work in progress.

“Once Mr. Salahi becomes Congressman, he would like to work with a nationally recognized animal welfare nonprofit, like HSUS or the ASPCA, to ask their input,” a campaign aide told HOH, referring to the Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Team Salahi might be better off hooking up with the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Full story

February 5, 2014

(The Legend of) Capitol Hill Fox Lives On!

Dead. Alive. Zombified.

Who knows what to believe when it comes to the state of the Capitol Hill Fox?


View Capitol Hill Fox sightings in a larger map

Following a roller-coaster ride of a day when dozens of CHF fans flooded the HOH inbox with bulletins about the alarming mass of fur and bones clumped together alongside Interstate 395 North just near the Capitol, one true believer has come forth to squelch all the eulogizing.

“I saw the Fox this morning during a run on Hains Point under the 14th St. Bridge,” a tipster announced via Twitter.

It’s not the first time someone has reported spying the fox by Ohio Drive Southwest, but it’s certainly the most inspirational.

“We can all rejoice!” our ecstatic exerciser proclaimed.

The latest sighting appears to fly in the face of the CHF’s online persona. Full story

February 4, 2014

Today’s Congressional Special: Grasshopper Soup

No word on whether the unsuspecting House staffer who got served an apparently insect-laden cup of soup whilst dining Tuesday in a congressional cafeteria leaped right out of his/her chair. But we’ve got to imagine the meal-time surprise did not sit well.

Today’s Congressional Special: Grasshopper Soup

(Courtesy Cloture Club)

HOH attempted to touch base with the undoubtedly shocked party, but has not yet successfully contacted the individual who fished what certainly looks to be a deceased grasshopper from the depths of a Restaurant Associates-supplied repast. It’s not even clear which eatery dished out the offensive sustenance, as some rumor mongers insist the blame belongs to cooks in the Rayburn, while others maintain that the horror show happened in Longworth’s cafeteria.

Regardless, the phenomenon quickly spilled over onto social media and congressional listserves, as fellow aides shared the gross-out pic across Twitter and the House intranet.

Restaurant Associates did not respond to email queries concerning the suspect lunch offering. The congressional caterer has run up against some interesting issues as of late, including engaging in less-than-appetizing shop talk and brazenly flouting food labeling rules.

Conspiracy Theories Swirl Concerning Fate of Capitol Hill Fox

The sullen-sounding updates began trickling in just as the morning rush hour shifted into high gear.

A few tipsters seemed unwilling to jump to any soul-crushing conclusions, but many feared the absolute worst: The Capitol Hill Fox might have been dispatched to that great, big grassy Capitol complex in the sky.


View Capitol Hill Fox sightings in a larger map

“Bad news. Driving in this morning I passed a recently killed fox on the House 295 exit ramp about 200 yards before the tunnel,” a source shared post-commute.

The death notices snowballed from there, with some spotters left reeling (“Today sucks,” one heartbroken gent declared) while others attempted to rationalize the hurt away.

“I think there is actually a whole family of foxes that live on the East Potomac golf course,” began one starry-eyed optimist, only to come to grips with the CHF’s likely demise midstream by calculating that any Hains Point dwellers were unlikely to “come into the city.”

HOH witnessed the matted mound of blood-stained fur strewn outside the Third Street tunnel while driving into work as well, but was unable to conduct a CSI-style deconstruction due to the briskly flowing traffic.

While never prone to panic, the only rational choices were to accept that the CHF might truly be gone — say it ain’t so, @CapitolHillFox! — or buy into the National Park Service’s preposterous position that there are MULTIPLE foxes living among us.

As the walls of reality continued crashing down around us, HOH began wondering whether foul play may have entered into the equation.

Sure enough, a potential enemies list soon came into sharper focus. Full story

February 3, 2014

Capitol Complex Crawling With Critters

First there was Capitol Hill Fox. Then a snowy owl swooped into town.

Now, Capitol possum has come out to play.

Capitol Complex Crawling With Critters

(Courtesy Kevin Barta)

A Twitter spy snapped a pic over the weekend of the white-faced marsupial strolling around the unseasonably warm grounds.

No word on whether the possum and fox may be in league together. But HOH can’t help but wonder what would happen if the two did decide to engage in an all-out turf war.

We already know how CHF treats unsuspecting squirrels.

But, as we’ve gleaned from YouTube, possums do not automatically back down — be their assailants covered in slobber or hot pink vestiments:

Here’s hoping all our feral friends can reach a power-sharing agreement sans unnecessary bloodshed.

January 28, 2014

Capitol Hill Fox Resurfaces Pre-SOTU

Looks like someone just realized there’s going to be an army of television crews and paparazzi pointing and shooting their way across the Capitol this evening.

Capitol Hill Fox Resurfaces Pre SOTU

(Courtesy HOH tipster)

After disappearing from view for nearly two full weeks, the Capitol Hill Fox came out of hiding Tuesday to high-tail it over toward the big show.

A tipster said he saw the furry celeb racing across First Street Northeast, decamping from the camera-less Supreme Court area to the media-rich environment of the East Front.

“Smaller than I expected,” the fox spotter noted.


View Capitol Hill Fox sightings in a larger map

Whaddaya expect from a cross-city marathoner?

January 21, 2014

Capitol Hill Fox Flouts Snow Day

D.C. denizens may be cowering in fear ahead of Tuesday’s prospectively apocalyptic snowstorm, but not the Capitol Hill Fox.

Capitol Hill Fox Flouts Snow Day

(Courtesy HOH tipster)

A tipster spotted the furry rascal wandering around a desolate looking Hains Point.

“Foxes don’t take snow days,” our scout suggested, adding that the critter appeared to be favoring its right rear paw.


View Capitol Hill Fox sightings in a larger map

Not that we’re surprised by the show of bravado.

The CHF did say the storm wouldn’t deter it from making its own fun today:

 

 

Stay warm, buddy!

January 17, 2014

Capitol Hill Fox: Our Once and Future King

We’re not ready to plunge into a Whovian wormhole and declare that the Capitol Hill Fox has been around for centuries. But stunning new evidence could send others spiraling.

The Architect of the Capitol’s unearthing of a faded photo of a man cradling a fox in front of the Capitol back in 1919 is just the latest piece of the mind-scrambling puzzle that is the CHF.

There are some who believe the red-haired rascal may be new in town. Administration types suspect the CHF is not working alone.

And still others are totally confused about the seemingly misdirected media worship. Full story

January 15, 2014

Scoring Points With the Capitol Hill Fox

As most social media users can attest, virtually everyone and their grandmother here in D.C. is now on the lookout for the Capitol Hill Fox.

 

 

Not that pining to see the auburn-colored adventurer necessarily equates to enjoying an audience with the media darling. (Dry those tears, Liz. We know you’ll get your chance one day!)

Of course, there are ways to draw out God’s creatures. In fact, Steve Hofman believes it’s even possible to befriend frequent feral visitors.

The former House staffer didn’t mention having to deal with any wild animals (political or otherwise) during his days working for the GOP leadership. But he struck up a rather interesting acquaintance after moving out west.

Scoring Points With the Capitol Hill Fox

(Courtesy Steve Hofman)

“My wife and I had our own pet fox, Junior, who visited our home in Colorado at least twice a day,” the Steamboat Springs resident told HOH.

“Junior,” Hofman explained, was never fully domesticated (continued living in the wild), but did grow quite comfortable with the family.

“He would walk up my driveway with me in getting our morning paper, sit at my feet on our front porch, and take food out of my hand. And, oh yes, entertain all our visitors, particularly those from the East who never saw a fox they didn’t run from,” Hofman said of the rapport they developed over time. Full story

January 14, 2014

Capitalizing on Capitol Hill Fox

Back when we began chronicling the adventures of the local legend now known as Capitol Hill Fox, the pointy-eared wonder was still scurrying into bushes to avoid prying eyes.

What a difference a week makes.

These days, the CHF is clearly living out loud — posing for pics at will and even performing for tourists who visited the Capitol this weekend.

An Architect of the Capitol aide said crew members encountered the camera-loving critter early Tuesday morning while making their rounds on the West Front. “It’s not our first sighting, but it is our first photo,” the administrative aide said, adding that groundskeepers described the animal as “docile” and felt it “looked healthy.”

It’s clear the CHF is here to stay.

In fact, our friends at DCist attempted to reverse-engineer its origin story, positing that the imagination-capturing interloper may, in fact, be the same wily character that feasted on first lady Michelle Obama’s untended kitchen garden during last year’s government shutdown.

We’re less concerned with where it came from than what to do with it now that the local community has obviously embraced it.

Here are a couple of win-win scenarios to consider:

BFF Camp

Have congressional aide Andrew Aydin bring his beloved pooch, Delilah, to work.

Capitalizing on Capitol Hill Fox

(Courtesy Andrew Aydin)

Walk the dog around until she either sniffs out the CHF or the CHF comes bounding out for its daily photo op.

Release Delilah and let the Disney magic ensue. Full story

January 13, 2014

Capitol Hill Fox: On the Hunt

Not only were there a plethora of Capitol Hill Fox sightings over the weekend, but our crowd-pleasing pal even sprang into action.

 

 

Evan Gildenblatt, a Kent State University alumnus, live-tweeted the latest CHF chronicles after spotting the fearless furball sunning itself on the lawn in front of the Capitol.

No longer satisfied with merely being an object of adulation, the CHF apparently decided to strike a little fear into the hearts of local admirers by savagely dispatching a too-slow squirrel.  “He put on a helluva of a show, … an old-fashioned safari-style kill,” the awestruck observer shared via Twitter.

Gildenblatt, who witnessed the chase and capture from start to finish, told HOH the brutal display happened right around 4:45 p.m. — prime time for visitors snapping pictures of the glowing Capitol just as the sun retreated beneath the horizon. Full story

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