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

Posts in "FightingWords"

December 18, 2014

Pols, Public Critique Wisdom of Silencing ‘The Interview’

Pols, Public Critique Wisdom of Silencing ‘The Interview’

Rogen, center, has gone radio silent since the controversy intensified. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Moviegoers from all walks of life have been stopped dead in their tracks by Sony’s decision to drop the sociopolitical football that is  “The Interview” from its schedule, due to mounting pressures from external forces.

Just days after the film’s co-stars Seth Rogen and James Franco bowed out of making any more public appearances for the film, the besieged studio packed it in as well, shelving a satirical romp that has purportedly deeply offended supporters of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. The stunning case of self-censorship unleashed a cacophony of analyses from instapundits.

Full story

Boehner Can’t Wait to Open 114th Congress

Like a kid counting down the days until “It’s Clobberin’ Time!” on neatly wrapped Christmas presents, Speaker John A. Boehner is absolutely giddy about getting the GOP-controlled Congress underway next month.

We presume Santa will keep tabs on whether House and Senate Republicans play nice in the new year.

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

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December 16, 2014

DHS Not Ready to Torpedo ‘The Interview’ Opening

International troublemakers Seth Rogen and James Franco may be ready to run for cover from the mystery hackers who’ve brought Sony to its horribly bruised knees, but the feds see no reason (yet) to deprive moviegoers of a few laughs on Christmas.

Per Variety, the Department of Homeland Security has found “no credible intelligence” regarding threats the self-proclaimed “Guardians of Peace” have leveled against those who plan on seeing the farcical flick later this month.

Full story

December 15, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of Dec. 8 (Video)

With holiday jet fumes in the air, Congress spent its final full week of 2014 on “The Colbert Report,” strategizing for bar fights and telling their favorite Dick Cheney quail hunting stories.

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

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December 10, 2014

Reporters’ Parsing Prompts Michael Steel ‘Meltdown’

Reporters Parsing Prompts Michael Steel Meltdown

Steel, interacting with the press. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The winding down of the legislative clock has everyone in the Capitol on edge — particularly partisan mouthpieces who feel the boss is being unduly grilled about end-of-session escape plans.

According to those present for the public dressing down, leadership aide Michael Steel lost his cool Wednesday after reporters pressed his boss, Speaker John A. Boehner, about the myriad provisions tucked into the $1.1 trillion train-ticket-out-of-town that is the current appropriations bundle. Full story

December 8, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of Dec. 1 (Video)

Congress kicked off the final month of the year brining turkeys, plugging favorite movies and crying on the House floor.

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

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December 5, 2014

When Shushing Folks Disturbs the Peace

A prominently displayed plea for tightly zipped lips has got tongues wagging in Cannon.

When Shushing Folks Disturbs the Peace

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The campaign to dial things down a bit is the brainchild of newly displaced members of the House Budget Committee’s minority staff; the congressional aides recently got uprooted from the basement of Cannon by ongoing renovation efforts.

The migration from secluded workspace to heavily trafficked juncture has proven more jarring than expected — hence the oversized request (“Quiet Please! Offices at Work,” the announcement reads) for passersby to show a little respect while milling about outside.

“It is a temporary sign during our transition to the first floor, as the stairwell opposite the new space is an unusually noisy gathering place,” a Budget Committee aide told HOH.

One House staffer bristled at the visual pollution, chiding the new arrivals for making much ado about nothing. Full story

December 2, 2014

Solons Follow Blues Brothers’ Lead

In a rare show of unanimity, House lawmakers Tuesday overwhelmingly agreed to permanently drive a wedge between Nazi sympathizers and future social security benefits.

Jake and Elwood would be so proud.

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December 1, 2014

Contempt for Elizabeth Lauten Spreads Far and Wide

It seems that no one, or anything, is immune from the seething rage Elizabeth Lauten fomented by launching a personal attack against Sasha and Malia Obama.

The one-time spokeswoman for Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., had to fall on her sword Monday after her widely publicized rant about teenage behavior sparked a rhetorical war that cut across racial, political and gender divides.

The presumably seasoned public relations professional — Lauten handled press for one-term tea party favorite Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois during the 112th Congress, spent a few years as “social and earned media manager” at Purple Strategies prior to that, and earlier this year launched her own shop — inspired not one (#ElizabethLauten) but two (#FireElizabethLauten) vitriol-laden threads on Twitter.

About that firm? Perhaps Lauten tapped her classics major at East Carolina University, naming it Audeamus Communications. Audeamus means “may we dare” or “may we risk” in Latin. Do with that information what you will.

In addition to exposing herself to ridicule (it didn’t take long for the hypocrisy bashing to kick in) and scorn (The Smoking Gun unearthed a decade-old shoplifting charge), Lauten’s antics suddenly made Fincher fair game.

And he wasn’t the only one caught in the mounting crossfire. Full story

Stephen Fincher Catches Shrapnel From Aide’s Attack on Obama Girls

Stephen Fincher Catches Shrapnel From Aide’s Attack on Obama Girls

Lauten reportedly resigned Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Stephen Fincher is getting blasted from all sides following the departure of a communications aide forced to eat crow over the holiday weekend after lambasting the teenage daughters of President Barack Obama.

Congressional spokeswoman Elizabeth Lauten tendered her resignation Monday, after her digital broadside against Sasha and Malia Obama sparked a virtual riot across social media. Lauten’s electrifying screed incited equally caustic critiques from the Twitterverse, an online chorus that unloaded on her, former first siblings Barbara Pierce Bush and Jenna Bush Hager, the Republican Party and race relations in the United States.

Lauten eventually walked back her unsolicited evaluation of Obama’s child-rearing abilities, but it appears the damage was already done.

Her career implosion has been so great, in fact, that the Tennessee Republican who provided her with a steady paycheck is now having his own job security called into question.

Some seem to believe he’s complicit in the POTUS-shaming drama.

Full story

November 26, 2014

Relive the Horror of the Midterm Emailing Blitz

The political watchdogs over at Represent.us are pitting the greatest misses from this year’s avalanche of hyper-panicky, completely tone deaf, patently absurd fundraising pleas in a last ditch effort to duly recognize the all-stars of public relations suckdom.

Relive the Horror of the Midterm Emailing Blitz

(Screenshot)

The “ALL CAPS for CA$H” competition is designed to identify the “worst political fundraising emails of 2014” — a truly ambitious goal, given that the HOH inbox was bombarded with sappy requests from shameless partisans roughly every 0.23472 seconds during the run-up to Election Day.

“It doesn’t matter which party you support. Take one look at your inbox, and it’s clear that our elections have become all about the money,” Represent.us Director Josh Silver said in a release. “We’re launching ALL CAPS FOR CA$H to highlight the outsized role money plays in seeking public office, and the absurd lengths politicians are willing to go in order to raise it.”

The pro-democracy group has dumped the most misguided missives into a half-dozen categories, including: The Howler Award (UPPERCASE madness), The Richard Head Memorial Trophy (pomposity), The Chicken Little Cup (apocalypses for everyone!), The Buzzworthable-Est Award (crazy shiite), The ’Murican Patriot Award (long live the comments feed!) and The “I’m Not Mad, I’m Just Disappointed” Award (waaaah!).

Throw the hysterical hucksters one final bone — sorry about the whole losing-ground-in-the-House thing, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. But you may clean up here! — by voting for the worst of the worst from now until Sunday.

Related:

We Were Told There Would Be No (Fundraising) Math

Roll Call Results Map: Results and District Profiles for Every Seat

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November 24, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of Nov. 17 (Video)

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, members spent the week discussing dirty oil, political ads and “dumb-ass liberals.”

Roll Call Results Map: Results and District Profiles for Every Seat

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November 20, 2014

Members Rush to Recruit Freshmen to Softball Team

Members Rush to Recruit Freshmen to Softball Team

Love in her running gear in a campaign video.  (Courtesy YouTube)

Think it’s too early for softball? Think again.

Veteran members of the Congressional Women’s Softball Team fanned out across Washington last week to recruit members-elect to their softball team. They square off each summer against the Bad News Babes, a team of reporters, in a fundraiser for the Young Survival Coalition breast cancer charity.

“We are pumped to have one of the largest class of new recruits to the Congressional Women’s team since we started the game,” game founder/Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., said in a statement.

“These women are ready to bond, ready to play, ready to win and most of all, fired up to beat cancer and beat the press — again!” Wasserman Schultz said, alluding to her team’s slight win over the Bad News Babes this summer. Full story

November 14, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of Nov. 10 (Video)

Despite the short work week, members still managed to discuss airbags, baseball and Mitch McConnell’s age while dressed in madras.

Roll Call Results Map: Results and District Profiles for Every Seat

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November 11, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Best of the 2014 Campaign Season (Video)

As news outlets tracked the best campaign ads of the 2014 cycle over the past seven weeks, HOH kept tabs on the other activities which kept your elected officials busy, including arguing with constituents, reciting Greek history and reading mean tweets.

Roll Call Results Map: Results and District Profiles for Every Seat

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