Speaker John A. Boehner finally graced “The Tonight Show” with an interview on Thursday, sharing bits and pieces about his upbringing, his famous tan and his high-pressure post with outgoing host Jay Leno.
The Ohio Republican seemed perfectly at ease on the late-night gabfest — he brought a hanky in case things got too heavy — casually chitchatting with Leno during a quick moving segment.
When probed about how his early life informed the man he is today, Boehner joked that learning how to negotiate with an army of siblings and, later, surly drunks, has proven integral to handling his day job.
And while he suggested that the caucus is largely unified behind its overarching goal, the GOP leader conceded there are still plenty of stumbling blocks to contend with along the way.
President Barack Obama will deliver his latest State of the Union address (now with online Easter eggs!) to the nation on Jan. 28, an annual temperature-taking that has spawned a cottage industry of alternative evaluations.
(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Academics from the free-market-loving Cato Institute aren’t even waiting to hear what “44” has to say this year, offering up their pre-buttal of POTUS’ read on the yearly status report on Friday. The “Libertarian State of the Union” luncheon (food courtesy of Cato) is scheduled to take place beginning at noon in Rayburn B-369, and will feature in-depth discussions about politically charged issues (Affordable Care Act, NSA information tracking, the congressional budget process) by Cato contributors Chris Edwards (tax policy), Julian Sanchez (technology/national security) and Ilya Shapiro (constitutional studies).
Interested parties can RSVP to attend in person (email@example.com) or catch the fireworks on cato.org/live.
Utah Republican Mike Lee will follow in the footsteps of Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. — last year’s mouthpiece — by delivering the “official” tea party response for 2014.
“For the Tea Party movement, 2014 is not just about taking back the Senate, but it is also about putting forward conservative ideas that will allow for America to prosper,” Tea Party Express Chairwoman Amy Kremer announced in a release.
Lee is scheduled to share his undoubtedly blistering assessment of Obama’s performance at the First Amendment Lounge at the National Press Club (529 14th St. NW) immediately following the president’s speech. Casual observers can watch from home via teapartyexpress.org.
The Green Party is hosting a virtual shindig. The group is planning to broadcast the entire SOTU online and will then toss its 2012 presidential candidate, Dr. Jill Stein, into the mix for a real-time Q&A about everything the country will have just heard. Sign up to participate via the GP Facebook page.
The Log Cabin Republicans are keeping a low profile. No marquee speakers or frenzied news conferences. But an aide tells HOH the group does expect to post something on its website and blast out an official response once Obama signs off for the evening.
Updated 1:55 p.m. | 2012 presidential hopeful Rick Santorum will be back in Washington on Wednesday to rally the faithful — including assorted members of the ever-expanding Duggar clan — during the 41st annual March for Life.
Jim Bob Duggar, the most procreatingest patriarch on TLC, is expected to join Team Santorum for a meet-and-greet with Patriot Voices, the political action group founded by the former Republican senator from Pennsylvania. The pre-march confab, now in its second year, is scheduled to take place from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill (400 New Jersey Ave. NW).
Josh Duggar, the Arkansas ex-pat who relocated to the D.C. area last year to become executive director of the Family Research Council’s Action arm, is also expected to participate in the event at the Hyatt. Full story
It’s rare that a public figure can poke fun at himself. Rarer still to do so as a means of political fundraising. But former Vermont Gov. and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean did just that, using the 10th anniversary of his full bull-goose looney “Yeeaarrgghh” speech after falling short in the Iowa caucuses to plug Democracy for America, the successor of his Dean for America organization.
(Courtesy Democracy for America)
The ask, in emailed form, even provides the text of the Dean Scream:
“It’s hard to believe it was ten years ago tonight. On this day a decade ago — January 19, 2004 — I gave one of the most famous speeches in the history of American politics. Or perhaps “infamous” would be more accurate.
I’m guessing you might remember the climactic moment of that night, as I enthusiastically rallied my presidential campaign supporters in the aftermath of a disappointing finish in the Iowa Caucus:
‘Not only are we going to New Hampshire, Tom Harkin, we’re going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico! And we’re going to California and Texas and New York! And we’re going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan, and then we’re going to Washington, D.C., to take back the White House!
While the ‘Dean Scream’ became fodder for late night comedians, including a hilarious version by Dave Chappelle I still laugh about, I also feel very proud of the state-by-state preamble to my unforgettable rallying cry. Because, when I said we were heading to New Hampshire and South Carolina and Oklahoma… and to Washington, DC to take back the White House… it turns out I wasn’t kidding.”
Dean goes on to say this was kinda sorta the start of the 50-state strategy he hung his hat on as DNC chairman, a position he was elected to in 2005. The next year, Democrats retook the House and Senate, and in 2008, the White House.
But let’s give it to Dean. Most solicitations for political money are either painfully earnest or a bit of a snoozer. He had the moxie to take one of the most cringe-worthy moments in American politics and OWN it.
And, for what it’s worth, here’s the Chappelle skit:
Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist did not feel he got the first-class treatment he deserved from United Airlines after a parade of passengers noisily purged their systems in his immediate earshot.
.@united I booked a first class seat and now I’m in the very last row next to a bathroom that’s in heavy rotation.
The second session of the 113th Congress is now fully under way.
And while we’re happy for the steady stream of fresh content, the truth is, it is an election year. So who knows how much time we have with the following striking personalities once the legislative wheels come careening off.
Author and organic dining advocate Marilu Henner will join the members of the Congressional Vegetarian Staff Association on Wednesday for some frank talk about what we should and should not be putting into our bodies in 2014.
(Courtesy Robert Sebree)
Henner and vegan cookbook author Kathy Freston will tag-team a policy luncheon scheduled to take place from noon to 2 p.m. in room HVC 201 of the Capitol Visitor Center. The event, which will feature complimentary vegan tacos from Ape Man Foods and cupcakes from Sticky Fingers bakery, is open to all Hill staff and interns.
The duo had originally planned to commune with congressional vegans last fall, but things got derailed by the government shutdown.
Henner is no stranger to Washington, having testified before Congress on more than a half-dozen occasions to date. She’s weighed in on topics ranging from nutritional standards to deadbeat parents — including a 2004 effort to reshape the ever-evolving, administration-designed food pyramid.
Were she ultimately calling the shots, Henner might push pet projects such as augmenting food labeling and including hydration in dietary guidelines. For now, she’s most interested in having people swear off the “extreme flavors” that sway day-to-day dining decisions.
“We have to get away from processed foods,” Henner warned HOH, labeling excess fats, salt and sugar as the root causes of rampant unhealthiness. “We know that something is wrong. You just have to look around, America. We are stuffing our faces but starving our bodies.”
Henner said she’s been practicing mindful eating for more than three decades — “It was a Wednesday,” the memory maven quipped about her “health” birthday (Aug. 15, 1979) — adhering to a strict regimen of nourishing and natural foods.
“A plant-based diet is really where it’s at,” she told HOH, noting that eating organically helped her shed 54 pounds and trim her cholesterol by 100 points.
Furthermore, she challenged lawmakers to quit kowtowing to animal product peddlers (cattleman’s lobby, dairy farmers) and get with the times.
“I want Congress to catch up with the people,” she said of the groundswell of support for everything from meticulous monitoring of genetically modified organisms to just plain smarter eating. “There is a tsunami of health you cannot stop.”
Bipartisanship is in the air, at least when it comes to the National Football League. It’s not uncommon to see fans of college and professional sports in Congress wager their states’ wares and fares over the outcome of contests, but this week has produced some nice examples of bipartisan bonhomie over the gridiron.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is a fierce partisan warrior, but she and Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., have a cross-the-aisle bet on the outcome of Sunday’s Carolina Panthers-San Francisco 49ers divisional playoff game in Charlotte, N.C.
Christie has faced intense scrutiny since news broke that several of his aides purportedly orchestrated major traffic problems for the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., last fall in a suspected act of political retaliation.
Sen. Patrick J. Toomey has a message for the plucky, pint-sized star of 2007’s teen pregnancy dramedy: bundle up.
While everyone else in Washington, D.C., continues to obsess about the polar vortex poised to chap lips (and possibly worse) all over town, the Pennsylvania Republican broke the news that Ellen Page’s core temperature has already plummeted from our life-sustaining 98-degree range into organ-stopping territory.
Or could it be that he’s confusing the name of the award-winning movie with the capital of Alaska — Juneau?
Keeping tabs on all the shenanigans our elected officials get into is what this column is all about. And, as you might have noticed, there’s more than enough ridiculousness to go around.
My former partner, Neda Semnani, was a wiz at ferreting out amazing tidbits about blundering pols and sex-starved government workers. And I manage to stumble into chuckle-worthy happenings every onceinawhile.
But, as we all learned from 80’s screwball comedies, the name of the game is teamwork.
Which is why I would like to lavish praise on all my hardworking CQRC colleagues for always keeping their radars up for bizarre political behavior.
Our entire newsroom helps make this little column shine.
Here’s just a sample of some of the whip-smart reporting I most enjoyed reading this year: Full story
As die-hard HOH fans are undoubtedly aware, this institution underwent a paradigm shift earlier this year when my co-columnist and partner, Neda Semnani, took her leave in order to pursue her dream of becoming a full-fledged author.
(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
The indomitable yin to my sophomoric yang, Semnani approached each looming deadline with verve and aplomb.
Armed with incisive wit, a healthy amount of skepticism and a burning desire to crawl inside the headspaces of those who make their living from supposedly exercising the will of the vox populi, Semnani fearlessly probed those in power — and their often tragicomic associates — until she got to the heart of what was really going on.
I miss her every day.
Luckily, I’ve got these gems to remind me of how lucky I was to have worked alongside a true congressional junkie. Full story
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is not only confident he will be vindicated in an ongoing legal tussle — a rather nasty affair in which a former landlord claims that the California Republican and his family caused tens of thousands of dollars in property damage — he’s fairly certain he brought it on himself by serving in the public eye.
“If I wasn’t a member of Congress, no one would pay attention to this at all,” he said of the dirty laundry being aired by Robert Polyniak regarding a home he rented to the Rohrabachers a few years back. Full story