Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 26, 2014

Posts in "FLOTUS"

September 3, 2014

Funny or Die Skewers YA Flicks for New Lets Move! Plug

First lady Michelle Obama pops up at the end of a new Funny or Die parody that swaps in nutritional hobgoblins for the living dead/pandemic event/fetishistic survival trials that seem to plague the protagonist of every young adult novel.

FLOTUS has been championing healthy eating since 44 took office in 2009; her hands-on approach to raising dietary awareness has ranged from overseeing the evolving White House kitchen garden to soliciting recipes from snack-conscious youths.

“Snackpocalypse” has its moments — “It’s like the more garbage everyone eats, the sicker they get. It’s a mystery,” muses school nurse (and “VEEP” vet) Sufe Bradshaw — but is unlikely to stir up the type of response President Barack Obama did last spring when he traded insults with Zach Galifianakis on “Between Two Ferns.” Full story

July 22, 2014

Richard Nixon: Cookbook Connoisseur, Fan of Sophie Leavitt’s ‘Penny Pincher’s Cook Book’

While the Washington Post is poised to revel in the 40th anniversary of its administration-toppling Watergate investigation, we here at HOH would prefer to reflect on the positive things President Richard Milhous Nixon brought to the table.

An appreciation of cheap eats, for one.

These days, no one thinks twice about having the White House weigh in on what’s on their plate because first lady Michelle Obama has made it her mission to keep nutrition and healthful dining in the public consciousness. One could argue that Nixon helped plant the seed for sustaining a public discourse on maximizing hard earned food dollars by standing firmly behind author Sophie Leavitt’s “Penny Pincher’s Cook Book.”

Richard Nixon: Cookbook Connoisseur, Fan of Sophie Leavitts Penny Pinchers Cook Book

(CQ Roll Call)

The 1971 book — which this reporter just happened to stumble upon while poking around one of those “take a book, leave a book” bins in Old Town Alexandria — encourages would-be cooks not only to adopt frugality, but to embrace it as a source of inspiration. Full story

July 18, 2014

FLOTUS Tweaks Congress Over School Lunch at Kids’ State Dinner

First Lady Michelle Obama’s battle for school lunch reform continued to heat up Friday as she urged a room full of kids and parents to become advocates for healthy lunch programs, despite “grownups’ ” attempts to block reform.

“And while the vast majority of the schools are doing just fine with these new standards, those few complaining voices happen to be the loudest voices and they’re getting the most attention right now,” the first lady said at the third annual Kids’ State Dinner, slamming Congress for “undoing some of the progress” made.

With 54 kid representatives from each state and territory attending the dinner after submitting winning recipes, Obama took the opportunity to center her remarks on school lunch, suggesting the voices of parents and children are necessary in the fight for healthy, nutritious lunches. A panel of judges — which included White House chef Sam Kass — picked the tastiest and healthiest recipes among the 1,500 submissions. Full story

July 3, 2014

Malia Obama’s July 4th Sweet 16

Malia Obamas July 4th Sweet 16

Malia, far right, turns 16 the same day as America’s birthday. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For the Obama family, Friday’s Fourth of July celebrations will also mark another milestone — Malia Obama’s sweet 16 birthday.

President Barack Obama made note Tuesday during a speech in Washington of Malia’s upcoming Independence Day birthday, with the president showing some apprehension as Malia begins to inch toward adulthood.

“With the Fourth of July on Friday — also Malia’s birthday for those of you who are interested — she will be 16,” the president said before beginning his remarks on the Highway Trust Fund. “A little worrisome.”

Turning 16 means Malia may soon be behind the wheel, as she will be at the minimum age eligible to obtain a driver’s permit in the District. Michelle Obama confirmed to Jimmy Fallon in February that Malia will indeed be on the road this summer, warning Washingtonians to “watch out.”

The Obamas have in the past marked Malia’s birthday in an array of locations, including on the campaign trail in 2012 and at Camp David in 2009.

Also in 2009, the president addressed military families on July Fourth in Washington as Malia turned 11 years old.

“When she was younger, I used to say that all these fireworks were for her,” the president said. “I’m not sure she still buys that.”

By Cady Zuvich Posted at 2:51 p.m.
FLOTUS, Kiddies, POTUS

June 25, 2014

How Congress Has Changed for Hillary Clinton

How Congress Has Changed for Hillary Clinton

Feinstein and Clinton, seen here in 2005, strengthened their friendship serving together. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has seen a lot in politics, and Congress has changed quite a bit over the course of her career. As our team read through Clinton’s detailing of diplomatic exploits in her latest memoir, “Hard Choices,” we examined it through the lens of Congress.

As a former first lady and U.S. senator, Clinton has a breadth of experience working on Capitol Hill. Should she seek the presidency once more, that interaction will matter for her political future.

The research gurus at the CQ Members Desk crunched the numbers to showcase how Congress has changed (and stayed the same) from Clinton’s perspective.

Just 69 current members of Congress have served in the Capitol continuously since Clinton began her tenure as first lady in 1993.

Full story

June 17, 2014

Rob Bishop Still Not Sold on Twitter

Sure, his office signed him up for the rapid-fire status sharing service more than four years ago. And he definitely gets updates when others drop his name in the Twittersphere.

But no one can make Rep. Rob Bishop actually broadcast a single character.

Rob Bishop Still Not Sold on Twitter

(Screenshot)

Of the 520-odd politicians (a roster that includes aspiring as well as sitting lawmakers) we follow on the micro-blogging platform, the Utah Republican has the unique honor of being the only person to never post a single thing — no tenuous “here we go,” or even an investigatory “testing” — to an active account.

Which makes perfect sense, since it’s really just a placeholder. Full story

May 21, 2014

Rocker Chad Smith Does D.C. Right

Red Hot Chili Peppers’ drummer Chad Smith has banged out a whole bunch of special appearances this week, from hanging with first lady Michelle Obama at the first White House talent show to cracking wise about the music biz in front of the Capitol.

Rocker Chad Smith Does D.C. Right

Smith has been rocking the Capitol this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The best part of the trip, though, had to be showing his eldest son, Cole, around the White House.

“My son for some reason, 9 years old, all things presidential he is just enamored with,” Smith told HOH. To wit, Smith noted that while visiting the Oval Office, Cole dropped some knowledge on the tour guide about the reason behind the circular design — something about not being able to sneak up on POTUS — that the administration aide claimed to be unfamiliar with.

“So Cole is now giving tours of the White House,” Smith quipped.

He said Cole got the shock of his young life when President Barack Obama unexpectedly popped by a FLOTUS-led event and took a shine to the nattily attired young man.

“He had on this seersucker suit, my son. Which he never wears a suit. It’s the only suit he has,” Smith shared.

When 44 got up close and personal, Smith said, Cole got all the love.

“Barack was like, ‘Nice to meet you, Chad. … Hey, nice suit. Where’d you get that suit? Ah, Seersucker. Summer’s coming,’” Smith noted. “So he was talking to my son about fashion.”

Or was he?

“And Cole’s like, ‘The president called me a sucker,’” Smith said, choking back laughter. Full story

April 7, 2014

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

Conservative artist/provocateur Sabo is no stranger to mixing members of Congress and California, as can be seen from his mock-up of a recent Ted Cruz, R-Texas, event in Beverly Hills.

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

(Screenshot)

But now that the Breitbart News Network has expanded to the Golden State, Sabo is helping mark the bi-coastal migration with a fresh batch of eyebrow-raising art.

The politically charged images, including one of a provocatively dressed and posed House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., served as the welcome mat for the fledgling site, an act of aggression fitting with the anonymous artist’s MO.

“My aim as an artist is to be as dirty, ground level, and mean as any Liberal artist out there, more so if I can,” Sabo, who describes himself as a Republican and ex-Marine, declares on his personal website. He has previously taken shots at President Barack Obama and former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, but elected to widen his scope this time around to better suit the media rollout.

Sabo assured HOH, however, that he is not on the Breitbart payroll.

“Just consider me a fan of Andrew, a kindred spirit with a common mission,” he suggested via email. “My contribution to said ‘mission’ is to help Conservatives find their creative voice. I admit my approach is rather hard edge. … That’s just the way I like it.”

He declined to specify how many posters had been papered across Los Angeles and indicated that it’s still too early too tell which anti-Democrat depiction will cause the biggest commotion.

“The posters just hit the street so, I can not comment on which has pissed ‘Progressives’ off more. I hope they all equally tie their panties in knots,” Sabo said.

Democrats here in Washington, D.C., had no such problem picking their least favorite contribution to the arts — the rather unflattering image of Pelosi.

“To say the least, the Breitbart News ad is foul, offensive, and disrespectful to all women. It is a disgusting new low and would be reprehensible against any woman — regardless of party,” Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., stated in a release. “It’s no wonder the Republicans are having problems appealing to women. If GOP leaders are serious about their rebrand, then both their elected and Party leadership should condemn this outrageous behavior, call on Breitbart News to immediately remove the ad, and not continue to use this website as a forum for their views.”

Per Sabo, Pelosi was on his hit list because she is “a typical gun grabbing liberal who fights to insure only the ‘authorities’ can possess firearms that way they, the political class, can run over us anytime they want without fear of retribution from the peasants.”

The others drawing fire — “They all suck, some slightly more than the other but not by much,” Sabo groused — this time around include:

California Gov. Jerry Brown

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

(Screenshot)

“Jerry Brown is back-wash. Californians were dumb enough to have brought back [him] from the dead; talk about a zombie invasion,” Sabo said of the boomerang pol.

 

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

(Screenshot)

“Zuckerberg is a tech-klepto who’s nose is waaaaay too far up everyone’s business,” Sabo said.

 

CNN personality Piers Morgan

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

(Screenshot)

“Piers Morgan needs to go back home,” Sabo counseled.

Breitbart readers were, by and large, rather pleased to see their common enemies held up to ridicule and scorn:

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

(Screenshot)

 

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

(Screenshot)

One rabble-rouser even urged Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus to take notes, but doubted the higher ups would hear her plaintive cries.

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

(Screenshot)

Meanwhile, a left-leaning observer vowed to counter the visual offensive by coining a new definition for “Breitbart” a la the homoerotic connotation sex columnist Dan Savage affixed to former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., years ago.

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

(Screenshot)

And while he may be persona non grata over in the House, Sabo appears to be in good with at least one member in the other chamber, the aforementioned Mr. Cruz.

Sabo reimagined the tea party favorite as an inked-up outlaw a few weeks back, and said the Texas Republican responded in kind. “I’m happy to report Senator Ted Cruz has a pair [of posters] and has yet to throw me under the bus,” Sabo said of his congressional fan base.

Cruz made light of the gritty depiction on Twitter, offering one small correction to the rather outlandish homage:

 

 

April 4, 2014

FLOTUS Injects New Life Into Kitchen Garden Project

FLOTUS Injects New Life Into Kitchen Garden Project

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

No longer satisfied with fostering better eating habits amongst humans, First Lady Michelle Obama is now making a bid to nurture Mother Nature by weaving pollinator-friendly flowering plants into the agricultural mix that makes up the White House kitchen garden.

FLOTUS broke ground on the project in 2009 and has only seen interest in the ultimate testament to homegrown food multiply with each successive planting.

The carefully tended garden routinely doubles as an instructional tool for Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign, a pet project designed to spur healthier eating and increased physical activity among America’s youth.

Sam Kass, executive director of “Let’s Move!” and senior advisor on nutrition policy, listed the pollinator plants, a bed of Lincoln oats and a recently transplanted pawpaw tree as the latest additions to the garden party. Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 3:50 p.m.
FLOTUS, Food, Kiddies

March 24, 2014

Vegetarian Lobby Plants Bug in Michelle Obama’s Ear

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and Congressional Vegetarian Staff Association have recruited a number of professional athletes to discuss the benefits of adhering to a plant-based lifestyle at an April 1 luncheon.

But the diet-conscious crusaders really want first lady and “Let’s Move!” founder Michelle Obama to throw her weight behind their mission.

“As you know, obesity-related diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and stroke, account for 70 percent of all deaths in the United States. The good news is that if every American adds two servings of fruits and vegetables to his or her diet, his or her risk for all-cause mortality will automatically decrease by 10 percent. If we move toward an entirely plant-based diet, we can cut the risk of heart disease—the biggest killer in America—in half,” PCRM Founder and President Dr. Neal Barnard alerted FLOTUS in a March 24 letter inviting her to the “Teaming Up 4 Health” preview party scheduled to take place April 1 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. in room 201 on the House side of the Capitol Visitor Center.

Barnard also invited Education Secretary Arne Duncan and acting Surgeon General Boris Lushniak to the healthy eating event.

The luncheon, which will feature complimentary garden vegetable wraps supplied by Whole Foods, gourmet salads (carrot and beet, spring mix medley) and vegan baked goods from Banana Love Mufffins, is open to everyone, though organizers are hoping to cap attendance at 150.

Those interested in participating are encouraged to RSVP to: jberger@pcrm.org.

As part of the program, Barnard will lead a discussion with U.S. Olympic swimmer Kate Ziegler, triathlete and ultra-marathoner Brendan Brazier, taekwondo world champion Daba Modibo Keita and CBS radio host Chuck Carroll.

Vegetarian Lobby Plants Bug in Michelle Obamas Ear

(Courtesy Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine)

The group will also preview the “Teaming up 4 Health” campaign scheduled to go live April 8 — a multimedia effort set to include video testimonials, collectible trading cards and quickie recipes. Full story

February 11, 2014

Members of Congress Attending the White House State Dinner

It’s one hot ticket: Not just a State Dinner, but a State Dinner for the president of France, Francois Hollande. How would you like to be the chef in charge of the souffle tonight?

Members of Congress have gotten a lot of cold shoulders from the White House during the Obama presidency, having seen traditional picnics and socials be postponed, then canceled, for instance. So how did the legislative branch come out on the invite list?

A roster from the Office of the First Lady shows 11 current members of Congress on the guest list, although FLOTUS tried goose the number to 12 by promoting Georgia state Rep. Stacey Abrams to federal office by identifying her as “United States Representative (Georgia).” Oh, well. They’ll just have to wait for an intervening election.

Here’s the list of members attending:

Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif.

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md.

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky.

Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif.

Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.

For those of you keeping score at home, that’s eight House members and three senators. Among those, there are seven Democrats and four Republicans.

Noted congressional alumni are former Sen. Max Cleland, D-Ga., who is now secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission; former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., now secretary of Defense, and former Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., currently secretary of State, along with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., formerly the distinguished senator from Delaware.

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

December 31, 2013

HOH Year in Review: It Takes a Village Edition

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 once in a while.

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

November 27, 2013

Heritage Thankful for Political Targets

It’s the holidays.

Heritage Thankful for Political Targets

(Screenshot)

Why not take a little time off from battling partisan foes and let The Heritage Foundation handle the cyber-feuding for you?

The conservative think tank has created a half-dozen e-cards poking fun at the administration for everything from first lady Michelle Obama’s healthy-eating efforts to the polarizing Affordable Care Act:

Heritage Thankful for Political Targets

(Screenshot)

Now, let’s all be thankful for the common-sense rule that NO ONE should be wasting time checking their email at the Thanksgiving table.

By Warren Rojas Posted at 12:40 p.m.
FightingWords, FLOTUS, Food

July 29, 2013

President Obama Stumps for Weenies

The San Francisco Giants’ swing through the White House on Monday teed up a presidential plug for a plump and juicy frank.

While conferring with the 2012 World Series-winning ballplayers, President Barack Obama congratulated the champs not only for clinching the championship, but also for swinging for the fences on the sustainable dining front.

“I’m proud to announce that next season they’re planning to turn the center field bleachers at AT&T Park into what’s believed to be the first ever edible garden in a major American sports facility. With rows of kale and strawberries and eggplant, the Giants are going to help encourage local youth to eat healthy — even at the ballpark,” Obama told reporters.

First Lady Michelle Obama has been leading by example on a gorge-yourself-on-greenery campaign, carving out space on the White House lawn for a functional kitchen garden that’s become the fount of many a state dinner.

Insatiable fast-food fan Barack, however, made sure to alert folks that even FLOTUS would approve of dialing back dietary restrictions while enjoying America’s pastime. Full story

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