Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 22, 2014

Posts in "media"

December 19, 2014

D.C. Helps Stephen Colbert Say Goodbye

Citizens of #ThisTown were among the pop culture illuminati sending off faux conservative blowhard Stephen Colbert on the final episode of “The Colbert Report,” all to a resounding singalong of “We’ll Meet Again.”

Along with longtime collaborator Jon Stewart and the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jeff Tweedy, Cookie Monster and the dragon Smaug from “The Hobbit,” the chorus of well-wishers included:

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.

Full story

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.

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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

Festive Democratic Aide Keeps ’Em In Stitches

Dressing up for the holidays might not be on his list of official duties. But as House aide Andrew Noh demonstrated during the thick of “cromnibus” mania, sporting something snazzy is clearly a personal priority.

While many in the media trumpeted that the staffer to California Democrat Linda T. Sánchez had saved them from wasting away to nothing by sharing a much-needed stakeout snack, others marveled at the getup the knight in curiously patterned armor wore into the brilliantly executed PR stunt. Full story

December 10, 2014

Steve Cohen Details Daytrip With POTUS

Steve Cohen Details Daytrip With POTUS

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Unlike those who tried to distance themselves from President Barack Obama ahead of last month’s power-shifting elections, HOH social media Hall of Famer Steve Cohen wants everyone to know how much he loves hanging with the commander in chief.

The Tennessee Democrat provided a play-by-play of their recent whirlwind tour of the Volunteer State in a series of giddy tweets and gushing statements. Full story

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 2, 2014

Overheard: Sink or Swim With Joe Manchin

Overheard: Sink or Swim With Joe Manchin

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“We go out in the middle of the Potomac, and that way nobody can jump or swim. They’ve gotta talk.”

— West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III shares the secret to the bipartisan shindigs held aboard his houseboat on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

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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 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 19, 2014

Lee Zeldin Making Friends All Over Congress

Rep.-elect Lee Zeldin has only been around Capitol Hill for a few days, but he’s already making quite the impression among the New York delegation.

As originally reported by Newsday, the incoming Republican huddled with Democratic Sen. Charles E. Schumer earlier this week for a strategy session about all things Empire State. At one point during that exchange, Zeldin reportedly asked Schumer if Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel was actually Jewish, to which the senior senator replied, “I think so.”

When word got back to Israel, the House lawmaker gave Zeldin some guff online.

Zeldin attempted to smooth things over by floating a “manischewitz summit” — an offer that’s still hanging out there.

“It has not been scheduled yet,” an Israel aide said of the proposed sit-down. Full story

November 18, 2014

Alicia Menendez to Talk Change With Cory Booker at Union Market

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, are two of the highest ranking officials scheduled to share their thoughts Wednesday during Fusion’s inaugural “RiseUp” summit.

Alicia Menendez to Talk Change With Cory Booker at Union Market

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The invitation-only event, which should also be simulcast on Fusion.net, is scheduled to take place at emerging dining hub Union Market.

Fusion host Alicia Menendez has been tasked with chatting Booker up about the “Change Initiative” from 9 to 9:45 a.m., while anchor Jorge Ramos takes a crack at digesting the state of current affairs with Power from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m.

“The overall event will feature conversations and deep insight into youth protests and the role that technology plays in global movements for change,” a conference aide said of the planned discussion threads.

Per the aide, it was decided that waiting until after the midterms would prove more productive than attempting to shoehorn in an ambitious policy discussion into the already overly crowded calendar.

“Fusion decided to take a more global and less politicized approach, and host the ‘RiseUp’ summit after the election to ensure the focus of the event stayed on the importance of bringing a diverse group of leaders and activists into one space to explore how to transform the rising tides of protest into a positive wave of social progress,” the organizer told HOH.

Can’t skip work to hang at the all-day gabfest?

The activist powwow is expected to roll right through the evening courtesy of a VIP after-party (9 p.m. to midnight) featuring world DJs, drinks and dancing.

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

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November 10, 2014

Diran Lyons Rings Obama’s Bell

Pop culture slicer-and-dicer Diran Lyons has pieced together a new video wherein President Barack Obama maintains a laser-like focus on just two things: razing hell and sinking putts.

Mad props to Fox News Channel personality Megyn Kelly for contributing that killer quivering lip.

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November 4, 2014

In the Trenches With Mark Preston: Election Overload Edition

While some Washingtonians blissfully lounged around this weekend, Mark Preston, the Roll Call alumnus now serving as executive editor of CNN Politics, was in the office Saturday morning, all suited up and ready to help demystify the election projections process.

Preston — along with other veteran CNN personalities such as omnipresent anchor Wolf Blitzer, Chief National Correspondent John King, Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash, Washington Bureau Chief Sam Feist and a slew of others — was on hand for a day-long dry-run featuring every possible voting scenario political prognosticators could throw at the magic wall.

HOH reached out to Preston about what to watch out for on election night.

HOH: Most compelling race(s) on your radar?

MP: Early in the night I think the focus needs to be on North Carolina and New Hampshire, which close at 7:30 p.m. ET and 8 p.m. ET, respectively.

If the GOP defeats these two Democratic incumbents, then it is hard to argue that it is not going to be a good night for Republicans. Kansas offers the most suspense, because if independent Greg Orman defeats GOP Sen. Pat Roberts, the pressing question is going to be will Orman align himself with Senate Democrats or Senate Republicans?

If Orman wins, I doubt he will show his cards Tuesday night.

HOH: Satellite location you would have enjoyed covering?

MP: No question, Alaska. Not only does it have one of the most competitive Senate races, but it also features a close governor’s race where independent Bill Walker and a Democrat Byron Mallott have formed a unity ticket to try and defeat GOP Gov. Sean Parnell.

Adding intrigue to the governor’s race is that Sarah Palin has endorsed the unity ticket over Parnell, her former lieutenant governor. Alaska is the great unknown in politics; it is a difficult state to accurately poll and it will make staying up late well worth it.

Full story

In the Trenches With Jake Tapper: Election Overload Edition

It’s Election Day 2014!

Which means its like Chrismukkah for political reporters who’ve spent several weeks/months/years weathering the avalanche of numbing campaign emails, soldiering through awkward interviews with combative candidates and crisscrossed countless counties to pick potential voters’ brains about what they want from their elected leaders.

Jake Tapper, a one-time Roll Call cartoonist turned host of CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper,” has been in the thick of things seemingly forever.

In the Trenches With Jake Tapper: Election Overload Edition

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With the countdown on to another marathon session of gorging on real-time voting returns, HOH quizzed Tapper about the good, the bad and the ugly of midterm mania.

HOH: Most compelling race(s) on your radar?

JT: Too many to count, but if I had to pick three Senate races that I’m really watching intensely, they are Colorado, Iowa, Kansas and North Carolina. OK, that’s four. And Wisconsin and Florida for governor. But honestly, it’s not fair asking political junkies to pick faves with so many good ones to pick from!

HOH: Satellite location you would have enjoyed covering?

JT: Florida, because if the winner has a margin of victory of 0.5 percent or less — which looks to be entirely possible — it goes to an automatic recount. And last time that happened I ended up all but a resident of Tallahassee for more than a month. So in addition to covering an intense race and getting a jump on the recount story, I would have squatters’ rights on a hotel room. (Anyone who lived through that knows the importance — especially for the FSU-Florida game weekend.)

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