Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 13, 2016

Posts in "Nationwide"

January 21, 2016

‘Courting Des Moines’ the Night Before the Iowa Caucuses


‘Twas the night before the Iowa caucuses, and all through the state — candidates, political reporters and anyone interested in the next president of the United States were invited to the Jan. 31 premiere of “Courting Des Moines.”

The feature film is “a fake story about the real Iowa caucuses” and is the brainchild of writer/director and Roll Call contributor Brent Roske. The movie, a sequel to Roske’s “Chasing the Hill” series, follows the fictional presidential campaign of Rep. Samantha Clemons, played by Melissa Fitzgerald, as well as real-life candidates as Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and other public officials who traipse through the Hawkeye State in the lead-up to the first-in-the-nation caucuses.

The show starts at Des Moines’ Varsity Theater at 9 p.m., and will be followed by a question and answer session with Roske, former Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and the film’s co-star Catherine Urbanek. Invitation follows the jump: Full story

December 25, 2015

Lawmakers Share Their Christmas Traditions

UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 17 - Christmas Nutcrackers don the outside the office of Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., in the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, December 16, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Christmas Nutcrackers don the outside Dingell’s Cannon office. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

While their Capitol Hill offices remain decorated with holiday spirit, lawmakers are home celebrating with their families and loved ones.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, said in the four decades he has been in Congress, he has never spent a Christmas in the Washington area, always in Iowa. “For the most part, during those 40 years, it has been at our farm house,” the senator told Roll Call. “I guess when I had in-laws alive more than 25 years ago, we used to go there for Christmas but we always had a Grassley Christmas.” Full story

December 24, 2015

White House Shares Spotify Playlists



The White House is spreading holiday cheer by sharing the first and second couples’ Spotify playlists.

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama have shared “Holidays with the Obamas,” which starts off with “O Tannenbaum” from the animated classic, “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Full story

December 21, 2015

Lindsey Graham’s Wittiest Moments

Graham saw a contender at one point. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Graham saw a contender at one point. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With Sen. Lindsey Graham’s exit from the GOP presidential race, the 2016 field might have lost what his No. 1 fan, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said was “the candidate with the best (and it seemed sometimes the only) sense of humor.”

Full story

November 5, 2015

‘Working Girls for Vitter’ Is a Thing, Apparently

(Photo courtesy HOH tipster)

(Photo courtesy HOH tipster)

David Vitter may be trailing in the polls, but he appears to have at least one constituency locked down, at least according to Dirty Coast Press.

The casual clothier from the Pelican State released a new item last week that will surely annoy the Republican senator on a quest for the Louisiana governorship.

Got a few left at the UPTOWN store only – 5631 Magazine St. #workinggirlsforvitter #dirtycoast #nola

A photo posted by Dirty Coast (@dirtycoast) on

The shirts, which read: “Working Girls For Vitter” allude to the lawmaker’s connection to the “D.C. Madam” scandal of 2007. The initial batch of merch was scooped up quite quickly, apparently, as the company posted again Wednesday that the shirts were back in stock.


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October 26, 2015

Roske Gears Up for ‘Courting Des Moines’ Debut

The film makes its D.C. debut in January, (Photo courtesy Brent Roske)

The film makes its D.C. debut in January. (Photo courtesy Brent Roske)

Brent Roske bills “Courting Des Moines,” as the quintessential film about the Iowa Caucuses and a must-see for political junkies who want more than a “30-second sound byte from cable news” on the nation’s first presidential nominating contest. Full story

October 15, 2015

Joe Sestak Looks Out for the Visually Impaired

joe sestak

Sestak in Philadelphia on May 18, 2010. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

We haven’t seen much of Senate hopeful Joe Sestak in D.C. these past few years. But when he was around, the former House lawmaker purportedly made his mark on the time-honored tradition of networking.

The Pennsylvania Democrat, who is currently seeking to knock off Republican incumbent Patrick J. Toomey in a rematch of their 2010 contest, alerted his social media followers to a little known fact: His congressional business cards were stamped in Braille.

Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 2:07 p.m.
#tbt, Nationwide, Reps, Sens

October 14, 2015

Westboro Baptist Church Targets John Lewis

The provocateurs that make up the Westboro Baptist Church are expected to picket an appearance Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., has scheduled Wednesday evening at Washburn University in Topeka, Kan.

Georgia Democrat John Lewis leads a group of San Diego-area schoolchildren in a procession through 2015 Comic-Con International. (Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Lewis leads a group of San Diego-area schoolchildren in a procession through 2015 Comic-Con International. (Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The 15-term lawmaker turned graphic novelist is no stranger to confrontation, having survived decades of oppression before and after his appearance at the 1963 March on Washington and the brutal Bloody Sunday brawl in Selma, Ala., just a few years later.

His reward for inexhaustibly championing equality has been constant reminders that the fight is far from over. Full story

October 6, 2015

Team Hurt Blanks on Planned Parenthood Response

Aides to Virginia Republican Robert Hurt recently pulled out the official stationary and added the boss’s autopen-crafted signature to a form letter meant to outline the three-term lawmaker’s stance on Planned Parenthood. Full story

October 5, 2015

Ben Cardin, Mike Castle Merge Into One

Maryland Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin marked his 72nd birthday Monday by incorporating himself into where the rubber officially meets the recreational road along the Easter Shore.

The Democrat participated in the christening of the Ben Cardin Trail, a newly completed 1.8-mile strip of asphalt extending the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal Trail into Maryland. Full story

October 1, 2015

Noshtalgia: Relishing the Past One Arepa at a Time

A “Peluda” arepa, stuffed with shredded beef and shaved gouda, served at La Caraquena in Falls Church, Va. (Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

A “peluda” arepa, stuffed with shredded beef and shaved gouda, served at La Caraquena in Falls Church, Va. (Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The man who taught me how to eat was not a trained chef.

But the late Gustavo Rojas did enjoy spending time in the kitchen.

He strived to instill in his children an appreciation for home-cooked meals, family dinners and, perhaps most of all, the cultural traditions that bound us to our ancestors.

Full story

September 18, 2015

Web Crawlers Project Wonky Biases Across America

Real-life rocket scientist Andrew Rader posed a simple question to Google: “Why is [insert state name here] so …” in order to observe how the search engine would fill in the superlative blanks based on previous interrogatories.

The feedback proved somewhat frightening.

Full story

Rand Paul Campaign Staffer Accuses Marco Rubio Aide of Assault

John Patrick Yob, a campaign strategist working on Kentucky Republican Rand Paul’s presidential bid, announced Friday via social media that he was punched in the face by Rich Beeson, deputy campaign manager for Sen. Marco Rubio, and that he was formally pressing charges.

Per media reports, the ideological scrap took place Thursday evening at Horn’s Gaslight Bar & Restaurant on Mackinac Island. Full story

September 9, 2015

Chellie Pingree Insists Divorce Won’t Cramp Nebo Lodge’s Style

Her separation from billionaire spouse Donald Sussman will in no way mean lights out for Nebo Lodge, an aide to Rep. Chellie Pingree assured HOH Wednesday.

chellie pingree

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Maine Democrat established the gourmet retreat more than a decade ago and has since assembled a closely knit group — including renowned chef Amanda Hallowell and Pingree’s eldest daughter, Hannah, who serves as general manager — to oversee the homey establishment.

Per Team Pingree, all of that is expected to remain undisturbed, even after the four-term lawmaker disentangles herself from her husband’s myriad financial holdings.

“Rep. Pingree owns Nebo and nothing will change. They’ve got a great team on North Haven and it will continue to operate as it has,” Pingree spokesman Willy Ritch stated.

This hired mouth may have to race back up north next summer, just to make sure everything remains on the up and up.


Chellie Pingree, Donald Sussman Parting Company

Getting Our Fill of Vacationland

The Maine Attraction: Getting a Taste of the Chellie Pingree Experience

See photos, follies, HOH Hits and Misses and more at Roll Call’s new video site.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

Alterna-Talk Shows Take on the Old Guard

Two self-styled interviewers are ready for their close-ups, as both “Roske on Politics” and “The Open Mind” take to the D.C. airwaves to freshen up the political conversation.

One-time House hopeful Brent Roske in late 2014 went all-in on covering campaigns, ditching sunny Southern California for snowy Des Moines to move closer to the electoral action. His prescient change in latitude now appears to be paying off in spades: The “Chasing the Hill” vet has garnered an Emmy nomination for his video chats with visiting candidates and others. Full story

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