Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 21, 2014

Posts in "Nationwide"

April 18, 2014

The Congressman and the Sweet Onion Queen

The Congressman and the Sweet Onion Queen

Barrow, right, poses with Miss Georgie Sweet Onion Sarah DeLoach. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call.)

These are the pictures we live for at HOH. Hats off to our own Bill Clark, whose full caption is something we simply cannot improve upon:  ”Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., poses for photos with 2014 Miss Georgia Sweet Onion Sarah DeLoach at the Law Enforcement Cookout at Wayne Dasher’s pond house in Glennville, Ga., on Thursday, April 17, 2014. A crowd of more than one thousand law enforcement, government officials and guests from across the state of Georgia gathered to enjoy BBQ and Brunswick stew at the annual event.”

April 14, 2014

Frazier Glenn Cross Has Long Had His Sights Set on Capitol Hill

Frazier Glenn Cross, the man suspected of killing two people on Sunday at a Jewish community center in Overland Park, Kan., has been trying to hitch a ride to Washington on the racial purity ticket for decades.

Cross’s purported hate crime rattled a nation still reeling from the April 2 shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, a nightmarish scenario that once again featured a disturbed service man — the late Army Spc. Ivan Lopez orchestrated the most recent outbreak of violence, whereas Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hassan took over a dozen lives in November 2009 — ambushing unsuspecting colleagues.

A former Ku Klux Klan activist who later founded the exclusionary White Patriot Party, Cross has repeatedly — and rather unsuccessfully — tried to bring others around to his peculiar way of thinking.

Some online outlets suggest the perennial write-in candidate has been at it since 1984; he has, luckily, never gained significant traction in any contest.

He mounted an unsuccessful attempt to unseat then-Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., in 2006, as well as a failed bid in 2010 (Cross received just seven votes) to replace retiring Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond, R-Mo. Full story

April 11, 2014

Grover Norquist’s Global Suckdom Index

Welcome to the suck. It’s not as bad as it seems. That was sounds-negative-actually-positive sentiment from Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform, at a panel following Thursday night’s screening of Jose Antonio Vargas’ “Documented,” at the Newseum.

Grover Norquists Global Suckdom Index

Norquist, perhaps thinking about the GNGSI, at a Thursday tax event on Capitol Hill with Majority Leader Eric Cantor, right. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call.)

The documentary, which chronicles Vargas’ path as an undocumented immigrant and successful journalist and his involvement in the movement for ab immigration overhaul, played to a full house. After, Norquist joined Vargas, The Atlantic’s Megan Garber, producer Janet Yang and Joe Green, a founder of Fwd.us, to discuss the movie and the politics and culture that surround it.

Cue Norquist, one of Washington’s most lively: “The reason why the United States is the future and Japan is not and China is not and Europe is not, is because we do immigration and because we do it better than everyone else. As poorly as we do it, we do it better than everybody else, kind of like our government, it just sucks less than all the other governments. And that’s a big advantage: sucking less.”

So there you have it. The Grover Norquist Global Suckdom Index, over which the United States sits atop. USA! USA!

Tom Petri’s S.O.S (Save Our Sausages)

Wisconsin Republican Tom Petri took to the House floor Thursday to issue a dire warning to grill tenders the world over: Europe is coming for our pork products.

“Bratwursts are delicious,” he declared in a shout-out to Sheboygan’s claim to fame.

It seems the European Union wants to impose new restrictions on certain products, namely processed meats, cheeses and seasonal beers, as part of a swirling trade agreement — a power grab that’s left a bad taste in the Wisconsin delegation’s mouths.

“This is, frankly, getting ridiculous,” Petri argued, adding, “If anything, we should be trademarking the name ‘bratwurst,’ not them.”

Across the Capitol, Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin has rallied nearly half the Senate to the cause, raising a bipartisan chorus of voices in favor of protecting homegrown snacks from the proposed geographic restrictions. Full story

April 10, 2014

Vance McAllister’s Dalliance With the English Language

Sure, he’s canoodler-in-chief NOW. But just a few short months ago, Rep. Vance McAllister was just another tongue-tied candidate spewing out muddled policy positions on social media.

Just days before the special election that would help bring the lip-locking Louisiana Republican to Washington, McAllister hit his Facebook flock with this doozy of a diatribe (mis)spelling out his positions on family, the Affordable Care Act, immigration and the federal budget.

Vance McAllisters Dalliance With the English Language

(CQ Roll Call photo illustration)

Somewhere in the middle of that 340-odd word, run-on sentence (Grammar police, ho!) McAllister demands that the undocumented get with the program already and learn to “read, write, and speak English.”

Eschewing punctuation, however, does not appear to be a deal breaker in McAllisterland.

Online detractors, meanwhile, have a few choice words of their own for Capitol Hill’s cheater du jour:

Vance McAllisters Dalliance With the English Language

(Screenshot)

Full story

April 9, 2014

Forthcoming Barney Frank Documentary Aims to Inspire

Documentarians Sheila Canavan and Michael Chandler are still putting the finishing touches on “Compared to What: The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank,” an unflinching look at the life and times of retired Rep. Barney Frank.

Forthcoming Barney Frank Documentary Aims to Inspire

(Courtesy Jim Ready)

The whole world will get a peek into the insights they’ve gleaned from the Massachusetts Democrat — and the handful of congressional colleagues who agreed to weigh in on his illustrious career — when the feature length project debuts April 27 at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.

Canavan told HOH she first met Frank while working on the transition team for then-Boston Mayor Kevin White. As a lowly college student, Canavan recalled spending many long nights (she pulled graveyard shift duty) fielding constituent calls. Frank, who devoted his days to setting up the office of public service, would keep her company after work in order to keep his ear to the ground. Full story

April 8, 2014

A Crash Course in Congressional Hanky-Panky

An offbeat observation by someone who sounded none-too-surprised to learn that Louisiana Republican Rep. Vance McAllister had been busted getting busy with a congressional aide got us thinking about whom, exactly, Capitol Hill playboys spend their time seducing.

“It’s always the schedulers,” an HOH reader opined online after perusing the tawdry tale of McAllister’s videotaped make-out session with district aide — and Facebook friend (social media has doomed us all) — Melissa Hixon Peacock.

A Crash Course in Congressional Hanky Panky

(Screenshot)

The Ouachita Citizen exposed the interoffice dalliance (both McAllister and Peacock are married to other people) with the help of a grainy surveillance video purportedly leaked to the local paper by another McAllister aide.

While Peacock clearly fit our conspiracy theorists’ bill in this particular case, HOH decided to examine the past 20 years of congressional sexcapades to discern whether libidinous lawmakers do, in fact, have a clear cut “type.”

Ex-Rep. Gary Condit, D-Calif.

A Crash Course in Congressional Hanky Panky

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Object of his affection: the late Chandra Levy, his intern. 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:

 

 

Washington State Society Hosts Oso Relief Effort

Evergreen Staters stuck here in the District want to help those back home still dealing with the aftermath of a devastating mudslide by raising a few glasses — and hopefully some big bucks — Tuesday night.

Washington State Society Hosts Oso Relief Effort

(Courtesy Washington State Society)

The Oso Mudslide Relief reception is scheduled to take place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the State Room at 201 Bar (201 Massachusetts Ave. NE). There is a suggested donation of $20.

The natural disaster struck the Oso community on March 22; the administration officially took action on April 2.

Funds collected at 201 Bar are expected to benefit the United Way of Snohomish County. Event organizers are also planning a raffle featuring prizes such as an Xbox One and gift certificates to local restaurants.

Congressional aides told HOH that Washington Democratic Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and Democratic Rep. Suzan DelBene are planning to attend the fundraiser. The office of Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., said the slightly hobbled lawmaker (currently on crutches) is aware of the event, but could not guarantee his participation.

April 4, 2014

Solons See No Slam Dunks in Alabama BBQ Bracket

Alabama’s tourism authorities have flipped March Madness into a food fight, pitting many of the Yellowhammer State’s revered barbecue purveyors against one another in an online popularity contest.

Based on the most recent balloting, one of the following contenders will walk away with the title once voting closes April 7: Jim ‘N Nick’s in Birmingham (chicken, pork), Smokin’ on the Boulevard in Florence (ribs) and Bob Sykes Bar-B-Q in Bessemer (sauce).

Trouble is, some of the folks here on Capitol Hill would beg to differ with the vox populi. Full story

A Kansas Primary Debate in Alexandria?

A Kansas Primary Debate in Alexandria?

(CQ Roll Call File Photo Composite)

Alexandria, Va., and Alexandria, Kan., are nothing alike.

One is a suburb of the national’s capital. The other is just a few miles from Leavenworth. But a tea party group based in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., wants to host a Kansas Senate primary debate, and the long-shot challenger has already accepted the invitation.

A group known as the Northern Virginia Tea Party is offering to host a debate between veteran Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and challenger Milton Wolf. Wolf may be best known to HOH readers as a distant relative of President Barack Obama.

Full story

By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 3:31 p.m.
DC, Nationwide

Harry Reid’s Instagram Feed is Picture Perfect

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may be new to Instagram, but the veteran lawmaker is clearly well rehearsed in the art of putting one’s best face forward.

 

 

Though just a few hours old, the Nevada Democrat’s online photo diary is already chock full of cookie-cutter campaign art, including:

The Power Huddle

Just, you know, shooting the breeze with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, R-Calif. Full story

April 1, 2014

Thanks for the Pranks, Congress

Hill types had their fun this April Fools Day, filling the online ether with bogus press releases — or, in the case of New Mexico Republican Steve Pearce, just really weird news — designed to make everyone question the fragile construct we call reality.

One eagle-eyed observer shared a snapshot of a psych-out perpetrated on the most gullible souls wandering through Statuary Hall:

No word on whether mischievous Capitol Hill cops or fed-up tour guides have taken credit for the moratorium on intra-chamber babbling, but kudos to whoever attempted to orchestrate some blessed silence.

Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., was more ambitious in his trouble making, widely broadcasting plans to formally bridge the gap between his home district and the nation’s capital. His tongue-in-cheek pitch to S-T-R-E-T-C-H the Bay Area Rapid Transit System all the way to Capitol South posits that the 41-hour long ride would only set riders back a paltry $347.28 a pop.

“We need bold solutions that increase connectivity, helping grow our economy. If you live in California, why shouldn’t you enjoy direct access to the corridors of power in our nation’s capital?” he suggested.

Colorado Democrat Jared Polis took a more introspective tact, firing back at snarky tweets questioning his sartorial judgment by unilaterally declaring himself GQ’s head fashionista.

“I am thrilled to join the definitive authority on men’s fashion as their chief congressional fashion spokesman,” Polis announced via email. “The ‘potie’ revolution brings the classic, formal look of a bow tie with the comfort and flexibility of a polo shirt, and I knew it was only a matter of time before my new look was appreciated.”

Meanwhile, Pearce worked in a plug for the “Out of This World Job Fair” scheduled to take place April 9 from 2-6 p.m. at the Roswell Convention and Civic Center in Roswell, N.M. Pearce is once again hosting the hiring fest, which plays up the regional connection to a supposed UFO crash, in conjunction with several local employment agencies.

No word if he’ll be canvassing the crowd for a new press secretary.

March 31, 2014

Maher Continues to Bait Grimm, Farenthold for #FlipaDistrict

Comedian Bill Maher still wants to #flipadistrict from Republican to Democrat, and on his HBO show on March 28, he continued to lambast two of his GOP targets: New York’s Michael G. Grimm and Texas’s Blake Farenthold.

“They got pisssssssssssed!” chuckled Maher.

Maher read a statement from Grimm as reported in the lawmaker’s hometown newspaper, the Staten Island Advance: “From the ultra-liberal new Mayor Bill de Blasio and now the left-wing, anti-Catholic Bill Maher, a troubling pattern is emerging where the most radical progressives in the country are coming out and supporting my opponent.”

“I don’t even know who your opponent is!” Maher crowed. For the record, Grimm’s likely Democratic challenger is Domenic Recchia, a former city councilman from Brooklyn.

“It’s said that you can tell a lot about someone by who opposes them,” Farenthold told Breitbart News. “In the case of liberal pundit Bill Maher … I wear his disapproval of me as a badge of honor.”

The Texas Republican, in a separate interview with KTRH News Radio, said, “I do have a Democrat running against me. Unless Maher is able to get him a lot of money, I think I’m okay.”

“I love it when politicians reveal themselves like this,” Maher told his audience after quoting Farenthold. “That’s the point of us doing this. That yes, you have a big wallet, and I don’t think in America ‘I have the biggest wallet’ should always win.”

Fourteen additional House Republicans will be nominated by fans via Twitter over the next few weeks, ultimately to be whittled to one candidate whose midterm opponent Maher will support.

Christina Bellantoni contributed to this report.

March 25, 2014

House Hopeful Brent Roske Mulls Congressional Council

House Hopeful Brent Roske Mulls Congressional Council

(Screenshot)

Brent Roske, the entertainment vet currently running as an independent to replace retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., is brainstorming all kinds of ways to stay ahead of the burgeoning pack of contenders who’ve cropped up around him — including bringing some of them under his wing.

In a campaign spot shot somewhat on the fly March 23 — Roske swears it was done in one continuous take, with no teleprompter — the political neophyte builds upon an earlier plan to tag-team the job with Waxman, opening up potential slots on a “congressional district council” to the handful of fellow candidates he believes are most serious about the job.

Brent Roske for Congress (CA-33) - Commercial from Brent Roske for CA-33 on Vimeo.

Per the plan, a newly elected Roske would seek to convene weekly meetings with challengers he feels are most qualified to help him plug experience gaps, a roster that includes: former Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel (fiscal issues), former candidate Bill Bloomfield (fiscal issues), state Sen. Ted Lieu (district concerns), Democratic candidates Barbara Mulvaney and Matt Miller (policy issues) and fellow independent candidate Marianne Williamson (cooperative governing).

“Just to be clear, I haven’t asked any of these people whether or not they’ll serve on this council,” Roske said. “But I bet if I get elected, they’ll show up.”

Roske told HOH his original offer to Waxman still stands, but noted he had not heard from the congressman about teaming up.

In terms of televising his work day on the Hill — part of his plan to deliver an “accessible open Congress” to constituents — Roske noted that he’s not yet worked out all the logistics of bringing a “Truman Show”-like experience to Capitol Hill, but he’s fired up about giving it a go.

“I would continuously be pushing the envelope if I was told ‘no’ in any particular circumstances,” Roske said of his desire to bring the public even deeper into the political process than is currently allowed, adding, “What I have in mind … is a totally different animal than C-SPAN.”

His last plank, a weekly stump speech out on the steps of the Capitol, has a very “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” ring to it. Which, it seems, is exactly what Roske is going for.

“It would be brazenly patriotic,” he said of the rah-rah rhetoric he hopes to shower upon slowly shuffling staffers and wide-eyed tourists at the crack of dawn (7 a.m. Eastern) each Wednesday.

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