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

Posts in "Nationwide"

September 19, 2014

Michele Bachmann Asks Al Franken to Help Defeat Al Franken

Michele Bachmann Asks Al Franken to Help Defeat Al Franken

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Michele Bachmann wants Sen. Al Franken to make a campaign contribution — to defeat Al Franken.

The retiring Minnesota Republican congresswoman’s campaign fundraising pitch for her home state’s GOP Senate candidate Mike McFadden reached the personal residence of Franken in Minneapolis, according to a copy of the mailer obtained by HOH.

Full story

September 18, 2014

Sports Stars’ Stumbles Spark Fresh Round of ‘Slam the Solons’

As if engineering new ways to kinda-sorta green light foreign wars without getting booted out of office in a few weeks weren’t stressful enough, elected officials must once again — thanks to wildly inappropriate behavior by marquee athletes — contend with age-old accusations about everything that’s wrong with Capitol Hill.

The rapid succession of domestic scandals that have upended the careers of professional running backs Ray Rice (aggravated assault) of the Baltimore Ravens, and Adrian Peterson (indicted for child abuse) of the Minnesota Vikings appears to have stirred up anti-congressional sentiments, leading to the reappearance of a meme designed to highlight pols’ absolutely worst qualities.

 

Sports Stars’ Stumbles Spark Fresh Round of Slam the Solons

(Screenshot)

 

Per the urban myth slayers at Snopes, the original laundry list of political loserdom was most likely distilled from a five-part series called “Congress: America’s Criminal Class” which Capital Hill Blue unveiled in 1999.  Six years later, the muckraking website revisited the myriad personal and professional shortcomings documented in the original expose and found a governing body still rife with human imperfection.

Team Snopes had a lot of issues with the original barrage, citing content ranging from distressingly vague (“the original publisher has steadfastly declined to provide any documentation for these claims”) to borderline absurd (“they would have no way of knowing how many members of Congress had been stopped for traffic violations without being cited”).

None of that, however, Team Snopes suggests, has halted armchair critics from subbing in the target du jour (British Parliament, the NFL, etc.) to get their preferred point across.

 

Sports Stars’ Stumbles Spark Fresh Round of Slam the Solons

(CQ Roll Call Photo Illustration)

Making up horror stories about Congress seems like such an incredible waste of time.

Their real-life misdeeds are so much more engrossing:

The war at home

  • Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C.: Love’s labor’s lost.
  • Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla.: Perfect strangers
  • Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn.: Do as I say, not as I do.

Sexcapades

  • Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La.: Your cheating heart
  • Ex-Rep. Mel Reynolds, D-Ill.: Does not compute.
  • Ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y.: Danger is his middle name.

Self-destructive tendencies

  • Rep. Michael G. Grimm, R-N.Y.: Give me somethin’ to break.
  • Ex-Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla.: You holding?
  • Ex-Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., D-Ill.: Shopaholic

Questionable judgment

  • Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas: Rules are for suckers.
  • Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga.: What, me worry?
  • Sen. John Walsh, D-Mont.: Don’t quote me on that.

Meanwhile, at least one incensed lawmaker is refusing to let the badly bruised NFL off the hook.

 

 

Guess that means the ball’s in your court, Web trolls.

Related:

Female Senators Write Letter to Goodell, Want NFL to Adopt ‘Zero-Tolerance’ Policy

Blumenthal Floats Changes to NFL Antitrust Exemption (Video)

Critics of Washington Team Name Target NFL Nonprofit Status (Video)

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Getting Our Fill of Vacationland

Getting Our Fill of Vacationland

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

ROCKLAND, Maine — Two airplane flights (four hours in airports, combined) and roughly 120 minutes of creeping along two-lane roads that snake their way through stoplight-free Northeastern hamlets later, I finally arrived in the bayfront oasis I would call home for the next few days.

The most pressing problem, other than a serious lack of sleep, was how to kill the 17 hours until my first official work dinner.

Coming up to investigate the gastronomic enterprises Maine Democrat Chellie Pingree is fostering on North Haven was always meant to be the crux of my assignment. The critic in me, however, could not pass up the opportunity to feast upon  — without completely spoiling my appetite — this personally uncharted territory.

I pressed Pingree for recommendations, but the savvy lawmaker kept things totally diplomatic. Full story

September 17, 2014

Grover Norquist’s Burning Man Dream Team

Anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist so enjoyed his time at Burning Man this year that he’d like to return next summer with a “Dream Team” of Republican lawmakers.

A festival virgin, Norquist admitted to HOH that his presuppositions of what transpires each August in the pop-up community in northwestern Nevada might have been a tad off-base.

“I thought everybody dressed up almost in costume,” he said, sharing that he’d carted along a Guy Fawkes mask, a Russian-style army jacket and French foreign legion hat (complete with neck flaps) for his four-day stay in the desert.

Once there, the conservative firebrand quickly realized being a freethinker doesn’t always correlate to acting freaky. Full story

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

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

Boats sit moored in the harbor off North Haven, Maine, home of the Nebo Lodge owned by Pingree. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

ROCKLAND, Maine — Once aboard the boat that will speed us to North Haven, a Connecticut man opens up about his affinity for the Pine Tree State.

“It’s just waves and rocks and sky. It’s very relaxing after a year of work,” he said of his annual sojourn north.

A Camden, Maine, resident relates how he and his wife make their way across the white-capped expanse for dinner at least once each summer; he hopes to spend a night at Nebo Lodge sometime in order to take the full measure of the island.

The Maine Attraction: Getting a Taste of the Chellie Pingree ExperienceSo go the conversations aboard the Equinox, the privately owned boat tasked with moving mainlanders across the 12 miles of open water that separates Maine Democrat Chellie Pingree’s dining empire from the contiguous United States.

Equinox Captain John Morin calculates he’s transported some 2,200 people to North Haven over the course of this summer. And he loves to educate them about how their patronage benefits the community at large.

Full story

September 16, 2014

The Maine Attraction: Chellie Pingree Cultivates Her Own Food Capital

The Maine Attraction: Chellie Pingree Cultivates Her Own Food Capital

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

NORTH HAVEN, Maine — Should she ever tire of battling opposing lawmakers on Capitol Hill, Rep. Chellie Pingree could always kick back and indulge in one of her favorite pastimes: shaking cocktails for the pleasure seekers who pour into her farm-to-table restaurant each summer.

“I am always telling people that it’s good to have a backup career when you are in Congress. And being a bartender isn’t really that different,” the Maine Democrat shared during a candid discussion about her blossoming dining empire.

Still, the three-term lawmaker insists she never planned on becoming a hospitality maven.

“When I bought the inn, I really intended it to be more of a community project to help create a few jobs … and make sure that it was easier for people to find lodging when they had a guest coming,” Pingree said.

The Maine Attraction: Chellie Pingree Cultivates Her Own Food Capital

But her budding portfolio, which includes the critically acclaimed Nebo Lodge and its larder-filling sibling, Turner Farm, appears to be steadily outperforming her modest ambitions. She currently employs about 70-plus people (predominantly women) in a community comprised of around 300 year-round residents.

How this fledgling restaurateur managed to become the toast of her floating-in-Penobscot-Bay town is no big mystery.

She planted the seeds for this unexpected success decades ago. Full story

September 15, 2014

Tim Ryan Dresses Down Urban Outfitters Over Sweatshirt-gate

Bizarrely stained outer wear that Urban Outfitters rather unbelievably tied to Kent State University has made Rep. Tim Ryan’s blood boil.

Tim Ryan Dresses Down Urban Outfitters Over Sweatshirt gate

(Screenshot)

 

“On May 4, 1970, four students lost their lives at Kent State University and changed our country forever. It is deplorable for Urban Outfitters to exploit the pain and suffering of this national tragedy for their gain,” the Ohio Democrat said in a tersely worded official statement. “May 4th was a seminal and transformational moment in American history and we should never lose sight of its immense impact. Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.”

Ryan is referring, of course, to the horror scene that unfolded in Kent, Ohio, some 44 years ago, when the Ohio National Guard opened fire on Vietnam War protestors, killing four students and wounding nine others.

Full story

Rock On, Rockland

Rock On, Rockland

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

ROCKLAND, Maine – It may be a small town, but Rockland’s got a lot going for it.

The Maine Lobster Festival drives droves of shellfish lovers to the shores of the Penobscot Bay each August, the plastic bib-draped masses assembling to honor (and devour) the region’s claim to fame.

Bumping into newsmakers is evidently not uncommon. One New Yorker, who relocated to the area with his wife after their youngest flew the coop, said he catches sight of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. from time to time in neighboring St. George.

“He’s totally normal up here. Doesn’t like anyone to call him judge,” the Empire State expat said of his dealings with the summering Supreme Courter.

Natives, it would seem, have very specific tastes when it comes to conducting their day-to-day affairs.

Core concerns include keeping:

Activities al fresco (topless freecycling, anyone?)

 

Rock On, Rockland

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

 

Rock On, Rockland

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Full story

September 12, 2014

David McKinley Rolls Out Megabus Town Hall

Showing up for votes Monday is no big deal for Rep. David B. McKinley.

David McKinley Rolls Out Megabus Town Hall

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The West Virginia Republican had already planned on riding into town with a dozen or so local college students his office recruited to accompany him on his inaugural Megabus town hall.

For those who don’t know, McKinley is an ardent supporter of the discount carrier.

On this latest trip, which will depart Morgantown, W.Va. at 8 a.m., McKinley plans to chew the fat with a handful of preselected  travel companions plucked from the campuses of West Virginia University and Fairmont State University. “It’s going to be a pretty free-ranging discussion,” a McKinley aide told HOH about the roughly four-hour conversation that’s expected to unfold.

Per the aide, anything and everything is on the table, including jobs, health care or the swirling Syria/ISIS crisis.

Can’t find your bus pass?

Tweet a question (or 20) to #megabusMcKinleyTH once things get underway.

As McKinley is fond of pointing out, the bus is Wi-Fi enabled. So he won’t be able to say he was unreachable while on his way to work.

Related Story:

David McKinley Right at Home on Megabus

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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September 10, 2014

Arlingtonians Come Off the Sidelines to Pile On Kirsten Gillbrand

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand appears to have made enemies out of former neighbors after bemoaning the time she spent in Arlington, Va., in her road map to female empowerment, “Off the Sidelines.”

The New York Democrat got red in the face after a slew of purple staters caught wind that she’d badmouthed their neck of the woods.

 

 

ARLnow.com touched off the original firestorm by pointing out that the rising lawmaker described the Northern Virginia enclave as a “soulless suburb” — from which she apparently fled to the welcoming arms of Capitol Hill — in her book.

Some critics fought fire with fire (the “I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I” camp).

 

Arlingtonians Come Off the Sidelines to Pile On Kirsten Gillbrand

(Screenshot)

 

Full story

September 5, 2014

S’moresgate Engulfs Forest Service

Looking to light a fire under conservatives? Just try and tell ’em how to ingest flaming confections.

So learned a U.S. Forest Service aide after incensed Web readers — and later House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — got all fired up about an administration-penned blog post suggesting Americans keep fire safety in mind whilst observing National Toasted Marshmallow Day.

“For the things that government is supposed to do — like confront terrorist groups — we don’t have a strategy, but for things Americans are supposed to be able to do for themselves — like figuring out the best ingredients for s’mores — government bureaucrats have that figured out,” the California Republican fumed in his latest floor agenda update.

Online critics got even hotter under the collar, torching the regulatory guidelines involved, the tone of the public service announcement and the writer’s language skills.

 

S’moresgate Engulfs Forest Service

(Screenshot)

 

S’moresgate Engulfs Forest Service

(Screenshot)

 

S’moresgate Engulfs Forest Service

(Screenshot)

 

A couple of fans rallied to the Forest Service’s cause, chastising rhetorical bomb throwers for needlessly politicizing a friendly reminder. Full story

September 3, 2014

Separated at Birth: Mike Bishop Edition

House hopeful Mike Bishop appears to have one of those faces.

Per a colleague, the man who our own political handicappers see as a solid contender in the race to replace retiring Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., apparently reminds some folks of a certain teenage heartthrob.

“He says he gets the Greg Brady thing all the time,” our fellow hack said of Bishop’s familiarity with comparisons drawn between him and 70’s icon Barry Williams.

Though not quite identical twins, the two could probably pass as brothers.

While his strikingly silver mane clashes with the others’ darkened locks, our pal proposed adding another potential “lost” sibling to the pack: ex-Sen. John Ensign.

Separated at Birth: Mike Bishop Edition

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

We see the similarities in the eyebrows and chins.

Still, the libidinous Nevada Republican would have to freebase “Just for Men,” while the others got to work on developing unimpeachable perma-tans, before we could fully buy into this family reunion.

September 2, 2014

Jesse Benton’s Grammar Error of Biblical Proportions

Before Jesse Benton added chapters to the Book of James, he committed a grievous grammatical sin.

Benton, the former campaign aide to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who recently cut ties with the re-election effort, at least in part, because of the distracting misinformation he said the media kept flinging about, at the end of his resignation letter transgressed against the communications gods by signing off with an erroneous quote.

As conservative pundit Erick Erickson pointed out after digesting Benton’s resignation letter, there is no chapter 16 in the book of James.

 

 

The inspirational passage Benton presumably meant to hang his hat on belongs to the disciple John, who theoretically shared said thought in the final Gospel of the New Testament.

But first there was Benton’s mangling of the word choice rules for “affect” and “effect”:

Working for Mitch McConnell is one of the great honors of my life. He is a friend, a mentor and a great man this commonwealth desperately needs. I cannot, and will not, allow any possibility that my circumstances will effect the voters’ ability to hear his message and assess his record. This election is far too important and the stakes way too high.

To recap, “affect” is a verb that means to influence. “Effect” is primarily used as a noun that means result. Effect, when used as a verb, means simply to cause. So Benton either meant to use the word “affect” or his use of the word “effect” as a verb would change the meaning of the sentence to the following, ahem, effect: “I cannot and, and will not, allow any a possibility that my circumstances will cause the voters’ ability to hear his message and assess his record.”

On a side note, the first chapter of James in the King James version of the Bible has a section about “The Tongue,” which states, in James 1:5. “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!”

Vaya con Dios, Jesse Benton.

August 28, 2014

New Englanders, and Political Figures, Relieved as Market Basket Standoff Ends

New Englanders, and Political Figures, Relieved as Market Basket Standoff Ends

Market Basket employees wave to cars in Londonderry as they call for customers to boycott the embattled New England grocery store chain on Aug. 17. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

LONDONDERRY, N.H. — Across a broad swath of New England, there’s cause for celebration this Thursday — about the local supermarket.

Driving around New Hampshire last week, the scene was unavoidable: Protesters waving signs outside of local Market Basket stores, with cars honking as they drove by. Inside the stores, bare shelves abound, especially with the perishable goods, little fresh dairy or produce to speak of, an empty butcher case. Most importantly, there were hardly any customers. The public had backed the employees with an old-fashioned boycott.

Politicians across the spectrum had called for resolution, and thus it came as no surprise when the statements started to appear lauding the announcement late Wednesday that an agreement had been reached to bring back the popular previous management, including from Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H. Full story

August 25, 2014

Sherrod Brown: Switch to Wendy’s or White Castle if Burger King Goes to Canada (Video)

Sherrod Brown: Switch to Wendys or White Castle if Burger King Goes to Canada (Video)

Brown is not happy with Burger King’s reported plans to go Canada. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In a statement that might make the late Dave Thomas proud, Sen. Sherrod Brown said Monday that if Burger King sets up shop in Canada as part of a tax inversion, customers should switch to Wendy’s or White Castle.

“Burger King’s decision to abandon the United States means consumers should turn to Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers or White Castle sliders. Burger King has always said ‘Have it Your Way’; well my way is to support two Ohio companies that haven’t abandoned their country or customers,” Brown said.

Full story

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