Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
May 26, 2015

Posts in "Outta Here!"

May 8, 2015

Exit Interview: Amie Woeber Loves Loose Cannons

It sounds like departing congressional staffer Amie Woeber has, following a decade of government service, finally come to terms with the idea of decamping from the Hill.

Exit Interview: Amie Woeber Loves Loose Cannons

From back in the day, from left, Woeber and fellow Hill Climbers Charlie Keller, Carol Beck and Andrew Kovalcin. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Quitting all the chaos, however, may require intensive therapy.

The House Republican aide is leaving the Capitol’s confines to take a job as Washington government relations manager at PayPal. Her last day as legislative director for Rep. Sean P. Duffy, R-Wis., is Friday, and she says she is grateful for having worked alongside some of the legislative branch’s more colorful characters. Full story

April 27, 2015

Doug Hecox Lives to Lampoon Politicians

Doug Hecox Lives to Lampoon Politicians

(Courtesy Traci Medlock)

Perhaps the most important thing recovering Hill staffer Doug Hecox took away from his time in the legislative branch was an abiding appreciation for intentionally funny stuff.

“It’s a sitcom with very bad actors. And a really bad script,” the veteran stand-up told HOH about the sorry state of congressional affairs.“Everybody takes themselves entirely too seriously.” Full story

April 13, 2015

Exit Interview: Scott Overland Cherishes Congressional Cutups

Leaving the friends he made and inspirational figures he encountered while working on Capitol Hill is no easy task for former staffer Scott Overland.

But he’s made his peace with moving on (Best of luck leading the pack as PetSmart’s man for legislative affairs!) by clinging to the joie de vivre inculcated in him by quick-witted pols.

The communications pro flexed his messaging muscles in both chambers, working first for former Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, I-Conn., and most recently for Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo.

Each man, he suggested, knew how to keep things pretty lively. Full story

April 9, 2015

When Harry Met Lynn …

When Harry Met Lynn ...

Jenkins, far right, is a member of the GOP leadership. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If you don’t know who Rep. Lynn Jenkins is, you have something in common with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

In an interview on Tuesday with Fusion’s Jorge Ramos, Reid was asked how he would respond to Jenkins’ charge from last summer that the Senate was the real “do-nothing” chamber because Reid blocked GOP legislation when he was majority leader.

His response? “I say respectfully to this woman, I don’t know who she is,” Reid replied. “But she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.”

He went on: Full story

March 24, 2015

Overheard: The Ghosts of GOP Past

“I decided in my old age I’m going to haunt the Senate, so here I am.”

— Former Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., discussing his curious retirement plans while hanging with senators and former Rep. Bill Delahunt, D-Mass., just outside the other chamber. Full story

March 17, 2015

Politically Savvy Student Owns Being a Congressional Albatross

Lauren Dickinson isn’t worried, per se, that she may be a harbinger of death (career-wise anyway) for self-styled, rockstar politicos.

If anything, she’s fascinated by the power she seems to exert over self-destructive Republicans.

“Just call me the kiss of death. I’m 2 for 2 with Schock & Radel,” the George Washington University student mused online while showcasing a composite shot of her posing alongside the scandal-plagued pretty boys.

It’s unclear, however, just how potent Dickinson’s grasp may be. Full story

February 10, 2015

Big To-Do at Zoo! Wu, Where Are You?

What happens when one of god’s creatures gets caught contemplating the fate of a faux compatriot?

Political junkies of all stripes, naturally, find a way to connect the dots back to Capitol Hill.

Full story

January 23, 2015

Exit Interview: Matthew Leffingwell Treasures Congressional Raconteurs

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: longtime House staffer calls it quits, moves on to sweet gig in the nonprofit world. Same old story, right?

What’s different about Matthew Leffingwell’s swan song is that even though he’s joining a global powerhouse co-founded by musical royalty, the Capitol Hill vet insists he will genuinely miss hearing solons crack wise about, well, everything. Full story

January 13, 2015

Congress, at Its Most Animated, Is Always Fun to Watch

Turning a legendary chamber-clearing brawl between House Democrats and Republicans into a cartoon short not only displays “Bills and Brews” creator Matt Laslo’s brilliance in capitalizing on the gems he extracts from pols during his booze-fueled interviews, it makes him a bona fide member of some of the most colorful satirists around.

Congress, at Its Most Animated, Is Always Fun to Watch

(Screenshot)

Retired Rep. James P. Moran, D-Va., last fall laid the foundation for this fisticuff-y trip down memory lane by sharing how a handful of lawmakers dealt with disagreements back in the day.

Reducing screwy pols to mere caricatures of themselves is a time-honored tradition among those grossly dissatisfied with what does (or does not) routinely take place in the halls of Congress.

Full story

December 31, 2014

Spend New Year’s Day With Bob Ney

GOP leaders worked so hard to escape December without incident (Look, Ma! No government shutdown!), yet embarrassing revelations continue to pop up as the clock ticks down on 2014.

What better way to prepare for a fresh round of dirty laundry-airing infighting than to hear former Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, run his former colleagues through the wringer all over again.

Spend New Years Day With Bob Ney

Ney tries to get through the sea of photographers as he leaves the U.S. District Court Oct. 13, 2006 in Washington, D.C. Ney entered a guilty plea to taking bribes in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

To commemorate the 10-year anniversary of its Sunday night gabfest, “Q&A,” C-SPAN has been re-running some of the interview show’s greatest hits throughout the holidays. The Jan. 1 episode, scheduled to air at 7 p.m. EST, includes a conversation with the six-term lawmaker that fell furthest from grace as a result of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.

The 2013 replay, which took place during the promotional tour for Ney’s tell-all memoir, “Sideswiped: Lessons Learned Courtesy of the Hit Men of Capitol Hill,” appears to be timelier than ever given the career-ending hit New York Republican Michael G. Grimm’s political life has taken in recent days. Full story

December 30, 2014

The Gifts That Keep on Giving: HOH’s 2014 Faves

What a year we all just lived through!

There was election night drama, international intrigue and, of course, tearful farewells.

Keeping track of all the mayhem on Capitol Hill once again proved exhausting, thanks in large part to the concerted efforts of the following over achievers.

Rep. Michael G. Grimm, R-N.Y.

The Gifts That Keep on Giving: HOH’s 2014 Faves

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The embattled pol is a one-man gossip mill. Full story

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 17, 2014

John Dingell Wraps It All Up in Holiday Jingle

Rep. John D. Dingell, the retiring dean of the House, jokingly reflects on a lifetime of public service and the current state of congressional affairs in his latest holiday greeting.

John Dingell Wraps It All Up in Holiday Jingle

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Michigan Democrat, who each winter lampoons the year that was, is concluding his tenure on the Hill after nearly 60 years. His wife, newly minted lawmaker Debbie Dingell, is set to succeed him in the 114th Congress. Full story

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

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